Entitlement is an illness of government overindulgence.

On one hand, I sympathize with Alexis Santoro, of Cumberland:

Santoro first raised the issue in an email on September 1 to Cumberland school officials.

“Each year there has been a bus monitor/crossing guard for the bus when the bus has stopped at this location since pound road has a lot of blind spots and cars fly around the corner,” wrote Santoro. “In 2019, the bus stop was moved to the corner of Windsong and Goldstar for the safety of the little children. This year, it was set back to the corner of Windsong and Pound for some reason, however, there is no bus monitor/crossing guard, so the children are required to cross this busy and poorly visible street with oncoming traffic coming towards them.”

“I am requesting the bus stop be moved into the neighborhood, [and] the bus drive around so the kids do not have to cross the road or a bus monitor/crossing guard be assigned to the bus,” said Santoro.

We pay plenty of money for our government schools and the related transportation, in Rhode Island, and it is the job of the people whom we pay to provide services at the level for which they’re collecting money.  From that perspective, Santoro even went a step toward indulgence, suggesting an alternative for safety that would satisfy her concerns as a parent.

On the other hand, one can’t help but wonder if that very same transactional perspective isn’t creating an unhealthy middle ground of expectation to be served:

According to Santoro, who provided emails to GoLocal — she was told she could “train to become a monitor” in light of the shortage of workers.

“Excuse me, I have a job. This is their responsibility,” said Santoro, of the response from the Cumberland School Department.

What’s wrong with the schools’ response, there?  Granted, officials appear to have done a poor job explaining why one stop is necessary over the other, but assuming there is some unspoken explanation, along with a shortage of monitors, taking every opportunity to pitch for employees seems reasonable.

The problem is that Santoro has encountered one of the bottlenecks where the various unaccountable decisions of elected and appointed officials create a situation with which a particular constituent is not happy.  Central among those decisions is that government services have to be offered free of charge to all comers.

Let’s imagine, then, if this were a transaction with a private company.  In that case, Santoro would have a consumer’s leverage.  The school would have reason to do whatever it could to accommodate her concerns, either adding a crossing guard or moving the stop.  If that were not possible, she could demand a refund of her busing fee and find another way to get the child to school.

Indeed, once upon a time, children were expected to get to school one way or another, and communities would organize volunteers for things like ensuring children weren’t run over crossing the street.  As we’ve been taxed to pay people to do those jobs, we’ve lost that sense that our money is going to particular services and we have to fill in the gap.


Featured image by Cleyton Ewerton on Unsplash.

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Rhett Hardwick
Rhett Hardwick
1 year ago

Sometime, around the 5th grade, I was given a white belt and a hand held stop sign, I was the assigned to street crossing in front of the school. No one died on my watch. The last time I was in DC, some years ago, at least one private school still used the same system.

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