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School Board's Bike Helmet Policy Deserves Praise

August 02, 1992

Talk about meddling in people's lives! As a parent whose child attends Los Naranjos Elementary School in Irvine--one of the two "test" schools for the bike helmet program--I assure you that I do not feel in any way that the Irvine School Board is undermining my parental control.

The bike helmet policy was the only way I was able to successfully get my 10-year-old to wear a helmet! With peer pressure the way it is among kids, making helmet-wearing a rule gave my son an "excuse" to wear a helmet and feel good about himself--instead of being laughed at by other kids.

Too bad you could not have attended the last school board meeting where this issue and others were discussed. The last impression you would have walked away with was that Irvine parents have abdicated their parental rights! The school district in Irvine does nothing that is without considerable consultation with parents.

Don't think for one minute that parents weren't involved and did not condone this new rule. The school district took this step because parents overwhelmingly asked for them to do so.

I only wish this rule could make my kid wear his helmet at other times, instead of just to and from school. What I am hoping is that he will get in the habit of wearing the helmet and this "habit" will spill over into his playtime.

A good parent can go only so far in assuring a child's safety--and can only go so far in enforcing certain rules. I know kids who won't ride their bikes--and miss out on socializing with their friends--because they are humiliated by having to wear a helmet. If some expert published a report that said wearing sequin-covered beanies would eliminate 95% of pedestrian auto accidents, how many of us would wear them?

Rules can be the boundaries within which there is much freedom! Because of the incredible influence of the media--and the stranglehold that peer pressure can have on kids--even the most sensible of kids will avoid doing what they know is best.

This rule eliminates the fear of being called a "geek" or worse because everyone has to wear a helmet--even the "cool" kids.

ELIZABETH THOMAS, Irvine

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