Letter: American schools on a different bus route

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sian Thornthwaite (letter, 12 July) finds British practice inferior to American in transporting children to school. She overlooks the demographic differences.

America has grown up round the car, with housing spread over vast areas. Public transport, at least until perhaps the last 10 years, has been sparse, if not non- existent. Furthermore, there has been the deliberate bussing of some children over longish distances to secure balanced ethnic representation in schools. The number of children in the US who live within walking distance of school must be minimal.

In the UK, millions of children can walk to school and your own columns have bemoaned the reduction in the number of those who do so, simply because the traffic load, pollution fears and other perceived dangers deter parents from letting their children walk. Since the average distance for a child to travel to school in the US is, at a guess, four times what it is in the UK, I see no grounds for Dr Thornthwaite's complaint.

Yours faithfully,

COLIN MURISON SMALL

London, SE27

15 July

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