Sleet and snow will mean a fun ride to school this winter for many
students in the 1,022-student Manawa, Wis., district.
After appeals from students, the school board has decided they may ride snowmobiles to campus.
Several students at Little Wolf High School in central Wisconsin approached Principal Duane Braun earlier this year to propose the repeal of a rule that forbids snowmobiles.
"When they first asked me if I would support the idea, I told them no," said Mr. Braun, "because I felt it was up to the boys to stand up before the board and explain why they wanted to do this."
The principal encouraged them to think about what they were asking for and to provide good reasons for proposing the change, as well as rules governing snowmobile use.
Four students, including 10th grader Tony Friday, drew up a series of rules and safety measures, which they presented to the school board last month. The rules address safety concerns by requiring students to meet state helmet and registration laws, as well as limiting snowmobile speed to 15 mph on school grounds.
Students will be allowed to use snowmobiles only when the state snowmobile trail is open, and must pay a $5 annual parking fee.
"In order for us to use the trail, there has to be 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground, packed down," Mr. Friday said. "If the snow isn't deep enough, the vehicle might tear up fields and be damaged."
Besides being fun, the student said, snowmobiles are a good way for students to get to school on time in bad weather.
"Some of us miss the bus in the morning when it snows, and a state trail runs along right behind the school," he said. "For freshman and sophomores who can't drive, it's something we'd all use a lot."
The school board approved the measure for a one-year probationary term. If the rules are observed, the board will consider permanently rewriting school policy, Mr. Braun said.
Vol. 21, Issue 11, Page 3