Published on May 23rd, 2012 | by Lynn Fang


64 Kenowa Hills High School Students Suspended for Riding Bikes to School

With rising oil prices, global warming, rising obesity, and lack of exercise among Americans, it would seem harmlessly riding bikes to school would be celebrated, perhaps even promoted as a new normal. On the second-to-last day of school, seniors rode their bikes to school under police escort, rendering complaints of illegal road traffic moot. It was supposed to be a fun twist on the typical things students do for senior prank day. Even the Mayor joined them, handing out free donuts. Unfortunately, the principal of Kenowa Hills High School in Walker, Michigan, thought differently.

In a page from the book of absurdity, 64 students from Kenowa Hills High School were suspended for riding bikes to school.

Since When Does Biking Equal Suspension?

Principal Katie Pennington was upset  she had not received warning for the event. She reprimanded 64 students with suspension banning them from the traditional senior walk, an event celebrating and commemorating their time in high school. Pennington said, “I am glad they made it here safely. It was a safety risk.” She claimed the bikers had caused a major traffic problem and disrupted school. Police escorts reported no traffic problems.

Missed Opportunity for Biking Support

With the collaborative support of both the police department and city mayor, it seems this incident presents the absurdity of  suspension as a penalty for biking to school. While the event could have slowed down traffic a bit, it was also a great opportunity to showcase the personal health and environmental benefits of riding a bike. And, as Treehugger notes, it could have inaugurated great tradition, and not sour an end to one’s high school career.

Join in Supporting Kenowa Hills High School Students

The entire incident has caused an uproar within the Walker community, also spurring controversy online. I join others in the online green and cycling communities asking Principal Katie Pennington to repeal her decision and apologize to the students in honor of their very tame, community and health-friendly event. Would she prefer seniors hang their bras all over campus, as we did for our senior prank? Or perhaps even worse – exploding fireworks or toilet papering (T-Ping) campus? In any case, there are much worse senior pranks that could have occurred. Biking is probably one of the best ideas to have surfaced.

Would you like to contact Principal Pennington and offer support for the 64 suspended students? Visit the Kenowa Hills High School website for contact information.

[Image used with permission from mlive]


Both the Superintendent and Principal have since apologized.

What do you think? Did the principal overreact? What do you think of these eco-minded students? 

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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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