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Editorial: Activity buses are good for middle schools

Rosemount schools are rarely quiet places. Long after the final school bell rings classrooms and hallways are filled with students playing sports, students rehearsing plays, even students playing chess or practicing for triathlons.

Ask principal Mary Thompson, and she'll tell you those hours from 3 to 5 p.m. are just as important as the hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students aren't always covering academic subjects during those late-afternoon hours, but that doesn't mean they aren't learning.

In recent years, though, it has been difficult for some students to stay late for activities or for academic help. When the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District canceled after-school activity buses, it meant some students would have no ride home if they stayed after school. It meant many couldn't participate.

There are no solid numbers, but Thompson believes there are fewer students in activities than there were a few years ago.

That's why a proposal to bring back activity buses on at least a limited basis is such good news. The district is a long way from making the change, but school board members voiced support Monday for adding two nights of after-school busing each week.

That could be huge. The hours those buses allow students to spend at school are hours they will have supervision they would not otherwise have had. They're hours students will spend exploring interests, improving their minds or their bodies. It is time students will spend creating connections to their school, their fellow students and their community as a whole.

That is good news for the students, and it is good news for Rosemount.