Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Free Range Children

While standing on bus duty before school I am able to observe the following scene; a long row of cars that winds down out of the parking lot and sometimes as far as several blocks away from our school dropping off students. Now we have bus service for kids that live a certain distance but if I had to guess, I'd say that only about half of the cars dropping of kids are bussed kids. Those of us on duty often refer to this as the "parade of parents."

Some of these kids live within walking distance. Some of them would ride the bus if their parents didn't bring them every day. My school isn't the only one. I live a few blocks from an elementary school and the same thing happens there every day. Our neighborhood is a typical suburban neighborhood. I'd say the crime rate is low. In the past ten years I can think of only one serious incident that involved students. Yet safety seems to be a major parental concern.

These are reasons I've heard from both parents and kids.
  • Not safe to walk to school
  • Don't want kids to be picked on by other kids on bus, on street....etc.
  • Only time of the day we get to spend time together.
  • It's too cold to walk.
  • It's too hot to walk.
  • It's too far to walk.
  • I don't want my (son...daughter....child) standing around in the cold waiting for the bus.
  • If I don't bring them, they won't go.
Safety is probably the biggest worry amongst parents. I'm an old guy who grew up walking to school. We had bullies. We had perverts. We had drug dealers. I survived and I was a weak, over weight kid who lost the only fist fight I was ever in.

I don't have children so I don't feel comfortable giving parents advice on this but I was intrigued by this article called, Why I let my 9 year old ride the subway. There is a website that has sprung up along with it called, FreeRange kids.

As I walk my dog in the park and don't see any kids playing on the playground equipment or using the big grassy area for baseball or soccer, I wonder if we are being too protective? I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like if I had been limited to my house and yard. Much less rich, I expect.

[Image: Flickr: Creative Commons-Attribution: "Easter long weekend stuck in some traffic" (91RS);]

No comments:

Post a Comment