Camp Bus Drops Kids Off 10 Mins Early, Parents Furious: “They Could Have Been Murdered!”

Readers — This “incident” took place the other afternoon on Prince Edward Island, Canada. A bus from the Red Cross swim program arrived a little early to the bus stop (the local school parking lot), so the driver dropping off a brother and sister, 7 and 9, told them to wait in the shade. And then — gasp — he left them alone.

Their parents, Nicole and Martin Rogers, arrived not 10 minutes later and were livid:

“I was scared,’’ Rodgers said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never been so scared and so mad at the same time in my life.’’

Scared because of what could have happened, he said. Two young children left alone in an unfamiliar setting.

Nicole Rodgers, Martin’s wife, said a million things went through her head when he called and told her what happened.

“Anything could have happened,’’ Nicole said. “There are predators out there. A school parking lot is the perfect place to pick up two kids, especially when you see them crying and scared. When he filled me in on what happened I was shaking. They could have been abducted, I might never have seen them again. Everything goes through your head.’’

The administrator in charge says that the bus driver left the kids off in what he considered a safe location. Nonetheless, he promised to make sure “the same thing” never happens again. I guess “the same thing” being kids ever left anywhere without a adult waiting right there to escort them home.

Meantime,  the local Red Cross branch filed an “incident report” and is looking into potential bus procedure changes, including having a second adult on the bus the first week (nothing like extra layers of adult supervision!) OR making parents arrive at the bus stop half an hour early EVERY DAY so that if the bus is early, the children will never be on their own. I”m sure all the other parents would love to carve out an extra half hour of their day to wait at the stop.

And most naturally of all, the offer of an apology by the bus driver was not enough for the parents.

“He put my kids’ lives in danger,’’ Martin Rodgers said.

Two points I feel compelled to raise:

1 – No he didn’t.

2 – Maybe one of the ways we got into this culture-wide pickle is the word “incident.” Events that are tiny, silly, unworthy of any big response nonetheless now have a category they fall into: they are “incidents.” And once you have a name for a non-event, it turns into a real event, with its own protocol and paperwork. And umbrage, of course. Always umbrage. – L.

It was just LUCK the kids were not attacked by someone like this!

It was just LUCK the kids were not attacked by someone like this!



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61 Responses to Camp Bus Drops Kids Off 10 Mins Early, Parents Furious: “They Could Have Been Murdered!”

  1. Dirk July 11, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    The original story says the parents found the kids crying by the side of the road.

  2. asya July 11, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Isn’t that the land of Anne of Green Gables?

  3. Brenna July 11, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    The real question is what the ()$* have you been telling and teaching a 7 and 9 year old that they are scared and crying while being alone for a whopping 10 minutes?? Are they so convinced that the world is full of predators that they can’t handle being without adult supervision? The older kid is 9, for pete’s sake. At what point do those parents think it’s okay for kids to be alone?

  4. Dirk July 11, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    It is a vicious cycle of parents not preparing their kids to be on their own, responsible advocates for themselves, the kids then get upset and the parents get upset further reducing their abilities…

  5. Donna July 11, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    “I was scared,’’ Rodgers said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never been so scared and so mad at the same time in my life.’’

    What the hell was there to be scared about? As I read it, the father was not aware that the children had been left alone in the parking lot prior to arriving. So, basically, he arrived at the parking lot to see his two children sitting in the shade perfectly safe. If seeing his children exactly where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there and perfectly safe, albeit alone, managed to create fear to a level never before experienced by this man, he has truly lead an amazingly charmed life.

    Mad, I can understand. I may not agree that this is something to be mad about, but understand how he could generate that emotion. Scared boggles the mind.

  6. tdr July 11, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Prince Edward Island? Hello? Do they even have crime there?

    “All these kidnappers running around all over the place” – a quote from a woman in my neighborhood when expressing why she is afraid to let her son play outside without Adult Supervision.

  7. Helen July 11, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    PE Islanders are an interesting bunch – they’re very insular. If you’re not from the Island, you’re from “away” and if you’re a tourist buying Anne of Green Gables souvenirs that’s okay, but if you’re there to stay, that’s suspicious. Why are you there, taking Islanders jobs or what have you? Everyone knows everyone on this tiny island and, tiny as it is, there are many who never leave it their whole life long. They’re comfortable where they are, they’re big fish in a small pond. The idea of a predator moving about unnoticed here is ludicrous. Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s descendants would notice anything unusual in a heartbeat!

  8. E July 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    @Donna – was thinking the same thing…he got there and was mad. There was no reason for him to ever be “scared” because he didn’t even know they were dropped off early.

    Of course this is overreaction, but most buses I’ve ever been on will wait at a stop if they are ahead of schedule. I realize that this is mostly for buses that are picking up at stops and I have no idea if the bus was simply a post-program drop off (no reason to avoid being a little early).

    There are some people who just have a built in fear — and the news reports feed it and feed it. We were watching VERY old video of our kids last night (cable was out, lol) and in one, our toddler was playing in a small sprinkler toy and had a small plastic pool as well. He was trudging around in sneakers and just stepped right into the pool. My husband said “I know you are taking this video and I wasn’t there..I would never have let him step in the pool with his sneakers” — and he was correct. Now, it’s perfectly legit to decide you don’t want wet sneakers (and could be impractical if he’s only got 1 pair), but for whatever reason, I didn’t intervene. It showed how different people can be about what’s ok and what is not. He is STILL hyper vigilant about things…leaving doors unlocked, sleeping with our french door open. For some people…it’s really just fear/paranoia ingrained for some reason.

  9. Coasterfreak July 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    @Donna – your comment made me laugh! Charmed life, indeed!

    @Dirk – if the link you posted is the original article you speak of, it says nowhere in there the kids were found by the side of the road. It says they were under a tree, right where the bus driver told them to go to wait.

    Honestly, if I was the bus driver, I’d be thrilled that the parents refused an apology because it would be extremely difficult for me to apologize for this without being snarky and sarcastic.

  10. MichaelF July 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    “There are predators out there. A school parking lot is the perfect place to pick up two kids, especially when you see them crying and scared. ”

    Bears? Lions? Tigers? Oh my!!!
    I’m sure they hang out in school parking lots looking for their next meal, not like anyone is dumb enough to jump into a zoo enclosure and…oh, wait…

  11. BL July 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    “Scared because of what could have happened, he said.”

    Yeah, who knows what could happen? An ocean breeze could disarrange their hair. A curious caterpiller could approach them. PEI is such a scary place.

  12. Connie July 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Someone needs to get to these children and help them before it is too late. They are terrified and crying spending 10 minutes in the schoolyard alone? What have their parents (and maybe grandparents, teachers and clergy) been telling them. They are going to grow up to be meek and afraid – of life, challenges, changes, just about everything. Now that is what is scary! What is worse, the family and others are trying to destroy the bus driver’s life over such this. I realize I may seem old to some, but my boys (all in their 30’s now) would not have had a problem with this and in fact would probably set off walking the rest of the way home.

  13. J- July 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Bursting into tears is a completely reasonable response to having to be on school grounds during the summer.

    Just kidding. But seriously, these kids were dropped of at the parking lot of the local school, and somehow these children had no familiarity with the area? Am I missing something?

    This article leads to so many more questions:

    Do they have school busses in Canada during the school year? To these kids take the school bus? Does it drop them off at their door?

    What the hell did these parents do to their kids that they should be so terrified like that to be together (not alone) for 10 min? Talk about ingraining a complete fear of everything.

  14. Aimee July 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    I wish I could find an “agree” or “like” button on the comments because I so often AGREE with so many of them! PEI may be the most idyllic place I’ve ever been to in my life (and I live in Maine – not exactly charmless). Seriously, the only reason these kids were crying was because they’d probably never been left to their own devices EVER BEFORE. Or maybe they were crying because they saw their father so shook up (like, they didn’t start crying until they saw him). They’ll probably be living home until they’re 30 because the world is so darned SCARY!!!!! LOL

  15. Reziac July 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    It’s even funnier that the zombie shows up headless (some weird error in the image placement code, I suppose) which accurately emulates the mental condition of the panicked parents.

    When I was a kid, we knew that if we were lost or whatever, we should march up to the nearest door or adult and announce the fact, because any adult could be counted on to take us home or call our parents.

    The truth is the reason these kids were crying and upset is that they’ve been trained to cry and get upset any time there’s not an adult present to make all the decisions for them. Conversely, I’d have known where I lived and set off walking along the route of whoever was supposed to pick me up.

    We’re raising a generation of PTSD idiots. :(

  16. Liz July 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    This is so bizarre. I let my 9 year old take her younger siblings to the convenience store all the time. I couldn’t imagine finding her at the side of the road bawling because I wasn’t around. She’d use the problem solving skills she’s developing to figure out what to do. (Like, umm, wait in the shade like the bus driver said.)

    This predator/child abductor/molester personae has become like a religious superstition. People believe that these super powerful evil *men* hide in plain sight, until you leave a child alone, and then the swoop in to instantly snatch them and disappear them forever. Just like a fairy tale. So many people who consider themselves rational believe this kind of, almost supernatural threat, is imminent and real.

  17. Suzanne July 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I looked to see if I could find child abduction statistics for PEI. I couldn’t but their Amber Alert system has a twitter feed and a Facebook page and both show they haven’t had an Amber Alert since 2010 (possibly longer that is when the accounts were set up).

    I agree with some of the other posters that if the children had been properly prepared they would have been happily playing when the father arrived rather then crying.

  18. Maggie in VA July 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Not much to add to others’ comments, but agree this family needs some kind of counseling as the parents seem to have instilled some kind of exaggerated sense of danger in their kids. I’m not sure I’d want kids *younger* than seven being left on their own, even for short periods, but that’s just because I doubt they have the executive function to actually wait as requested and not run off somewhere.

  19. Jill July 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    If you follow the link to the picture of the children, it’s priceless! They look so affronted and so stern, as if being left alone for ten frigging minutes makes them brave survivors of an unimaginably horrible ordeal.
    I know the photograper told them not to smile, because it would ruin the point of the story, but still, their expressions crack me up.
    No doubt they’ll tell the story to their grandkids someday, of how they were left alone, outside, on a playground, where anything could have happened. Anything!

  20. Shannon July 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Damnit, I hate it when Canadians are this stupid. Tends to put a pin in my belief bubble that we’re better and smarter than this.

  21. KB July 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Along these lines, our soon-to-be-nine-year-old was left home alone one day a few weeks ago. His brothers were at camp and I had to travel for work. Crying or upset? No… he spent all morning asking me whether I was going to go yet. He couldn’t WAIT to have the house to himself.

    What did he do? He ate too much junk food and watched some television. And, he felt like a big guy. He can call us if he needs anything.

  22. Jill July 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Canadians, unfortunately, are not what they used to be. My paternal grandfather was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He shipped out on a wooden sailing ship as a cabin boy when he was twelve. (I’m old, but not THAT old. Grandpa just started his family late in life.) Anyway, he sailed all around the world, without his parents there to tuck him in at night, surrounded by a bunch of men and nothing bad happened to him. In fact, he had a rollicking good time, and grew up to be the commodore of a shipping fleet.
    I really fear for the youth of today if they’re reduced to hysterics as the result of being left alone in a parking lot for ten minutes.

  23. Christina July 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Seriously? My own parents forgot to pick me up from events/outings more than once – and for a lot longer than 10 minutes. I do not ever remember crying about it. If there was no phone around, I just sat and waited. Otherwise I had a grownup call my parents (they might not have been on top of pick-ups, but they did have us memorize the home phone number).

  24. Liz July 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    anything could happen? sure, if It were my kids when they were that age what would happen is they would play in the playground,they may even just sit under the tree and read. If after a while a parent wasn’t there, they would likely have walked home or to a friend’s house.

  25. Jules July 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Ten minutes early at the school yard? And they were crying? My kids are the same agrees and I would have found them on the play equipment! What kind of far are these people putting in their children ‘s heads?

  26. Elisabeth July 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    “Nicole Rodgers said a million things went through her head…”


    Through her head. At what point did we confuse the notion that just because we can think it, it must be true? That the things we imagine are a real risk, worthy of our greater consideration?

    A million crazy things go through my head every day. Lord help me if I actually start to let them interfere with how I operate my life.

  27. mystic_eye July 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    School parking lots are now dangerous, during the summer? Sheesh. People need to get a grip. (They’re marginally dangerous during pick up and drop off times during the school year)

  28. mystic_eye July 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm #


    I’m going to assume PEI is like Ontario, the school bus companies used by public schools are for-profit companies, so you can hire them for camps and whatnot on weekends and summers, daycamps, churches, etc all hire them. In a small place there’s a fairly decent chance your kids are getting on the same bus with the same driver as they do for school. It’s up to the person hiring them to decide where the pick ups and drop offs are.

  29. E July 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    When I first saw the headline, it reminded me of a coworker who was livid at the school bus for dropping his kids off early…IN FRONT OF HIS HOUSE. He has a long driveway and goes out to meet them each day. One day they showed up (he works from home) inside the house before he left and he was so upset he called the school!

  30. Betsy July 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    My question is why on earth would any family continue to live in an area where two young child could potentially be murdered for waiting alone in a school parking lot. As I see it, the parents are at fault for living in such a dangerous place and bus driver was just doing his job. Good gravy, Nicole and Martin, calm down and get a real estate agent ASAP!

  31. Craig July 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    Anyone else find it ironic that because of their ‘complaint’, their kids names, ages, and photos are now all over the big bad internet for EVERYONE to see???? OMG! The danger!!!!!

  32. EricS July 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    It never ceases to amaze me (but not surprise me), the ignorance and selective paranoia some parents have.

    What IF there was someone or some people looking to abduct/murder their children in a school parking lot. Will ONE bus driver be able to protect them? Chances are that bus driver would be taken out too. Ok, so now if you have to adults on the bus. Makes no difference, using the irrational fear the parents are putting themselves through, and the “ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN” mentality, ALL of them would have been abducted or killed.

    With this kind of reasoning and fear, the only viable option is to have armed escorts (a 6 man team of SWAT or military personel) to protect every single child/children in school, and on school trips. After all ANYTHING can happen. Hey, they might as well put up gates, and armed guards at their house too. Because ANYTHING can happen. Make sure to also hire people to test food and water they consume, because someone can be targeting their children and poisoning water and food supplies. Can never be too careful, because ANYTHING can happen.

    Hell, what’s the point in living if someone or some people are out to get your kids. Just end it all, so you don’t live a life in fear and captivity. Because, well…you know…ANYTHING can happen. lol

  33. E. Simms July 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm #


    I Googled the area too. That school is right smack in the middle of………..a lovely residential area. Oh my.

  34. BL July 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    “I Googled the area too. That school is right smack in the middle of………..a lovely residential area. Oh my.”

    Yeah, it looks about as dangerous as Andy Griffith’s Mayberry.

  35. pentamom July 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

    Something needs to be done about the roving bands of hysterical parents in that community.

  36. Warren July 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    These parents are not emotionally fit to raise their children. In this case the kids should be sent to live with next of kin.

    I hope the Red Cross tells them all to grow up and shut up.

  37. SOA July 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Um or how about stupid parents if you don’t feel comfortable with your kids being unattended you freaking have the common sense to show up early yourself just in case they are early and wait on them!!!???? DUH!!!!!!!!! Honestly if I was the Red CRoss that would be my reply to them.

    If I am picking my kids up somewhere I always arrive about 10 minutes early just in case they get done early. Seems common sense.

  38. Kimberly Herbert July 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    I spent a good chunk of childhood summers running around there. My Aunt & Uncle lived in Sherwood and that might have been my cousins’ school.

    I feel sorry for the kids this isn’t going to go over well with most of their classmates. The parents aren’t going to get much sympathy either. I know my family is rolling their eyes at them.

    Tourist aren’t the most popular people, because they are often rude. My family calls someone a tourist when they behave badly, visitor is the term for well behaved people.

    I nearly decked a woman for grabbing 3 of my cousins and dragging them around to take pictures of them because they were so quaint. (I think she thought they were some type of actors for the tourist area we were in. Actually their mother just dressed them identical for her own reasons.) I have relatives that have had complete strangers knock on their door wanting a tour of their house.

    My grandparents had a little league field in their back yard. (Montague) I never got to see that if full force. My grandparents would grill for both teams and their families from what I’ve heard. But that was before Pop passed.

    Later Nanna let them use the back of her property as soccer fields in exchange for the league keeping the property mowed. I just occurred to me that I don’t remember people parking around her house. I think most of the people walked – there was a grocery story across the street maybe people parked there.

  39. Curt July 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    No word on how the kids reacted to being “left alone”. My feeling is that they hadn’t a clue that anything was amiss other than the bus arrived before their parents got ther. Now they’ll be terrified of belong “left alone” ever again because I’m sure they have overheard their distraught parents relating everything that…wait for it?…COULD HAVE HAPPENED!!!

  40. SOA July 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    and the showing up early is just if you don’t want the kids to wait alone for whatever reason. If they are capable of waiting for you to show up if they get done early, then don’t even bother getting there early. But the responsibility should be on the parent not the bus to arrive early if they are afraid of their kids being alone.

    I know one of my kids cannot be trusted alone so I show up early. Easy as that. It is my job to handle it. Not someone else’s. Heck ten minutes could happen just with clocks not being synchronized.

  41. lollipoplover July 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I am scared these children will develop anxiety disorders learned from their parent’s abnormal reaction to minor changes in plans.

    I am mad at idiots who say “He put my kids’ lives in danger,’’ (Martin Rodgers). Don’t make false accusations against good people. He was a bus driver doing his route and now you want his head because your whackadoodle kids couldn’t handle a change in plans. Waiting in the shade on a summer day outside a public institution in Anne of Green Gables land should have been an enjoyable experience for these kids. Instead they cried because their parents are instilling their abnormal anxiety on their developing brains.

    CPS should investigate THIS.
    Surely it will save them years of counseling and therapy they will need in years to come.

  42. David July 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    If I knew these kids and their parents personally, I’d do everything in my power to undermine the parents’ ability to teach them to be afraid of everything.

  43. Vanessa July 11, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    If you were going to send your kids to a program that required them to take a bus, why on earth wouldn’t you say to them on the first day, ‘Hey, if the bus happens to drop you off a little early and I’m not here yet, just wait in X spot and I’ll be along in a few minutes?” My daughter went to a LOT of summer camps from ages 8-12, and we always had that “here’s the plan, here’s what to do just in case” conversation on the first day of whatever-it-was. It seems bizarre to count 100 percent on things always going perfectly.

  44. SKL July 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Oh brother. It’s things like this that make it unlikely I’ll ever be allowed to let my kids do anything alone, without receiving a massive guilt trip every time.

    “Anything could happen.” You’re right. The kids could learn patience, confidence, consideration, how to entertain themselves, etc., etc., etc.

    Why isn’t the answer “lots of school aged kids get dropped off at bus stops every day without an adult on hand”?

    We’re traveling in Europe. The other day we were eating outside in front of a restaurant when my kid said she needed the restroom. I sent my two 7yo daughters to go ask where the toilet was and go use it and come back. An unusual amount of time went by and we were ready to leave. So I went in there to find out what my kids were up to (sometimes they get too creative when in a new environment unsupervised). Well, they were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing, nobody died, nobody got scared, nobody cried etc. etc. What did happen is that they gained a little independence and relieved themselves. But nevertheless, I got a guilt trip from all the other adults at the table. :/

  45. derfel cadarn July 11, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    The children should be removed from these two morons, they are clearly unstable and a threat to health and welfare of minors. One wonders on what planet these two were spawned and reared ?

  46. Warren July 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    If the police, CPS, CAS and other agencies can be called on us for raising our kids to be independent…………then why can’t we call the same agencies on parents for raising fearful bowls of jello?

  47. lollipoplover July 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    “Everything goes through your head.”

    Except common sense and trust in your children’s capability to handle minor problems.

    How in the world did a 10 minute bus layover become a news story??? Now everything SHOULD go through your head because in your ridiculous attempt to punish others, you plastered your children’s scowling faces and photographs, ages, and location across the world. Way to keep the kiddos safe and protect their identities! But this isn’t about the kids, it’s about the control freak parents and their anxiety disorders.

    My kids bike to swim practice every day. Most of the kids do around here (ages 6 and up). They are in different age groups now and don’t have the same practice times so the youngest (8) usually goes by herself and meets up with another boy on her route. She’s been doing it since she was 5 with her siblings so she’s got this. I can’t imagine her crying about anything besides getting bloodied knees. Though she was very teary about the rabbit that got hit by a car that she’s been passing each day on her bike (she calls it a bunny pancake now).

  48. steve July 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    Nicole Rodgers of Prince Edward Island needs to avail herself of local crime statistics regarding child abduction by “Strangers.” She also needs to read Lenore’s book, Free Range Kids, and spend time on her website for a minimum of an hour a day for at least 2 weeks.

    Perhaps she will escape her delusion and start her own blog. She can begin her “about” page by stating: “I hope other parents will learn from my experience – the day I realized I had not prepared my children to live independent self-reliant lives even though Prince Edward Island has a low crime rate. It was also the same day I exposed my irrational fears to the entire world. But we all learn from experience and I learned an important lesson. It’s not productive or helpful to live each day fearing all strangers …

  49. Maggie July 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Since the kids are more likely to get:

    1-Killed in the car ride home from the bus stop


    2-Kidnapped or molested by a trusted family member or friend

    These people must live in terror every waking moment of their lives….and probably shouldn’t have kids.

    Poor kids. A life full of fear and paranoia is no way to grow up.

  50. CrazyCatLady July 11, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Doesn’t Marc Brown, author of the Arthur series live in Canada? Don’t these kids ever watch it or read the books? In one episode two kids end up left after soccer practice for what seems like forever before a mom comes and picks them up. It isn’t the end of the world. The kids actually end up having a fun time in what seems like several hours to them but is more like 30 minutes. Oh, and a storm is coming too, to add to the drama. Mom comes before the storm hits, as I recall.

  51. Emily July 11, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    @CrazyCatLady–I do remember that episode of Arthur. I actually watch that show, even as an adult, because it’s one of the few intelligent kids’ shows on these days, and the current version of the show isn’t too far removed from what it was like in its infancy. I like that, because Sesame Street had all the “free-range” parts cut out, and old-school Sesame Street DVD’s now come with the warning, “For adult audiences only.” Anyway, Arthur has stayed consistently free-range since day one. The kids get themselves to and from school, the library, the park, the ice cream shop, and so on, and so forth. They make their own fun, they make their own mistakes, they learn from their mistakes, and in every episode, they grow up a little more. The show has touched on issues such as asthma, anaphylaxis, racial/cultural diversity, divorce, natural disasters, a fire at school, bedwetting, Asperger’s Syndrome, and even cancer, but they don’t make EVERY episode a Very Special Episode–some of the plots are just silly things like D.W. being upset with Arthur because she thinks he stole her snowball from the freezer (which she saved on a plate to commemorate a delightfully free-range winter day of playing outside). My point is, Marc Brown has it right with Arthur. I just wish that that’s what childhood was really like. Sure, I’m not a kid anymore, and I can come and go and interact with the world however I please, but I remember growing up with overprotective parents, and I didn’t have a lot of the experiences that most kids did–biking around town, spending entire Saturdays at the mall, etc. To my parents, those things were either “dangerous,” or “a waste of time,” or both.

  52. J.T. Wenting July 11, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    “At what point do those parents think it’s okay for kids to be alone?”

    The moment they need those children (then hopefully 40-50 year old adults) to take care of said parents because they no longer can take care of themselves…

  53. Ben Trafford July 12, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    Okay, this is a bit of a plug, but I can’t help it — the image of the creepy guy above was made with HeroMachine, a site run by a good friend of mine (

    I mention it largely because it’s a free, great resource for kids to exercise their imaginations and make cool characters.

  54. NicoleK July 12, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    You never know when the ghost of Anne (with an “e”) Shirley Blythe might show up wielding a chainsaw.

  55. Papilio July 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

    @Jill: “My paternal grandfather was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He shipped out on a wooden sailing ship as a cabin boy when he was twelve. […] surrounded by a bunch of men and nothing bad happened to him.”

    Hahahaha, oh good lord, that reminds me of a sketch by Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen, about how he was a cabin boy as a little boy (all made up of course): one night the German captain came to his cabin, sat next to his bed and then (at this point he switches to German to imitate the captain) he just goes on and on talking to the little boy, carefully making every single pedophile-related alarm bell in your head go off like it’s alarm code dark purple – here’s the link, even if you don’t understand German, you should listen to his tone of voice, it says it all…! – and then Teeuwen ends with his own voice (and language): “And then I always felt SO safe!”

  56. no rest for the weary July 12, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    “At what point did we confuse the notion that just because we can think it, it must be true? That the things we imagine are a real risk, worthy of our greater consideration?”

    I have a child with an anxiety disorder. This is what we are up against. “What if” thoughts are the nemesis of a peaceful, happy existence. So you learn to “talk back” to them.

    Here’s what it sounds like, Nicole:

    “Oh my God, what if some crazy person came along and hurt them? They were ALL ALONE!!”

    “Okay, wait a minute. I live in PEI, and this area is amazingly quiet and peaceful. My kids are no more likely to come to harm waiting for a ride home than they are sleeping in their own beds at night. I need to chill out! Just because I can think scary thoughts DOESN’T mean they are real. And this fear I feel is just my normal response to an emergency, but at the wrong time. This is not an emergency. I can just breathe and relax.”

    These kids are either going to be just like their parents, or resent the ever loving hell out of them. Either way, it’s no kind of life. Get some cognitive behavioural therapy for that anxiety you’re succumbing to, mom and dad!

    I think the neighbours in PEI might stage an intervention, actually.

  57. Harrow July 12, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    The only tragedy that is ever going to happen to those kids is that they will grow up to be like their parents.

  58. bmj2k July 13, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    If a 9 year old is crying and scared because he was dropped off in a familiar place in the middle of a sunny day at about the same time as every other day, then the parents have done a lousy job raising their children. I don’t know if the rules say the driver has to release the kids to their parents or not, so maybe the driver did break some rules, but the bigger issue is how poorly these kids, and kids like them, are being prepared for the future.

  59. Dirk July 14, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    You should read the comments in the Canadian paper, I don’t know if its actually a PEI paper or not…

    pretty negative stuff about the parents. I get if the kids were crying why he was upset. But why talk to the papers about it and make your kids look like crybabies?

  60. pentamom July 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    “If a 9 year old is crying and scared because he was dropped off in a familiar place in the middle of a sunny day at about the same time as every other day, then the parents have done a lousy job raising their children.”

    Nine year olds differ. Some kids of any age will be panicky, timid, and teary no matter how they’re raised. I was like that as a kid and it was in no way my parents’ fault — they neither encouraged my behavior or tolerated it but that didn’t make it go away until I finally grew out of it.

    But they wouldn’t have gone crying to the media about it — they would have blamed me for not handling it well.