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Note that the superintendent is quoted as saying, “School law MANDATES we investigate whenever anyone in the school feels threatened or uncomfortable with the actions of another student.”

Making someone “uncomfortable” is all it takes to warrant an investigation? So if I say, “I like hamburgers” to a student who’s vegan…should I get ready for a 5-hour evaluation? After all, the other kid may feel uncomfortable about my carnivorous ways. Call the cops! Or the thought police! Or Nurse Ratched!

Superintendent: “We never know what’s percolating in the mind of children, okay? And when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”

I feel the same way about superintendents who raise red flags by getting to a position of authority without demonstrating any common sense. – L.

P.S. The dad has set up an email account if you wish to get in touch: njpencil@gmail.com

Readers — This story is headlined, “Attempted kidnapping caught on tape!” but…was it? I’m glad the girl is safe but does a slowing car really equal = “kidnap threat”?

Unless there’s more to this story than what we see here, it strikes me as bizarre that everyone is acting as if the girl somehow only barely slipped the clutches of a demon. – L



Readers: Boy makes tree house, neighbor calls cops (!), cops come and draw gun on 11-year-old. That’s according to the young man himself. If all this is as reported, God help us. Or maybe more civil liberties help us:

UPDATE: Readers, I have removed the video because it immediately starts playing any time you log onto Free-Range Kids and is loud and annoying. But here is the link:


Yes, it seems to be true, though the facts are a little confusing (as this TV story suggests):  A man named Richard Wright was giving out money to strangers and telling them to “Thank God!” if they actually needed the cash, or pass it along if they didn’t. For this he seems to have been scooped up by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and taken against his will to a psych ward for evaluation:

Even though Wright is being held in the psych ward of Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, Pierre Bourdages, spokesman for the Halifax Regional Police, confirmed that Wright has not broken any laws. This only adds to the frustration felt by members of the public who want to see Wright released immediately.

Somehow this reminds me of my favorite movie from childhood, Miracle on 34th Street, where Santa is carted away for being…Santa. It also reminds me of a column article I wrote for the NY Sun upon the death of the Larry Stewart, the man who gave strangers $100 bills just for the joy of helping others. I tried the same thing for a day (with twenties) and it was exhilarating. In fact, it was SO fun that I promised myself I’d do it annually and…haven’t.

So “crazy” Richard Wright is reminding me to be crazy, too. – L

What kind of crazy person is NICE to strangers?

What kind of crazy person is NICE to strangers?

Readers — This just in:

Dear Free-Range Kids: Just wanted to bring your attention to this bill proposed in the Rhode Island legislature. Here’s what I posted on my FB wall:

Attention all parents: Here’s a bill proposed by reps Williams, Edwards, O’Brien, Messier, and Slater. They don’t think your children are safe enough and have introduced H-7578 which would “require that for school bus transportation provided to children enrolled in grades kindergarten through six (6), a parent, guardian or authorized person be present at the child’s designated bus stops.”

AND if that’s not enough the bill requires the parent to “notify the school in writing with the name, age and relationship of the person authorized to accept the child at the designated home bound bus stop; provided, no authorization shall be allowed for persons under the age of sixteen (16) years old.”

So your 12-year-old child is not old enough to wait at the bus stop alone or get off the bus and walk home by themselves. PLEASE — Emma walked a mile to school in 6th grade and managed to wait for and get home from the bus alone starting in 3rd grade. Can we all say Nanny State? Hopefully this one won’t go anywhere — but really — what are these reps thinking? Here are their emails:

Anastasia P. Williams E-mail: rep-williams@rilin.state.ri.us

John G. Edwards E-mail: rep-edwards@rilin.state.ri.us

William W. O’Brien  E-mail: Rep-obrien@rilin.state.ri.us

Mary Duffy Messier E-mail: rep-messier@rilin.state.ri.us

Scott Slater  E-mail: Rep-slater@rilin.state.ri.us

 Thanks — Beth

Lenore here: Great letter, great cause. And think of the repercussions: How will any parent ever think it’s safe for a kid to walk to school, or play outside, if even taking the bus requires door-to-door adult supervision? 

Law would make it illegal for any child under 7th grade to get on or off bus without a guardian present.

Law would make it illegal for any child under 7th grade to get on or off bus without a guardian present.

Readers — Here to help you start your day with a little scream (beats coffee!) comes this story from KMOV in St. Louis, MO.  Apparently, last week, the mom of a special needs son got a “frantic” call from his teacher. She rushed to the school, got buzzed in and ran to his classroom, committing a cardinal sin: She didn’t sign in.

Informed of her transgression by a school administrator, the mom asked to have the sign-in book brought to her but was informed: Too late, the police were already on their way.

And so they were. She was taken to the police station. The charge? Trespassing. Meantime, the school went on lockdown for 12 minutes — as if the administrators didn’t well KNOW that this was a mom and not a shooter. Why are we so addicted to overreacting — or, worse, pretending something terrible and threatening has happened when it obviously has not? – L 

Students abandoned by buses, forced to walk back from field trip

WKRN, Nashville News, Nashville Weather and Sports

Short story short: Nashville, TN, high school students went on a field trip. Afterward, the buses dropped them off at McDonald’s and then had to peel off to go on their normal routes. Hence, the kids had to WALK BACK to the school (with their teachers). Can you imagine???

This is such a classic clip of local reporting. Not only was seeing kids outside as odd as seeing a gaggle of gazelles on Main Street, but the investigative  reporter took it upon himself to re-create this historic hike to make sure it really WAS less than a mile. Ah ha! It was more like four fifths of a mile! Heads will roll!  As he reported: 

A decision was made by teachers and school officials to walk the rest of the way to school. [Let's hope they don't lose their jobs!] 

MNPS officials said the half-mile walk is well within the “walk zone,” as stated in the policy guide. [Sounds like they had to defend this daring decision.] 

But by News 2′s calculations, the walk was closer to 8/10 of a mile [Oh my!] and included crossing a busy intersection to Foster Avenue, where the sidewalk is not complete. [It's like Moses coming to the Red Sea!]  

Sophomore Angela Onan wasn’t thrilled about the walk. “We were walking on the sidewalk, cars were passing us. It was a bit dangerous, but it was okay,” Onan said as her mother picked her up after school Friday. “It was not fun.” [If only she could have been back in class instead of outside on a sunny day!]

I’m just waiting for the follow-up piece when they fire the bus drivers and demand the superintendent resign for endangering the children! – L.