Girl Guide Troop Won’t Let Girl, 9, Walk 2 Blocks Home

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Our culture SAYS we want to raise independent, problem-solving, self-reliant young people. We even have groups like the Scouts and Guides to foster just that ppirit.

And then for one reason or another — insurance, fear, knee-jerk no-saying —  we do this:

Dear bkhbebyadk
Free-Range Kids:

I really enjoyed the movie this morning about the Japanese child.  But right now I’m seething with frustration because I went to pick up my 9-year-old daughter from her Girl Guide meeting 1.5 blocks away last night after receiving an email saying that no girl was allowed to walk home alone.

I went in and said, “I would like my daughter to walk home at the end of meetings.  We live 1.5 blocks away and she can walk with her 10-year-old friend who lives next door.”

I was told, “Absolutely not.  It’s not safe, especially in this neighborhood.  It is official Girl Guide policy.”

I am so sick of that phrase, “official policy.”  It is MY official policy for my children to make their own way around the neighborhood, and I am so tired of people telling ME what my children are and are  not allowed to do. – Still Seething

Now I’m seething, too! – L

Be prepared...to wait for mommy to pick you up.

Be prepared…to wait for mommy to pick you up. 

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88 Responses to Girl Guide Troop Won’t Let Girl, 9, Walk 2 Blocks Home

  1. Michelle September 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    I would be infuriated. MY official policy says that I get to decide what MY kids are allowed to do. I think I’d come up to the meeting every week and loudly tell my child that she has permission to walk home by herself, and I’ll meet her there.

    IMO, the Girl Guides leaders are no longer responsible for my kid once the meeting is over. And if they think differently, ask them if they plan to hang around and watch the kids after the meeting, or drive thethem home? No, their job is over and they know it. So why the heck do they think they get to decide how the girls get home? It’s none of their damn business.

  2. theresa hall September 20, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    dumb rules once again rule the day. how we going to get smart capable adults if we put dumb ones in charge of their childhoods?

  3. Richard September 20, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    The original poster should make a point by going and officially “picking up” her child (is there a sign-out sheet, I wonder) and then leaving by herself. Her child can then do whatever she damn well wants to do, and its no responsibility of the Girl Guides – indeed, if they tried to stop her, technically that’d count as kidnapping.

  4. Michelle September 20, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    Richard, I’d do the opposite. I’d stick around and run interference with the leaders while telling my daughter she can go on home by herself.

  5. BL September 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    ” It is official Girl Guide policy.”

    Befehl ist Befehl.

  6. That_Susan September 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    Hi Seething, what if you offered to sign a statement that your daughter has your permission to walk home and that you assume full responsibility for whatever happens after she leaves? I agree that this is pretty dumb, but maybe someone somewhere in the organization got blamed for some sort of harm that befell a child who was allowed to leave on her own, and so now they’re being super-cautious — or maybe it’s never happened but they’re just crazy and paranoid. Either way, once they know there’s no risk of their organization of being held liable, maybe they’ll be able to let go.

  7. Rick September 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    No, I think Richard’s approach is better. Sign her out and speak with a loud voice that you’ll meet her at home after you finish some errands.

  8. PG September 20, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    I wonder what would happen if the kids decided to ignore the policy and just walked home? How would the troop react? Because if they physically stopped the girls from leaving, that would be considered kidnapping. Girl Guides can have all the policies they want, but there is probably not much they can do to enforce their policies.

  9. Dhewco September 20, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m paranoid. I wouldn’t announce it loudly. I would, however, take her out of the building and let her go home.

    Unless, of course, you’d care more about the Guides policy than letting your daughter get home on her own. I think announcing loudly like that is more about changing Guide policy than anything else.

    When I say I’m paranoid, I’m not thinking there are kidnappers at your Guide event. I’m thinking one of the other parents are busybody pseudo-dogooders who’d try to report you for endangerment or something.

    David

  10. Heartfruit September 20, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    If Still Seething is Canadian then she should ask the Guiders in question to show her where in Safe Guide it says that girls must be picked up. (Hint: I just took a look and it doesn’t, in fact the health form has a spot near the bottom to indicate that your child has permission to leave on their own). Girl Guides is full of “local rules” that aren’t really “Official policy” but if no one questions them then they stay put.

    As a Girl Guide leader I’d be happy to let a Guide age child walk herself home so long as the parents had indicated that was OK.

  11. Alex R. September 20, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    I agree. Sign her out and let her walk home.

  12. Papilio September 20, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    What is it with all those kid-gathering places (scouts, schools, etc) that they think they have anything to say about how the kids get there and how they get home?

  13. Beth September 20, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    Not surprised in the least….20+ years ago I was a Girl Scout Leader and we had some freedom – Remember the Buddy System. Have a friend with you at all times and tell an adult. They are not so much afraid of something happening to the child – they are afraid of being sued!

  14. Tern September 20, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    I keep worrying about this happening, since my kids walk, bus, and bike to and from activities (and have since they were about 9). I’ve always been proactive by sending a letter to whoever is in charge saying something like “Miles will be taking the bus home after camp. He has my permission to sign himself in and out, and he carries a cell phone for emergencies. Please contact me at xxx-xxxx if you have any questions.” I’ve found it’s much better to not catch people by surprise and also to tell them our plans rather than ask for permission. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but I do understand people’s worry about lawsuits. I have mixed feelings about telling them about the cell phone, but I find a lot of people are more likely to support our efforts toward independence if my kids have a phone for backup. I still worry that at some point someone is going to make a fuss about the whole thing, but so far we’ve been lucky. One time a camp teacher objected, but the camp director (who I had emailed in advance) said that we had talked about the issue and everything was fine.

  15. trollbuster September 20, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    No Warren.

  16. Donna September 20, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    I am not a fan of the picking the kid up and send her on her way by herself idea unless mom genuinely has someplace else to go afterwards. The whole point of my kid walking home alone is so that I don’t have to stop what I am doing to go get her. My activities have already been already been interrupted and, if I am going to be stuck walking to and from the scout meeting every week anyway, I might as well enjoy a walk with my kid.

    Either solve the problem so that you don’t have to go or accept that you are strolling down there each week and have a pleasant walk home with your kid.

  17. James Pollock September 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    “if they physically stopped the girls from leaving, that would be considered kidnapping.”

    Consult a locally-licensed professional before acting upon this assumption.

  18. Michelle September 20, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    “(Hint: I just took a look and it doesn’t, in fact the health form has a spot near the bottom to indicate that your child has permission to leave on their own)”

    In that case, I would copy or print the form, fill it out, and highlight that part. Then present it to the leaders expressing my expectation that they will follow their own rules.

    Donna, my purpose in picking the kid up to walk on her own would be to confront the leaders with the fact that they actually have NO SAY in whether my child walks home alone. Maybe it sounds a bit passive aggressive, but for me it would probably involve also actually telling them to their faces that they have no say, and then proving it. :/

    This sort of reminds me of VBS this past summer, when the people running it tried to insist that I couldn’t come into the church and pick my kids up (it wasn’t within walking distance), but I had to sit outside in a pick-up line and wait for someone to bring my children to me. (And then, either come inside or wait in my car for my teenager, who was volunteering, to finish her work and clean up and come out. Ridiculous.) I refused, and came in every single day. I didn’t want to sit in a running car, wasting gas, and listening to my toddler whine because she hates sitting in the car, so I didn’t. I also don’t accept the idea that it’s somehow “dangerous” for me to come in and get my child (every day I was told the rules were “for everyone’s safety,” but no one could tell me how exactly the rules made anyone safer).

    I’m a big believer in simply refusing to follow rules in cases when the people making the rules actually don’t have any authority to do so. In the case of a kid walking home, I wouldn’t want to put all the onus of refusing on the kid, so I’d want to be there to stand in the way and make sure no one was stopping her from doing what she has every right to do.

  19. Emily September 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    On i

  20. James Pollock September 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    “I’m a big believer in simply refusing to follow rules in cases when the people making the rules actually don’t have any authority to do so.”

    But they do have the authority. It comes from the “follow the rules or don’t be allowed to participate” choice you make. When you drop off your child, or simply allow your child to participate, you are loaning them some of your authority, and they are free to use that authority as they see fit, even if it’s different from the choice you yourself would make. You can make the choice not to follow their rules… by withdrawing your child from their care and supervision.

    You are entirely within your rights to show up, take your child, and allow the child to walk home alone, or as part of a larger group, or with another parent. Until you show up, however, your child is in their care, and their decision about how to handle that responsibility stands… if you don’t like it, don’t place your child under their care and supervision.

    I had a variation of this back when my daughter was grade-school-age. She was in a childcare that leased space in the actual school building after school and on days when there was no school. She walked to school. She could have walked home, but they wouldn’t release her except to me or a pre-arranged alternate. They also only operated until 6:00pm, with a substantial penalty for late pick-up. For various reasons, I sometimes came VERY close to incurring the penalty. I would have dearly loved an option to call at 6:00 and say “OK, send her home”. But that wasn’t an option.

  21. Donna September 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    Michelle,

    Your argument would make sense if the troup leader actually cared at all about how the child goes home, but she doesn’t. She cares only about how she relinquishes responsibility for the child. Once you claim the child, she looses all her interest in the entire situation. As far as she is concerned, the kid could ride a unicycle backwards through traffic to get home as it is no longer her problem. So you essentially do exactly what the troup leader wants AND make it more unpleasant for yourself.

    I do agree about not putting kids in the middle of adult fights. Either work it out among the adults, leave the troup or concede the requirement of being part of the troup.

    As for the right to control how the kid is relinquished, they absolutely do have that right. You can’t put your child into the responsibility of another and then expect that that person will not have their own thoughts as to how that responsibility should end. You can go with it or stop giving them responsibility, but you can’t 100% unilaterally dictate the bounds of that responsibility.

  22. Carol September 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    I’ve encountered sort of the same thing. I nannied for a girl (age 9) who went to Girl Scouts, when I picked her up (after her parents signed a form saying that I could pick her up) I honestly had to show my ID every time and sign her out. Even her school just lets me pick her up but that group makes it a whole huge deal.

  23. Rob September 20, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    First rule for anyone who claims that something is “official policy” – ask them to show you the policy.

  24. serena September 20, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

    My son is in sixth grade and has been walking to and from school since 4th. Among all the papers to sign before school starts, they also sent a form to fill out asking how the child will get home in case of early dismissal. Walking was not an option so I just wrote it on there. Note, this was not in case of nuclear war, zombie apocalypse, or what have you because taking the bus and being picked up were viable options. The letter said, “it can be a confusing time for children…” I don’t know what’s so confusing about “school is dismissed early because of no electricity, no water, gas leak, etc. go home” I’m absolutely sure if told to leave school, my son would pack up his stuff and just go home. Not really the same as this story but thought I would vent

  25. SKL September 20, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    Unfortunately, my kids’ scout troop has a similar policy. Parents are supposed to sign the girls in and out until, I think, 14yo. Not that my kids could walk home anyway (it is about 20 miles away) but I hate the arbitrary policy.

    There are a couple of library programs I’d love my kids to be able to attend, but to do so they would have to walk from school to the library on their own. You know that isn’t going to fly, even though their 2nd grade class all walked there on a school field trip 2 years ago. Considering that the school handbook says never let a kid under 10 cross the street alone ….

  26. SKL September 20, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    To be clear about my previous post, I do think kids can walk to & from school if that is their usual thing. My kids are not “walkers” (they take the bus normally) so they would be in trouble if they tried walking away from the school.

  27. Jenny Islander September 21, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    My kids decided on their own not to go back to Scouts this year. They’re sticking with the Salvation Army and Society for Creative Anachronism children’s programs instead. Being treated like helpless babies adrift in a world where adults couldn’t find a meeting site that didn’t have perverts lurking in every public bathroom and behind every roadside tree was part of my older child’s decision.

    On another note, I was sending a link to the “School, Zero Tolerance, and Bullies” tag to somebody who was interested, and I got to reading the old posts. Unfortunately, I found an update to this:

    http://www.freerangekids.com/teens-pen-knife-lands-him-in-jail-for-13-days-and-whats-worse/

    that included the facts of the case, such as that the knife in question was more like a dagger, it was found in a trunk that also had loose gunpowder in it somehow, and the teen in question had made several posts about techniques for attacking public buildings. This all came out in court, which probably led to his guilty plea. Details here:

    http://ivn.us/2014/08/14/lies-may-sway-public-opinion-facts-never-change/

  28. Steve September 21, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    The title of this post — “Girl Guide Troop Won’t Let Girl, 9, Walk 2 Blocks Home” — sounds like a joke.

    Maybe the mom should call the local paper and get them to do a story about this silliness and use this same title.

    Unfortunately, our society is filled with these kinds of “jokes.” The kinds of things people used to say as an April Fools day joke are serious headlines almost every day these past few years.

  29. Barbara September 21, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    My daughter quit scouts because she got frustrated and tired of their ‘helicopter’ attitude. The last straw was when even though they met at a park, she wasn’t allowed to play on the equipment. She called me from the leader’s phone and asked me to come pick her up because she was sick and tired of being treated like an incapable 5 yr old. She was 8 at the time. Sad, could have been a wonderful growth experience, instead she’ll always have bad memories of scounting.

  30. BL September 21, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    “Sad, could have been a wonderful growth experience, instead she’ll always have bad memories of scounting.”

    It was a growth experience. She learned how to recognize idiotic crap that isn’t worth her time.

  31. Mrs. H. September 21, 2015 at 8:02 am #

    And isn’t this an organization whose purpose is to instill skills and confidence in the girls? Sounds like they’re doing just the opposite.

    I witnessed a very similar scene last week at my daughter’s gymnastics gym. When the next class was assembling, one of the girls told the instructor that she would be walking home by herself after class and that she just lived down the block. The instructor said that wasn’t allowed unless she could confirm with the parent by phone. Then another parent said she knew where the girl lived and would walk her home. That class is for eight and nine year olds, and people think they can’t walk home LESS THAN A BLOCK??? I wish I had said something but was so annoyed and flustered about it that I just left.

  32. MichaelF September 21, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    “The title of this post — “Girl Guide Troop Won’t Let Girl, 9, Walk 2 Blocks Home” — sounds like a joke.

    Maybe the mom should call the local paper and get them to do a story about this silliness and use this same title.”

    Problem with this is the media would cover it from precisely the wrong angle you expect and you end up exactly where you started.

    For Cub Scouts we do have a pick up policy, but mostly unofficial since many of us stay to volunteer for the Scout Meetings, though there are many parents who drop off and pick up at all ages. We don’t bat an eye, and if someone is going home with someone else we know, since we know the families involved.

  33. Donna September 21, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    “The instructor said that wasn’t allowed unless she could confirm with the parent by phone. Then another parent said she knew where the girl lived and would walk her home. That class is for eight and nine year olds, and people think they can’t walk home LESS THAN A BLOCK???”

    Actually the school apparently DID believe that the child could walk home; the instructor just wanted to confirm that that was the plan with the parents first. That doesn’t sound like an overly helicopter requirement to me, especially today where it is unusual for kids (people really) to walk places. I might do the same if I didn’t know the student in question.

  34. Michelle September 21, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    James, there’s a difference between authority and leverage. They do have leverage, in that they COULD kick me out of the group if I refuse to go along. I accept that as a possibility. However, I refuse to accept that they have authority to tell me how I or my child can behave outside of the group, or after the meeting is over. If enough of the other parents agreed, rules like this would stop.

    Donna, in my experience most people aren’t that logical. You’re a lawyer; you’re trained to think. Most people see that they can’t make me do what they want, and they give up.

  35. ChicagoDad September 21, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    When my daughter was almost 7, we enrolled her in a park district class block and a half from our house. When I filled out the forms, I checked the box indicating that she could walk home. We had been walking to and from this park since she was a wee babe. During the first class session, I stayed at the playground talking with some other parents. I planned to follow her home just this first time, just because I may be free-range but I still worry 🙂

    Well, class ended and I get a call on my cell phone from the park office, “Your daughter says she is supposed to walk home, but she is so young, can you come get her?”
    So I walked the 50 feet over to the park building and I said politely, “She’s allowed to walk home, we live less than two blocks from here, and we’ve practiced this walk for years”
    They replied, “OK, no problem, we just wanted to make sure. She can walk home next time”
    My daughter, though, was furious! On the way home she said, “I told them I can walk home. They wouldn’t let me leave. I want to get them fired!” I calmed her down, and the rest of the term she walked home herself and felt like a million bucks!

  36. Amanda September 21, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    If this is in Canada she can get around it. I’m a Girl Guide leader here and if I have it in writing that it is a parents wish for her child to make her own way home then we abide by parents wishes. There is even a space on the bottom of their health form for a parent to write that her child has permission to go home alone.

  37. CrazyCatLady September 21, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    SKL, “never let a child under ten cross the street alone”. Yup. My boys go to a public school/home school hybrid, for grades K to 12. This year a new campus was built for it, at the mostly unused end of an elementary school. This elementary school is supposed to be all students that can walk, though it appears that about 50% or more get picked up in cars that park around the school at 3:20, blocking driveways.

    But, as the kids are supposed to walk, they have crossing guards. I talked to one the other day. She said that the crossing guards were concerned because kids walking to our school were not using the crossing guards. (But were crossing at intersections.) I explained that as a parent I could pass along the concerns, but…..our kids are coming and going all day long, middle and high school kids actually get bus passes and can ride the transit buses, (with stops in the middle of the block) and, as middle and high school kids…the district doesn’t provide crossing guards at those schools, kids are deemed old enough to figure out how to safely get across the street on their own. Even the elementary kids do not have crossing guards at every street…..some not so busy streets, they can cross on their own.

    I love our district…even if the crossing guards are mistaken about who they need to guard because this is a new situation. My son IS disappointed that as a 5th grader he is not old enough to get the transit bus pass so he can ride the bus most of the way home. But…he can get it next year.

  38. Donna September 21, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    Michelle – The troup leaders have absolutely no authority over what your child does when she is not their responsibility. They absolutely do have authority over how they relinquish the responsibility for her care that you willingly give them. That is a big difference that so many here don’t want to see. You don’t get to unilaterally insist that someone take responsibility for your child, but that they have absolutely no say so whatsoever in the terms of that responsibility. If your child walking home from my house makes me uncomfortable, I don’t have to agree to those terms. I can insist that either you come pick her up or she not enter my responsibility at all. I have that authority. It isn’t me taking authority over your child. It is me taking authority over myself.

    I find it so interesting that many people here insist that their children have a right to interact with the public … but only on the terms that they dictate. People are different and you need to be able to deal with those differences. You can certainly ask someone to change, but if they are unwilling, you can either deal with it or stop interacting with that person. You don’t get to force your will on someone against their own wishes.

    This is very simple to me. You make the attempt to get the troup leader to see it your way in whatever way works for you (the Warren-in-your-face approach or more diplomatically). If that fails, you ether leave the troup or deal with the situation. Your child has no god-given right to belong to this troup or any other girl scout troup. If you don’t like the troup rules, start your own troup. When you go to the effort of setting up a troup, opening your home and organizing weekly activities, then you get to set the rules. Otherwise, it is kinda place of the people who are actually willing to do those things to set the rules.

  39. Andy September 21, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    @James Pollock “It comes from the “follow the rules or don’t be allowed to participate” choice you make. When you drop off your child, or simply allow your child to participate, you are loaning them some of your authority, and they are free to use that authority as they see fit, even if it’s different from the choice you yourself would make.”

    Just, no. Absolutely no. They do not have the right to make arbitrary rules, especially regarding how the kid goes home from the activity. Me giving a kid somewhere is in no way an agreement to follow any rules that person invents.

    They are overstepping they authority in the first place. If they prevent kid to leave, they are abusing their authority to force their own rules on my parenting. As a consequence, I have no duty to respect their authority or follow their rules.

    Of course I can decide to simply not to go there anymore, but there is nothing wrong with ignoring demands like this.

  40. Donna September 21, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    “Me giving a kid somewhere is in no way an agreement to follow any rules that person invents.”

    Sure it is. I assure you that I have simply invented the rules of my house. As a devout atheist, they are absolutely not mandates sent down by god. They are rules that control what behaviors I can tolerate in the home that I pay for … not you. I also assure you that some of them would be likely completely arbitrary in your opinion.

    If your child wishes to enter my house or go anywhere with me, she absolutely has to follow my rules, even the arbitrary ones. She can choose to do that or she can choose not to come into my home. She absolutely cannot come into my home and insist that my rules must change for her because they are not the rules that her family wants (well she can, but you will be getting an immediate phone call to remove her from my presence and she will never be allowed back).

    A girl scout troop is no different from my house. In fact, I get the impression that this troop meets in someone’s house. The organizers of the group get to set the rules for the troop same as I get to set the rules in my house.

  41. Julie September 21, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Please try to remember that the folks leading the troops are volunteers, often doing the best that they can…often feeling their hands are tied by goofy Council rules (real AND implied). The parent in question in this article should be able to go onto their Council (or whatever Girl Guides calls it) website and read the manuals for the leaders. If it isn’t mentioned in the manuals, the parent can contact the Council office and discuss. It is possible that the leader is just not informed.

    Even though I am a free range parent with my own kids, as a Girl Scout leader, those other parents, and what they may do to me personally with fraudulent charges, scare the daylights out of me (there is one parent that I know that encouraged her daughter to fabricate a sexual abuse claim against an adult woman that was dating the parent’s ex).

    As a (troop) rule, we do practice the buddy system. Many of our girls are NOT given much freedom, so their judgment has not developed well. We PRACTICE the buddy system within the safety of our meeting place, not to treat them like babies, but to get them used to it so that when we go out and about, we can feel more confident that they can have more freedoms. (And there are many situations when the buddy system is a good thing – I use it in my adult life…hiking, swimming, or doing other activities that may have a higher risk of injury in an area where I can’t get cell phone access.) Use of the buddy system within the troop setting is encouraged by our region’s Council per policy.

    {{Michelle}} As a (troop) rule, we DO hang around after the meeting and ensure that all the kids are met by a parent. More than once I have stayed more than an hour after the end of the meeting…trying to contact the parents or their emergency contacts (parent fell asleep and didn’t hear the phone). If I am able to reach them, I will drive them home with the consent of the parent. My job isn’t over until all kids leave our meeting place. Most of our kids do not live within walking distance of our meeting place (rural community), and our meetings are not right after school. This is not addressed in our regional Council’s policies directly. But given the logistics for our families, it is how we choose to address it. Most other leaders in our rural community handle it the same way.

    As a (troop) rule, we DO ask parents to come into the building with the child to make sure that the meeting is actually going on (we have had parents get mixed up on dates, saw cars in the lot for a different event going on, and their kid was left wandering the school – then couldn’t give the folks they found a phone number…also have had kids dropped off for OTHER activities that weren’t going on, parents saw cars in the lot and made an assumption, then we were left with dealing with the kid while trying to lead the meeting) and to come in and retrieve their kid. Last year we had over 30 kids in the troop, so the parking lot was a zoo, it was dark at the end of the meeting, and we have many kids that can only be picked up by certain people (due to restraining orders, parent custody fights, etc). It was easier to administrate all of that if folks came in to meet their kid. So, unfortunately, for the safety of a few, we had to make it more difficult for our personal sanity. Most parents were understanding of the situation.

    As leaders, we have been trying to plan a number of activities to help these girls develop the skills they need, but it is slow going. We only are with them 2 times per month…they are with their controlling parents daily. We see a lot of impulsive behavior with these kids and see that they often haven’t been shown the basics (how to cross a busy street, how to walk along a street that has no sidewalk, basic signaling when riding a bicycle, not knowing their address, phone number, and parents’ first names, etc., ordering their own food at a restaurant), so we plan outings that include these items when we can. For example, one time we played at the splash fountain, walked many blocks to Dairy Queen (girls taking turns leading the group), each girl ordered their own food, then walked back after our treat.

    Now if I had a girl whose parents wished for her to walk home from meetings, I would have no problem having that conversation with them. I would want to discuss with them if this was an all the time thing or occasional, how they wanted it handled (for example, wait until traffic cleared from lot, etc.), and I would ask for them to just drop me an email confirming our conversation (to CMA with Council if someone ELSE complained about it to them…).

  42. Addey September 21, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    Uhm… this isn’t GSUSA policy. Point in fact, there is a check box on the Parent Consent and Health History form that us leaders have to get filled in by parents every year that says, and I quote “My/our daughter/ward has my permission to walk home from Girl Scout meetings/activities.”

    I have at least one girl who I think can/should walk home. Literally, less than a block, in a quiet neighborhood. She’s now in 9th grade. But, her parent’s won’t let her. Because we’re done after dark REALLY?!?!?! There’s at least 2 street lights between our meeting place and her front porch.

  43. lollipoplover September 21, 2015 at 11:41 am #

    I was told, “Absolutely not. It’s not safe, especially in this neighborhood. It is official Girl Guide policy.”

    If the neighborhood is so unsafe, WHY ARE THEY HOLDING MEETINGS FOR CHILDREN HERE?

  44. Julie September 21, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Addy —

    It may not be a GSUSA policy, but it could very well be a policy of that particular Council. None of the forms (registration form or parent consent/girl health history) in our Council (GSNIM) include such a statement regarding release from meetings.

  45. Chris Moewes September 21, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    I particularly like the comment “Absolutely not. It’s not safe, especially in this neighborhood.” If Girl Guides is anything like Boy Scouts (my only point of reference) the kids in the program are from the neighborhood. So exclaiming “especially in this neighborhood” is saying that the kids own area is a bad place. I would find that alone especially insulting.

  46. Julie September 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Chris – That is likely true in metropolitan areas, but it isn’t true all the time.

    In our county, most troops meet in the evening and are comprised of girls from throughout the county. My troop meets in a location toward the center of the county. I travel 11 miles to get there, and I have numerous girls that do the same. There just aren’t enough troops/interested girls available to have troops meeting at each of the 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 1 private Catholic school (elementary and middle), and 1 high school. My younger girl troop includes girls from all 8 elementary options, and my older troop from all 3 middle schools + 1 MS from outside our county.

  47. Becka September 21, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m a Girl Scout Leader AND a Free-Range Parent. It can be very difficult to balance what you feel should be allowed against being held accountable for the children in your care. Unfortunately, that means safety first, even if that “safety” is only in other people’s imaginations.

  48. Neil M September 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    “If the neighborhood is so unsafe, WHY ARE THEY HOLDING MEETINGS FOR CHILDREN HERE?”

    Good one, heh.

    I wonder what the GS leaders would do if the girl just left. Lock her in a closet? Follow her home? call the police? (That last one is most likely.)

  49. Beth September 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    “As for the right to control how the kid is relinquished, they absolutely do have that right.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but this has really changed in one generation, at least anecdotally in my experience.

    My kids are now 28 and 23, and when they first started school we lived in a rural subdivision so they took the bus. Other than them knowing what bus to get on, the school did not care how they got home. I never had to sign anything saying how they would get home; if I wanted to pick them up I did, if they wanted to walk to a friend’s house after school, they did. I didn’t even need to write a note.

    When we moved into town, it was up to them to get themselves to school, practice, lessons, etc. Again, no one cared. I never had to tell the school what their coming/going situation was, nor the leaders of any other group events they attended. When it was over, they got on their bikes and came home.

    I understand now that this is completely different in my community, and the school does care, and there is massive rigamarole at the end of the school day. But I don’t know why. There have not been any kidnappings or missing kids or even kids hit by cars, as far as I know. And our little community has become a traffic nightmare, instead of being comprised of competent kids knowing where they need to go, and getting there. How, in one generation, did schools and other activity leaders decide that they “absolutely” have the right to determine how a kid gets to wherever he is going next??

  50. John September 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    In the best interest of being fair and looking at both sides of this issue, I’d like to have some detail as to the nature of this neighborhood. Why isn’t it safe for a young girl to walk two blocks? What are the crime stats of this neighborhood and if it is indeed a high crime area, why would they be having Girl Guide meetings in that neighborhood? My strong hunch is that this is just an over reaction from the Girlscouts in their judgment of this neighborhood.

  51. Anna September 21, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    Actually, they can walk home on their own. Their mom just needs to sign, and/or write a letter to that affect (releasing the GGC) and give this to their Guider. For the older girls (12+) you just need to let us know.
    Anna
    1st WV Pathfinders

  52. Havva September 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    “It’s not safe, especially in this neighborhood.”
    I wonder how that troupe leader defined that. My husband was discussing an after-school club with the retiring club leader. She was bemoaning the lack of participation of late, as they watched a stream of kids going past each escorted by a parent. My husband suggested that perhaps more would stop in and participate if they weren’t constantly being escorted. The leader blanched, gasped, and said our neighborhood wasn’t safe. This is in contradiction to what the police officer in charge of data in our area had said when I asked about kids walking alone. So my husband pressed her as to what she meant by it. And he told her in horror struck tones that a man who used to hang out on a walking path behind the library and flash passing kids. My husband pressed as to when this was, and the retiring club leader had no idea. Years and years ago apparently. It seems she knew of absolutely nothing that had happened in the neighborhood in over a decade. Of course I know from the officer that there have been some low level crimes in our neighborhood, nothing threatening to children outside of the behavior of their own families. But despite knowing of nothing but a flasher, who was around so long ago she can’t put a time scale on it, she still dubs the neighborhood “unsafe”.

  53. Vicky September 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    GSOA long ago became an ultra liberal organization whose goal was to indoctrinate young girls into the progressive movement to become future activist. They began posting links on the national website to sites that supported and encouraged abortions, promiscuity, lesbianism and transgenderism. The horrific new progressive practice of placing your child into medical and psychological procedures meant to change their sexual orientation, became the champion cause of the GSOA, with some troops allowing young boys in various some stage of this heinous process, to join the Girl Scouts.
    Knowing this, not allowing a child to walk two blocks home seems like nothing. Still, it would be grounds for me to pull my child out. No organization is going to defy my wishes when it comes to my child. But then, you have to believe that your wishes are what’s best.

  54. Reziac September 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    If “this neighborhood” is that unsafe, why the hell are you holding meetings there in the first place??

    *headdesk*

  55. Vince Laurent September 21, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    “I was told, “Absolutely not. It’s not safe, especially in this neighborhood. It is official Girl Guide policy.””

    Then why are they even holding the meetings there if the neighborhood isn’t safe? They have a leader with a conceal carry license?

  56. Buffy September 21, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    @ Vicky, links please?

  57. Warren September 21, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    If as stated, this is a local policy and not the national policy, then address your concern to those in the National Board. Inform them that the local chapter is enforcing policies that go against those of the National Board.

    Inform the National Board that you enrolled you daughter in Guides to help her grow and mature, not become more insecure and be treated like an infant.

  58. Michael Blackwood September 21, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    I like the idea of walking her to the sidewalk then letting her go alone or with her neighbor. You have “picked her up” and you are thusly relieving them on any “in loco parentis (sp?) obligations. The troop should be happy and so should you. Btw, any attempts to dictate to you beyond that would be custodial interference legally.

  59. that mum September 21, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I can tell you if this is Canadian it is a local rule, not a national one nor is it policy.

    I have been a Girl Guide leader for years and yes we have let girls go home on their own, had a Brownie once (age 8) who used to get herself there from soccer as mum was busy with little brother.

    And Vicky, put down the Kool Aide. You are on the wrong side of history in the current civil rights movement.

  60. lollipoplover September 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    And how is it actually safer to have a parent or adult drive the child this short distance vs. a short walk?

    The girl could have a mom who drives like this:
    http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/Boy-Injured-in-Crash-When-Mom-Jumps-From-Moving-Car-After-Spotting-Spider-328517401.html

  61. librarian September 21, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Our New York City public schools are fairly reasonable (considering all the other examples in these comments) and allow 4-th and 5-th graders to walk home by themselves – a parent just needs to send in the signed permission note in the beginning of each school year. I wonder. My daughter (a fifth-grader, but one of the youngest in her class) has just started walking this year, and tells me she is the only one in the class to do this so far… I am talking about a safe Manhattan neighborhood with wide sidewalks, lots of people around, etc.
    … I hope the school rules on independent walking will stay around even if nobody is taking advantage of them. I have to say though that I am also really scared that “something happens” on her way home and not only potentially harm my child (god forbid!) but also prove all of them right and me – wrong. Yes, I know it is completely irrational, but it is hard to go against the trend.

  62. Andrea September 21, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    This story just makes me sad for what Girl Scouts is doing to our daughters. Instead of grooming strong, confident women, they are insistent on teaching them that they are incapable and weak. 🙁

  63. Leanne September 21, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    Girl Scout leaders are volunteers who offer their free time to organize fun activities for as many as 25 girls. It is hard to keep track of which girl can do what on what day as schedules change. while I agree that kids should be given more lewway in general, it is not up to this volunteer to forge this effort. Instead of making the leader feel stupid, thank her for her time and walk the block to get your kid.

  64. Papilio September 21, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    @Vicky: ” The horrific […] practice of placing your child into medical and psychological procedures meant to change their sexual orientation”

    Now THAT we agree about. Those “therapies” to “cure” homosexuality are indeed horrific, and I will never understand why parents would put their children through psychological torture like that.

    Oh, you didn’t mean that? Whoopsie.

  65. Warren September 21, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

    Leanne,
    If handling that many guides is too hard for them, then they shouldn’t be Leaders. It is not hard to know which kids get picked up and which ones walk. You know how to tell the difference real easy. The walkers will say goodnight and be on their way. Oh my god, common sense.

  66. Chuck99 September 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    I just looked through several Girl Guide Policy Books from different areas. None of them say a child can’t walk home by themselves. I did find this interesting information, though…

    Girl Guides Queensland strives to provide
    services and activities where children and young
    people:

    have a say in planning activities and other
    decisions affecting them;

    are listened to;

    are respected…

    It doesn’t sound as if these girls have a say, are listened to, or are respected, does it?

  67. James Pollock September 21, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    “Just, no. Absolutely no. They do not have the right to make arbitrary rules”

    Just, yes. Absolutely yes. They have the right to make whatever rules they’d like, arbitrary or not. You and your child don’t have the follow the rules… if you aren’t participating in their events. If they want to make a rule that members have to dress a certain way (as the cub scouts did when I was a child), then you have to do it if you want to join, even if the uniform is goofy-looking.

    It works the same no matter what kind of organization you voluntarily join, whether it be a civic group, a religious organization, or the military. If you don’t like the rules imposed upon those who join, don’t join.

  68. James Pollock September 21, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    “Then why are they even holding the meetings there if the neighborhood isn’t safe?”

    Most likely, because it’s where the girls live. At least two of them live within two blocks.

  69. BL September 21, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    “Just, yes. Absolutely yes. They have the right to make whatever rules they’d like, arbitrary or not.”

    Is this just organizations or individuals as well? Can I, for example, post a sign saying trespassers on my property will be subject to death by slow torture and carry it out without legal challenge or consequence? Can a private organization do this? (I’m sure the government can do it).

  70. James Pollock September 21, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    “Is this just organizations or individuals as well? Can I, for example, post a sign saying trespassers on my property will be subject to death by slow torture and carry it out without legal challenge or consequence? ”

    Depends on whether or not the “Stand Your Ground” laws have been enacted in your jurisdiction.

  71. Yocheved September 21, 2015 at 10:43 pm #

    My daughter just got back from a field trip to a city that is over an hour away from home. There was only one teacher per class, and no “parent chaperones”. The only safety advice they got was “don’t wander off.”

    When she got back at around 10:30pm, my husband signed her out, she got on her bike, and rode the mile back home on her own, as my husband took his time strolling back.

    Moving to Israel is the best thing I’ve ever done for my daughter!

  72. Alex September 22, 2015 at 2:37 am #

    I think they need to rename themselves.

  73. sexhysteria September 22, 2015 at 3:58 am #

    A few years ago Girl Guides sponsored a study by the “Mental Health Foundation” that claimed girls are the victims of “premature sexualisation.” I analyzed that study in some detail in my blog, and I would suggest that Girl Guides are not competent guides for girls. https://sexhysteria.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/premature-sexualization/

  74. Julie September 22, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    I’m trying to understand the anti-Girl Guide/Scout opinions being voiced.

    It seems that the general consensus of volunteer leaders that have responded here is that what happened here is not official policy. It also seems that the general consensus of those who have gone off and looked up policies and procedures have also found that it is not official policy to deny girls walking home.
    THEREFORE – we all generally seem to agree that not allowing a girl to walk home is not organizational policy.

    We have also seemed to have agreed/determined that troops are led by volunteers. Not all volunteers are created equal. We have some anecdotal evidence that some of these volunteer troop leaders have fallen victim to the worst-first thinking that most of us here want/have learned to avoid. A number of respondents have indicated that their child has been allowed to walk or the volunteer leader has indicated that they have allowed a child to walk or would if the situation presented itself. THEREFORE – the weight of the conversation seems to imply that the quality of the situation that a girl is exposed to is highly related to the quality and background of the volunteer leading them.

    I don’t see how this leads to the determination that the whole organization and all volunteers should be vilified. Seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So the general answer is, if you don’t like how a troop is being administered, transfer to a different troop or step up to lead a troop yourself. Each troop has it’s own personality based on the girls involved and the background/interests of the leaders.

    Here’s what I see is really the bigger problem…Girl Scouts/Guides does, though not on purpose, tend to put volunteers in a difficult position. Troop leader volunteers tend to be of a “do-er” personality, a little type-A (so to speak). THEN these personalities (often moms that are NOT in leadership positions in their work lives) are asked to create a girl-led environment. It is hard for these personality types to do that, especially if they have not had the opportunities in their own lives to develop leadership skills. You can give them training, but this isn’t something that can be taught in a class or two. These leaders actually need a “leader” that can help them develop these skills.

    In our county (and in most Communities – formerly Service Units – the small, local subdivision of a Council that is comprised of the local volunteers), we have monthly meetings just for leaders. It is led much like a troop meeting. We have a leader-of-the-leaders (me in our county), we have kapers, we even occasionally have snacks or crafts, and we spend a lot of time on “Badges” – otherwise known as learning new things. In addition to the two troops I lead, I lead the leaders. I spend as much time on the “adult troop” as I do on either of the girl troops. You can tell a difference between the troops whose leaders come to these meetings and those that do not. Those who come are able to do a better job of letting go and allowing girls to lead. And the girls in those troops are much more capable as a result.

    Unfortunately, not all Communities have this strong foundation to support the leaders. Not all Communities have leaders that can actually work to develop their peers (it’s something that is part of my everyday work life). Not all volunteers are willing to admit that they could use help to be even better.

    Did you know…
    …you can support girls in your community through Girl Scouts/Guides WITHOUT leading a troop? You can help support other volunteers by participating at the Community level (share your skills). We have a lady that was a troop leader back in the day…now she helps with odds and ends and comes to give us her wisdom at leader meetings.
    …you can offer programming for troops – go and speak at a meeting and lead them in a free-range activity.
    …you can volunteer at a GS camp in your area.

  75. Puzzled September 22, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    It seems to me that people are having at least 2 conversations. One is about whether or not the policy is advisable, or if it is smothering and fails to allow the participants the opportunities the organization is meant to foster. The other is about the legality of the matter.

    While I don’t question Donna’s statements as to the legality, I do have a problem with the premise on which those laws rest. Consider:

    >I find it so interesting that many people here insist that their children have a right to interact with the public … >but only on the terms that they dictate.

    To a very limited extent, that’s not just how I view children, it’s how I view myself. In particular, I have a right to interact with the public, to go to stores, etc., all without being held anywhere against my will unless I have broken a law.

    Similarly, I 100% agree with the comment from Donna about the rules of the house. If you (child or not) come into my house, you cant make me change the way I do things. Granted, I sometimes choose to do so for your comfort, but you can’t just demand it.

    But we’re not talking here about the rules of the house, we’re talking about the rules of leaving the house. Just as I can go into a store, but not dictate their policies – if I don’t like their policies, I can leave – I ought to be able to leave your house if I don’t like your policies, shouldn’t I? And that’s precisely what’s at issue – a child not being allowed to leave.

    As far as relinquishing control, I’d like the law to say (I recognize that it doesn’t) that, if a child signs up for an activity that runs from 2-6, the parent relinquishes control from 2-6, end of story. That means the Guides would have the right to leave your kid standing on the curb if you’re late picking them up – but, since most here think the Guides should have on say as to how the child leaves, why should you have any say as to when the Guides leave, or kick your kid out of their house? I don’t see any logical way to satisfy the demand that children be allowed to leave in a manner the parents choose, and to also prevent the Guides from leaving kids standing on the curb. If the Guides don’t want to do that, they don’t have to, they would just have the right to.

  76. Donna September 22, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    “As for the right to control how the kid is relinquished, they absolutely do have that right.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but this has really changed in one generation, at least anecdotally in my experience.”

    The idea that they have the right to control how a kid is relinquished hasn’t changed. What has changed is the desire to exercise the control that they have always had. We seem to be in a society that wants to micromanage everyone else in many ways today. This is just one of those ways.

    But the insistence that you have the power to demand that a troop that you don’t lead conform to your desires is just another way of trying to micromanage other people’s behavior. People are different and have different hang ups. Some of them will inconvenience you. You have to deal with it if you want to interact with other people.

    I am not saying that I support the rule. I think it is stupid. I might even pull my child out of the troop if that was the situation we were in (my daughter can’t walk home from Girl Scouts). But I understand that that is truly my only option here once talking to the troop leaders has failed. They set up the troop and as such get to set the rules. The groups that we choose to join have their own rules. We can decide whether membership is worth adhering to the rules we don’t like, but we don’t get to join and then insist that the rules don’t apply to us because we don’t like them and still expect to remain a member.

  77. Donna September 22, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    “Just as I can go into a store, but not dictate their policies – if I don’t like their policies, I can leave – I ought to be able to leave your house if I don’t like your policies, shouldn’t I?”

    And she can leave the troop. I don’t believe that the facts included that the child was required by law to remain a member of this specific troop for life.

    And I can dictate how you can leave my house. I can tell you which door to use. I can tell you not to step on my grass. I can tell you to only walk on the yellow bricks. I assure you that I will not be arrested for taking your car keys if I believe you impaired to drive in any way. I can take your bike too. And your boat. Even if it is ultimately decided that you were safe to drive, I will not be arrested. While I might (and it is a small chance) get arrested for physically putting hands on you, I will not be arrested for locking you in if I have a reasonable belief that you leaving at all is unsafe. I have these rights even though, unlike a child that has been placed in my care, I don’t have any responsibility to protect your safety.

  78. Papilio September 22, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    “if a child signs up for an activity that runs from 2-6, the parent relinquishes control from 2-6, end of story”

    Yes – that’s what I thought. I’ve never experienced it any other way as a kid (at least not after I was toddler).
    Even in the first year of primary school (4-year-olds), when the bell rang and the schoolday ended, the schoolday had, well, ended. The teacher didn’t do anything to keep us there, no one made sure there actually was a parent (or whatever) on the school yard waiting for us, we just went outside and found whoever was there for us.
    From 4th grade on, we’d have PE at the end of the schoolday in a gym elsewhere in the neighborhood. We’d walk there with the teacher, but those who came by bike were allowed to walk their bike there with the rest of the class plus teacher, because afterward we could just go home from that other location.
    Same with after-school activities: the responsible adult was responsible for us DURING the activity, not before and after.

  79. Emily September 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    With all the paperwork involved in Guides or Scouts, one would think that it’d be fairly easy to keep a list of the kids’ pick-up and drop-off arrangements, along with any other relevant information; e.g., “Sally walks herself to and from the meetings, Susie and Sarah’s mothers will alternate driving both girls, and Jenny is allergic to peanuts.” After a few meetings, this would become routine. I know, because my friend and I had a similar system three summers ago when we ran a music day camp. We had a pair of sisters who biked to and from camp, a pair of friends whose mothers alternated pick-up of both kids, and a handful of kids with mild learning disabilities and whatnot. Having blanket rules for everything would have made camp impossible for a lot of kids, but accommodating reasonable needs made it so that they could all participate and have fun, and learn about music in the process. Aren’t Scouts and Guides supposed to be inclusive too? If so, the rule that all kids have to be signed in and out isn’t very inclusive to families with one car, or no cars, or weird work schedules, or multiple kids in different activities at the same time, et cetera.

    That’s not even touching the “learned helplessness” problem, but there might be a legitimate logistical reason why a child has to walk home–maybe the Smith family has decided that it makes more sense for Sally to walk two blocks home from Brownies, than for her brother Sam to walk five miles home from hockey with all his equipment, and they only have one car, or the second car is unreliable, or in use by the other parent who works evenings or some such. That arrangement seems to be much more beneficial to Sally than denying her membership in Brownies.

  80. Donna September 22, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Papilio –

    You, and others, seem to mistake a lack of desire to set rules for a lack of ability. I understand that I can set rules about how a child leaves my care. I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to do so so I don’t. I also would have absolutely no guilt whatsoever if something happened to the child on the way home, so that is probably why I don’t have the slightest interest in controlling these things. People who would feel responsible, even if the parent said to let her walk, probably would have a different desire to set rules than me.

  81. Warren September 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    I guess a lot of us don’t think they have the right to dictate how a kid gets to and from whatever activity the adults are holding, because when we were kids the leaders, teachers and coaches didn’t give a crap.
    We came and we left. As did the leaders, coaches and such. The most interest they may have shown was when you were still waiting when they left. They may have asked then how you were getting home. And the answers would run from, just waiting for the rain to let up some before riding home, dad said he would be a little late, or yeah moms late again. That would be good enough for them, and they would leave.

    Through all the years of cubs, scouts, swimming, hockey, baseball and other sports and things, there was never any tell of one participant going missing, being killed or harmed because they went home alone, or waited alone.

    The whole idea of accept their rules or don’t join is crap. Fight back. Make a statement. If that means signing them out, kicking their butts out the door to walk or ride home, while making it known that is what you are doing……then do it. Don’t be quiet about it. Remember most of these idiotic overprotective rules were done to give into the ones that harped and hounded the organizations for them. So fight back with their own tools. Be loud, be annoying until they give in.

  82. Puzzled September 22, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    “And I can dictate how you can leave my house. I can tell you which door to use. I can tell you not to step on my grass. I can tell you to only walk on the yellow bricks. I assure you that I will not be arrested for taking your car keys if I believe you impaired to drive in any way. I can take your bike too. And your boat. Even if it is ultimately decided that you were safe to drive, I will not be arrested. While I might (and it is a small chance) get arrested for physically putting hands on you, I will not be arrested for locking you in if I have a reasonable belief that you leaving at all is unsafe. I have these rights even though, unlike a child that has been placed in my care, I don’t have any responsibility to pro”tect your safety.”

    Of course, and furthermore, you can say “and don’t come back either!” So yes, it seems reasonable for the troop to be able to similarly say sure, you can leave, but you’re not coming back if you don’t leave the way we want. (Although that isn’t quite what actually happens, it’s close enough, I think, to make the point.)

    I guess that leaves me with your conclusion – the problem isn’t the Guides having the right to act this way, but that they desire to, that they feel the need to nose into non-problems. I guess I’m in full agreement with you here, after all.

  83. James Pollock September 22, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    I think the problem here is that people are talking about “rights” when they should be talking about responsibilities. It isn’t about “I have taken these children into my care and custody, do I have the right to…” but rather, “I have taken these children into my care and custody, therefore I have the responsibility to…”

    If I have someone else’s kids under my care, then I have a responsibility to keep them (reasonably) safe and to deliver them back into their parents’ care at the agreed-upon time and place. I may put restrictions (of various degrees of arbitrariness) on taking the kid(s), you may put restrictions (of various arbitrariness) on allowing the child to participate.

  84. Jeff Hall September 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    “Official Girl Guides” policy, huh? I guess only Boy Scouts are allowed to walk home now. Nice message to send to little girls.

  85. Joel Arbic September 24, 2015 at 2:40 am #

    This is the kind of crap that infuriates me. Since when did it become every other person or organizations right to make parenting choices for us all.

  86. Amy September 28, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Here’s one, two years ago my oldest son wanted to change schools which meant we would have to drive him a mile from our home to get the bus. One day I got a call at work saying the bus driver could not let him off the bus until I myself came to get him. I said I would send my mother due to me being at work and an hour away. They said no I had to be the one so I had to leave work and they had my son on the school bus for about 3 hours in total. He was not a happy person. Here is the big kicker my son at the time was 17 years old and in 11th grade.

  87. Papilio September 29, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    @Amy: You DROVE a 17-year-old ONE mile to get the bus??

  88. Poppy October 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    When I was 12 (1990), I joined the junior high cross country team. We started practicing in the summer. My mom, a single mom who worked full-time, couldn’t ferry me around to practices in the middle of the day, and we lived hours from the nearest family, so I walked the less than 1 mile to my house. I did this for the first couple of days, then the coach drove past one day. He was upset and told me that I couldn’t walk home alone. I was also mortified because when you are 12 everything is mortifying, including the fact that all of the other kids had moms to pick them up and I had to walk. I had to quit cross country because I had no way to get to practice.