Mom Upset that 10 y.o. Will Have to Walk to School

Folks — What age do you think kids can safely start walking to school? I’d say age 7, because that’s the age in a lot of the rest of the world. Which is not to say younger is dangerous — I walked to kindergarten in the suburban Chicago of way-back-when. Must’ve been five. I’m just wondering if we can agree that, even if we squabble about younger ages, by seven kids are certainly ready — yes?

Meantime, I give you this note from Ajax, Canada (actually a town where I filmed my TV show!). – L.

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Dear Free-Range Kids: I’m a big fan of raising independent, self-sufficient kids.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my local paper to find this.

“Boards busing change upsets Ajax mother.  Son will have to walk to school come September.”

The article goes on to say due to a review of the local busing plan, the school board will no longer be busing children if they live within 1.6 kilometres of the school.  A local mom is raising hell that her 10 year old (!!!) might have to walk to and from school.  The funny thing is, the picture that accompanies the article shows the son of the ‘upset mother’ and a friend walking down the street.

When I was the age of this young boy (17 years ago) my younger brother and I walked.  Everywhere.  To school, from school.  To the local grocery store, to our babysitter’s house after school.  My dad would call the babysitter when he was home from work, and we would (Gasp!) walk home from there, too.  In my entire life, I have never been approached by, or even noticed any strangers.  I knew everyone in the neighbourhood because we were always playing outside.  Maybe if these kids (and parents!) got outside and into their communities, they wouldn’t have to be so afraid of life.  A little walking never hurt anyone.
I apologize for the angry and sarcastic tone of my email, this sort of thing just makes me so angry!  What kind of kids are we going to raise if they are constantly in fear of everything?
Keep on fighting the good fight! – Sarah
The Cool Morning Air Condenses a Boy's Breath as He Walks Along a Coal Car on His Way to School in Cumberland, Kentucky, in Harlan County 10/1974
This kid isn’t smoking, it’s just cold out, yet SOMEHOW his parents thought he could handle it.

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