Rhode Island Out to Criminalize Latchkey Kids, Recess When It’s Cold, and More

Congratulations, Rhode Island! Looks like you are about to become the proud parents of every child in the state, pushing aside those stupid “real” parents, because you know so much more about how to raise their kids than they do!
According to this AP article by Matt O’Brien:
State lawmakers are debating a bill that would punish parents for leaving a child younger than 7 alone in a car. They’ve also proposed legislation to ban kids under 10 from being home alone and older kids from being home alone at night. Legislation could even extend to private preschools, where a bill would ban outdoor recess when the temperature drops below freezing.
What’s wonderful is that any time parents are not exactly perfect under these proposed laws — say, for instance, they expected to take just five minutes buying the Ibuprofen while their kid waited in the car, but got stuck behind a lady who couldn’t find her coupons —  they could be fined $1,000. That’ll certainly make the family safer, siphoning off their savings.
And say a set of parents had hoped to let their 9 year old start coming home from school  on his own. Well now the state would get to teach those parents: No latchkey kids. It doesn’t matter that the parents believe their son can handle it.   
 Sen. William Walaska, the Warwick Democrat who introduced “home-alone” age restrictions [said]: “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”
Naturally, if you can imagine something terrible happening to a child, it’s reason enough to ban any otherwise normal activity.
Like playing outside the cold! At last, our precious children, from pre-k through elementary school, will be safe from outdoor recess during the long winter months. When the mercury dips below 32, it’s forbidden. The kids can rest inside quietly, like invalids.
Reporter O’Brien does note that there has been some pushback on all of this. For instance, Pascal Dubuc, 9, showed up at the State Senate earlier this year to testify, “I feel responsible to stay home by myself.” What’s more —
Helping to spread the parental outrage and mobilize opposition was [yours truly Lenore] Skenazy, who has repeatedly ridiculed Rhode Island lawmakers.
“These laws are preposterous,” she wrote in her blog. “They assume it is the government’s job to dictate family life. They criminalize maturity in children and common sense in parents, and turn mundane decisions — like running out to do an errand — into legal minefields.” 
State health officials also weighed in, saying it would lead to a surge of unwanted calls to the child welfare hotline for situations that aren’t a safety risk.
Ah, but this is a state legislature that can’t imagine a child ever NOT at risk. Remember two year ago it floated the idea of not allowing kids to get off the school bus unless an adult was waiting there to walk them home — till 7th grade. Ultimately, this bill died.  
But the state did recently pass a law to make sex offenders who live within 300 feet of a school move 700 feet further away, even if they have lived in the same home for decades without incident. Exactly who thinks this sudden change is crucial? The Providence Journal reported:
Law enforcers, civil-rights advocates, supporters of victims of sexual assault and experts who study sex-offender management say the expanded ban could actually decrease public safety by forcing offenders to move frequently or become homeless, destabilizing their lives.
 Whether the legislators proposing and passing these laws are only posturing, or actually do believe that local children are suddenly and constantly beset by danger at home, in cars, and at school, Rhode Island is quickly earning a name for itself as the state that loves punishing decent parents and crippling independent kids. – L.


Das ist verboten!!!

Das ist verboten!!!


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53 Responses to Rhode Island Out to Criminalize Latchkey Kids, Recess When It’s Cold, and More

  1. JimK March 18, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Here’s a vote for imagination. I can imagine Sen. William Walaska (the bill’s proponent who has that vivid i
    imagination) being a serial killer. That means he should be voted out of office.

  2. Mandy March 18, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    The single solitary good thing about living in a place with cold winters is getting to play outside in the snow when you’re a kid/feel like being a kid again. Rhode Island proves themselves once again to be puritanical assassins of joy.

  3. Tim March 18, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    When I was a boy I was using oxalic acid to remove rust from my beer can collection that I amassed by riding my bike around country roads and finding the cans in the ditch. I never thought about how many people drove around drinking and throwing their cans in the ditch. I must have thought they just appeared spontaneously.

  4. Ravana March 18, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    RI averages 107 days below freezing per year. That’s 107 days of kids being trapped inside. 107 days of kids being taught by “authorities” that they are hot house flowers and the outside world is hazardous to their health. Then the state will wonder why the kids are getting so fat.

  5. Andrew Jones March 18, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    *If* all these laws pass, a) my condolences to all Rhode Island Parents, and b) I can’t wait until someone starts combining them with a little twisted logic.

    “I’m sorry, Senator, I can’t come and work for you today. You see, it’s 31 degrees, and if it’s too dangerous for my child to go outside for a 15-minute recess, I can’t in good conscience let him out of the house. Of course, even though he’s 9 years old and not mentally defective, apparently, it’s too dangerous for me to leave him alone so I have to stay home with him. You can’t trust anybody to be a babysitter, apparently this state is full of child molestors and kidnappers, since it’s too dangerous to leave him in a car either. This also means I can’t come to work to pick up work to do at home, since I’d have to leave him in the car alone while I went in, since we’ve already established that it’s too dangerous to have him outside of the car……”

  6. Warren March 18, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    When these laws pass will the surrounding states be willing to take in the political refugees/families fleeing RI?

  7. elizabeth March 18, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    @Andrew Jones: Genius lol.

  8. Roger the Shrubber March 18, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Will heated shelters be provided at bus stops or will that be the responsibility of the parents as well, under threat of fine?

  9. Donna March 18, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    In my imagination, my kid sees the chemicals, is suddenly struck with a desire to help her mother and I come home to a clean house. Seems at least as realistic as whatever scenarios his mind is coming up with.

    I suppose there is some possibility that Rhode Island has a special needs 9 year old who likes to drink Fantastik Scrubbing Bubbles being raised by special needs parents who don’t realize that their 9 year old is too special to be left home alone in the presence of Fantastik Scrubbing Bubbles, but they are probably all too special needs to know the law.

  10. Ben in RI March 18, 2016 at 11:57 am #

    I just wrote to my State Senator about that 32 degree recess bill. It turns out he’s one of the sponsors! He’s responded to me when I’ve written him before, let’s see if he says anything this time. I wrote him a couple months ago about that “no kids under 9 home alone” bill and he agreed with me and said he’d oppose it.

  11. MichaelF March 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Rhode Island, begun by those who flew Puritan prosecution in Massachusetts, does it one better, 300 years later!

  12. Mari March 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

    Look at the sponsors of the bill: one of them is a 27-year old banker who doesn’t have kids, and the other is a builder. What, if anything, do they know about education, child safety, etc? And who on earth is really driving this stupid piece of legislation?

  13. HotInLa March 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    This is just awful. How in good conscience can these morons really believe that banning recess due to freezing temps is a good idea when our country is already overrun with childhood obesity?

    My brain hurts from the stupidity of it all.

  14. HotInLa March 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    Ben I would love to hear the response!

  15. Reziac March 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Geez. When I was in junior high, you weren’t allowed to ride the school bus unless you lived more than 1.5 miles from school — or if it was colder than -30F. (Yes, thirty degrees below zero.)

    Somehow we not only survived this abuse, we learned how to dress for any weather the world can throw at us.

  16. Suze March 18, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    Kids go out for recess in -20C. weather where I live and we get a good deal of that in the winter’s here in Central Ontario, Canada. No one even blinks at this and I have yet to see a frost-bitten kid. Those tender little ‘snowflakes’ (kind of no pun intended) in RI would be calling out our local school board for child abuse. Oh, the horror.

  17. lollipoplover March 18, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    “Sen. William Walaska, the Warwick Democrat who introduced “home-alone” age restrictions [said]: “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    First, who will be providing funding for this mandatory before care/aftercare this Senator wants enforced? If the State wants to mandate supervised care, they are going to wind up paying for it in taxes. The state can’t force parents to enroll children in preschool because some don’t have the means, they also can’t require school age children to be supervised, even in their own homes. Dear Lord, when did 9 year-olds become so dangerous?? My 9 year-old is the youngest, and at times she is the MOST responsible. Let’s not lump all children together and age discriminate. They should have rights, too.

    As for the moronic chemical in the cupboard comment:

    Please don’t judge children and chemicals in cupboards. My 9 year-old added several items to our shopping list this week-:2 more boxes of corn starch and glitter glue. She is an avid scientist and loves making oobleck, flubber(used glitter glue and different food dyes to make sparkly rainbow oobleck-oooohh!!) and yesterday had about 3 kids on our back deck making oobleck and green leprechaun goo that they put in mason jars to take home. I wasn’t. They were home alone!

    My daughter is constantly downloading recipes and experiments. There’s so many good sites for experiment ideas with common “chemicals” like baking soda and vinegar- 2 chemicals that make for great homemade cleaners so they can clean the house! I can only dream…
    But learning about what we use for what has led her to love cooking independently (especially baking) and quite a helper around the house, something that would NOT happen if I was always around, *supervising*.

    You worry about chemicals? What about all of the prescription drugs these kids are go to being addicted to because of this anxiety-inducing legislation that tells our kids they are useless babies who will never be trusted *alone*. Where does suicide rank as a cause of death among young people? Overdoses? I hope Rhode Island has good mental health coverage.

    Many, many families have capable kids quietly learning how to become competent and confident young adults. But you rarely hear THEIR stories. Millions of children in the USA commute to school in all kinds of weather successfully every day. And they aren’t drinking drano- they’re too busy doing homework!

  18. Ml March 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    In fairness, just because one legislator proposes stupid bill x doesn’t mean the state as a whole should be blamed (unless, of course, the bills pass).

  19. Momof8 March 18, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Why don’t they just outlaw cold weather? They could fine God if He deviates from 70 degrees. I wish they’d do that here in SD; eight or nine months of cold weather is not my bag and it’s just too much work to move south. And my children suffer, playing out in below-freezing, faking like it’s fun, for hours. I need government intervention. I feel so helpless.

  20. Backroads March 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    So kids open a cupboard and see chemicals. Hmm.

    If I’m trusting my kid to stay home alone, I can trust her to not ingest random chemicals.

    Besides, I always keep my chemicals up super high anyway as it is.

  21. Steve March 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Do you live in Rhode Island ?

    Here is contact info for your congressman:

    James Langevin:


    David Cicilline

    Are you going to contact them?
    I hope so.

  22. EricS March 18, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    @Jim K. If I were to don on the “ignorant hat” that Rhode Island is passing around, I’d say Walaska looks more like a child molestor. lol

  23. EricS March 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    @Mari: “What, if anything, do they know about education, child safety, etc?”

    They don’t. They are just sanctimonious. Doesn’t matter whether they know or not. They just have to feel superior in their “knowledge” to be that ignorant. No matter what facts and stats you show them, they will believe what they want to believe. If they believe cows meow, there is no changing their minds.

  24. Curious March 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Do they hate kids? Parents? Sex Offenders?
    Some of the above? None of the above?
    Don’t they understand the research? Statistics? Recidivism rate? Can’t they read? Don’t they care?

    “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”

    “No New Taxes!”

    All of these apparently idiotic laws, rules, and regulations that give the police and child protective authorities control of our kids are merely creative solutions to a budgetary crisis affecting all American communities.
    In Ferguson, they used traffic stops, minor offenses and jail time to squeeze money from racial munorities.
    In Rhode Island, they target families.

    Same problem, different solutions.

  25. Havva March 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”….
    So what?

    By the time I was 9, you bet I was finding chemicals in the cupboards, with or without mom home. There wasn’t a cupboard in the house I couldn’t open. I knew what they were and how to use them. I was taught to always put the antiseptic on play ground cuts and scrapes. If I scuffed my dress shoes I was expected to go get the fantastic from the cupboard and get the scuffs off. If it was my turn to clean the pet cages, I was expected to put a lime remover in the corners where the animals peed. If I couldn’t scrub the dishes clean with soap and water I was expected to try the Bon Ami and get it clean. I was spared from using the toilet bowl cleaners, and bleach until I was older, but was still expected to fetch the bottle if my mom asked for it. Sprayed the ants, if I found them coming into the house. My mom’s only issue with me and household chemicals, was my propensity to run the other way if she tired to hand them to me. I didn’t care much for chores.

    So worst case I could imagine if my kid got into the cleaning chemicals. She might spill bleach on her clothing and ruin an outfit. Of course, she could do that with me at home. I don’t really need the government to intervene to protect me, or her, from that.

  26. BL March 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Time for Senator Walaska to recharge the batteries in his thinking aid.

  27. Agammamon March 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    “Sen. William Walaska, the Warwick Democrat who introduced “home-alone” age restrictions [said]: “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    Senator Walaska – you’re not allowed science anymore. Because you’re too stupid to understand what *chemicals* are. They’re everything.

  28. Vaughan Evans March 18, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    It is amazing how people make excuses-about it being too cold, too hot.
    When I was 9, I went on a bottle drive, as a Wolf Cub. It was 10 degrees Fahrenheit
    It did not hurt me one bit.

    People in Vancouver are in some ways a bunch of wimps. They say it is too cold for this, too hot for this.
    Even our coldest winters are not NEARLY as cold(or as long)as they are in some other parts of Canada. Even our hottest summers are not as long or as hot-as they are in other parts of Canada.
    Meanwhile, our hot summers are a “dry heat” (in contrast to the monotonous wet heat that is typical of Toronto(By contrast our winters are a “wet” cold(unlike the “dry cold” of the Prairies.)

    -Furthermore snow in Vancouver causes more problems than it does in (say)Winnipeg-where all the land is level.
    -Some parts of Greater Vancouver-namely New Westminster, North Vancouver City and District-are very hilly(Some streets in Vancouver City have steep grades.)
    This causes many problems-particularly when rain falls on snowy streets-(On Many winters days in Vancouver, it is above freezing in the daytime, but below freezing at nights.
    Therefore many streets are like outdoor skating rinks.
    One nasty curvy, hilly section in Vancouver has a container-saying Emergency Sand.)
    Sometimes, in Vancouver, we have prolonged hot and dry spells. Local churches give emergency water to homeless people(In most of Canada, the biggest problem facing homeless people is to keep dry, and keep warm-in the colder months.

    In Arizona(and most parts of the United States-in the summer, their need is to keep cool-and keep hydrated.
    In Arizona, and New Mexico, summer temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit are not at all uncommon-although it IS a dry heat.
    (The southeastern part of the United States, has monotonous wet heat.

  29. Vaughan Evans March 18, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    In previous letters, I mentioned how I had taught ‘Run, Sheep, Run!-at a community picnic in 1979.
    I played it with six boys
    Two weeks later, sixty ADDITIONAL children had tried the game.
    The children from Lord Roberts Scholl passed it on to Henry Hudson School.
    -Soon the WHOLE of the local elementary school was playing it.
    The teachers from Lord Roberts School-would take the children outdoors to play it-in lieu of indoor P>E>

    NOTE ALSO: The West End(a single square mile)had 40,0000 people at the time(It has more than that now, because of the high rises that have since been built in Coal Harbour.
    Yet this did not stop the children from disseminating the game-between August 24-and September 4,1979(That year, school started on September 4th.
    Perhaps the parents had misgivings about the children playing it on their own.
    I feel that what children miss is NOT just the games themselves, but the joy of passing on these games to their peers.
    If a child teaches the rules of a game to his peers-and hers joyful shouts, hearty laughter after that, he/she can say.”This is my work, I see the results.
    A comparison could be made with a man-who makes ornamental furniture by hand-and says, this is MY work.

  30. Kim March 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    My oldest attended a Montessori school in Portsmouth, RI. They took those kids outside all year, only keeping them in when it was really, really, miserable wet and cold. They would remind parents to make sure the kids had boots, mittens, hats, snow pants, etc. in their bags. I can only imagine how long it took to dress all those younger kids to go outside. I pulled into the parking lot one winter day, 45 degrees and sunny, to find a sign on the door that said, “It’s too nice out. We are outside playing. Come around back.” It was a great school.

  31. MizVee March 18, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    I’m an elementary school teacher (4th grade) who dared to let her children play outside on a sunny high 30° day. Everyone had a coat and I required that they all wore one and zipped it up. Of course, the next day, a family who recently moved to my district from the Midwest, called to complain saying, “My kids aren’t used to this cold weather.” Now, when they wonder why we can’t go outside when it’s sunny and just a wee bit nippy, I tell them that we can’t for fear of a parent calling to complain.

  32. mia March 18, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    Do these people not know kids? I don’t know a single neurotypical 8 year old who would a) take chemicals out of the cabinet and b) do something with them to injure themselves. And all things are made of chemicals, so them washing their hands must be dangerous too.

  33. lollipoplover March 18, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    “Of course, the next day, a family who recently moved to my district from the Midwest, called to complain saying, “My kids aren’t used to this cold weather.”

    “Dress in layers. They will get used to it.”

    Why would you punish the rest of the class and keep them inside from one phone call with a parent complaining? Solve the complaint (see above) and let kids play in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would you cave in on a basic period of the day, recess, because of one phone call?

  34. Mike March 18, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

    Rhode Island readers of this blog, it’s up to you to vote out your imbecilic politicians and vote in new ones, who actually represent your views. Elections are coming up soon, take care of the problem.

  35. NY Single Mom March 19, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    $1000 per child left in the car while Mom runs in to the 7-11 to buy a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and a dozen eggs for her three kids’ for tomorrow’s breakfast?

    What a windfall for the State of Rhode Island!

    And if Mom can’t pay the $3000 fine?

    Jail, of course.

    And if she’s a single Mom? With limited resources?

    The kids may go to foster care in three different locations, possibly in other states.

    Just visualize all the money the process generates for Rhode Island State Services! And all the reelection votes for State Law Makers for their protection of the three vulnerable children! Hundreds of children in the aggregate. Maybe a thousand a year .

    With so much “Win-Win” on the State side, the kids get lost in the shuffle. The trauma of separation is the same as the trauma of abandonment. Devastating to children as young as seven. Not a concern of the State or of the law.

    “The Law is a Mousetrap”, we are reminded. Traps are not people friendly.

    The Mom can’t afford a private attorney. Without a fancy lawyer her voice goes unheard. She loses her job, of course. But who cares? She’s just another poor city person. Or a poor rural person. As one elected official famously said, “They don’t vote for us”

    Were she a member of the majority class in Rhode Island Society, she would have resources to pay the fines and fees and penalties and court charges and get leave time from her job for court appearances, and finally get the charges dropped. As it stands, she will most likely wind up with even more jail time for indigence when she still can’t pay her fines at the time her sentence ends. It may be years before she is reunited with her children. Getting them back after jail time well cost a small fortune in court fees.

    I work as a volunteer for a re-entry program in a state near Rhode Island. We try to keep families together and reunite parents, both fathers and mothers, with kids as soon as possible. Mentoring is a large part of our process. Services are in short supply. Our funding is almost all private, and we have only a few paid staff. But we have dedicated volunteers, and an excellent mentoring program. We have been fighting an uphill battle against the power structure for over thirty years. Our most recent success is to “Ban the Box” in our City.

    The best way to keep people out of jail is to keep them out of jail. Huge fines for minor offenses destroy families. Unequal treatment of poor people does not make society safer or better in any way. Long prison sentences for minor crimes result in life in prison for many minority males, through a revolving door. Mandatory Minimum Sentences destroy even well-off families in places like rural Oregon.

  36. Tiny Tim March 19, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    I get that toddlers love to put everything in their mouths, but really don’t remember an urge to drink bleach when I was 8.

  37. CrazyCatLady March 19, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    Well, I can guess that RI is not going to put forth any champion ice hockey players any time in the future.

    And…so does this mean kids don’t need to go to school? Because they might have to go out in 31F temps to get to the car, that takes them to the bus stop that then drops them off over 20 feet from the door of the school? Oh, kids, rejoice! Learn on your own..things that interest you!

  38. Emily March 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    >>Well, I can guess that RI is not going to put forth any champion ice hockey players any time in the future.<<

    No, I think it's still okay to ice skate and play hockey at indoor skating arenas. Those are organized, supervised, and cost money, so they're automatically "safe." You just can't have outdoor rinks with kids on skating or playing freely and thinking for themselves, because that's "dangerous."

  39. Donald March 19, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    “Do they hate kids? Parents? Sex Offenders?
    Some of the above? None of the above?
    Don’t they understand the research? Statistics? Recidivism rate? Can’t they read? Don’t they care?”

    I’d say that probably no they don’t hate and yes they do understand.

    HOWEVER, the bureaucracy has become a life form of it’s own. Here are a few lines from my blog

    This is a scathing attack on bureaucracy while at the same time it’s standing up for bureaucrats.

    Q. How can you be on both sides?

    A. I’m not. I’m highlighting the concept of a third side. A bureaucracy is like a ship. The bigger the bureaucracy, the bigger the ship AND THE MORE LIKELY THAT IT HAS NO CAPTAIN! This is the third side. I want to show that the system has taken on a life form of it’s own. Many bureaucrats have little or no power. They can only follow procedures or get fired. (even jailed!)

    Many bureaucrats are only the crew members without a captain! The ‘enemy’ of the bureaucracy is its own growth that spreads uncontrollably like a noxious weed! The bureaucrats themselves have lost control and became slaves to their own creation! Regulations and procedures rule the roost. If they encounter any circumstance that isn’t covered under the procedures, they find themselves ‘stuck’. That’s because their authority to use judgement has been greatly undermined!


    I combine this problem with political grandstanding. I also compare it to Mickey Mouse from Fantasia. He can’t make the magic brooms stop bringing more water. It’s like that only we can’t stop the system from passing more safety laws even though we are drowning in safety!

  40. Michelle March 19, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    I live on the Gulf Coast. Snow is an anomaly here, and when we get some you better believe we rush to send the kids outside to experience it!

    I remember once when I was in junior high, I was home sick and it started snowing. I was so happy to be home because I could go out and enjoy it! (I wasn’t that sick, LOL) All my neighbors came out to see, too. I later heard that my school actually stopped classes and sent kids outside to play in the snow. It really is that exciting here!

    This is Texas. No one here owns a snowsuit. We think flip-flops are appropriate footwear for Christmas dinner. We’re not used to cold, and we’re not used to snow and ice, and yes everything shuts down when there’s ice because we don’t have the infrastructure or equipment for people to drive around on it safely. But even we aren’t scared to send our kids outside in 32 degree weather for 15 minutes! My God! Haven’t these people ever heard of a jacket?

  41. SKL March 20, 2016 at 12:48 am #

    This reminds me of a conversation I had yesterday. A childless friend of ours warned against letting my kids challenge themselves physically, citing a recent news story about a girl who was doing a backbend / bridge in her living room and some how paralyzed herself. Though acknowledging this was a freak accident, she reported it as if parents should forbid their kids from doing any acrobatics. So then I was on the defensive about something that is nothing but healthy for my kids. Again. Sometimes I think the only thing that will save our kids is the fact that parents have no say in their choices after age 18. Though, the way things are going, don’t be surprised if they move the age of majority to, say, 30….

  42. SKL March 20, 2016 at 12:58 am #

    Our school’s stated limit for playing outdoors is 20F. It may be more because the teachers don’t want to go out in that temperature. 😛 Of course nothing stops us from going out to play outside of school hours. At home, we can layer up better than they can at school.

    When I was a kid, “snow pants” were standard gear for elementary school kids. Most kids walked to school, so they had to have protective clothing on hand for recess. Nowadays, most kids arrive at school warm and dry, and they don’t bring enough gear to play outside for long in very cold weather.

    Our school does tell parents that they go outside nearly every day and to dress the kids accordingly. The school is a bit old-fashioned in some ways.

  43. JR March 20, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    I live in the desert Southwest. Temperatures during the school year regularly break 100*F (37*C). So while I agree that kids should be sent outside during most of the year, and that it’s important to “dress for the weather,” it’s a lot more difficult here. In really cold weather, a person could add an additional layer or two, but there are only so many layers a person can take off before they’re indecent. As a kid growing up in this climate, we learned to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day. And as a teacher, we often kept children inside for their recess when the heat was simply too punishing for normal play.

  44. Diana March 20, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    The Ice Rink Industry has a powerful lobby!
    It has a friend in Donald Trump!

    In NYC Donald Trump operates a popular kids hockey program.

    Could Rhode Island families bus their toddlers to NYC on weekends?

  45. EB March 20, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    This story is strangely silent on the issue of kids who walk to school. At 8 AM, when it is definitely colder than it is at recess time. In urban areas this could be most of the kids enrolled at any given school. So by the time they go out for recess, most of the kids have already managed to survive the cold. As for me, I walked half an hour to school, in New England (sidewalks all the way), Recess was only 20 minutes. Sometimes the snow was too deep to send the little kids out, but it was the snow, not the cold that caused that.

  46. Warren March 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Nope, championship caliber players don’t come from that environment. They are the ones that have a hockey stick in their hands all the time, including street hockey, backyard rinks, outdoor rinks and on ponds and lakes. Not just when parents can get them to practice.

  47. Curious March 20, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Does Pascal Dubuc play ice hockey?
    Could he or a young hockey star advocate for the great outdoors at recess?

    Rhode Island Senate listens to kids but not parents. Or reason, research, or studies…

  48. Red March 20, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

    I wish my 9yo would open a cabinet and see chemicals.

    You know, the chemicals he’s supposed to be using to do his chores like cleaning the bathrooms.

  49. Emily March 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    @Warren–I was being sarcastic. I’m Canadian too, and ice rinks in public parks and backyards, and impromptu games of street hockey, were very much a thing when I was growing up, and they still kind of are. I was never much for hockey, but I do remember getting my first pair of ice skates for Christmas when I was three years old, and learning to skate on the ice rink at the park near my house, using a plastic chair from my toy tea set (which came with a table and chairs) to steady myself, because those “skate aid” things hadn’t been invented yet. Now our ice rink in front of the city hall specifically forbids using chairs to teach a child to skate, because it’s considered “dangerous” for some reason, but when I was a kid, pretty much everyone learned that way.

  50. Ben Carter March 21, 2016 at 2:34 am #

    “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    Then the chemicals would remain in that cupboard, because any child old enough to stay at home alone would have the sense not to drink them.

    This is a non-existent danger.

  51. Kara March 21, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    In Norway the general rules are that children under 2 should be kept indoors from -10C. Pre-schoolers when it is below -20C. From -30C schoolchildren can opt to stay inside during recess, and from -50C parents can opt to keep their children home from school. At no point is their a law, or any consequences for going against the guidelines. I’ve seen a lot of stupid suggestions on this site, but this one just really blows my mind.

    “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”

    My kids do that every day. We call it “fetching a drink”, “brushing their teeth” or “tidying up the art supplies.” Someone really needs to learn what “chemicals” means.

  52. Xena_Rulz March 21, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    The bus shelters won’t have to be heated, because it’s not going to be illegal to be outside standing still for the bus, it’s only going to be illegal to go run around at recess. This makes sense how?

  53. Curious March 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm #


    As in “the state legislature that cried
    ‘Wolf’ “?

    Shame on them!

    I would suggest they “get a life”, except that my own State Legisllature in New York is currently passing similar laws.
    No kids under eight alone in a car? They are not capable of opening a window? Are they damaged by living in New York or Rhode Island to the point they cannot function? Poor babies!