Readers — Here’s a little rant from Down Under, on a rainy day:
Dear Free-Range Kids: In keeping with Free-Range tradition, my two girls aged 7 and 5 walk to school. Okay, I confess, the school is at the end of our block – they don’t even have to cross a road to get there, and it’s only about 200 yards away!
Today, it was pouring with rain. While climbing in the car and doing a quick school drop-and-run might work in normal families, I have three other (younger) children, so I made the executive decision that the girls would still walk, in raincoats and carrying an umbrella.
Well, my 7 year old stickler for the rules was distraught. “But Mummy, we’re not allowed to have umbrellas at school.”
When I asked her why on earth not, she said it was, “Because someone might get poked in the eye. Really. We’re really not allowed.”
There were two ways of looking at this rule that make it ridiculous. Firstly, someone might get poked in the eye??? Really? How about a rule that says “Put all umbrellas on your bag hooks when you arrive at school,” or, “No using umbrellas as weapons!”?
Secondly, they are making the assumption that children either do not need an umbrella to get to school in the rain (because they are driven) or that the parent who walks with them can walk the umbrella home again. No accounting for the children who walk alone. Wait – there are children who walk alone? Really? Isn’t there a rule against that?
Poor Miss 7 had to flout the rules and walk to school with her umbrella. — Janet in Australia
Janet adds that, miraculously, all the children’s eyes remained in their sockets,