Boy, 9, Addresses Rhode Island Senate About “No Child Under 10 Can Stay Home Alone” Bill


What does a revolutionary look like? I can’t tell exactly — I can only see this one from behind. But I echo his proud mama’s Facebook post:


I’m so proud, I could cry! Pascal spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was clear, calm, and articulate. He received many kudos from the senators. Our videographer only caught the tail of the speech so here’s the whole thing, in writing.

“My name is Pascal and I am 9 and a half years old. How are we kids supposed to learn responsibility if we can’t do anything for ourselves?If there is always a parent around, we will ask them for help, instead of doing it ourselves.If I was a kid in the olden days, like Huck Finn, I would be totally free.I feel responsible enough to stay home by myself. My final thought is, I think this bill is unnecessary.”

Posted by Jamie Glowacki (blogger at Oh Crap Potty Training), about son Pascal Dubuc on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

And from Randall Rose, the commenter who alerted us to this bill in the first place, comes this report:

Three mothers testified against the “no kids alone in the house” bill along with the 9-year-old and me.  The 9-year-old’s mother was one of those who testified but the boy wrote his own testimony.  No one spoke for the bill.  The senators on the committee made no positive comments on the bill, and several of them were clearly against it — those senators who spoke seemed to be working to show they agreed that the bill was bad.  I don’t think the committee has any interest now in passing the bill — I can’t prove it but that’s my sense.  The other bill, the “no kids alone in car” bill, was also criticized briefly by some of the people who testified, but the senators didn’t address that one in the hearing.  So I don’t know yet whether the “no kids alone in car” bill still has any legs.

I’m trying to find out.  One of the mothers who spoke and I are jointly contacting the sponsor of the “no kids alone in car” bill.

This is Free-Range activism at its finest! The lawmakers probably never truly plotted out the “real world” impact of their cockamamie ideas. So you let them know! It does NOT save kids to have their parents arrested for letting them stay home a little while, just as it does NOT save kids if their parents’ drivers’ licenses are revoked for three years, leaving them no way to get to work or even the pediatrician. We don’t even have to FIGHT the power, we just have to do a short REAL WORLD ANALYSIS and they can see!

And if we can bring the kids, so much the better! – L.


No, this is not the kid who addressed the Rhode Island State Senate Committee.

Senators, don’t you realize your bill would criminalize my parents? (Dramatic re-enactment of Wednesday Rhode Island hearing.) 


, , , , , , ,

28 Responses to Boy, 9, Addresses Rhode Island Senate About “No Child Under 10 Can Stay Home Alone” Bill

  1. KV January 29, 2016 at 7:52 am #


    Bravo Pascal and Mom!

    I sent an email to three senators and one representative. Senator Conley’s aide responded with a brief comment ‘Senator Conley shares your concern with this bill and wanted to let you know that the Bill was held for further study last night.”

  2. MichaelF January 29, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Nice job Pascal….hard to be 9 and speaking before so many adults.

  3. BL January 29, 2016 at 8:59 am #

    “hard to be 9 and speaking before so many adults”

    Yeah, Pascal probably had to make a conscious effort to avoid big words, so as not to be misunderstood.


  4. lollipoplover January 29, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    “Yeah, Pascal probably had to make a conscious effort to avoid big words, so as not to be misunderstood.”

    Especially speaking to politicians!

    Best comment ever.

  5. Emily January 29, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    Did anyone ever see the episode of The Simpsons where Bart does something wrong (I forget what), and the judge in juvenile court (named Constance Harm) sentenced Bart and Homer to be chained together? I feel like these laws against leaving kids at home alone, or in the car for a few minutes, are doing essentially the same thing.

  6. Havva January 29, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Yeah, BL, probably. When I was a kid in the late 80’s and 90’s adults often complained when I used “big words.” They assumed my parents told me what to say. They didn’t like it when I replied that the fact I had an extensive vocabulary was not indicative of parental scripting, just of their wisdom in refusing to talk down to me.

  7. Havva January 29, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    Politics is all to often about the squeaky wheel. The fact that the free-range group here has brought together reason, energy, and people, is changing the equation about what “for the children” will mean. This is heartening news.

    The direction to CPS in Maryland after the incident with the Meitives was heartening news, the withdrawal of the bill in Maryland to further raise the babysitting age, after an outpouring of opposition, was heartening news. And there are lots of little signs springing up, fewer parents at bus stops, elementary age boys waiting outside the lady’s room. There is still so much work to do, but I think we have reached a point where between the damage of helicoptering, and the determination of ourselves and our allies we can start to set our world right again.

  8. pentamom January 29, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    Good job Pascal!

  9. Emily January 29, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Okay, all Simpsons references aside, I think people sometimes forget that the “kids must be supervised at all times” mentality can negatively affect others outside the situation. For example, last night, I was at a rehearsal for a play that I’ve gotten involved with, and one of my cast-mates was saying that she might have to miss a few rehearsals, because her husband’s work hours aren’t always consistent, and therefore, he sometimes has to work into the evenings, and can’t be home with their kids. She’s a main character, so her absence would affect what we could and couldn’t rehearse that night. The kids in question are eleven and five, and the evening rehearsals are from 6:30-8:30. So, I think an eleven-year-old should be capable of watching her five-year-old sibling for two hours, especially if the mother does bath and pajamas with the five-year-old before going to rehearsal. Am I completely off-base with this, or is that a realistic thing for an eleven-year-old to be able to do, rather than having to inconvenience an entire cast?

  10. Warren January 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Awesome, that someone his age has the confidence to speak in such a forum. Wonder if he and his friends are up for getting a petition together. Not parent signatures, but kid signatures, to show they are concerned about their future.

  11. Nicole Pelton January 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Emily, I think your question should not be to this group, but to the mom… the point is is she not leaving them home because she is worried about CPS, or nosy neighbors, or looking irresponsible? Or because she doesn’t want to. My kids are a year apart and they seem to behaving way way better when left alone, they’ll play with or ignore each other. When mom is around they love to drive me crazy with their arguments.

    My niece and nephew were 5 years apart, and at 11 and 6 they probably would have killed each other if left alone. Not bad parenting, just different kids. My brother and his wife were around way more than I was (they worked in jobs that allowed them to be home after school, volunteer extensively in the preschool and neither kid went to daycare), but I doubt those were causes.

    We need to be supportive of parents decisions for their kids. Maybe the suggestion could be to bring them to rehearsal.

  12. david zaitzeff January 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    does nj have an initiative and referendum process by which people get to vote on bad legislation written or passed by the legislature?

  13. Mike January 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    We’re going to help children by throwing their parents in jail.

    Yeah, they REALLY thought that one through.

  14. Kenny Felder January 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    It is SO GREAT to see people taking action!!!

  15. Jana January 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Touching and cheers!
    P.S. lollipoplover: 🙂 🙂

  16. sexhysteria January 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Nobody said anything in favor of the bill – I love that!

  17. Peter January 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    Yes, but when you leave a kid “Home Alone,” he may turn out like this. Or this.

  18. Backroads January 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    I think I’m going to take a more boring card from this awesomeness and have my 2nd graders write persuasive papers on why they should be allowed to independent activities.

  19. Donald January 29, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    Several spoke against the bill. No one spoke for it. I guess in retrospect it’s a good thing this bill was proposed. It makes good target practice! When ideas such as this bill get put forward and get met with a tidal wave of backlash, politicians will become more cautions about supporting stuff like this.

  20. Travis January 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm #


    No, I think you’re right. An eleven-year-old should be capable of being alone with another child for two hours, if the eleven-year-old in question is not of special needs or something of the sort that would make then unsuitable for the particular task.

    On the issue, that’s great! I find it odd, though. If no one was in favor of the bill then why is it a thing?

  21. EricS January 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    The saddest and most annoying thing about this, is that the powers that be are thinking “we’re the adults, we know better, what do these kids know.” And it’s going to pass. Pisses me off how they just patronize children, and shrug them off as “oh, that’s so cute”, and chuckle about it. Stupid is as stupid does. When are these people going to learn, one size does NOT fit all.

  22. Donald January 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    Here is an idea for a short film.

    Billy (a normal kid) moves to a new town called Stepford. He has trouble making friends. All the children in Stepford are comatosed. They are ‘programmed’ to not play outside or do anything that normal children do. They are too ‘inept’ to be home alone without any supervision.

    As with the Stepford Wives film there is a conspiracy to program Billy to be a Stepford child. His programming involves the whole town and consists of things such as:

    Ridiculous school rules. Tag is outlawed and recess is disappearing
    Parents that report Billy to the CPS if he does any normal kid stuff
    Police pick him up whenever they see him outside without adult supervision.
    A NEWS report of Billy observed as doing the life threatening act of doing a cartwheel without a helmet
    By law, a 10 year old child cannot be at home for any length of time unsupervised

    In the end Billy become a Stepford Child and is no longer self reliant

  23. Vicki January 29, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    “Held for further study” means “it’s dead.” Good job, guys!

  24. Oh my January 30, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Re: The eleven year old five year old – when I was five and my brother was ten, he could watch me for a couple of hours and the worst that ever happened was we made a mess. And we were both kinda….slow….with regards to responsibility and the like.

  25. JP Merzetti January 30, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    A kid who gets to speak for himself.
    Out of the frustrated millions…..comes a voice. Speaking.
    “I am here!”) just like the Who that Horton heard.
    A person’s a person, no matter how small…………

    A child alone, is an imagination in the making.
    A kid was never intended to be a dog on a leash.

    Let’s take one drop of that freedom, and spread it around, a little.

  26. EtobicokeMom January 31, 2016 at 11:24 pm #


    I think you may be missing the point. The POINT is that reasonable adults are capable of making reasonable decisions about works for their families and don’t need the state legislating us into a corner. If this lady’s 11 year old has never been home alone before at all, she sure isn’t about to start babysitting her 5 year old sibling just like that. On the other hand, maybe she does have lots of practice. Maybe she isn’t ready. Maybe she is. Maybe the kids have activities or need help with school projects and so “home alone” isn’t even the issue. If you really want to know what’s reasonable, don’t ask US, ask HER. Ask her what her concerns are, and is there something the group can do to help.

    No one age is the “right” age for every child. That is the point of all this – that we can each assess our own lives, our own children, our own neighbourhoods, our own situations and make rational decisions that work for our families.

  27. James Pollock January 31, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

    ” If this lady’s 11 year old has never been home alone before at all, she sure isn’t about to start babysitting her 5 year old sibling just like that. On the other hand, maybe she does have lots of practice. Maybe she isn’t ready. Maybe she is.”

    I have exactly zero disagreement that this woman puts her children’s perceived needs above those of others. It is a little bit irresponsible, however, to take on a commitment that may, and apparently occasionally does, come into conflict with her responsibilities at home.

  28. Eldo February 1, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    That lady is very strange. A word of advice: If you go to a party at her house, do not drink anything from a red Solo cup!