Readers — Here’s another plea from a Free-Ranger trapped in a helicoptering vise. Do you have any suggestions that have worked at your school? Please share them! — L.
Dear Free-Range Kids: Something terrible has happened at our school.
I wrote to you a while ago about how wonderfully free our village kids are. Things are changing….. and not for the better.
My children are 7 and 9. I live 1 mile from school, and our route takes us through a nature reserve, so no traffic and no road crossings necessary.
I have been taking baby steps towards letting my children walk to/from school. I started by walking the children to school and then I started leaving the children at the school boundary approximately 50 meters from the school gates, they then walked over the boundary line by themselves.
That’s as far as I got…. they walked 50 meters unattanded (but I watched them).
I have received a letter from the school explaining that children have to be taken to and picked up from the school gate. I challenged the school on this rule, and asked them why. They said, “It’s not worth the risk, SOMETHING TERRIBLE COULD HAPPEN.” Though they would not spell out what that something terrible could be, and neither has anything ever happened before.
The head master also indicated to me that other parents had been reported to social services for allowing their children to walk to school by themselves.
Please note that the majority of the children live within a mile of the school, and we really do live in quite a safe village.
What can I do? Are they really allowed to dictate to me how my children get to and from school? — Rachel
P.S. I have heard that this has nothing to do with insurance!