“No Child Under 7th Grade Shall Get On or Off School Bus Without a Guardian” – Proposed Law

Readers — This just in:

Dear Free-Range Kids: Just wanted to bring your attention to this bill proposed in the Rhode Island legislature. Here’s what I posted on my FB wall:

Attention all parents: Here’s a bill proposed by reps Williams, Edwards, O’Brien, Messier, and Slater. They don’t think your children are safe enough and have introduced H-7578 which would, “require that for school bus transportation provided to children enrolled in grades kindergarten through six (6), a parent, guardian or authorized person be present at the child’s designated bus stops.”

AND if that’s not enough the bill requires the parent to “notify the school in writing with the name, age and relationship of the person authorized to accept the child at the designated home bound bus stop; provided, no authorization shall be allowed for persons under the age of sixteen (16) years old.”

So your 12-year-old child is not old enough to wait at the bus stop alone or get off the bus and walk home by themselves. PLEASE — Emma walked a mile to school in 6th grade and managed to wait for and get home from the bus alone starting in 3rd grade. Can we all say Nanny State? Hopefully this one won’t go anywhere — but really — what are these reps thinking? Here are their emails:

Anastasia P. Williams E-mail:  rep-williams@rilin.state.ri.us

John G. Edwards E-mail: rep-edwards@rilin.state.ri.us

William W. O’Brien E-mail: Rep-obrien@rilin.state.ri.us

Mary Duffy Messier E-mail: rep-messier@rilin.state.ri.us

Scott Slater E-mail: Rep-slater@rilin.state.ri.us

 Thanks — Beth

Lenore here: Great letter, great cause. And think of the repercussions: How will any parent ever think it’s safe for a kid to walk to school, or play outside, if even taking the bus requires door-to-door adult supervision? 

Law would make it illegal for any child under 7th grade to get on or off bus without a guardian present.

Law would make it illegal for any child under 7th grade to get on or off bus without a guardian present.

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101 Responses to “No Child Under 7th Grade Shall Get On or Off School Bus Without a Guardian” – Proposed Law

  1. Virginia March 26, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    What? A 12 year old could be in 7th grade (mine is). Mine rides the bus home and lets herself in. I don’t leave work an hour after she arrives home.

  2. Tara March 26, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    And they won’t authorize anyone under 16, so even an early high school aged sibling (who likely babysits their siblings and others) can’t get them off of the bus. Yet another penalty on the working parent!

  3. BL March 26, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    So if there’s nobody waiting at the end of the day, the bus goes back to the bus barn and the kid just stays there?

    Or does the bus wait at the stop until somebody shows up, even if that’s never?

  4. Leah Barido March 26, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    When my daughter was in 6th grade, she was in middle school and walked to and from school. It was about a mile, and she had no problems doing it!

  5. meghan March 26, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Geez….I get frustrated because in our school district kindergarteners must be brought to the bus by a parent and picked up by name. I know my daughter could do it by herself. I couldn’t imagine having to be there until she’s in 6th grade!

  6. BL March 26, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    So we know the names of the legislative sponsors.

    What about the lobbyists who are pushing this? Who are they and who’s funding them? How big were the campaign contributions this quintet?

  7. Gary March 26, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    We, as a nation, have been doomed for years. This is what we get for voting these asshats in and not having the spine to vote them out.

    I think now is a good time to learn Mandarin & Russian, you know, just in case.

  8. SOA March 26, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Then they are going to have a lot of working parents raising heck about this because that means no latch key kids. I do feel sorry for the young latch key kids like kindergartners who come home alone to an empty house after school but a 4 and 5 grader is perfectly capable of doing it and it being fine.

  9. E March 26, 2014 at 9:40 am #


    I will say that I work with a person who lives in a small community in New England and they work from home. The bus stops at their house. One day we were on the phone and he was shocked that his children just showed up inside. Apparently the bus arrived a little early and he hadn’t made the walk down their long driveway to meet them yet. He called the school totally pissed that they’d been left w/o someone greeting them (at their OWN DRIVEWAY). He also said he called the school one morning because his kids were waiting outside their front door (he was still inside) when the bus pulled up and….THEY GOT ON. So he walked out to find no kids. Frantically he called the school to find out if they’d, well, gone to school.

    He tried to enlist my sympathy. I could only say that I usually waited with my kids at the bus stop in the mornings because our driver/route was notoriously bad about being irregular and I never wanted to leave for work until I knew if I had to drive them in myself. When they came home from school, they walked home from the stop — always. I also told him that our school system was so large there would literally be no way to manage the kind of ‘service’ he expected.

    That kind of fear must be so paralyzing. But even if I can accept that people feel that way, I have no idea how they expect our public school systems to manage these ridiculous expectations. Talk about time/money/waste!!

  10. SOA March 26, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    My mom ran an in home daycare growing up. I got on and off the bus across the street from our house. If my mom had to wait with me at the bus stop and pick me up at the bus stop every day that would mean dragging several babies, toddlers and preschoolers out there with her. How is that any safer than letting me cross the street with the help of the bus driver (She would signal me when it was safe to cross and I crossed in front of her while all the cars were still stopped) and walk up my own driveway into my home?

    No way my mom would have been okay with having to drag all those kids out there. I imagine there are quite a few parents with babies at home that don’t want to have to drag them out in the bad weather and wait on the kid to get off the bus. That is dangerous too because little ones are way more likely to run out in the road and get hit by a car than a kid old enough to know to watch for cars.

  11. Samantha March 26, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Thank you so much for letting me know about this. I have three children here in RI and this would directly impact us. Sometimes I feel like our politicians forgot what it was like when they were kids. I’m sure when they were 12 their parents didn’t walk them home from the bus stop like a lost toddler!

  12. Erika March 26, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    RI parent here, too. My child has been walking to school by herself since we moved here, at age 9. But apparently, when she starts middle school next year she won’t be old enough to walk from the bus, to our back door, which is about 50 ft.

  13. Jen March 26, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    My daughter just turned 8. She is constantly reminding us that she is growing up. She gets quite cranky if we do not let her wait for the bus by herself (pick up is at the end of our driveway). Sadly, the bus driver is not allowed to drop her off at the end of the day unless he sees an adult. I’m sure he would if he could. I’m going to have to call the bus company to find out what the actual rule is. I can’t imagine that they do the same thing with the middle schoolers that ride the bus — but maybe, since the bus driver can’t be expected to know the ages/grades of each child.

  14. Arielle Masters March 26, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    You have got to be KIDDING me. Our ES bus stop, for example, is within sight of my front door. Do you really think parents have nothing better to do than wait with their kids – or for their kids – at bus stops? I’m a SAHM and I think this is a stupid idea. It’s perfectly legal for my 12-year-old to stay home alone for a couple of hours. It’s perfectly legal for my 15-year-old to babysit younger kids for hours. But you’d make it illegal for my 12-year-old to walk three houses’ distance by herself if we lived in RI? GET A LIFE. I’d sure like to.

  15. BL March 26, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    “Sometimes I feel like our politicians forgot what it was like when they were kids”

    It has nothing to do with forgetting. They’re in power and they want more power. The more restrictions on you and yours, the better for them.

  16. Brenda March 26, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I don’t want to make my parenting decisions based on some government officials paranoia. My 11 yr old and 9 yr old walk home, unsupervised, with no guardian. I guess I’m the crazy one.

  17. CrazyCatLady March 26, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    This is a slippery slope. First you have to have someone at the bus stop, next you have to have an adult walk home with the walking kids.

    Hopefully someone will point it out – that there are kids who have to walk to school. And they usually walk much more than the distance to the bus stop. And no, we don’t want them included in this bill.

    And as to what they would do if you weren’t there? Probably take the kid back to school, call you and then call the police.

  18. lollipoplover March 26, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    Wouldn’t it be more efficient if Rhode Island enacted Child Leash Laws to age 12? It must be so difficult to have First World problems in Rhode Island. Has school bus service gotten so complex that we need to play an adult/child match game at each bus stop?

    My children would never stand for this and I am relieved they walk and bike to school because they’re not babies. 7th grade is not some magical age that churns out responsible, independent kids that are instantly trustworthy. I’ve actually seen quite the opposite.

    I think of the students who came up with an alogorithim for safe walking routes to schools in bad neighborhoods…because they HAVE to walk to school. There’s no money for transportation. I’d much rather legislation and tax money go to SOLVING problems vs. creating them for working parents.


  19. Warren March 26, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    LOL, the children of the United States of America are officially screwed when this passes. And it will, because we all know if it saves just one child blah blah blah.

    Once one state passes this type of law, it will make it so much easier for other states, because they will point to the success of RI.

    Good Luck Parents!!!

  20. SOA March 26, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Has it crossed anyone else’s mind this might have to do with them wanting more after care business? Maybe more business for all the places that do paid after school care business? Our schools offer it for a fee and then you have daycares like Kindercare that offer it too. Do you think it has something to do with that?

  21. Gary March 26, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    “I think now is a good time to learn Mandarin & Russian, you know, just in case.”

    omg nevermind, bing has a translator to Klingon!!!


    mughwI’ tlhIngan ghaj bing

  22. Warren March 26, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Do you ever wonder if their thought process works like this.

    Let’s find an activity that is completely safe, and we will pass a law that makes us look like we are making it safe. Then even though for the last 20 yrs no incidents have occurred, when asked what we are doing we can point to these laws and tell them what a success they have been.

  23. Sharon Davids March 26, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    My 12 year old sixth grade takes one of two buses home. The first one she is home alone for two hours the second about a half an hour. All the kids are embarassed when the parents show up at the bus stop. This year my daughter is in the lowest grade and the bigger and older kids wait for her. My daughter was a safety patrol last year and occasionally (at age 11) watched kids alone at the bus stop.

    My daughter has also already taken the babysitting course at a local hospital but most people don’t want babysitters under the age of 13.

  24. Amanda Matthews March 26, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    “Do you really think parents have nothing better to do than wait with their kids – or for their kids – at bus stops?”

    Welp there are plenty of parents that have nothing better to do than wait 30 minutes in the “car line” to pick up their kids and drive them home…

  25. Suzanne March 26, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    My daughter is in grade four. She walks to and from the bus stop (six quiet blocks) without issue, unless you count the time she got distracted playing in the snow with friends.

    She is so happy that I let her do this by her self. It means a lot to her. The bus driver wanted me to pick her up every day but I told him I didn’t think it was necessary. And in the end he cares more about his schedule (I was purposefully a few min late several days in a row) then about each and every parent being at the bus stop.

  26. mystic_eye March 26, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    So at 12 you can often be hired as a babysitter, but you can’t walk a kid home until you’re 16? Are we really saying that a 15 year old can’t watch an 8 year old for a few hours after school?

  27. Uly March 26, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    7th freaking grade? At that age I would walk home from school, catch the bus to the boat, and then catch a train once I was in Manhattan to go to the bookstore. And this was a. in the bad old days b. without cell phones and c. even with my general difficulty in recognizing what ought to be familiar places and navigating.

  28. anonymous this time March 26, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    I was 12 when I entered grade 8. At that point, I’d been riding school busses since age 7, and had never had adults accompany me to or from the bus stop. Before age 7, I’d been walking to school, one mile each way, either alone or with children who were definitely younger than 16.

    And I complained. Because sometimes it was cold, and sometimes I had stuff to carry, and sometimes I would have liked some company. But never, NOT ONCE, did I ever feel unsafe. Bored, yes. Resentful, plenty. But I never got bothered. Actually, riding on the bus was where I encountered bullying and aggression. The walk home was blissfully quiet.

    Just say NO to asinine laws that restrict the movements and development of children.

  29. Mary Jo Koch March 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    From age 12, I babysat at least twice a week, for kids from 2 weeks to six years old. That was the agreed upon age to babysit.

  30. Nicole R. March 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    This is nuts!! I thought it was excessive when they wanted parents to wait at the stop up to 3rd grade here.

    My (now) 7th grader is “safe” (from this loony bill) but I can’t imagine having been picking him up all this time!

  31. John March 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Unfortunately, this will pass because…..we’ve got to protect the kids, yada, yada, yada. Then it will pick up steam and pass in other states too. America is slowly but surely turning its youth into a bunch of creampuffs incapable of doing anything on their own.

    Now for those of you who say this law makes no sense because 12-year-olds babysit, you’d better watch what you say. Because some stupid nanny politician might hear you and then propose legistlation barring all kids under the age of 18 from babysitting.

    If I were a Rhode Island parent, I would be incensed and would fight this proposal tooth and nail. So good luck to all you Rhode Island parents of kids 12 and under, I’ll be in your corner!!

  32. Gary March 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    “Do you really think parents have nothing better to do than wait with their kids – or for their kids – at bus stops?”

    Every now and then I am unfortunate enough to leave my house later than usual and get stuck behind the school bus. This morning was one of them, some of the stops on the main road are literally FEET apart.

    So as the bus is stopped picking up kids in front of one of the houses, the kid GETS OUT OFF THE MINIVAN AND WALKS ABOUT 10 FEET AND GETS ON THE BUS…



    Bus pulls out about 30 more feet to the next stop…

    I really gotta leave earlier.

  33. BL March 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm #


    OMG he could have been abducted in those 10 feet!

    Seriously, I see similar things where I live. 🙁

  34. Gary March 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    “Unfortunately, this will pass because…..we’ve got to protect the kids, yada, yada, yada.”

    Of course it will pass, don’t be naive.

    look at the DOJ statistics for the past fifty years, Rhode Island has been #1 in murders, rapes, abductions, assaults, muggings, horse thievery, boondoggling, UFO sightings and probing incidents and general overall flim flammery…

  35. Buffy March 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Okay, this is definitely excessive. I’m so glad you have included the emails of the reps because even though I live in the State of Washington I will write a letter to them. For if something like this passes in RI then it will become a precedent and while it may take years to come out west I don’t want to risk it.

    I highly recommend all the readers outraged by this to follow suit because if reps start getting letters from parents all over the country perhaps, just perhaps, they might notice that recriminations of their legislation will affect ALL of America.

  36. E. Simms March 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    @BL “So we know the names of the legislative sponsors.
    What about the lobbyists who are pushing this? Who are they and who’s funding them? How big were the campaign contributions this quintet?”

    I seriously doubt that this piece of idiocy will pass. Most likely, one legislator had a bug up his paranoid ass and got the others on board through some quid pro quo. Just in case, I hope Rhode Islanders make good use of those email addresses.

  37. Sara March 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Well what do you want. When parents started suing the school and bus companies when issues arose from dropping off students. This is how they are going to protect themselves from liability.

  38. Liberty G March 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    As a child, I lived in NYC, on 96th St. off Central Park West.
    I was what later was called a “latchkey kid” – both my parents worked. Guess what – I took care of myself after school for most of my school years, went and played in the park, with friends, etc. This in the “big, bad city” (although ours was a pretty nice neighborhood at the time).
    In any case, I took perfectly good care of myself.

    I’m not saying that all children – or situations are the same – some may need supervision, some neighborhoods might be risky. However, I do believe that parents, unless they have been proven to be junkies, alcoholics, criminals, or such, should have the right to make all decisions about their own kids. I agree with the comment deploring the “nanny state”.

  39. Papilio March 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm #


    You’d almost put a life-size doll at the end of your driveway and declare that the adult. If the legislators can pretend a 10yo can’t walk home by himself, I’m sure the bus driver can pretend the doll is real. Or did the proposal say it had to be a live adult?

  40. SOA March 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    I see the whole letting the kids wait in the car at the bus stop and unless it is raining or super cold there is no excuse for it. Same for all the parents that just have to drop their kids off right at the school door.

    My kids are little with asthma and I make them walk in the rain and cold all the time to school and home from school. They survive. Makes them tougher. I don’t know why we think other kids can’t handle it.

    I waited out at my bus stop every morning in any kind of weather and my mother never drove over there because of her daycare kids. I took an umbrella and raincoat if it was raining and I bundled up if it was cold. She would look out the window every once in awhile to make sure I was okay. I survived.

  41. GRS March 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    This is nuts! It does sounds like someone for the day care industry getting to these legislators to pass this so that they can have more children to care for and more $$ for themselves. Another possibility is a legislator who is an overprotective, hovering parent that wants to make everyone else be the same way.

    Email is not enough. Formal snail-mail letters and TELEPHONE CALLS are what needs to happen. If they get enough of both, especially the phone calls, they will get the message.

    Also, if and when this hits a committee, do the same thing for ALL members of the committee. Continue until it is stopped so completely that these politicians are chastened enough to never try anything close to it again.

    Have there been other links about this proposed law? Other webpages? News reports? Or is FRK the first?

  42. Wilson March 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Our school’s policy was no kindergarteners could get on or off the bus by themselves, even with a sibling riding the same bus. However, first graders (6 year olds) are allowed to go on their own. Once, my wife and I left the kids (6 and 10 at the time) to go to school on their own and they missed the bus. So they ran to school, which was about a mile away, and still made it on time. I couldn’t have been prouder for them to find a solution on their own.

    I’m curious as to what influenced the state representatives to bring about this legislation.

  43. lollipoplover March 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm #


    I cannot express how much this annoys me. The bus stop nonsense of car escorts (and waiting for each student to exit their vehicles. That and parents who greet the Chatty Patty bus driver at each stop. I’m a friendly person but can we not try to make this nonsense more efficient? Good morning will suffice.

    Getting stuck behind a modern day school bus with the long stops at each and every driveway and ensuing road rage probably cause more serious accidents and injury than unleashed children at bus stops.

  44. J.T. Wenting March 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    “What about the lobbyists who are pushing this? Who are they and who’s funding them? How big were the campaign contributions this quintet?”

    probably operators of commercial daycare centers who’d get a lot of business from all the families where the parents work fulltime and now will be required by law to have their children sent to a daycare center where they will be taken from the bus by an employee and stuffed 50 to a small room until their parents get home from work and can pick them up there…

  45. BL March 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I suppose they’ll have to check ID at each stop – proof of age and guardianship.

    “Are your papers in order?”

  46. Gary March 26, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    “The bus stop nonsense of car escorts (and waiting for each student to exit their vehicles. ”

    Lol, you did catch the part where I said she was still in her friggin driveway right? The ENTIRE driveway is no longer than thirty feet, if that, that’s a goddamm first down!! Why bother walking out of your house? Just let them stand in the damm doorway and when the bus stops, open the door and let them out. When I saw her put the minivan in reverse and back up that measly twenty feet I couldn’t believe it.

  47. Silver Fang March 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    When I was 12 I got on and off the bus alone just fine.

  48. Rob March 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    This is utterly ridiculous. I started walking to school – 3/4 of a mile away – in first grade, when I was 6, accompanied by my 8 year old brother. I started babysitting the neighbors’ kids when I was 12. There is absolutely zero justification for such as asinine “law.”

  49. Warren March 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    We had half a dozen moms sitting at the corner with their kids, from K to gr 12, the elementary and high schools are beside each other in town, so they all share the bus.

    Anyway cars and minivans running for heat and airconditioning and we asked them to not do so. They did not comply, so the OPP enforced the no idling laws and the illegal parking. Win win, no more vehicles crowding the intersection, and the community got what I figure to be about $2000.00 in revenue from fines.

  50. Brenna March 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Gary, I drove by a house that did that. At first I thought it had to be a fluke. Or that her kids were special needs. But they are perfectly normal kids, and she does it no matter what the weather. It absolutely blows my mind. What does she think she’s accomplishing by driving those 10 feet??? Drove me so batsh*t crazy (waiting for the kids to UNBUCKLE FROM THAT DANGEROUS 10 FOOD DRIVE!) that I changed my schedule just so I wouldn’t have to see it.

  51. Emily March 26, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Umm, no. I was a “latchkey kid” starting at age twelve, but how do you think I developed the skills to be allowed to be left home alone after school, then overnight, then for days at a time, etc.? That’s right–by shorter stints of independence, gradually building up. If kids are constantly supervised until some magic age when they’re deemed “mature and responsible enough,” they won’t GET mature and responsible enough to handle freedom sensibly.

  52. Steve March 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Although I tend to think readers of this blog are not average uninvolved citizen-drones, I do wonder how many of you have ever contacted your senator or congressman about anything. Today would be a good time to begin a new habit.

  53. Sara March 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Do they have daycare at the middle schools there? Because that’s what you’d have to do with these kids who are easily old enough to be latch key kids for a few hours. This is absurd

  54. BL March 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    “Although I tend to think readers of this blog are not average uninvolved citizen-drones, I do wonder how many of you have ever contacted your senator or congressman about anything. Today would be a good time to begin a new habit.”

    I have. I got bland form letters in reply. I doubt they got any more attention than an aide looking for a keyword X:
    “Thank you for your concern about X.”

    If you contact them about this, you’ll get “thank you for your concern about child safety”.

  55. Havva March 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Question for RI parents:
    Can the kids arrive at/leave school without an escort?

    I could see this pushing some families have the kids, walk, bike, use public transport over much longer distances at an earlier age just to avoid the school controlling if they are allowed off the bus. Of course far more parents would just take away their children’s freedom… But I am tempted to argue that this might create a situation that is not as safe or developmentally appropriate, in order to ‘protect’ already safe kids from a non-existent danger.

  56. Michelle March 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    My neighborhood elementary school already does this. But teenagers can’t pick up kids from the stop; it has to be an actual adult. If not, they take your kid to the police station instead.

    Apparently, I’m the only one who finds this completely outrageous, but my kids don’t (and never have or will) attend that school.

  57. Edward March 26, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Just forwarded this topic and comment page link to all five e-mails listed with my statement; “Yeah, I know,I don’t live in Rhode Island but your legislative disease will spread.”
    Took less than 5 minutes. I suggest everyone else do the same.

  58. Warren March 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm #

    Will there be some form of financial compensation by the state for missed work, paid bus greeter, or any number of new costs this will impart on parents?

    Are employers going to start letting employees go, because they now can only work during school hours essentially?

    The day mom does not make it to the bus stop in time, is she going to be arrested and CPS called?

    I can just see the bus monitor now wearing a red arm band with SS on it. And parents being busted everyday.
    God Bless America.

  59. Michelle March 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    @Steve, “Although I tend to think readers of this blog are not average uninvolved citizen-drones, I do wonder how many of you have ever contacted your senator or congressman about anything. Today would be a good time to begin a new habit.”

    I do. But I also give money to a homeschooling rights organization that has recently branched out to protect parental rights in Texas. They have quite a bit more pull in Austin than I do alone.

  60. Leppi March 26, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    I would get life if I lived in America…

    today yet another glorious example.

    My oldest (8, 2nd grade) has been taking the publich bus (there is no designated school bus here) since the 1st day, except for the days he takes his bike (or on occation with bad rain, or snow I will drive him, but that makes me late for work, so there has to be a really good reason…)

    This morning I hushed him out of the dore as always, brought his younger brother to kindergarden and off I went to earn money, totally ignorant of the fact that NO BUSSES were driving this morning. They were on strike, and I did not know that it was impacting our city as well!

    So what did my poor 8 yo do? He walked. Once he rememberd that his teacher had told them the day before that there would be a strike (and he forgot to tell me), he started to walk to school. He a has a cell phone, he knows how to use it, but for him, the situation did not require my intervention or help.

    A schoolfriend and his mother picked him up on the way, so he even go there in time, this mother called me at work and told me about it, so I could even arrange for his transportation home (and if I had not he would have walked the 1 mile home)

    A perfect example that the failability of mothers and lack of communication is not the end of the word. And that there are a lot of nice people out there helping.

    (and I am so proud and self-pleased that my son did not even consider this a problem worth calling me on the cellphone, however I will pay more attention to the areas with strikes…)

  61. Steve March 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    BL said: (regarding contacting a senator or congressman)

    “I have. I got bland form letters in reply. I doubt they got any more attention than an aide looking for a keyword X:
    ‘Thank you for your concern about X.’ ”

    Form letters are the easiest way to respond to constituents. Their time is limited just like yours is. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t influenced by your opinion, especially if a lot of people contact them about a particular issue. If only 2 or 3 people go to the trouble of contacting their rep to say they support the legislation, but 15 or 20 oppose it, you might make a real difference.

  62. Sarah March 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    From the official website for Mary Duff Meisser- Her 2012 legislation enabled the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club to increase its tax exempt status in conjunction with expansion plans.
    So yep, I am guessing they might have something to do with funding this bill.

  63. SOA March 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    I have called and spoken to several politicians over a couple topics. One involving the right of parents to decide over the school if twins should be kept together or separated in the classroom. Another time over medical marijuana legalization in our state specifically about a family I know that this law would help. Maybe for something else I am failing to remember. I contact the school and central office and superintendent about school policies I don’t like regularly.

  64. Steve March 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    Does anybody else remember the School Safety Patrol crossing guards? When I was in grade school those were 5th and 6th graders.

  65. Melanie March 26, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    I’m a Rhode Island resident and am VERY annoyed that I’ve first heard about this hear. My Representative is the head of the committee to which this bill has been referred and I’ve sent him an e-mail expressing my displeasure with any bill which assumes all parents are incapable of making these judgment calls themselves based on their knowledge of their own children. Other Rhode Islanders, Rep. Joseph McNamara’s e-mail address is rep-mcnamara@rilin.state.ri.us– be sure to include your mailing address in your message if you want a response because he only responds via USPS.

  66. CM March 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    I recently had to teach my son how to take the city bus as I was unable to drive him.

    He is 11.

    I normally drove him to his after school activities because they are on the other side of the city, a good 8 km away.

    I wouldn’t expect him to walk it, but due to my job circumstances I was unable to continue taking him.

    I knew he would be fine, but I took the bus with him the first day so he would know how to do transfers as it is two busses from home to after-school activities.

    I would be screwed if something like that took place here and my son had to ride a bus.

    I doubt it would hapthough. My area is primarily a dual-income area. Stay Home Alone programs are run for kids 9-12, and babysitting classes run from 11-16.

  67. Lin March 26, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    I don’t know how the school bus system works there. It seems to be much more used than where I live (Canberra, Australia). But could you get round this rule for now by letting your child take a city bus instead? That’s what my 9yo does because the school bus services are slow and very limited here. And personally, I find the line bus a better environment from what I have heard about what goes on on school buses.

  68. Reziac March 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    These parents are raising a generation of cripples.

    These are the routes I could do BY MYSELF when I was FIVE years old:


    Location B was where I lived.
    Location A was a grocery store (across a busy street — there was a light at the corner)
    Location C was where I went to kindergarten.

    These are the routes I could do BY MYSELF when I was SIX years old:


    Location B was where I lived.
    Location A was my elementary school
    (eeek, there’s now a parking lot covering most of what used to be the playground!)
    Location C was where I went to Sunday School.

    When I was 14, this was the route I often did on my bicycle, BY MYSELF.


    Okay, so that one was too far to walk. 😉

  69. renee March 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    All I keep thinking is that at 12y kids are old enough to be PARENTS. I was a crisis pregnancy worker 16 years ago. Many 12y olds are old enough to get preg. When I was working in IN, the law at the time said that the birth mother had legal right over her child, even if she was a minor. So a 12y would be held legally responsible for the care of her own child, even if that 12y was still under the care of her parents. How can there be a law that says the same 12y isn’t old enough to get off the bus alone, but is old enough to have legal responsibility for a baby?

  70. hineata March 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Another one for the ‘thank God we don’t live in the States’ file.

    There are children who are dropped off at bus stops in NZ – predominantly farm kids whose homes are sometimes kilometres from the farm gate. Otherwise, well…..

  71. Amy March 27, 2014 at 12:31 am #

    These people sit around together and smoke pot and giggle about these dumb ideas they come up with. Surely.

  72. Dave B March 27, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with this.
    Just send your full time nanny to the bus stop. Your driver can take her there.

    If you think thats too costly, just tell your trophy wife to sell some shares or stop being in the 99%/poor.
    It’s that easy.

  73. gap.runner March 27, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    Stories like this make me glad that I don’t live in the States.

    In Germany kids in first grade (ages 6-7) walk to school by themselves. Primary schools (grades 1-4) don’t require anyone to pick up the kids or sign them out. Once the bell rings, they are released to get home on foot, by bike (starting in 4th grade), or in a car. There are no school buses for primary students.

    In secondary school, which starts in 5th grade (ages 10-11), most of the kids get to school and back on their own. Kids either walk, ride their bikes, or ride the city bus or train. There are no school buses. Very few kids get rides from their parents unless their parents work in the same area. Most small towns and villages don’t have a secondary school, so the students from those places have to take a city/county bus or train to go to school in a larger town or city. When kids take the bus or train, they are dropped off at either a train station or platform or a bus stop and walk home from there. There are no requirements to meet kids at the bus stop or train station. Ten-year-old fifth graders are expected to walk home from a bus stop or train station by themselves. At that age, walking with a parent is considered babyish.

  74. Krissy March 27, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    All I can think about is how parents will have to rouse and dress the younger siblings and drag them out in the winter to wait with a child who is perfectly capable. Nothing better than waking a sleeping baby and wrestling them into their winter gear at 7:00 am.

  75. Dave B March 27, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    @ gap.runner

    Don’t forget, at least at my school, kids get a bicycle safety course and the bikes are checked for safety/roadworthy-ness. So it’s not that nobody cares, but if everything checks out, kids should be fine on their own.

    School buses don’t stop at individual houses, thats not very efficient.

    Don’t forget we germans only get our drivers licenses at 18, or at 17 with serveral restrictions. Or at least light motorcycle/scooter licenses at 16, going to be 15.

    German kids are expected to find their way to school, unless the school is very far away. Walking and biking is quite the norm.

  76. Angela March 27, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    I… I….

    When my children were younger, I tried thinking of some way I could *celebrate* them becoming young adults. When to time these celebrations concerned me, however. I mean, with the girls Nature takes over – we celebrate when they get their first menses. When my first daughter reached her time (12) I realized I had not yet celebrated with her brother, who is 11 months older than her. I decided to celebrate with my boys at age 13; after all, he’d been actively seeking out yard work and odd jobs since he was 10 – even had flyers made. I likely should have done it earlier.

    It concerns me that there are those in the world who believe that these young adults have the equivalent maturity of a kindergartener – and a new one at that, because once they knew what they were doing, I didn’t even meet them at the bus stop in kindergarten.

  77. Rick March 27, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Geez, I live in RI and didn’t know about this. I’m going to contact these idiots. By the way, I rode my bike to kindergarten and walked 4 miles to my sixth grade school – alone.

  78. Ann March 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    This is insane. My daughters’ school bus drop-off time in the afternoon varies as much as 30-45 minutes on any given day depending on whether or not they combine buses. No way am I going to sit out there for an hour every day waiting for the bus to arrive! My kids are perfectly capable of getting off the bus and walking home without me. And the burden this would put on bus drivers is INSANE. What about the parents who get stuck in traffic on the way home and call a neighbor to greet their child. There is no way to put that in writing ahead of time! Insanity.

  79. Kvirtue March 27, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Local RI-er here… there has been no local media coverage on this. The Speaker of the house ( from PVD ) was ‘raided’ by the FBI et all for other issues, so that kerfuffle has been taking all the coverage.

    Messier is my rep. 🙁 letter sent to the 5 ‘sponsors’. Text is on the Facebook FRK posting. Feel free to use as needed.

  80. Jen G. March 27, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Wow. Just wow. I have a feeling if this passes, it would just be easier and more convenient for the parents t drive their kids to school.

  81. kate March 27, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Steve- I remember being a proud crossing guard in the 5th grade. It was my job to help the little kids across the street. Back then, no self respecting first grader would be seen with a parent walking them to school. Only the baby kindergardeners would have a parent along, unless they had an older sibling or neighbor to watch out for them.

  82. Katie G March 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    I’m not in RI, but I actually sent an email (the same to all) to each representative. Blood boiling over such stupidity!

  83. Donna March 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    Hope this doesn’t happen in our district since I’ve already told my daughter that next year she can take the bus home and be a latchkey kid when I have court in the afternoon. Maybe I should check the school bus rules.

  84. rhodykat March 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Beth – I AM in Rhode Island and my letters are sent! I will go testify on this one if you let me know the date….

  85. pentamom March 27, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    All I have to ask is: will Tom Sawyer be banned from reading in the Rhode Island schools, too?

  86. rhodykat March 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    As I think about it, I wonder if this is a means to try to extend the school day for Common Core. They want more control of your children – what better way than to tell your kids they can’t get off the bus then offer free after care at the local indoctrination station…I mean, public school!

  87. CrazyCatLady March 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    So, what happens if Mom or Dad, who may be home, has a disability that will not allow them to wait at the bus stop? Will they drive the kid to the door and wait to see the parent wave through the window?

    I can think of legitimate reasons why a parent, other than work (which is a legitimate reason) would not be able to come to the bus stop. Even temporary reasons. Like, when my mother was pregnant with my brother and almost miscarried and was on bed rest for several months.

    Or, when I have been very ill and it would have been more dangerous for me to walk. Or the friend who had severe vertigo while pregnant. Her walking out even the front door would have been dangerous for her and her baby. She basically sat all day in the same spot while her husband was at work.

    So what choices do the parents have then? Send them to the Boys and Girls Club? But the parent couldn’t pick up from there either. No, the best option that I could think of would be to keep them home. Because if they can’t get them off the bus, they face having to pick up their kids at the police station. But then, if they keep them home, they also face having the truant officer show up. Can’t win.

  88. Emily March 28, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    Another thing–what about the kid who failed a grade and is now in grade six at the age of twelve? What about the kid with an early birthday, who turns twelve in January of grade six? What about the kid who skipped a grade, and is now in grade seven, but only eleven years old? What about kids with intellectual disabilities, who may be several grades behind (or enrolled in ungraded special needs classes), or gifted kids who may be years ahead, or enrolled in gifted classes that may also be ungraded/mixed ages? The proposed law is moronic, of course, but it also ignores the fact that not EVERY grade seven student is necessarily twelve years old.

  89. BL March 28, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    “Because if they can’t get them off the bus, they face having to pick up their kids at the police station. But then, if they keep them home, they also face having the truant officer show up. Can’t win.”

    That’s the whole idea.

  90. Emily March 28, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Sorry, when I said “intellectual disabilities,” I meant “learning disabilities,” which are different, but it was late at night, and I was tired. So, what I was trying to say was, it’d be entirely possible for a twelve-year-old student to be a few years behind in school, or taking an ungraded special-needs class, because of dyslexia or whatever. This hypothetical student could still be mature enough to be a “latchkey kid,” but how would this asinine law deal with that? Would they let him/her on and off the bus alone, or stick to the letter of the law, because he/she isn’t in grade seven?

  91. Tsu Dho Nimh March 28, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    There are “school bus shelters” all along US60 in New Mexico where children wait in inclement weather.

    If you are passing at the right time of day you can see school-aged children walking up or down the long ranch driveways, often when the ranch is nowhere in sight, Walking or bicycling ALONE in a landscape with no houses or protective adults in sight. In SNOW up to their ankles, or in a light drizzle, or even on a HOT afternoon.

    And if they are there before the bus, you see them playing ALONE, reading ALONE and just sitting ALONE.

    Oh the horrors! The emotional trauma! I weep when I see them.

  92. Nicholas March 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    I just emailed the reps and hope all of you will do the same:

    I recently heard about H-7578. I took a brief moment to Google the actual text of the article, and it appears that it really does require an adult to pickup their middle-schooler from the bus each day, but if I’ve fallen prey to an April Fools Day joke then I do apologize.

    That being said, I’m first going to say that I echo the plethora of other correspondence that I’m sure you’ve already received about the ridiculousness of a 12-year old being incapable of walking a few hundred feet; In a first world nation with a declining crime rate, no less! This law would do so little good as there is virtually no risk to mitigate, while robbing children of an incredible amount of self-reliance, confidence, and personal growth. It is through growing freedoms and challenges that humans learn and grow, and now more than ever our country needs more citizens with a sense of personal responsibility and basic life competence.

    On the topic of safety, please remember that we live in America, a country with an obesity epidemic caused by certain cultural attitudes. The majority of parents will choose to pick up their children in a car, even if driving a few houses down the street; I have seen this in my own neighborhood. Statistically, this actually increases a child’s risk of harm or death (this time by car accident), so you have only managed to make children less safe. At the same time we will be contributing to the waste of valuable fossil fuels that cannot be replaced while hurrying along an already worsening climate catastrophe.

    However, one of the most important questions raised by this legislation is: picked up by whom? The vast majority of US households are dual income, often by necessity these days. This means that most parents are at work when kids arrive home from school. In my youth most schoolmates I knew were “latchkey kids”, and while this trend has been dying out in favor of overprotective daycares, many parents simply cannot afford that luxury. Should those parents quit their jobs and move their kids to a less expensive house and poorer school system?

    Please remember, especially in these difficult economic times, that the majority of Americans are not as affluent as those in politics seem to think. The average annual household income barely breaks the $50,000 mark, and the median is much lower than that. Many parents, like myself, are forced to work two jobs to adequately provide for our children. And there is no option to get out of work two hours early to pickup our kids; even suggesting it to our bosses risks the loss of a job that we cannot afford losing. Is what you believe is being gained worth putting the majority of your citizenry in this sort of position?

    This proposed legislation is insulting, unconstitutional, imperils children by introducing real dangers (to protected them from perceived dangers), and insults not just parents, but the very ideals upon which our country is based. It should not, can not, be supported.

  93. Dan March 28, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    Did the school bus stop alone at ages 5 and 6. No parents after the first day.

    Age 7, walked a mile to school

    Age 8-10, rode my bike a mile to school.

    Age 11-17, walked to Jr. High and High School.

    Nobody wanted their parents to be seen anywhere near them.

  94. Sam March 31, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    My son’s school has this policy. If you are not there to meet the bus, they take your child back to school and sign them in to the aftercare program, which is $15 per day. One time I was running behind and the bus driver called me. I told him I was just down the street. He said he couldn’t wait and needed to drive back to the school. I asked him to just let my son off the bus, he refused. I followed the school bus the 15 miles back to the school. He signed my son into the aftercare program, so I would be charged, I immediately signed him back out, and drove the 15 miles back home.

  95. Dave April 1, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    If they want to be your kids’ parent so badly, when will they be sending their child support?

    Parents know when their child is ready to do things on their own, I’m not sure what point there is to this law at all other than the above.

  96. Amanda Matthews April 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    @Sam That sounds like kidnapping and holding the kid for $15 ransom.

  97. Bette April 6, 2014 at 9:51 am #

    Cripes. What is this world coming to? Fear online, fear outside.

    My child is ten in 5th grade and gets home from the bus stop just fine.

    Let kids build the skills and they will learn to make decisions for themselves.

  98. Susan Ryan April 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Good grief — my son was getting on city buses and subways by himself in 6th grade — taking himself to school AND to an after-school dance class IN TIMES SQUARE without me or any other adult!! This is nuts — you have to know your kid, and most kids can handle it by 5th or 6th grade, if not sooner…

  99. Tricia Adams April 8, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    This bill is up for consideration tomorrow, April 9th, in the House H.E.W. at the rise.

    House Bill No. 7578
    BY Williams, Edwards, O’Brien, Messier, Slater
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION – HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PUPILS (This act would require that for school bus transportation provided to children enrolled in grades kindergarten through six (6), a parent, guardian or authorized person be present at the child’s designated bus stops.)
    02/26/2014 Introduced, referred to House H.E.W.
    04/04/2014 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/09/2014)

  100. Tricia Adams April 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Members of the House H.E.W. Committee, who are set to hear the bill tomorrow. Also, 401-22-2296 is the phone number to the Committee office. You can ask that your opposition to the bill be recorded and entered into the record. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/ComMembers/ComMemr.asp?ComChoiceR=HHEW

  101. Tricia Adams April 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    That number is 401-222-2296.