Kids Are Now Legally Allowed to Walk Home From School Alone

kid walking to schoolParents will no longer face criminal charges if they let their kids walk to school alone, thanks to the new Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives parents permission to parent in the way they feel right for their family. To me, this is a no-brainer -- why parents were being brought up on charges for giving their kids some independence made no sense.

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We know our kids -- some children are ready to walk to school by themselves earlier than others. It's all part of that Free-Range Kids movement, which, to me, is exactly what my parents practiced years and years before it had a name. Growing up in NYC, I walked home from elementary school nearly every single day. It was eight blocks away. I crossed streets and avenues to get there, always crossing at corners and listening to the walk/don't walk signs. Neighbors waved; they didn't call the cops.

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When I was in third grade, I walked home with my sister who was in Kindergarten. If this happened in 2015, my parents could have been arrested. It has happened. Parents have been detained, kids held for hours by the police. All because of some overzealous stranger danger from a busybody or cops just doing their job, I suppose.

I'm all for the "it takes a village" mentality. I love that other people are looking out for our kids as they walk alone, but we can't be alarmists. We have to believe in our neighbors knowing they aren't out to harm our children as much as we believe in our kids -- and know that the freedom to let them walk to class alone will be beneficial for them. Hovering over their every move and not allowing them to explore on their own can be stifling. Independence is such an important thing to learn, even at an early age.

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Some parents still feel it's absolutely wrong to let young kids have this kind of independence, and those are the parents who should trust their instinct and make sure their kids are escorted. But it should remain the parents' choice -- not a law. I'd rather see law enforcement enforcing the law on car seats and their safety and making sure mothers are able to breastfeed in public in peace.

 

Image via ©AartiKalyani/iStock

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