“Dangerous Walks?”

The school bus stops at the corner near our house. Each morning and each afternoon cars line our street occupied by parents waiting to either drop their children off for the bus or pick them up from the bus. Only rarely does a child walk home from the bus stop. Even then he is often accompanied by an adult.

It is as if somehow parents have collectively decided that it isn’t safe for their children to walk the several blocks between the bus stop and their homes. This decision isn’t based in statistics but in some generalized fear of stranger abductions. I am not sure when this settled in among people. Most abuse of children takes place at home, not from some random stranger on the street. But the idea that children are easy prey outside seems to become a standard belief among both parents and, sadly, children.

I am saddened to think of this fear being added to all the others heaped on American school children. Perhaps, at least, parents might cooperate to let the kids walk home together. I could then again enjoy the banter and high jinks that such schoolchildren used to share as they walked by my house years ago.

13 thoughts on ““Dangerous Walks?”

  1. It is easy for me to remember when I walked (or took a bus) to school with my friends, from the ages of 7-17 until I started work. My parents would never have considered that to be remotely dangerous, even in Central London.
    And neither did we.
    What went wrong?
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Here a woman was investigated for letting her 10 year old walk home after she kicked him out of the car for being rude. Apparently that was considered “neglect.” I always thought of it as logical consequences!

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  2. I’m similar to Pete. Opposite us we have a lower school (5-13) and the children are shepherded. Next door is a secondary school (11-18) and the parental ferrying begins to drop rapidly from about 13 I would judge. Its sad that they have to wait that long for some unsupervised freedom to be kids…

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  3. It is similar over here. Caused in part by the huge increase in traffic compared to the days when I walked home and shepherded my sisters along the way, but also by the intense media coverage when anything untoward does occur. It has created generalised fear that you mention.

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  4. Here too I see some parents waiting to take their children home from the bus stop. But many walk home by themselves. I remember those days when I used to watch children going past our home in the evenings. My children were small and waved at them. In those days during heavy rain and wind the roof tiles of the school flew off and holiday was declared. And children were very happy 😊.

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