Dear Free-Range Kids: My daughter is a sophomore in high school. I also have a 3 year old and am expecting a new little one this winter. My only real complaint with her school is that I cannot send a note telling them when I will pick her up for an appointment and have her wait outside for me. No. I have to drag my 3 year old (and soon, my newborn as well) out of the car, damn the weather, haul us all inside, go to the attendance office, sign her out, keep my toddler entertained and contained and quiet WITHOUT running or climbing on the benches (his shoes might get germs on the benches, and then someone would have to wipe them down with antibacterial wipes — I was actually told this), and WAIT while they send a special runner up to my daughter’s classroom to give her a hall pass, then keep waiting until she arrives at my side, whereupon we can finally walk out together.
It absolutely infuriates me! She’s going to be driving soon! She knows her way around. And she even knows the way from her classroom to the curb, where I would gladly pull up and wait for her to arrive.
Not only do I have to physically sign her out, but if I don’t also send a note upon her return, the absence is unexcused. This is too much! The kids are not in prison, for goodness’ sake.
It hasn’t been that long since I was in school myself, and when I was in school, not only could I wait outside for my mom to pick me up for an appointment, if the appointment was close enough, I could – gasp – WALK myself there and back to school. It’s dispiriting to watch the changes. — Duckmama
It’s also dispiriting to inevitably be told this is all for the children’s “safety,” when clearly it isn’t. It doesn’t affect their safety one whit! They are allowed to walk home, so why is it MORE dangerous to stand outside for a few minutes, or even walk home, but at a different time? “Safety” is the all-purpose, brook-no-dissension shibboleth that stands in for, “New rule we are imposing whether it makes sense or not, just because it seems sort of responsible even if it’s actually a pointless pain.” – L