You Mean Not Every Candy-Giver is a Predator?

Hi Readers! The folks in this Chicago Sun-Times story are SO old, they tried to give candy to their grandchild’s schoolmates. How clueless! Don’t they know that any adult who is nice to someone else’s kids is probably grooming them for an illicit relationship…or worse? — L You Are Part of the Problem!

Hi Readers — I went to check the forecast on this morning and up popped an app, unbidden: “Mom’s Daily Planner.”

How the site KNEW I’m a mom I won’t even speculate. But here are the day parts it broke the day down into:


PM Bus Stop

Evening Activity

Excuse me — “PM Bus Stop” is now an official part of a mom’s day? We are EXPECTED to be at the bus stop to pick up our children? Expected to drop everything to stand guard at the bus stops that have existed for decades, where kids used to hop off and skip home on their own? Now these MUST be manned — or rather, mommed?

I know that some schools require a mom or other per-certified caregiver to wait at the stop and this irks me no end — why can’t the parents decide if they think it’s safe (or even beneficial!) for their kid to walk from the bus stop to home? But what’s uber-irking me today is that this is becoming so much the norm that treats it like a pre-ordained part of every mother’s day: You get up, you get dressed, you have breakfast, lunch and then pick up the kid from the bus stop.

Apparently you don’t work, or if you do, you skip that report the boss was waiting for, to make sure your kid doesn’t ever have to walk a block or two alone.

As’s presumed “Evening Activity” is ambiguous — PERHAPS the mom is allowed to attend an activity of her own choosing and this does NOT only refer to the child’s evening activity — I’m not going to carp about it. Ditto,  the site’s  “lunchtime.”  But “PM Bus Stop” has me stormier than the November weather outside. Weather that I guess I’ll check by looking out the window instead of clicking on the blithely bubblewrapping, neighborhood-distrusting, mom-indenturing — Lenore

ADDENDUM: I think (and hope!) many of  the commenters below are right: This “PM Bus stop” is a way for parents to see what the weather will be when the kids are walking home, not when WE, the parents, are stuck waiting at the bus stop. I hope so and thanks for enlightening me! L.

I can figure out the weather for myself from now on. Looks windy.

Outrage of the Day: Dad Faces Legal Action for Not Walking 7 y.o. to Bus Stop

Hi Readers! Here’s today’s story from across the pond (thank you, Virtual Linguist, for sending it along): A father who lets his 7 year old daughter walk to and from the school bus stop has been threatened by the authorities who say they may report him to child protective services. And just how far away is the bus stop?

20 yards.

The girl has to cross what the dad calls a country lane on the way. He thinks it’s very safe. He thinks his daughter is capable of handling it. But apparently, the local county council does not. And while it was busy chastising him, it added that the girl was seen not wearing a sweater (or “jumper” as they call it over there) on a chilly day — further proof of gross parental negligence.

So I guess it is time to arrest all of us whose kids (like mine, this morning) don’t take a jacket even though we think they should.

And incidentally: as my post below this one was all about how the news only reports the most unusual events, let’s keep this weird one in perspective, too. While it seems to represent a trend toward institutionalizing overprotection, it’s not like most parents are being arrested for letting their kids walk to school.

(Possibly because most parents are DRIVING them. But that’s another story.) — L.

Why One Mom Lets Her Son Walk to the Bus Stop Now

Hi Folks!
Here’s a short, sweet post by Seattle reporter Denise Gonzalez-Walker, who did something radical: She met her neighbors. It changed the way she’s raising her son:

By Denise Gonzalez-Walker


I recently finished a temporary job that gave me new perspective on the Free-Range philosophy. Working as a U.S. Census canvasser, I went door-to-door in my community, verifying addresses and other mundane information, like if someone had turned their backyard into a new condo development.

  Think about it for a minute: Would you be willing to knock on every door in your ‘hood?

  My area of the city is “colorful,” with everything from tidy cottages to messy shacks with broken-down cars in the yard. It’s where my family lives. Where my son catches his bus.

 But I’ve always wondered if I should trust my neighborhood. The census job gave me chance to find out.

 A few women I met acted as if I was nuts. Who knows? The bogeyman himself might be lurking behind that next door, waiting to snatch me, torture me and kill me, they’d say. I hated those exchanges, which made me feel anxious and paranoid.

 My 11 year-old son also worried about me at first. Talk about turning the tables! When I came home from my first day of training and relayed that a census worker in another state had been killed on the job, his eyes grew big. 

“Shot?” he asked, “Stabbed?”

 No, I told him, the worker had died in a car crash while driving between locations.

 By the end of my job, our group of canvassers had visited 32,000 homes. The calamities, in total? One minor car accident and a dog bite. In other words, reality matched what the statistics say about the risks of walking door-to-door and — gasp — meeting people in your community.

 By knocking on those doors, I came to trust my neighborhood a lot more. So when my son asked me if he could start walking alone to the bus stop two blocks away, I didn’t hesitate. “Sure,” I said. “But be sure to watch out for cars!”