Let’s Hear it For a 9-Year-Old Samaritan!

Hi Readers — Here’s a nice little story. Nine-year-old Richard “Rashad” Scott  came upon a lost, crying 5-year-old and flagged down a police car, in the rain, to  help them both. Good work! And how great to read a story that reminds us: Most of us, even youngsters, want to help, not hurt. — Lenore

Lady Helps Boy Down from Tree, School Accuses Her of “Trespassing”

Dear Readers: This one just proves what monkeys we become when we refuse to use our brains (or tails). A 5-year-old boy in England climbed up a tree at the end of recess. Fine. But rather than helping — or even ordering — him down, the teachers followed their “health and safety” guidelines…and left him there. Their rules apparently say they are supposed to  “observe from a distance” (lest they distract the child) rather than actually DO anything.

Well they observed from such a distance that it wasn’t until about 45 minutes later that some lady passing by saw the boy, still up the tree, and helped him down. Then she walked him back into school whereupon she was reported to the police for trespassing.

As a school official put it, “The safety of our pupils is our top priority and we should like to make it clear that this child was being observed at all times during this very short incident…. To protect children we cannot assume that people who enter the school grounds without permission have innocent intentions and must act accordingly.”

Yes, let’s not judge their intentions by the fact that they are showing up WITH a child, rather than running off with one.The “trespasser” herself put it best: “I am a mother myself and I find it a bit ridiculous that the school’s policy is to leave a child up a tree.”

As you know, Free-Range is all for kids climbing trees. It also very unlikely that the boy was in danger (as the Samaritan worried) of being “snatched.” Nonetheless, we are all for kids coming down from trees when it’s time for school to begin again. To go by “rules and regulations” rather than common sense when a kid is stuck up a tree makes as much sense as leaving a family in a burning building because the sign on the door says, “Authorized Personnel Only.”

Actually, what this whole incident comes down to, as so much Free-Ranging does, is this: When we rigidly adhere to oppressive, catch-all rules — rules that are sometimes only in place for legal reasons, or “cover your rear” reasons — we lose the great thing that makes us human: our ability to think and reason and do what makes sense.

It’s enough to make you climb a tree. — Lenore

The root of the problem.

Tragedy Miraculously Averted!

Hi Readers! I’m sorry for what happened to this kid, but is it NEWS? And did we NEED that last line? And as the guy who sent this to Free-Range Kids said: “I thought this a headline from The  Onion.” But no. It’s from Gainseville, Fla:

7-year-old ends up walking home alone from school

By Harriet Daniels
Stafff writer

Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7:58 p.m.
Last Modified:
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7:58 p.m.

The family of a Williams Elementary first-grader is trying to figure out how the child, who had always ridden the bus or had been driven home, ended up walking from school alone on Monday.

There is confusion about whether the 7-year-old girl was to have been picked up by a family member or to have ridden a bus to the YMCA after school.

It also is unclear how the child ended up leaving the school campus. She reportedly became lost and confused and was found crying about a mile from the school by a stranger, who then took the girl to her godmother’s home, a family member said.

Since the incident, a district spokeswoman said the school has put a stricter policy in place to ensure all adults involved in dismissal each day know the status of each child, whether they are to walk home, be picked up or ride a bus home or to an after-school program.

“Thank God a good Samaritan picked her up or this could have been a tragedy,” said the girl’s grandmother, Mary Banks.