Ugh! Now 5th Graders “Can” Go Play — Once a Month, If Chaperoned

Hi Readers! In a post earlier this week we were discussing a great tradition: Fifth graders in Davidson, N.C., who leave school on Friday afternoons and proceed to the town green for an an afternoon of just being kids. This was abruptly declared “unsafe” and ended. Here’s why, according to Davidsonnews.net:

Ms. Nivens [the interim principal] said she thinks fifth graders are too young to be allowed outside home or school without an adult. “Even though it is not a school-sponsored activity, the school still is perceived as encouraging children to be unaccompanied … and to be unsupervised,” she said.

She also worries – though she admits it is “far out there” – that unsupervised children could get into other trouble when they’re alone, such as arranging meetings with strangers they may have met on the Internet. “The world is just a different place nowadays. I just imagine that a child could be on the Internet or Facebook with someone and arrange to meet them there. That would just be a concern that I would have as a parent.”

So now, if a person can dream up a dreadful scenario, it justifies acting as if it’s about to happen? What if I dreamed up the idea that the kids, instead of going to the green, were instead picked up by their parents only to get into a multi-car crash? Sure that’s a little “out there” but it’s not completely unheard of, right? Would that justify the kids NOT getting picked up? After all, I can imagine it.

Anyway, NOW, according to this thoroughly researched follow-up piece, the Friday tradition may be revived — with a nice thick layer of bureaucratic overkill:

A new letter [from school] this week offers to allow the walks once a month – on the fourth Friday – but only if parents sign up with the school as volunteer chaperones. The school said Thursday that kids would not be allowed to walk to the Green this week, since it’s not the fourth Friday.

If they want to go on a Friday that is NOT the fourth in the month (like today), they must be picked up and driven there, or take the bus home FIRST and THEN be driven there.

So what was once a simple throng of kids being kids becomes a tangle of permission slips, regulations and minivans.Huck Finn’s got nothing on these kids!

And, as you’ll read in the story, the shopkeepers were not dismayed by unruly students. For the most part, they were delighted with the kids’ business and already miss it. What’s more, sometimes parents would meet their children downtown later, to shop or go out to dinner. WHAT’S GOOD FOR KIDS IS GOOD FOR COMMUNITY.

And as Davidson is learning: the opposite is true, too. — L.

Children outside, on their own? THIS MUST STOP!