Free-Range Kids

Schools to Parents: Pick Up Your Kids from the Bus Or We'll Sic Child Services on You

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Chris Farley
Billy Madison / Youtube

School administrators in Tampa, Florida, are insisting that parents pick up their kids from the bus stop after school lets out. And if they fail to comply, they could receive a visit from child services.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, district policy forbids kindergartners to walk home and requires bus drivers to bring them back to school if their parents don't appear on time. The story treats child autonomy as an obvious evil and punishable offense:

It happened about 1,600 times in the last school year: Bus drivers in Hillsborough County arrived at the bus stops in the afternoon with kindergarten students who had no parents or guardians to meet them. …

More than half the incidents involved repeat offenders. And they happened most often on Mondays, Fridays or the work days before and after a holiday. …

They've drafted an "initial KG bus letter" that school administrators can use as often as they like to get the message across. If the violations continue, a second letter orders the parent to come into the school for a meeting to try and pinpoint the reasons.

As a last resort, the district's chief of security will get involved. After sending out yet another letter and meeting with the parent, the chief will determine whether the district can handle things or child welfare officials need to get involved.

When parents merely forget to pick up their kids, that causes a headache for school personnel. I can understand why officials want to do something about that.

But it isn't a crime—or shouldn't be a crime—to let your child walk home on his own if you live just around the block. As Reason's Lenore Skenazy frequently points out, contrary to media hysteria, we do not live in uniquely dangerous times for kids. In fact, the great outdoors is a safer place for children than ever before in human history. On this specific story, Skenazy writes:

Parents who trust their kids and their communities are being treated like criminals. And yet, the way to solve this whole problem is so obvious: Scrap the policy and let the PARENTS decide if their kids are ready to walk home from the bus stop.

Regardless, the worst thing the district can do for children is sic child services on their parents.

More from Reason on the war on moms here.

NEXT: At Least 40 Federal Agencies Now Conduct Undercover Operations

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  1. Don’t let them know about certain areas in rural Kentucky. Some kids walk a half mile driveway just to the bus stop. Oh the horror…

  2. Photos of Rob Ford never old. He’s still mayor of Canada, right?

    There are no school buses in Southern California. We solve that problem a long time ago.

  3. Tar and feathers, followed by a starring role in the towns Thanksgiving parade. It’s the only way.

    1. Followed by a complete turnover of the school board next election. If they’re in, they’re out.

  4. Why do you hate children Robby? Don’t you realize that 5 out of every 3 kids who are left alone for any amount of time will be abducted by pedophiles, sold into child sex trafficking rings, and become addicted to bath salts?

    1. I was supposed to watch my siblings once when we were younger. Took my eyes off them for 5 seconds. They were abducted and forced to inject 10 marijuanas. They were never the same after that.

      1. Sounds like they’re lucky to be alive. That many marijuanas would normally put someone into the hospital for an OD.

        1. someone should outlaw it!

  5. They do that here in both directions. They will not let anyone under 3rd grade get on or off the bus unless someone is there with them.

    It is asanine, the bus stop is literally in our driveway and only my kids get on there by they won’t let my first grader get on the bus if someone isn’t waiting with her. Off the bus I can kinda sorta understand because they don’t know if anyone is home waiting for her but not even on the bus is just stupid.

    Fortunately an older sibling counts and I have 2 6th graders who ride the same bus with her so it isn’t as much of an issue.

    1. My sister was five years older, but she was always engaged in one after-school sport or another. As a result, I frequently walked/biked my first-grade ass home to an empty house. My folks and sister would all get home around the same time, about an hour later, and no one was ever surprised that I didn’t burn the house down.

      On cold days, I’d even put the kettle on the stove and make myself some hot chocolate. The horror!

      1. i was the eldest, i started being left home to my own devices when i was about 8.
        i never dreamed of doing anything other than my homework and maybe legos because i knew my dad would whoop my fucking ass if i did anything stupid.
        it was only for about 2 hours after school and i managed to live all the way to 29 so far…. oh dear lord ive been being left unsupervised for 21 years, that must explain why i live in a van down by the river (with rob ford)

    2. What possible reason could they give for a policy of not letting the pupil get onto the bus if unaccompanied? Like somehow leaving the child alone at the bus stop is safer than the child’s being on the bus, because somehow getting onto it without leaving the company of someone makes the bus ride more dangerous?

      Or is it like, how can we be sure this child we’re picking up is supposed to go to the school this bus is going to if there isn’t someone else around to corroborate hir identity or enrollment?

      Or is it supposed to be a deterrent, a game of chicken like most deterrents, where it’s acknowledged that leaving the child alone is a bad thing, but that knowing the child will be left alone by the bus driver will cause the parent or older sibling to be present to avoid the child’s being abandoned? Like, which one of us is going to get the blame when we each hold a burning match over the flammable liquid, trying to get the other one to put theirs out?

  6. From 1st to 6th grade I walked a mile to school, much of it uphill.

    1. Both ways, too!

    2. Wasn’t that hard, with all the driving snow?

      1. This was Western PA so, yes, there was often a great deal of snow to make my way through. Smart guy.

          1. Or shoes.

            1. Or thongs.

              1. But he could whithle up a thtorm with that mithing tooth.

    3. Yes. Its really none of their fucking business how my kids get to the bus stop.

      1. BUT WHY DO YOU HATE TEH CHILDREN!!!!!

  7. LOL, beaten to it!

  8. The fuckers are wining. I am becoming numb to the madness.

    1. I couldn’t decide if that was winning or whining. But it’s both isn’t it?

  9. What happened to Lenore?

    1. She was probably shipped to Gitmo for her views on child raising.

    2. She probably had aneurysm from dealing with shit like this all the time. I know I would.

    3. To friends above, from fiends below, th’ indignant ghost is riven ?
      From grief and moan
      To a gold throne
      Beside the King of Heaven?

    4. She’s busy saving the world, but will be back with more excellent kid commentary next week.

  10. What if you commute an hour to work?

    This pretty much mandates that one parent be a stay-at-home parent so they can pick their child up from school.

    Feminists should be FUCKING ENRAGED about this.

    Morons are freaking out over a shirt, and here we have major government agencies essentially rendering it impossible for both parents to have reasonable careers. It’s practically a systematic effort to force women to quit their jobs to take care of kids.

    What’s more, it’s pretty much the literal definition of “patriatchy”.

    1. Or maybe I’m thinking “paternalism” . What’s the difference, really?

    2. Well, if you have to stay home to meet the kids at the bus stop, you might as well just homeschool. So maybe there’s a silver lining to this.

      1. If the parents have to be at the bus stop to pick their kids up, why have busses at all? Just have the parents pick the kids up from school.

        The whole point of bussing, I thought, was to get the kids home because the parents COULDN’T do it themselves, because they HAVE JOBS.

        1. See, I never rode the bus, but that seems like the only benefit of a school bus system. I sure-as-shit know that kids who rode the bus (in my town) didn’t do it for the social time.

          I had friends who rode the bus because their parents got home later/left earlier for work.

          1. i rode the bus because i was lazy, and it was the easiest place to get weed

    3. Feminists probably view commuters as wreckers, anyway. Everybody should revel in the glory of public transit.

    4. They expect you to bus the kid to after-school child care.

      1. What about the parents who can’t afford after school programs?

        The way I see it, in todays society in order to keep your kids you either have to be
        A) Unemployed and on welfare (so you can stay home all day to look after them)
        B) A stay-at-home mom with married to an upper-quintile professional
        C) An upper-income professional who can afford to pay other people to take care of the kids.

        There’s just no room for middle-income families where both parents work in this system.

    5. What if you commute an hour to work?

      Public schools offer after school programs that parents have to pay beaucoup dollars for. I wonder if they are trying to force people to purchase slots for their kids.

  11. Here’s my walk to kindergarten. It was only uphill one way, but it was Minnesota. You betchya.

    1. SF’d

      1. I recently mapped my walk/ride home from Middle school.. I remember thinking that it was a monumental trek akin to those guys that (allegedly) walked from Siberia to India had to endure… Turns out it was around a half mile.

        1. I rode the bus, but I just mapped the route my 1st grade friends walked…1.3 miles.

          To my knowledge, none were ever fucked in the ass by anyone other than their priests.

          1. Yeah… pretty sure that nothing like that happened when I was walking to and from school. The worst thing that happened is some one in a house along my route wouldn’t let me poop in their house, even though I had to go REALLY BAD… don’t worry, there was a woodline nearby that I availed myself of.

          2. None of us was so much as eyeballed by a creepy neighbor. Probably because there were, like, a dozen kids walking to and from in a group, not to mention all kinds of adults on the lookout from their kitchen windows and driveways.

    2. I rode my bike along this route, twice a day, every day, in blistering 120-degree heat with 70% humidity (see the beach over there?) and sandstorms. And I didn’t die or get sold into slavery in the King’s harem, inshallah. Good times!

      1. Hey! It’s a female libertarian!! LTNS!

    3. Glad you did that. Made me check out my old route. I always thought it was about 2 miles but turns out to be only 1/2 a mile. What a difference tiny little legs make.

    4. Couldn’t you have saved a little time by cutting thru the wooded back yards to Valkyrie Dr.? Wouldn’t your valkyrie help you?

      1. Come to think of it, it might’ve been shorter still to cut thru to Elton Hills Dr. via Valhalla Ct.

  12. Grew up in a very small village in rural Scotland. The journey to school and back was a 21 mile trip each way on twisty roads so narrow in parts that only one vehicle could pass, all this with sheep wandering around since, of course, no fences etc. And, true story, there was this small bridge over a steep ravine that for some reason I was always frightened of and relieved when the bus had crossed over it. One day at Uni my parents sent me a copy of the local paper, the front news story…school bus had just crossed the bridge a few days previosuly and the whole structure had collpased into the ravine.

  13. But it isn’t a crime?or shouldn’t be a crime?to let your child walk home on his own if you live just around the block.

    Especially since, um, it’s fucking impossible for you to have a job if you have to be home at 3:30 in the afternoon to let your kid in the door.

    LATCHKEY KIDS WERE JUST FINE.

    1. Latchkey kids grew up to be independent adults. We can’t have that nowadays.

  14. Speaking of being treated like a child… I was carded for cold relief capsules for the first time ever yesterday. The perky clerk was like “Kids abuse them!” It took all of my willpower to refrain from shouting back “No they don’t! It’s fucking media hysteria!”. Instead I settled for a muttered “What the hell is wrong with this country” on my way out.

    1. I got carded for buying a lighter at a gas station the other day.

      Me: Uh, I wasn’t aware I needed to be 18 to buy a lighter.
      Him: Well, you know what most people use them for…
      Me: Oh?
      Him: Smoking! And you can’t buy cigarettes if you’re under 18, so you shouldn’t be able to buy a lighter, either.
      Me: Oh, smoking, of course! That’s just not what I use mine for.
      Him: You don’t use it to smoke?
      Me: No, just to set small fires.

      1. I get carded more frequently for canned air then I do for alcohol…

      2. its 19 to buy lighters here but 18 for smokes….. also at one end of the street you can buy beer until 1am but only 3 blocks away west and the county changes and you can until 2am then 1 mile east is another county that serves til 4am….
        the ineptitude of our legal system is staggering

      3. You should really start huffing butane.

      4. To be fair, I did take it directly out to my car to have a (not cigarette) smoke. So maybe the asshole had a point, but it just floored me.

        What if I just had a bunch of candles or something?

      5. I got carded the other day for buying a bottle of cough syrup. I told the clerk, “Really? For one bottle? I mean, you might have a point if I was buying a entire cart of the stuff at once, but one bottle?” She just shrugged and said, “That’s just the way it is.”

        1. Yeah, if I wanted to get high even as a teenager I could think of less cumbersome and less expensive ways than buying a couple dozen liquicaps for ten bucks.

  15. We are going the way of the Romans.

    I was staying at a friend’s place last week. We had to go pick up their kids from school. The youngest was 8. There was a woman standing in the cold with a radio who asked us who we were there for. She radioed it into the building and out came the kid to the assigned pick-up point.

    I threw up in my mouth. And not just a little.

    I discussed it with their mom later. She won’t let her 8 and 10 yos ride the bus and they can’t walk. She was absolutely convinced there was a pedophile lurking behind every tree and there was no convincing her otherwise.

    FUCK Nancy Grace!

    1. Is Nancy Grace just a projecting pedophile?

      1. more like projecting vomitile

  16. District policy, huh? Tell you what District, when I want your policy on my kid walking home, I’ll tell it to you.

  17. school bus had just crossed the bridge a few days previosuly and the whole structure had collpased into the ravine.

    The tragedy of childhood obesity is unbounded.

    Oh the poor, luckless childrinz!

    1. Most likely the kids were pissed at actually being over the bridge so still have school today…course today there would no doubt be counseling and no school to recover from whatever.

      Turns out no one had bothered to check this structure for ages and the concrete sections at either end had fractured over time.

  18. Was discussing this w/ the wife after showing her the route I used to take to grade school (.3 mi) and middle school (.4 mi across a 4 lane road w/o a crosswalk). IIRC, I did the bus in K, but after that I walked, even occasionally biked. The very idea of a kiss & ride line was unheard of. NOW, kiss & ride is the norm and it backs up a quarter mile and is a 45 min ordeal. At least next year, my then 3rd grade son gets to get off the bus unaccompanied… and walk up the driveway to the house. Oh wait, I forgot, we’re getting the hell out of NOVA hopefully NLT this summer.

    1. I live in NoVA, in a sprawling condo complex with nice sidewalks and plenty of speed bumps to discourage commuters, and dozens of pairs of eyes and ears to watch for anything untoward. Parents still meet their kids at the bus every day and some of them even drive to the bus stop and drive the 200 yards back to their buildings. Every time I see the bus letting off it’s a “WTF?” moment for me.

      1. Yeah, I could stand in the kitchen and look out the window to see my son get on/off the bus. Can’t do it til next year though.

        1. Until then, no pantsless mornings.

  19. Here in the Peoples Republic of Fairfax County its the same deal, put your Kindergartners on the bus and get the booger eaters off. I am not sure about the school calling CPS, but it would not be a huge surprise. All of this despite the fact that I can throw a rock while standing on my front stoop and hit a kid at the bus stop.

    1. hey, yeah, we’re here in the PRFC too. At least for now, they just drag the kid back to school and have them wait in the office if no one is at the bus stop. I would be CPS is on speed dial though since those fat office ladies bitches are HIGHLY motived to get outta dodge the minute the bell rings.

      1. All of this motivates me to go back to homeschooling my ankle biters… which is surprisingly easy in Fairfax.

    2. In my neck of the woods, I think it is bus company policy to not let kindergarten students off the bus unless parents are there. From a liability standpoint, I can understand their thinking.

      1. yep, that can’t wash their hands of the responsibility without a positive handoff. Scary thing is, they could extend it into later grades just because of the feelz though.

      2. From a liability standpoint, I can understand their thinking.

        That’s the problem. ALL of this crap is because of “liability”.

        1. The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.-WS

  20. contrary to media hysteria, we do not live in uniquely dangerous times for kids.

    The government can’t let your kid learn responsibility and to be self-sufficient. It would be anarchy! THINK OF TEH CHILDRUNZ!

  21. How did it come to be that School District Chief of Security even is an actual job?

  22. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the well being of the children, I think we should shut down the schools until we can figure out how to prevent this from happening again.

  23. This is a joke, right?

  24. Surprised no one has posted this before me…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKHFZBUTA4k

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