Free-Range Kids

President Obama Signs First Federal Free-Range Kids Legislation

A big first step, though state laws could still get in the way

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Kids
Dreamstime

Today, when President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act, he will be signing into law the first federal Free-Range Kids legislation. An amendment added by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) states that:

"…nothing in this Act shall…prohibit a child from traveling to and from school on foot or by car, bus, or bike when the parents of the child have given permission; or  expose parents to civil or criminal charges for allowing their child to responsibly and safely travel to and from school by a means the parents believe is age appropriate."

A caveat adds, "…nothing in this section 10 shall be construed to preempt State or local laws."

So, yes, there is still wiggle room for states to criminalize parents who trust their kids to walk to school (or who sleep through them doing this on their own). But it's a great start. You can find the law right there on page 857, after 856 absolutely riveting pages of other clauses and sub-clauses.

For his part, Sen. Lee did not end up supporting the bill itself, but he sent me an email expressing enthusiasm for the Free-Range Kids clause:

"Our amendment protecting parents who allow their kids to walk to school is definitely a silver lining. Unsupervised moments are a huge part of how children learn, grow, and build the skills that prepare them for the rigors of citizenship and the adventure of adult life. America faces great challenges today. Kids walking to school with their parents' permission is not one of them."

No kidding. So if any of you work in state politics, now is the time to bring this issue to the attention of the legislature to make sure that state laws do not criminalize parents who put trust their kids the way our own parents trusted us (when the crime rate was actually higher). Yes, it's weird we have to have a law that lets parents parent, but a lot of kids will be back outside once their moms and dads don't fear arrest for allowing the most normal, healthy, time-honored childhood activity to proceed.

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  1. Have the feds been getting in on the “OMG AN UNACCOMPANIED CHILD ON HIS FRONT LAWN ARREST THE PARENTS” act?

  2. the most normal, healthy, time-honored childhood activity to proceed.

    Bullying?

    1. Nose picking (and eating)

      1. Q. What’s the difference between broccoli and boogers?

        A. A kid won’t eat broccoli.

  3. A caveat adds, “…nothing in this section 10 shall be construed to preempt State or local laws.”

    So… this means absolutely nothing.

    1. nothing in this Act shall…prohibit a child from traveling ….

      Big whoop. Nothing in, say, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty does either.

    2. After 6 pages, any law pretty much means “law enforcement can do whatever it wants”

    3. No, this is the *wedge*.

      The first thing they do is work to get people to acknowledge that they *can* make law on an issue that should, by any reasonable measure, be far, far out of their purview – once that’s acknowledged then they *will* make law on an issue.

    4. “…nothing in this Act shall…prohibit a child from traveling to and from school on foot or by car, bus, or bike when the parents of the child have given permission; or expose parents to civil or criminal charges for allowing their child to responsibly and safely travel to and from school by a means the parents believe is age appropriate.”

      Once again, camel riders are discriminated against…

  4. Oh good. Now that the Lightbringer has signed off on the idea my wife can start agreeing with me that letting our daughter be outside without constant surveillance is not, in fact, a virtual guarantee that she’ll be kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

  5. “but a lot of kids will be back outside once their moms and dads don’t fear arrest for allowing the most normal, healthy, time-honored childhood activity to proceed.”

    It’s been my experience that most moms and dads have no idea that letting their child free-range is in any way illegal.

    1. Yeah, they’re not saying, “I’d love it if my child could walk home from school, but the roving CPS gangs might make trouble for us!”

      The vast majority of parents have bought into the same hysteria that the cops have; that there are gangs roving around just looking for children to abduct.

      1. The vast majority of parents in quiet suburban neighborhoods, you mean.

  6. So Obama signs a law which does nothing to stop parents from being arrested since that is State and Local law at the same time as the new law causes the State and Local schools to still have to jump through hoops but in a different way to meet whatever Federal standards that the bureaucracy comes up with.

    I don’t see this as a win.

  7. and build the skills that prepare them for the rigors of citizenship

    Fuck off.

    1. He just wants fresh meat, Hugh.

    2. Thanks for beating me to it.

    3. I think he meant “fortify them for the rigors of sodomy”.

      1. I’m not seeing a difference.

        1. I just like the phrasing better.

          1. If you like your phrasing, you can keep your phrasing.

  8. I guess this is better than some of the possible alternatives, but I am still more than a little troubled by the fact that we are literally MAKING FEDERAL LAW ABOUT CHILDREN WALKING TO SCHOOL. Seriously, the epitome of local issues is now the subject of Federal law. Does anybody else here remember when people used to say, “Don’t make a federal case of it”? That used to actually mean something.

    1. People used to say “hey, it’s a free country” too.

      1. And “Have a nice day.”

        1. And “Merry Christmas.”

          1. Speaking of this kind of stuff, I understand that “Good enough for government work” used to be a *compliment*.

            1. No, it was the equivalent of saying that the work was of acceptable quality, but just barely.

              1. and sometimes not even that.

              2. Actually Rich is correct. Way back when the term was first coined (back in ’30s I think) it was supposed to be a compliment “Wow, good job! That’s good enough for government work!” It was only later that it came to mean just barely passable, as in “Fuck it, it’s good enough for government work.”

                I wonder if maybe it has something to do with the ’30’s generation’s (aka the GRAYTEST GENRAYSHUN!!1!!!) slobbering devotion to FDR’s New Deal and the government’s ability to “fix” the Great Depression, despite all evidence to the contrary, that gave rise to the original definition. Future generations (or the same people, once they wised up) realized that government is populated by fuck-ups who couldn’t make it in the private sector.

                Or perhaps there was a time, before the rise of pub-sec unions I’m guessing, that government workers were actually competent. Who knows.

                1. I wonder if maybe it has something to do with the ’30’s generation’s (aka the GRAYTEST GENRAYSHUN!!1!!!) slobbering devotion to FDR’s New Deal and the government’s ability to “fix” the Great Depression, despite all evidence to the contrary, that gave rise to the original definition.

                  Yeah, back when 80% + of the population uncritically accepted the government propaganda that “the best and brightest” worked within the government.

                2. Wiktionary says:

                  Unknown. The phrase was used as early as 1906 (in Canada) with the usage being neither disparaging nor better than non-government work.[1]. It was used disparagingly as early as 1960[2].

                3. Thanks, Loki, I didn’t know that. Suspect you’re right about the FDR-slobbering.

                  When I first entered the professional workforce, and was working as a government contractor, the phrase had acquired a different meaning.

            2. No, that’s just something government supervisors tell their subordinates because its part of the training plan.

              But in reality its just an Orwellian attempt to rewrite history for propaganda purposes.

          2. You mean Xmas? You must be using an archaic pronunciation

            1. I hear the new X-Mas fighters make an appearance in the new Star Wars movie.

            2. As far as I know “Xmas” is pronounced the same as “Christmas”.

              1. “A merry messy Christmas.”
                “Christmas” has an “H” in it, Mr Baldrick. And an “R”. Also an “l” and an “S”, also a “T”, an “M”,
                an “A” and another “S”. And you’ve missed out the “C”. Congratulations, Mr Baldrick, a triumph.
                You’re the first to spell Christmas without getting a single letter right.

              2. You just ruined my holiday porn fantasy.

            3. Like how he says ‘ask’ instead of aks?

          3. I just this minute said “Merry Christmas” to someone in a business context. And nothing else happened.

            1. I’m reporting you to the Tumblr Commission on Human Rights

              1. Tumblr? Isn’t that the thing where people post their home made pornography?

                1. Hey, come on now, there’s more to Tumblr than that. They also share other people’s homemade pornography on there.

            2. I usually say “Happy Christmas” and “Merry Holidays” which is more in keeping with the desired outcome.

          4. And “Merry Christmas.”

            microagression !!

        2. And “Whoop! There it is!”

          1. “That’s what *she* said!”

            1. “Talk to the hand!”

              1. “I know THAT’S right!”

                1. “Wha Happened?!”

                  1. WASSSUUUUP!!?!

                    1. Whatch you talkin ’bout Willis

      2. and What’s the big idea?

      3. And “where’s the beef?”

        1. What’s the matter with Kansas?

          1. What’s the matter with Kansas?

            Nothing that I know of, never been there.

            Just remarking that she killed two of your kind. Maybe she likes polar bears better.

            1. She could not kill polar bears because polar bear hunting is outlawed (she doesn’t seem to be an Alaska native). What an outrage that killing peaceable grizzly bears is still legal!

              1. What an outrage that killing peaceable grizzly bears is still legal!

                Absolutely!

                #grrizzlylivesmatter

                Going polar bear hunting in February (I am an Alaska native).

          2. What’s the matter with Kansas?, the Kansas equivalent of “Don’t Mess With Texas.”

          3. It’s Kansas.

      4. “it is what it is” shudder

    2. I am still more than a little troubled by the fact that we are literally MAKING FEDERAL LAW ABOUT CHILDREN WALKING TO SCHOOL. Seriously, the epitome of local issues is now the subject of Federal law.

      Blame it on the States’ police power. As great as federalism is, sometimes the federal government has to keep the States in line vis-?-vis freedom.

      1. Unfortunately this fails at even doing that since it has that “…nothing in this section 10 shall be construed to preempt State or local laws.” clause tacked on as well.

  9. A failure to create new civil and criminal penalties against parents for doing normal parent things hardly amounts to “new protection for liberty.”

    Sorry, I can’t bring myself to get excited about this one.

    1. Chubb personal insurance policy holders will be able to claim up to ?50,000 towards expenses that include professional counselling, relocation due to online abuse, or time spent off work. Cyberbullying is defined by the insurer as “three or more acts by the same person or group to harass, threaten or intimidate a customer.”

      No possibility for insurance fraud here, I’d say.

      1. Everyone here is eligible.

    2. Tara Parchment, UK and Ireland private clients manager

      Somebody is certainly being trolled.

      1. Yeah. No way an actual insurance company would offer that. Unless the actual policy makes it almost impossible that they will ever actually pay out.

        1. If they can jack up the rate every time they pay out, I’m sure they won’t make it too difficult.

        2. Maybe it’s for bridges? There are a lot of bridges in the UK, so I can see how they might be concerned about trolls.

    3. What, not “chub” jokes? You people…

      1. It did occur to me. But all I’ve got is Beavis and Butthead laughing in my head.

      2. *Archer voice* Wait, I totally had something for this… something about John chasing chubbies…

    4. I wish I had gotten into either a) the insurance bidness or b) the government contracting bidness (as in, I’m the one that owns the contracting company, so I can collect 1/2 of other people’s salaries)

      1. It’s not too late, KK. Back when I worked for a defense contractor there were plenty of small, women-owned and minority-owned contractors that did a booming business “partnering” with big boys like Boeing and Northrup-Grumman for contracts. It was well-known in the industry that these firms existed to minority-wash contracts. Those firms basically shuffled paper, and did a piss-poor job at it. But you’d probably need at least one accreditation in addition to “woman” to compete with the disabled lesbian native american firms.

        1. I could partner with my Af-American neighbor – she’s always looking for cash!

          1. AA and XX! Winner.

            1. UNtil your neighbor realizes she doesn’t need you and sets up her own rival company.

        2. Tony Soprano agrees.

  10. Though I mostly like the sound of this federal law, where does Congress get the constitutional authority to legislate it? Can anyone seriously argue that a child’s method of traveling to school affects interstate commerce?

    1. I’d have to know how close OMWC lives to a state border before I’d hazard a guess as to the likelihood of interstate commerce being affected.

    2. Chuck Schumer?

    3. The act of walking to school is interstate commerce, because you obviously can’t engage in the act of purchasing health insurance or growing/not growing wheat while walking to school. Obviously.

      1. In today’s smartphone-connected, automated world, of course you can do those things while walking to school! Which is still Innerstate Commurs, naturally!

    4. Can anyone seriously argue that a child’s method of traveling to school affects interstate commerce?

      It’s as though you haven’t read any Commerce Clause cases since 1932. It’s not about whether the government can seriously argue it; it will so argue. And likely win.

      1. Oh, of course. But I set aside SCOTUS’s fraudulent reading of the CC.

  11. Good news that common sense prevails somewhere. Bad news that you need laws explicitly saying what actions are okay and “government-approved”. It’s like people can’t act or do anything without government endorsement of the action. When will they pass laws saying it’s okay to eat food that might not be healthy for you, or to watch TV instead of exercising?

    1. How about sticking it into crazy? I think that causes far more trouble in our society than either bad food or sloth.

      1. Where can you find non-crazy?

    1. Better yet, we have “permission” to be free that has no teeth.

      1. Yes, it is easy for Obama to make a concession on something the feds have no legitimate authority over in the first place.

    2. They have permission to gambol.

        1. Okay … I know a bunch of the reason in-jokes, but gambolling continues to elude me. What gives?

          1. OK, N00b, here’s the story: A number of years back there was a spectacularly deranged person who posted here as White Indian. That poster’s tagline was “Officer, am I free to gambol across the fields and plains,” which was a reference to anarcho-primitivism. Eventually that person was banned, although it is suspected she still sneaks on occasionally.

    3. No. Some guy halfheartedly put a comment that nobody is bound to follow in a bill he was hoping wouldn’t get passed.

      But it appears some people fell for it.

  12. That this is good news, is depressing.

    1. Ultimate inversion meets the Red queen’s race.

  13. That which is not explicitly permitted, is forbidden

    1. +some ants

  14. Every Student Succeeds

    *eye-roll*

    Oh and BTW, they need 856 pages to give Washington less power? I’m calling bullshit. I never even heard of this thing before now and I bet most of Congress haven’t even read the damn thing – as usual.

    1. And the vast majority of Congress will say “this bill does something” and vote yea.

    2. Might as well just call it “every child is above average” and be done.

    3. But if they had to read every law before they could pass them, then there would be fewer federal laws…wait, I’m having a hard time seeing the downside of this arrangement.

      1. You are obviously not a Congressman.

        1. Ahem, it’s Congressperson now, Cisshitlord X.

          1. Apologies! I will say 25 Hail Harris-Perrys in penance.

    4. What do you expect them to do Rhywun? Repeal a bad law????

      No, the only way to fix bad laws is with more laws. Even the commonest of retards knows that.

      1. It takes legislation to fix legislation.

        1. True. Even the repeal of a law without a replacement requires a legislative act.

          1. It’s laws all the way down.

  15. “”””nothing in this section 10 shall be construed to preempt State or local laws.”””‘

    This part of the law does nothing, its window dressing to hide the rest of the law which still interferes too much with local schools

  16. That is a nice sentiment, but the federal government should not have any authority over those things already, and the biggest danger to “free range” kids are state and local law

  17. BTW, Lenore, some of my parental-type friends were positively discussing your blog on Facebook the other day.

    (which I got a chuckle out of, because they’re the uber-progressive types that brought helicopter parenting into the mainstream in the first place)

    1. You know the people who started it? And you let them live?

      1. They’re dead on the inside.

  18. Oh, what great news. They have outsourced one small corner of their government overreach to the governments that were already doing that part of the overreach for them.

    Break out the bubbly guys.

    (Lee always comes off as a pretty decent guy for a tea partier, but this is meaningless.)

  19. I don’t know how anyone can sign such a thing and not think to themselves ‘Hm. Maybe this is government over reach into the lives of private citizens we ought to avoid.’

    1. Fish don’t know they’re swimming, Rufus.

  20. Slow news day, so here.

    Those folks are in for some climate change.

    1. I always thought it was pretty cruel of the U.S. government to resettle Sudanese and Somalian refugees in Maine and Minnesota.

      1. It was my understanding the Lutheran churches were big in MN as far as bringing Somalis to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

        1. Huh. Well, that’s awful cruel of the Lutherans, then.

          1. They’re probably happy because there’s water.

  21. OT =

    Interesting possible angle:

    lots of people (politicians, and their media-enablers) are agitating for this idea of “Gun-bans for people on Teh Govt Baddy-Lists”

    And there’s mostly very-little pushback, despite the fact that I’ve not seen any actual detail on pending legislation to that effect, or any summary of its potential constitutionality (or lack thereof).

    One thing that occurred to me that might come out of this (if there were a smart congressperson out there like Amash/Rand or whomever to demand it)…

    ….is that if Big Daddy Govt wants to have its list of Bad People who can’t fly or buy guns…. ok = but make that list *public* before anyone votes on it.

    Does everyone on “The List” know that they’re on the list? I presume so, since they can’t fly. if the govt thinks they are such ‘threats’ that they can’t fly or buy guns…. why won’t the govt tell everyone who they are? Why, people might be letting their children near these people.

    I think publishing the ‘no fly’ list would quickly result in the debunking of the idea that the Govt. has any fucking idea what its doing, as it would expose the fact that these ‘secret lists’ are arbitrary, capricious, poorly maintained, and have almost no practical national-security utility (as people who present TRUE threats aren’t merely passively being denied services)

    Dunno, thought it would be an interesting angle to pursue. “Show Me The List” Someone in the media should try that.

      1. Bah! Try this link instead: Link

    1. My one caveat is the Feinstein bill, at least, doesn’t mandate the use of any particular list, it simple delegates to the AG the power to issue banning orders. I presume there will be a list used, but it need not be any preexisting list. Or they could revamp and update an existing list.

      1. Oh, the AG *already* has a little list – they all do – called an ‘my political enemies list’.

    2. An intruguing idea, Gilly, but it won’t fly (SWIDT?). First, not everyone flies and it would stand to reason (!) that many people are on the list because they have anti-government views; it is reasonable that those people would wish to avoid 4A-free zones such as airports. Now, you can ask the government if you’re on the list, and they (theoretically) have to tell you that. But the rub comes when they try to find out why they’re on the list. Many people are their because of illegal wiretaps and intercepts and the government doesn’t want to reveal that they have all of that illegally acquired data, and particularly don’t want to reveal that they are limiting the rights of people due to illegally-acquired evidence.

      Also, given the current state of heighened hysteria over terrorism, and the desire of proggies to classify all white males as terrorists, making that list public would be a very, very bad idea.

      1. “Now, you can ask the government if you’re on the list, and they (theoretically) have to tell you that. But the rub comes when they try to find out why they’re on the list”

        as per this H&R post from April, the DHS will now fully disclose one’s status =

        “Under the newly revised procedures, a U.S. person who purchases a ticket, is denied boarding at the airport, subsequently applies for redress through DHS TRIP about the denial of boarding, and is on the No Fly List after a redress review, will now receive a letter providing his or her status on the No Fly List and the option to receive and/or submit additional information.”

        If the individual traveler chooses to pursue the matter, DHS “will provide a second, more detailed response. This second letter will identify the specific criterion under which the individual has been placed on the No Fly List and will include an unclassified summary of information supporting the individual’s No Fly List status…”

        If this is the degree to which they’re willing to make info public, i think congress people can/could/should demand greater transparency if they intend to use the SAME lists to deny people MORE rights. “Why is the Govt keeping this secret?” – if they’re so dangerous, people around them should know – See: San Bernardino co-workers

  22. The kids may be free-range, but are they organic and non-GMO?

    1. Those regulations will be coming shortly.
      (adjusts tinfoil hat)

    2. It depends… does Warty genetically modify his offspring when he spawns?

      1. Warty’s offspring don’t technically have genes – they use these really odd exotic protein cascades to fulfill the same cellular functions. Are you familiar with Neal Asher’s Polity novels? Warty is a lot like Dragon, but slightly smaller.

  23. For Sugarfree

    I decided to be your muse today. You’re all welcome.

    1. add this to the “links I won’t click at work” category.

    2. I may never stop vomiting.

  24. This should end well

    Sweden’s Employment Agency (Arbetsf?rmedlingen) has predicted that 60 percent of unemployed people living in Sweden will be foreign-born by 2017, while the jobless rate for Swedes is set to shrink.

    1. Reach high and cash checks

      Welfare?

    2. If you wanna get raped, you should go to college. Microaggressed and privilege checked, go to college.

      1. If you wanna safe space, you should go to college. Get that debt up in your face, you should go to college.

        1. Apprenticeships and night school might make you pensive
          But they’re valid options and less expensive.
          But it’s good for polishing a political resume
          Or getting an MRS degree and using nepotism to get high pay

  25. OT, but fuckit:

    Remember, mass immigration is always and everywhere an unalloyed good:

    Rotherham rape trials begin.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-…..court-told

    1. Rotherham is/was awful – yada, yada, yada.

      I’m pointing out this is what happens when you leave the safety of your children to the state. Why would you allow your young girl (or boy if it were the case) to socialize with grown men who obviously had ill intent? Some of this needs to be laid at the doorstep of parents so pussified they aren’t capable of taking care of their own.

    1. “The individual with a weapon has been surrounded by police. No shots have been fired, no reported injuries.”

      Not a very “active” shooter then.

      1. Not a very “active” shooter then.

        Or shooter for that matter. I don’t write the headlines, just copy them 😉

        RT

  26. That is the most meaningless piece of legislation ever added to the US Code, as powerful as a joint resolution of Congress.

  27. Hear, hear, for jury duty! The place to change this is on a jury, where one vote actually can make a difference.

  28. My emotionally disturbed mother told me to walk home from school by myself when I was 5 years old, when I missed the bus. She was at home watching tv. We lived a mile from the school. Do you really think it’s appropriate for a 5 year old to walk a mile home? I didn’t even know our address; only what our house and street looked like. I had to cross streets and could have been hit by a car, abducted or eaten by a large dog. I developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from this incident. Not all parents are capable of judging when their child is old enough to be unsupervised and if you think parents always use good judgment you have not read a newspaper or seen tv or left your cabin in the woods, in 35 years.

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