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School Accidentally Lets 5-Year-Old Boy Walk Home. Nothing Happened, but Mom Is Furious.

"I am still trying to work out how he figured it out."

WalkingFamveldman / DreamstimeA mom whose 5-year-old ended up walking 2.5 miles home from kindergarten after a school mix-up is planning to take legal action.

Admittedly, the school, Fairview Elementary in the East Bay near San Francisco, seems to have screwed up. At dismissal time, the little boy, Jackson, was in the bathroom. By the time he got out, the kids being taken to the after-school program—a group that was supposed to include him—had already been picked up. So he grabbed his backpack, followed the gaggle of kids heading out the door, and left the building. Then he walked all the way home.

According to the East Bay Times, the angry mom was at first just confused:

"I am still trying to work out how he figured it out," [Duana] Kirby said.

She said her son came home from school on Monday and called her.

" 'Jackson, why did you take your cell phone to school?' " Kirby said. "He said, 'Mommy, I didn't. I am at home.' "

For its part, the school issued a statement:

"The safety and security of our students is our highest priority," the district said. "The district currently has policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of children while at school and in our after school programs," the statement read. "We take this incident very seriously and are investigating to determine what steps need to be taken to ensure that this does not happen again."

That sounds good. I hope the officials review their procedures, but don't end up overcompensating and turning the place into a prison. Because that is not such a far-fetched idea. A story coming out of England this week shows where excessive caution can lead. A mom, Amie Gale, was told her 8-year-old daughter could no longer walk home from school on her own—adults were now required to pick their kids up. And yet, for two years the girl had already been walking home on her own. This was just a new rule, out of the blue, that seemed to have nothing to do with actual safety and everything to do with over-protection and maybe a fear of litigation. The mom works at home. Should she quit her job so she can pick up her daughter every afternoon? She decided, instead, to find a new school for her daughter.

So here's the deal: I hope Jackson's mom gets the assurances she deserves that the school is going to keep a more watchful eye on him in the future. But a one-off mistake is no reason to institute draconian dismissal procedures that give kids—and their parents—less freedom, even when they are ready for it.

Photo Credit: Famveldman / Dreamstime

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  • Jimothy||

    The real question is, why does a five year old have a cell phone?

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    For emergencies. While I wouldn't give a kid that age a general purpose smart phone, there are special cell phones you can get for kids that can only call 911 and a limited set of pre-programmed numbers. (Home, parent's work numbers...).

    Of course, if he'd taken his cell to school, he could have called mom before walking home alone.

  • Ben of Houston||

    A phone serves two purposes.
    1: It is useful in an emergency
    2: It functions the same way a Game Boy did to our generation. Between the various games and apps, it's useful.
    3: It teaches responsibility. Just like a kid doesn't need a purse or wallet, we give them one so that they can be responsible for something unimportant.

    You can hand down your old phone, so there's little cost involved.

  • DarrenM||

    I got my son a cheap flip-phone. It's kind of hard to play games on it.

  • Real Books||

    I don't suppose modern kids would use it to call the local tobacconist and ask "do you have Prince Albert In a Can"?

    That's a game of sorts ...

  • Trainer||

    Not since caller ID. It took the fun out of prank phone calls and I still remember the first time my friends and I were busted thanks to it.

  • Chasman1965||

    My sons both had cheap flip-phones to begin with. They would "forget" them, and not charge them. Got them smart-phones, and they are always with them and charged. The extra features (i.e. gaming and alternative communications to text/call) made them worthwhile for the boys to carry.

  • Kevin Tyssen||

    Even if you don't add it your plan a deactivated phone can still be used to call 911, so very useful in emergencies

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Oh, for fuck's sake, just microchip your kid with a GPS tracker already. It will be required in 10 years anyway.

  • James Pollock||

    "The real question is, why does a five year old have a cell phone?"

    Because someone could afford to pay for it, and wanted him to have it?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "The real question is, why does a five year old have a cell phone?"

    No, the real question is why is this an article here?

  • marshaul||

    Because actual libertarians tend to be interested in the helicopter-parent/free-range children debate, and the implications it has on the independence of future generations.

    The real question is, why are you here? All you seem to care about is immigrants. You're obsessed. And you're obviously not a libertarian.

  • balthisar||

    > I am still trying to work out how he figured it out," [Duana] Kirby said.

    Kids are not stupid. I remember walking back and forth to kindergarten at that age. I knew about perpendicular and parallel roads, and how to discover alternate routes. Granted it was only 0.8 miles each way.

    Kids may not always make the best decisions, however. They lack the experience to understand the potential consequences of their actions. But they're not stupid.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Me, too. I guess we are all smarter than Kirby.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    This kid must be a genius to avoid all those pedophiles, attack dogs, open manholes, and cyborg bullies on his way home.

  • Eddy||

    Sounds like a videogame.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Wait, was he walking through the DNC office?

  • Rock Lobster||

    This is San Francisco? The kid might've stepped in a steaming pile of human feces.

    That's no laughing matter.

  • marshaul||

    As long as it wasn't the Tenderloin, he would have been fine.

    The TL is where engenders all those articles about shit and needles, because for decades the city gov't has taken a... unique approach to policing it. Basically, it seems to be a corollary to "broken windows" policing -- most of the city is reasonably clean and orderly, but we'll just let all the shit, needles, and vandalism accumulate in the TL, so it will attract future instances of such behavior to the hopeful exclusion of the other, nicer, neighborhoods.

    The hilarious part, to me, is that the TL is occupied largely by Pakistanis, blacks, and the occasional hipster. It's a literal ghetto, although it's only a few blocks from Union Square. It's another example of how the progressive left's compassionate facade is just that.

  • NSS||

    It wasn't SF it was Hayward. No where near SF

  • Griffin3||

    Kid was probably happy as a clam that he made his own way home, and on his way to a lifelong healthy weight by walking rather than riding the cheese. Way to snatch that away from him, Mom.

  • dchang0||

    Mom just put him on the path to becoming a crybully, freaking out over any small potential threat and suing for pain and suffering.

    We already have a generation of special snowflakes coming into adulthood. What will the next few generations of over-sheltered kids be like?

  • Longtobefree||

    Arrest the mom for child endangerment. Clearly she deliberately chose a defective school for her child.

  • Conchfritters||

    5 year old has cell phone, but mom can't fathom how he knows to walk home on his own. What a fucking dipshit.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    That is one very exceptional, or very lucky 5-year-old. Or maybe it's an exceptional situation in which the route home is unusually obvious, without chances to take a wrong turn. It could be a combination.

    Whatever happened in this case, the tacit premise of the OP, that this incident models liberty, or freedom, or something, and examples what's wrong with school policy to the contrary, is plain crazy. Schools can't make separate policy for each kid, and expect limited staff to keep it all straight and properly implemented. That means, perforce, that protective polices are going to be pitched to keep the more vulnerable kids safe. That's the way it has to be.

  • Kivlor||

    Children are not as stupid as you'd like to pretend, if this is a serious post. I've mentioned here before that my great, great grandpa and his sister were left at a mission in OK by their parents at the ages of 8 and 6, with instructions to wait several weeks and then make their way to Houston. What's 2 miles with modern, labelled, central-planned roads you've rode down many times in comparison?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Kivlor, kids may be as un-stupid as you suggest, but I'm wondering about you. In fairness, it's probably just a lack of appropriate experience, not stupidity. If you had that experience, you would know that even among cognitively normal 5-year-olds, there can be significant developmental differences based on birthdays which might be only 6 – 10 months apart. Policies have to accommodate the needs of the younger ones. And also the ones who are maybe a little less sharp cognitively.

    So, assuming you get that, what you should also get is the enormous capability gap between even an above-average 5-year-old, and an 8-year-old. That gap makes your analogy pointless.

    But note also, you are talking abut your great, great, grandpa. Which tells me that generations in your family regarded that story as sufficiently remarkable—and maybe peculiar—to hand it down. Policy based on peculiar exceptions which happened to work out is probably unwise, don't you think?

  • Kivlor||

    it's been passed down as a part of his many journals. It wasn't talked about by my grandparents as remarkable, and is only remarkable to my aunts and uncles inasmuch as we all seem to agree that modern children are coddled.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Kivlor, I suppose we can all agree that an efficient way to increase the percentage of resourceful, self-reliant adults is to practice rigorous attrition during childhood.

  • Kivlor||

    Or increasing their responsibilities early, carefully and deliberately. Obviously this kid wasn't having such responsibilities added, hence his mother's freakout.

    I work with my 4yo daughter on the way to and from her daycare, grandma's house, the grocery store, my work, her mom's work, and grandma's work. Doesn't mean I just ship her out alone, but the goal is that if something happened, she'd make it home, or know where to find critical people/things.

    The goal is reducing attrition during childhood by teaching competence and the ability to be self-reliant if necessary

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Of course that's the goal, Kivlor. Now tell me whether it is wise for school policy to be formulated based on an assumption that that goal is shared by all parents, or has been achieved by all 5-year-olds.

  • dchang0||

    Re: "Now tell me whether it is wise for school policy to be formulated based on an assumption that that goal is shared by all parents"

    ANY (public) school policy assumes that the goal, whatever it is, is shared by all parents, and that includes a policy of extreme caution.

  • KDN||

    Exactly. Parents often forget that they're charged with creating a future adult, not caring for a pet.

    My 2 yo has responsibilities. Sure, she has a terrible record of keeping up with them, but we all have to start somewhere. She also knows the way to/from the park (not that she's allowed to be more then 3 ft in front of me on the way there).

  • SimpleRules||

    Try this: take your child (6 - 12 yrs old?) to the airport with a little extra time and have them get you to the gate. Avoid correcting or advising. It's amazing to watch them enjoy the responsibility instead of just going where they're told.

  • marshaul||

    Kivlor, I suppose we can all agree that an efficient way to increase the percentage of resourceful, self-reliant adults is to practice rigorous attrition during childhood.

    Misleading vividness, false dilemma, straw man.

    How do you expect anybody to possibly take your views seriously, if this is the apparent level of reasoning behind them?

    My god, man.

  • KDN||

    Schools can't make separate policy for each kid, and expect limited staff to keep it all straight and properly implemented.

    You must have never actually interacted with teachers or administrators: schools must, can, and quite frequently do. It's especially easy at the elementary school level where there are fewer of them to track.

    The blanket policies are borne out of the same rationale as the individual ones - litigation, both the consequences of prior battles and reducing the risk of future ones.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    You must have never actually interacted with teachers or administrators: schools must, can, and quite frequently do.

    You could not be more wrong about my experience, but leave that alone. Your remarks about litigation suggest the individual policy accommodations you have in mind could be related to the law on special education for children with disabilities. If you reflect, I suspect you will realize that you are conflating optimistic legal expectations with the far different experience of what actually happens. Successful accommodation occurs haphazardly, or incompletely, in almost every school district. And not at all in some districts.

    The districts vary widely in their commitment to success. Some oppose the whole notion of separate accommodations as too complicated, too difficult, too expensive, or impossible. There is a cadre of school-defense-specialist special education attorney's to help them get away with it. And no shortage of politicians who deride the whole enterprise as tyrannical, and too expensive. Among those charged with oversight, that view seems to wax and wane on a partisan basis, depending on whether Rs or Ds are in charge.

    So special education is hardly the place to look for reassuring examples on behalf of separate policy for each student. Maybe you were thinking of something else?

  • KDN||

    You could not be more wrong about my experience, but leave that alone.

    Since you're neither teaching nor in-service at this time of year, I suspect you're either gainfully retired or a working educrat.

    Your remarks about litigation suggest the individual policy accommodations you have in mind could be related to the law on special education for children with disabilities.

    That's correct, and the definition of what/who gets covered under them is expanding in such a way that the sped model could conceivably become the norm within our lifetimes. Couple those mandates with a demonstrated market preference in other industries for increased individualization and this is the sort of thing that should expand over time, which, in the hands of competent personnel and a consequent rethinking of education delivery model, would be a boon to both educators and students.

    So special education is hardly the place to look for reassuring examples on behalf of separate policy for each student.

    That there are umpteen incompetent (and unfireable) educators supported by apathetic administrators is a reason to scale back the public school enterprise in its current form so that more intelligent policies can be experimented with and successfully pursued.

  • JFree||

    I agree that schools should be defaulting to the protective - just in case. They should also be testing the limits of what kids can do - and visibly demonstrating that to the neighborhood - and using those as both practical teaching opportunities and advocacy opportunities (ie that kids have as much right to learn to use mobility infrastructure as adults do). Whether its K doing its best to make sure all kids can ride a bike - to taking group walks (or bike buses) to all parts of the neighborhood to do various civic busywork. There is real value in this and libertarians in particular should jump all over anything in school that whets the appetite for independence in kids.

    This fear bubble that we have trapped people in - from a very young age - is deadly.

  • Rossami||

    Neither exceptional nor lucky. That is, in fact, routine across almost the entirety of the rest of the world. It was also routine throughout all of history. Children walk places. They often do it entirely unsupervised. They always have. And though you may choose not to remember it, you did too. Somehow, you survived. So did your parents and their parents. The world did not end.

    What is exceptional is the rampant fear-mongering among middle-class US parents in the last few decades. There is no precedent in history for the ever-increasing infantilization of children during the very period when we are supposed to be teaching them how to function in the world.

  • JFree||

    That phenomenon of kids doing things independently from early on had a big social/civic impact too. Kids became the vector for parents themselves to expand their social networks serendipitously and locally. That is completely different when parents (inherently less social because they are 'busy' or want to appear so) are the ones controlling their kids interactions/mobility. Both of their social networks - and skills - atrophy -- and 'the Internet' is a stunningly crappy and irrelevant substitute.

    Civic-wise, you could see the impact in the number of school districts/boards (the actual governance entities for schools). We moved from having 120,000 individual school governance entities (with boards composed of volunteer parents/neighbors/teachers - and a single accountable principal as agent) to having 14,000 'consolidated districts (all requiring full time boards of professional pedagogue types and a slew of administrators). That's a 90% reduction in the number of 'regular people' who will ever gain any experience in self/community-governance. And that's got to lead to stupider more manipulable voters too over time.

  • Sedona Vortex Hunter||

    oh god you touched on something that annoys the shit out of me...."The cult" of busyness.

    Everyone seems to 'whine' and 'complain' (but they are bragging really) about how busy they and their kids are. Its all by choice of course, but they can't stop talking about all the events and activities they and their kids are doing.

    They seem sort of miserable and while they brag, I sort detect a "trapped animal" aspect to their behavior as well. I also get the sense that they no longer know any other way to be... and that if they suddenly did not have every moment of their time scheduled they actually would have no idea what to do with themselves and might go into a panic.

    I really hope I get to witness the effects of an enormous solar flare before I pass...

  • Ben of Houston||

    Ummm. No. When she was 3, my daughter old knew how to get home from day care. In fact, she reminded me on multiple occasions about the way I needed to go on Friday because we needed to get flowers for mommy. Learning directions isn't especially hard if you just look out the window. Any attentive five year old could do the same after seeing the way to school a few times.

    Now, the problem I do have with the article is that it is ignoring the actual problem to focus on the ideology. When I pay someone to look after my child, they better actually look after my child. That has nothing to do with the fact that the kid walked home.

  • James Pollock||

    "Ummm. No. When she was 3, my daughter old knew how to get home from day care."

    When mine was 22, she still didn't know how to get to several places she'd been to frequently without Google's help. What was happening outside the car just wasn't interesting to her, so she didn't bother to pay attention to the streets she was on or the turns she was making. Someone else was driving (obvs) so she didn't have to worry about the driving, including route selection.

    Generalizing from a single case is usually a bad idea.

  • JFree||

    Congrats on raising an infantilized pseudo-adult

  • James Pollock||

    "Congrats on raising an infantilized pseudo-adult"

    I didn't raise you.

  • Nardz||

    That's some shit parenting

  • Nardz||

    Jinx, Jfree!

  • James Pollock||

    "That's some shit parenting"

    Or you.

  • Longtobefree||

    So she's a democrat?

  • marshaul||

    Jesus, that's sad. I'm glad you weren't my parent.

    I guess it's a little too late to point out that it was your damn job to overrule those instincts.

  • King Lamoni||

    "Schools can't make separate policy for each kid, and expect limited staff to keep it all straight and properly implemented."

    I agree. If each child had a unique policy it would be very difficult to track. However, the issue in play here is a binary option. Does the child walk home or not? I have always lived close enough to an elementary school so that riding a bus was not available and my children have always walked to and from school. Most of their friends were in the group of kids that needed a ride.

    In this story, the child was obviously in the group of kids that didn't walk home, but due to an untimely bathroom break he slipped in with those that do. The author of the article is hoping that this mistake by the school and the threatened lawsuit by the mother doesn't rescind the current option of walking home for all the children who are able to do so.

    To be fair, there are a couple other options as well and schools already handle these options very well. There is a group of kids that stay for after-school activities, a group that ride the bus, and a group that waits for a parent to pick them up.

  • David Nieporent||

    Schools can't make separate policy for each kid, and expect limited staff to keep it all straight and properly implemented.

    They can.

    My kids' school requires us to fill out a form at the beginning of the school year stating what the kids are doing after school each day of the week - are they walking/biking home, getting picked up (and if so, by whom - parent, babysitter, whatever), going to aftercare, staying at school for an afterschool activity (e.g., scouting), etc. If there are different instructions for a particular day, we send a note in, in the morning.

    But in any case, your claim about the "tacit premise of the OP" is nutty. There is no such implication. In fact, it clearly states that the school screwed up here, and the only thing it says is that hopefully the school won't overcompensate.

  • Rock Lobster||

    "That means, perforce, that protective polices are going to be pitched to keep the more vulnerable kids safe. That's the way it has to be."

    Pretty progressive mindset. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop with "kids." Thus, the modern nanny state.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    By the way, a dismissal procedure which systematically organizes kindergarteners, and assures they each get handed off to a party responsible to either receive them, or transport them, is hardly "draconian."

  • James Pollock||

    The question is, when a parent says "at dismissal time, release my kid on his own recognizance, and he'll walk home on his own"... is that a sign of a parent who entrusts their child to be self-reliant, or outright neglect? If you're arguing that it's categorically one or the other, you're almost certainly wrong.

    Parents should, absent signs of actual neglect, be allowed to choose how and when their children exercise independence. Walking home is probably not something a 5-year-old should be doing (YMMV) and walking home is probably not a good reason to get involved in other peoples' kids (absent a present and specific danger).

    I think the mother in this story is justifiably angered. They're supposed to be watching the kid, and they weren't. Counting the number of kids you have and comparing that to the number you're supposed to have is not "draconian".

  • David Nieporent||

    I think the mother in this story is justifiably angered. They're supposed to be watching the kid, and they weren't.

    The mother is justifiably annoyed. Angered is an overreaction, given that nothing bad happened.

    Counting the number of kids you have and comparing that to the number you're supposed to have is not "draconian".

    What is it with you and Lathrop not bothering to read the article? It doesn't say that this is draconian. It describes as draconian a blanket rule that kids can't walk home even if the parent knows the kids is capable of doing so.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Nice photo illustration though. Confident kid on an unmistakable path, in an apparently protected location. It's a picture perfectly chosen to illustrate the essentially irresponsible premise behind this OP.

    Want to illustrate reality? Change the picture. Put a bewildered-looking 5-year-old at a six-lane urban intersection. Run next to that image, how much sense would the OP seem to make?

  • Rossami||

    Or if you really want to illustrate reality, take a picture of a 5 year old in Poland making his own way home on public transportation and successfully navigating all those urban "hazards" with remarkably little difficulty.

    Again, kids around the world do this every single day.

  • David Nieporent||

    Why should we make up a fictional scenario? There isn't a six-lane urban intersection between the kid's school and home. It's a suburban path with sidewalks to walk on and no main streets to cross.

  • marshaul||

    Want to illustrate reality? Change the picture. Put a bewildered-looking 5-year-old at a six-lane urban intersection. Run next to that image, how much sense would the OP seem to make?

    This might as well be the dictionary example of "misleading vividness". It could not possibly be more definitively thus. It's also faulty generalization.

    You really are a shitty person, you know that?

  • NSS||

    Actually go to the San Jose Mercury News - they video tapped him following his route. He was super confident! He isn't the kid in the picture but he had that same look of "I got this!"

  • Kivlor||

    There is a reason to be upset, but I'm not sure that it's really being looked at: a mom letting her 5yo walk to school 2 miles alone would face charges of neglect/endangerment. So it logically follows that the school employees charged with the care of the child should face the same.

    Of course, the better option would be to repeal/nullify such insane laws, but that's the right line of logic.

  • James Pollock||

    There is a world of difference between trusting children to handle themselves in a situation they're prepared and ready for, and having the kid(s) be fine despite having to take on responsibility for themselves because of somebody's screwup.

    Look at this a little differently.
    Had the kid been taught to find an adult and ask for help, you wouldn't have gotten this result.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    James Pollock, with 5-year-olds, you could easily have gotten that result. Younger 5-year-olds who are also naturally shy, are often unwilling to talk to strange adults, no matter what they have been instructed to do. It's not uncommon for them to sit silent while an unfamiliar adult, pointing at their mother across the street, asks a question such as, "Is that your mother, over there?" I mention that particular case because I happen to know it's a common difficulty encountered by school bus drivers responsible for kindergarteners.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Naturally shy? Say what now? Care to back that up with some evidence? According to my own anecdotal experience, 5 year olds can range from everything between so shy that they will barely even talk to family members to the complete opposite.

    You couldn't stop me from talking to everybody I could possibly talk to when I was 5. We lived next door to a gas station that had one of those self service car washes, and my parents regularly found me there talking to anybody who would listen. If I wasn't a child in the 80s, I'd probably have ended up being taken from my parents.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Vinni, agreed. That range was what I was attempting to invoke, in reference to the shy end of the spectrum. I didn't mean to imply that all 5-year-olds are that way, so my writing was ambiguous. Thanks for the chance to clear that up.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • Kivlor||

    I don't think you're really refuting SL here Vinni. His point was that some children are naturally shy, and what should we do about them? He then appeals to the lowest-common-denominator, arguing that because some kids are shy we can't expect children to ask for help in general.

  • James Pollock||

    You're all missing the point, which is that children are NOT taught to find an adult to ask for help. They're taught to fear adults they don't already know. So, in an unfamiliar circumstance, they turn self-reliant because they have no other option. Which is great when it turns out well, and not at all great when the kid wanders off, gets lost, and has to have a massive search operation turned out to find them.

  • VinniUSMC||

    You're right Kiv, I wasn't refuting SL. I was merely pointing out what I thought to be an error and SL came back to clarify.

    I agree with James, assuming he means kids are being taught to fear "stranger danger". On the opposite end are the busybodies who stick their nose in where it generally doesn't belong, instead of trying to be actually helpful.

  • Rich||

    Something like that happened to me as a little kid. I walked home from a city school about 8 miles away. My mother also reacted with "How could you figure out the route?" Nothing came of it other than me becoming a libertarian.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Oh, the horror!

  • Rock Lobster||

    Well... you just gave Stephen Lathrop proof that something unspeakably awful is likely to happen to a kid who unwisely embarks on a life of self-reliance.

    Good job, dude.

  • majil||

    I am also confused at how he knew his way home having an idiot mealy mouth mother who does not know her own child

  • Cynical Asshole||

    "I am still trying to work out how he figured it out."

    Obviously he's a lot smarter than his mom.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    So I wondered about the obvious media sophistication of an author who would illustrate a blog post like this one with such a perfectly selected stock photo. Discovered that OP author Lenore Skenazy is the original Free-Range Kids phenom. Maybe I'm the only one commenting here who didn't know that.

    Doesn't matter. The criticisms still stand. Skenazy's kid, who rode the subway alone, was 9-years-old. The subway is a lot safer, and more comprehensible, for a wandering kid than free-range city streets are. And 9-year-olds aren't 5-year-olds, not by a long shot. Skenazy, please don't let your success overwhelm your judgment.

  • Kivlor||

    Maybe I'm the only one commenting here who didn't know that.

    Most likely this is the case. She's a semi-regular author here, and advertises her blog in her articles often. There's a link to it at the bottom of the article.

  • James Pollock||

    She also censors commentors on her blogs.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Then don't comment on her blog if it's a problem for you.

  • James Pollock||

    Thanks for the helpful tip.

  • Kivlor||

    Yeah, not gonna lie, I have a negative opinion of that. ut reflects poorly that she/the participants on her blog cant allow criticism.

  • JWatts||

    This is a screw up on the part of the school. It would be fine if the 5 year old was walking with a group of older kids who knew they had to watch out for him or if he'd routinely walked this path (and this was the first time he'd walked it alone). This was not appropriate. The mother is probably overreacting with a lawsuit, but I suspect she has a case.

    I've got 5 year olds and 7 year olds. There's a huge difference in capability even for that 2 year gap. And I wouldn't 'trust' the 7 year olds to do it alone the first time either.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    There is a first time for everything. But dumb cunts - like you - are born dumb cunts.

  • CE||

    When I was 5 years old we had to walk 2 miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways, then chop wood to build a fire to heat the building.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You had a building?!? We had no wood so we had to burn the building. And it was concrete!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    We had to visualize a school with the strength of our minds until a building appeared before us. Only then were we able to go to class.

  • Longtobefree||

    You have learned well, young grasshopper - - - - - -

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Now they've done it. Child Services will be visiting the homes of the school's teachers and administrators, and taking their children from them.

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Phew. As long as somebody's furious. I was afraid there wouldn't be any stupid bullshit to read about today.

  • JSR2||

    My son walked home from school at the age of six. He was supposed to wait for me to pick him up. When I asked he said "You weren't here, so I walked home." The route was a straight line along a major road.

    The only bad thing that happened was the call from the Sheriff's office and getting yelled at by the deputy -- he used all the myths about kidnapping to try to scare me. Gee, I figured my son would be at least a teenager before the law started calling. ;^)

    I used to walk to and from school nearly every day at his age. It was about the same distance.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I have a bone to pick with this headline. The school didn't "let" the kid walk home, accidentally or otherwise. They lost track of him and he walked home. "Let" implies the school gave him permission.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Yeah.

  • James Pollock||

    "'Let' implies the school gave him permission."

    Except when it's used in a different sense, such as when you have too many things to do, so you let some of them slide. Or when you're carrying too many things, and you let some of them drop.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    That's the exact same sense. If things drop from your hands because of some external force, you didn't "let" them drop. If you drop them on purpose because you feel your grip fading, then you decided to drop them.

  • James Pollock||

    "That's the exact same sense."

    Sure, except for being 180 degrees different.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Rebut my argument, like I rebutted yours. Give an example of how "Let", as in "give permission", is different.

    Otherwise you lose.

  • James Pollock||

    "Rebut my argument, like I rebutted yours"

    You mean, just state something as true that isn't?
    Not my style.

    Let can mean something that happened intentionally, or something that happened unintentionally. So, for example, you can let the dogs out because they have to pee, or you can let the dogs out because you left the door open.
    This is still just as true as it was the FIRST time I pointed it out.

    So... you lose, I guess?

    Hint: If a kid gets run over by a bus, a lot of people might ask "how could the parent(s) let that happen? Assuming, as OP did, that "Let" always implies voluntary action, would be an incorrect reading of the word "let" in that sentence.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Whether you opened the door and ourpose or left it open by mistake, it was YOUR action which let the dogs out.

    If the wind came along and broke the gate, the wind let the dogs out.

    If the dogs dug under the fence or jumped it, they let themselves out.

    See how English works?

  • James Pollock||

    "Whether you opened the door and ourpose or left it open by mistake,"
    "See how English works?"

    That's not English.

  • marshaul||

    Malarkey.

    "I let the situation get out of my control!"

    Same usage of the word "let" as found here. No problem. And it clearly implies the precise opposite of a conscious decision. It may be due to inaction as much as action, and it was obviously not the pre-planned, intended result.

  • markm23||

    I can see one thing that justifies a lawsuit: apparently the school didn't know they had a kid missing until his mother called because he had come home. They didn't take a head count on the bus, and if he had not made it home on his own, it sounds like he would not have been missed until he didn't get off the bus at home, hours later. By then a lost kid could have walked 5 miles, and they would not even know whether to begin the search at the school or at wherever that "after-school activities" bus dropped the kids off.

    I walked by myself to Kindergarten and home when I was 5, but it was a short distance, and visible from the windows at home for most of the way.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I did something like this, although I was 7 at the time. We moved to a new town and my Dad drove me to school in the morning. We were still not completely moved in so my parents were still running back and forth to the old house. When the school day ended I walked home simply because nobody was there to pick me up. My mother was surprised that I took that sort of initiative but it didn't seem abnormal to me, and Dad didn't seem surprised.

    Of course I'm very old and this was a long time ago. The school didn't monitor how we left school grounds; they basically just told us "you don't have to go home but you can't stay here".

  • Eddy||

    "I am still trying to work out how he figured it out."

    I bet Mom's going to be really surprised in a few years when the kid bypasses the parental controls on the TV and computer.

  • Longtobefree||

    I guess I have to be the one to ask the unasked question.
    If she wasn't going to raise the kid herself, why did she have it? A 5 year old has no business in an indoctrination center. He should be home with his mother being taught how to become a functioning adult.

  • Echospinner||

    It?

    Him.

    Home schooling is an option however every home schooler knows that to raise a child requires social interactions with adults and other children. If that is the path then the plan needs to include a network so the children can spend time together.

    Look the whole story is a child missed the bus and got left behind. He made his way home by himself which is a good thing.

    His parents have every reason to be upset but I do not see any political issues here.

  • Longtobefree||

    "His parents have every reason to be upset but I do not see any political issues here."

    Then you clearly are not a democrat - - - - - - - -

  • Sonny Bono's Ghost||

    Invisible fence+shock-collars in 3...2...

  • nychotpilot||

    5-8 year old kids should not be allowed to walk home alone regardless of where they live. The fact that the kid in the UK was doing it for two years did not make that the right decision either for that kid or the school

  • David Nieporent||

    5-8 year old kids should not be allowed to walk home alone regardless of where they live.

    Why not?

    The fact that the kid in the UK was doing it for two years did not make that the right decision either for that kid or the school

    The kid's parents, who unlike you know the kid, felt differently.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    "I am still trying to work out how he figured it out."

    He's not as stupid as his Mom.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Yes. Mom is a dumb cunt.

  • ||

    At five I walked several miles home every day after my mother showed me only once. At four I used to leave the house every day (after promising not to leave) while my parents were at work. I picked up bottles to redeem the deposit and buy ice cream. Then I hurried home to beat my parents so they wouldn't know. I probably would have stayed home if I had something to do but I was bored. I found boredom quite painful. Scavaging was fun and profitable. At Christmas, I asked for a wagon. I planned to use it for my bottles.

    Later that year I was spotted by a relative and got found out. My parents took my wagon away as punishment.

  • ||

    I walked to school from 5-16. I used to pick fruit to snack on. I only got in trouble once. At 14 I climbed a cherry tree and ate until I got a stomach ache.

  • Big Ed's Landing||

    I walked home from kindergarten every day...only a couple of blocks, but I could have easily walked 2 1/2 miles if need be, in the City of Chicago.

  • IceTrey||

    Kids are walking around Africa with lions and crocodiles and yes some get eaten but at least the parents don't have to deal with CPS.

  • Rock Lobster||

    But they do have to deal with the game warden. Feeding the wildlife is frowned upon.

  • David Nieporent||

    Lenore didn't provide the other absurd quote from the article: "Kirby said she plans to have Jackson evaluated by a physician and a psychologist."

    W.T.F.?

  • Rock Lobster||

    These professionals must induce (and then discover) some ex post facto trauma to assist in this asshat of a mother's lawsuit.

  • No Yards Penalty||

    And then Americans wonder how the Chinese have come to be eating our lunch.

  • SezWhom||

    OK, so I walked to school starting at the age of five. It was a long walk. And it was uphill both ways (OK, that's not true, but going home was severely uphill). And no cell phone because they hadn't been invented. And the term "helicopter parent" didn't exist because such parents didn't exist.

    That a five year old kid walking home from school is a matter worthy of national discussion shows that we all have way too much time on our hands and/or we have totally misplaced our priorities.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Yes.

  • Deplorable Victor||

    Jackson's mom is a paranoid cunt and so are all parents that won't let their kids out on their own. This whole thing is ridiculous.

  • Sedona Vortex Hunter||

    My mom went to Cal Berkley starting when I was 7 and my brother 5 and on the first day of school took AC transit (local Bus) with me and my brother to our school to show us how to do it..

    After that since she had to leave for class before we left for school, it was my job to wake up, get my brother up, get us ready and then take us both to school on the city bus everyday.

    After school we had daycare, but because of our age we were at two separate daycare (in the same school that we both went to though). On 2 days of the week my mom would pick us up around 4 or 5 PM, but the other days she had class and would not be home until about 6-7pm so when daycare ended at 5pm I went and checked my brother out of his daycare and we rode AC transit back home and would get home before my mom most days.

    This was in the mid to late 70's and we continued to do it in the later grades when we moved to SF too. It did not seem especially unusual, and no adults freaked out about it..we regularly saw and knew of other kids doing the same thing.

    I tease my mom that I think she would be arrested for raising us in this manner nowadays, but I am not so sure it isn't true. I am not sure why this drastic change has occurred, perhaps partly the 24 hours news cycle makes these things seem more prevalent than they actually are? Something about being so 'connected' to news and each other via social media every moment of the day or night may be to blame IMO

  • Barry Gold||

    I walked to and from school every day when I was 5, 6, and 7. Admittedly, it was only 1.2 miles instead of 2.5, but that's a question of how sore your feet get, not safety.

    #stupidity

  • Barry Gold||

    Come to think of it, I started Kindergarten at about 2 months *before* my fifth birthday. So make that starting at age 4.

  • DaneelOlivaw||

    Is a society degenerate when it tries to prevent kids from walking the streets?

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  • NSS||

    Yes the teacher and the afterschool program both messed up (my school has an after school program parents pay - they are not apart of the school at all!). But the kid was amazing in that he knew Landmark by his house and walked toward them. As a parent I would feel safer knowing my kid can get himself home if he ever needs to. Then I would also talk to him about going to the office if he doesn't know what to do and can't find his teacher.

    Mom has every right to be frustrated - but suing is over the top. She also went to the school every day for the week to make sure he got to where he was going - also over the top. But I get it.

    The other frustrating thing was the articles in the local papers were all about what might have happened what could be lurking in the bushes etc. But they weren't and he was fine! Stop with the what if's!

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