Thursday, December 16, 2010

I've got to stop reading the news...

So here's one for you:

Good mommy?


Bad mommy?

South Jordan mother cited for neglect for allowing child to walk to school


AzĂșcar said...

Good mommy. @#$% the police.

cabesh said...

I can't decide.

Yes, she's done everything she can to make him safe EXCEPT take him to school. Our district doesn't bus kindergartners at all, so I'm at the school at 8:20am and again at 11am. Every weekday. Is it inconvenient? Sure. Do I hate dragging my other children along, especially during the winter? Yes. But I do it. And so do the parents who only live 1-2 blocks from the school.

That said, the school district has severely limited her options.

I don't know......a mile is a long way for a 5 year old (especially on a dangerous street) to walk alone.

cabesh said...

P.S. Is there no neighbor willing to take her child(ren)?

La Yen said...

"I can't be a girl scout leader or a day care worker."

If you have enough time and inclination and energy and ability to do those things, then you can pick your kid up from school. (And she admits that she COULD do it, she just doesn't want to.)

I have no prob with walking with an older kid, but 5 is not OK to walk home alone in SOUTH JORDAN. If the district deems the route "hazardous" then it seems likely it is not safe for kids to walk.

I am all for encouraging our children to be independent and be outside and be on their own, but within reason and at age-appropriate levels. There is a big difference between a kid walking home from a neighborhood elementary through a subdivision, and a lone 5 YO child walking home on the shoulder. (And if you look at the pictures, it is the shoulder he is walking on. Looking like a lost homeless child in his vest.)

As a side note, we walk to and from school, weather permitting, and our school does not allow the kids to walk home alone. A parent has to accompany them. And I am absolutely fine with that. (We also have coyotes roaming our neighborhood.)

FoxyJ said...

I can't really decide either. My daughter walks to school by herself; she's seven and it's two blocks to school. Unless she's running late there are usually other kids out there too, plus we have sidewalks and a crossing guard on the one busy street. Our school encourages the kids to walk in order to cut down on congestion. The kids all come from the neighborhood so I think that's a reasonable request--it can actually be kind of unsafe when there are a bunch of kids in a parking lot and a bunch of cars driving around too.

My second is going to start kindergarten next year and I probably will have walk with his sister. But I'm not going to let him walk alone on the other leg of his trip. Even if it is two blocks and I know all the people in the houses he walks by. I think a kindergartener is really too little to get themselves to school safely, no matter the distance. Like in this article when he got mad at his brother and walked home instead of going to school. Kids that little don't make rational decisions.

I would hesitate to charge this mom with 'neglect', but I think she can find some better solution. Yes, picking kids up sucks, but it's part of being a parent. Or you can carpool with a neighbor. Something like that. I hope articles like this don't convince more parents to drive their kids; I think more kids can and should walk to school, but it needs to be done safely.

sarah k. said...

Yeah, walking should be standard, merely for the health of our kids and neighborhoods, but 5 is really not a responsible age. I wouldn't let my 5 year old walk by himself, but by 7, I'm OK with it, provided they demonstrate good decision making.

That said, I'm reading this literally minutes after the police left my porch, having been notified of a barefoot 8 year old running on the nearby busy street (on the sidewalk, of course) in the snow. He's just obsessed with barefoot running, and went for a jog around the block, not crossing any streets. But someone called the cops.

dalene said...

Oh my gosh, Sarah. 1). I love that he is obsessed with barefoot running. Even in the snow. 2). I'm appalled that someone called the cops.

Kalli Ko said...

ugghh I don't know, 5 seems a bit young for walking a mile alone...

soybeanlover said...

I'd say 1st grade alone, kindergarden with mom. South Jordan isn't that bad, but a year walking with mama would provide a lot of safety instruction time.

A mile? Not bad at all! Here the kids are REQUIRED to walk to school, but they do so in groups. No cars even if your kid is disabled.

Queen Scarlett said...

I live where every year we get reports of people in vans trying to lure our elementary kids into them. Every year. It's sickening.

So, no - my 6YO is not walking to school. Also... we live way up over two hills... it's about 7-10 min from school... so I drive. I sit in the parking lot for 20-30 min to pick her up, so I can have a parking spot.

I do it with her 4YO sister in tow. It's not convenient, but it's worth it. We read a lot in the car.

5 is young. 6 is young. It's not anyone's responsibility to get your kid safely to school but the parent's job.

Growing up I used to walk to school in the snow with my two little brothers. We slid down two big hills, in jeans on the icy hills to school. It was awesome. BUT there were three of us. And... I was the responsible type 'A' sister.

This little guy on his that age... across that crazy street.

Dude... suck it up and drive him. I'm tired of the whining of getting everyone but yourself to get your kid to school.

Amy said...

Misdemeanor seams a bit harsh to me given the circumstances. Sadly, I hear of MUCH worse situations with children where the parents are given NO penalty. That, and I can just imagine some smug, b*tchy cop happy to teach this woman a lesson. Sorry, but I have a bias against small town Utah cops.

This is clearly not a case of someone who is lazy. This woman has gone out of her way to work with school and city officials to make things as safe as possible. Unfortunately, they are not being cooperative. To me, a lazy or bad mommy would not have gone through the effort of trying to change things, nor would she have outfitted her son with a special helmet and vest, rode a bike for two weeks back and forth with him and made special arrangements with the teacher.

What about the child with cerebral palsy? The article was unclear as to whether this child lives at home as well. I can't imagine comparing the inconvenience of toting kids around to dragging a severely handicapped child back and forth or arranging care for him while I commuted to and from school. This is kind of a huge part of the story for me.

Also, regarding the "budget shortfall" that led to axing the hazardous bus route? I'd LOVE to see a full accounting for what they decided to keep in the budget instead of the bus. I'm sure no bureaucrats saw a cut in pay or amenities.

swampbaby said...

After seeing the video, I think that walk is too long and the main street he crosses is too big/busy for a 5 1/2 year old alone. NO WAY.