July 27, 2015

FREE THE CHILDREN!: Lenore Skenazy in the New York Post, “Give Parents Back Their Rights to Let Their Kids Walk Free.”

I’m so old that when I was growing up, my stay-at-home mom stayed at home.

She didn’t take me to school. She just waved goodbye and off I walked, starting at age 5. When I got to the one suburban street I had to cross, who was there to ensure my safety?

A 10-year-old in an orange sash. The crossing guard.

No one witnessing this adult-unsupervised scene called 911 because — well, first of all, no one had a cellphone, and second, no one thought it was weird or wrong.

But today, we fear for kids any time they’re on their own. So even though crime is at a 50-year low — lower than when most of us parents were kids — only about 13 percent of American children walk to school. . . .

But in part it’s also because it has become downright unusual — and sometimes illegal — to let kids go outside unsupervised.

Illegal?

Well, you’ve probably heard about the Meitiv family in suburban Maryland. Parents Danielle and Alexander let their kids, 10 and 6, walk home from the local park and were investigated not once but twice for child neglect.

Eventually they were cleared of all charges.

But that wasn’t before one incident when the cops picked up the kids and held them for five hours without letting them call home.

Or how about the case just last month of Nicole Jensen in Westbrook, Maine? Her 7-year-old daughter was playing for an hour in the playground down the block — you can see it from the family’s porch. But someone called 911 to report an unsupervised child, and the cops swooped in.

I confess that I would never have allowed my child to walk to school, even though we live in a very safe community with sidewalks. But it would also never occur to me that allowing a child to do so should warrant an investigation by protective services.

I’ve written about this before.  In a zeal to “protect” the children, some adults are becoming super-nannies, swooping down to call protective services anytime they spy your child alone in a playground, saying the wrong words, with dirty clothes, living without modern amenities, or getting the “wrong” medical care.  They think they know how to raise your kids better than you, so your children become “the State’s children” until you can wrestle them back. We are punishing parents, too often, for being poor or bucking cultural norms rather than being physically or emotionally abusive.  The constitutional “right” to raise our children is being eroded–a goal political leftists have long sought.

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