Growing up the distance was 2 miles and no busy streets before the bus would pick you up.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
That's one of things I'd require in my dream community. All homes within walking distance of the neighborhood school, safe sidewalks all the way.
They learn safety also.
"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." ~ George Orwell
in K-5 grade i lived about a block away from the elementary school, and every morning my mom (she was a stay at home mom until i was about 14 years old) would walk my sister and i to the elementary school, just up to the cross walk.
when i was in 6th grade we moved to an extremely rural area, where we had to walk about a mile or so to the bus stop then ride about an hour to get to school. my mom absolutely would not let me walk alone or even with my sister until i was 15 and i threw such a fit that she finally let me walk on my own. it wasn't that we knew of any sex offenders or abusers in the area... it was just that she knew how many bad people there are out there that are unregistered. she was protective of all of us, and i don't blame her at all; now that i'm a parent, it makes me so sad to see kids who are 5 and 6 years old walking to school by themselves in the morning, then walking home alone at night (i still live in the same rural area)...
also, where i live, it is illegal to let a child under 8 go anywhere unsupervised by a parent or guardian -- if a child is observed to be outside, even out behind an apartment complex playing, without adequate supervision then they can legally get tangled up in CPS (some of the other parents in my apartment complex have dealt with this issue).
My dds attend an out of district elementary school so they don't get a bus. The school is 2 miles away, and sometimes we do walk--I walk to meet them and we all walk home together. It's a nice long walk/workout for me, especially pushing my youngest ds in the stroller. If they were to go to the neighborhood school, they'd walk. It's only 5 blocks away, but I would walk with them.
I really think it is important for kids to have some independance and to know that you trust them. I know there are nasty people out there. To me that's all the more reason to teach our kids to fend for themselves. Of course, I don't mean just push them out the door. I will talk with ds about this over the next few years and teach him until I feel comfortable sending him out alone. He is already a very responsible little boy even though he's only 2.5 so I feel confident he can do it.
My parents were quite loose with us and we were responsible kids. My best friend's parents wouldn't let her go anywhere and watched her like a hawk. She snuck around and did things behind their backs. Actually she was always allowed to go places with me because her parents knew I was responsible and she wouldn't get into any trouble. Hmmm wonder how I got to be so responsible?
Luckily we live within a kilometre of the school and we live on the right side of the road for easy access. There is only one ped. crossing to deal with.
When they are about 8 or 9 I would like them to try to walk sometimes by themselves but to be honest I love having that input into their day and miss the little boogers when they are gone. So I will hang around as long as I can.
It is illegal to leave my 9 yr old alone in the car while I am shopping, it is illegal to leave him home alone to care for himself, and yet it is supposed to be okay for him to walk alone to school or a playground?? Monitoring your children's behavior does not mean you are a bad overly strict parent that does not trust them, instead it means you care about your children enough to want to be part of judgement calls and decision making till they are sufficiently mature enough to do so on their own. IMHO it is not hampering their development, to stifle them but instead it is protecting them while they are learning to get on in this crazy world. I have spent enough time around the 12 -14 yr olds in our neighborhood to be able to see which ones had parents that care and ask/monitor where they are during the day/night and which ones allow them to roam at their will and leave them alone while they work.
mom to ds 14, ds9, ds6, dd3 yrs
Also since I wrote that post a murderer/rapist was arrested living across the street from me. He didn't prey on kids but on women. His most recent victim was similar in age and looks to me. Scary stuff.
I very much want my child to have the freedoms I had. I'll just have to wait and see how I feel when he gets older.
I heard about this in a presentation given by a group called the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT). You can check out their website at www.transportationchoice.org
My dh walks them to school, then drives to work. When he comes home he parks near school (we don't have good parking anyway, on our block) so it works for him the next morning.
Then I walk up to get them in the afternoon.
My 4th grader could walk home by herself - only one street to cross, and we have a wonderful, watchful, smart crossing guard, but the school requires an adult to pick up kindergarteners if they are not taking the bus. So I have to get her sister anyway. Maybe next year they'll walk together without me, sometimes. But I like going to school and having contact with the teachers and the principal every day - and the other parents (and grandparents) who are able to walk with their children. And my older daughter likes me to come and get her.