When are kids the right age to walk to school by themselves? It's a question millions of parents wrestle with.
It's long been a badge of being a kid...when mom and dad finally let you walk alone to the bus stop or to school.
But the recent discovery of Jaycee Dugard has some parents thinking twice about this slice of independence. Dugard was eleven when she was abducted from a school bus stop within sight of her California home.
Sonia Silva/Ft. Worth parent "My daughter's only six, so I feel safer picking her up and making sure she's home safely. Rain or shine, Sonia Silva picks her up daughter every day from Fort Worth's Meadowbrook elementary and she's not alone.
Issac Cantu/Ft. Worth grandparent "I just think for safety reasons.. parents pick em up and take em home." In fact, when the bell rings.. this school is surrounded by cautious parents. "It's a lot of trouble in the street."
Those fears are not unfounded. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that nearly 40-percent of all abductions not involving a relative happened when walking to or from school.
Ernie Allen/pres. & ceo/national center for missing & exploited children
"Most of the people attempting to abduct children are white males who target kids in the afternoon in cars and it's important that kids do whatever possible to stay out of those cars." The majority of children targeted are between 12 and 15 years old and 2-thirds are girls. Ernie Allen:"It's really important that parents not be terrified or paralyzed by fear but you need to teach your child to be safe."
Allen says statistics prove kids who screamed, yelled and ran away -- those who fought for their life were most likely to save it.
We live too far away from school for my kids to walk and the bus stop is right in front of our house. Still, I have thought about taking them to school or starting a car pool. There are several moms in my son's kindergarten class who take and pick up their kids. I think they're more worried about exposure to older kids on the bus than kidnapping. I would think a ton of parents both work full-time so transporting the kids wouldn't be an option.
Do you or will you take and pick up your kids from school?Why?
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Sunday, September 27, 2009