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To still let ds walk to school on his own even though the school have said he shouldn't?

(25 Posts)
teaandthorazine Fri 17-May-13 14:25:33

Ds is 10 in June. At the start of this year, he asked me to let him start walking to school on his own. We live about 100 yards from the school gate, on the same side of the road, no crossings etc. It's a busy road with shops, etc and plenty of people around. I was happy to let him start walking on his own as I wanted him to get a bit of independence (he starts secondary in Sept). He's very sensible, even a bit risk-averse!

Anyway...yesterday got an email from the school telling all parents that the school has been informed by the local authority of an attempted abduction (on the other side of the borough, a good few miles from us). 'A blue car containing 4 Asian men' who attempted to snatch a child walking to school but apparently were scared off when another adult approached.

The school has now said that no child should walk to or from school alone.

AIBU in ignoring this? It was not local. He's walking 100 yards in a busy area. I'm not naive or careless but I think this is an over-reaction by the school. I want my ds to learn a little bit of independence and some street smarts and to me, walking to school is part of that. Or am I putting him at risk? He is a very young-looking nearly-10, and still likes to hold my hand when we go out smile but he loves walking to school without me!

livinginwonderland Fri 17-May-13 14:28:06

Will the school "let" him after this letter? I know some schools require parents or a guardian to be there at drop-off/collection.

Fuckwittery Fri 17-May-13 14:28:42

I would let him. That sounds like a very safe walk.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 17-May-13 14:30:34

It's your call isn't it. My 10yo & 7yo walk to school together sometimes, it is about half a mile, they have to cross the village road. I am completely comfortable with this.

BUT I have to say if there had been attempted abductions in my area I might well wobble a bit.

It does make me laugh when they say that the child can't come on their own though - what are they going to do if the child arrives alone, send them away (on their own)??
I can understand them not being prepared to let the child leave on their own at the end of the day, but how can they enforce the child not arriving on their own?

cosmologist Fri 17-May-13 14:31:11

If he's 9 how's he going to going to secondary in Sept?

But to actually answer your OP - YANBU

SandStorm Fri 17-May-13 14:31:47

As long as you teach him what to do if that situation should arise I really don't see why he shouldn't continue to walk alone. I presume there are other people walking with their children so he could easily attract attention if he had to.

soontobeslendergirl Fri 17-May-13 14:32:27

If it was me and it wasn't inconvenient to do it, then I would either walk with him or walk to somewhere where I could watch him going into school or home. I understand where you are coming from re giving him independence. I live closer to school and allowed mine to walk to and from school at a younger age than that. But, having a recent incident in the locale (they have a car so can drive about!) I would step up the supervision. He is old enough to understand why.

TheChaoGoesMu Fri 17-May-13 14:32:32

If its only 100 yards cant you watch him from your gate? Compromise a little?

pooka Fri 17-May-13 14:33:59

YANBU in my opinion.

There are oodles of similar reports of 'asian' or 'black' men in cars/vans round here. I take them with a pinch of salt. Our school always forwards any information they are given (because they have to).

VerySmallSqueak Fri 17-May-13 14:36:44

It's your decision not the schools.

teaandthorazine Fri 17-May-13 14:37:59

pooka, yes that's kind of my feeling - these reports seem to come fairly frequently, though it's a new head teacher so maybe that's why the action is different this time.

He's going to a school with a 10+ intake hence starting this Sept.

Sorry, should have said, he's walking to breakfast club as I have to leave for work so not many other parents around, but plenty of other people.

MousyMouse Fri 17-May-13 14:39:00

I let my 6yo walk from the station to the school (100m no road to cross). a little controlled freedom responsibility is certainly a good thing?

scaevola Fri 17-May-13 14:41:48

I think it is right of the school to alert you when there has been a specific incident. Especially as they/LA are probably acting on police advice. Until these men are apprehended, there is a heightened risk to school children alone.

You are free to take or reject their advice on how to reduce this specific risk.

teaandthorazine Fri 17-May-13 14:43:56

I'm not suggesting they shouldn't have informed parents, I'm asking if IWBU to ignore the advice.

lljkk Fri 17-May-13 14:45:40


scaevola Fri 17-May-13 14:48:57

It's totally up to you. As is the consideration of all risks (whether related to current crime patterns or any other safty factor).

You will know better than us the details of the attempted snatch, whether your DS is same age as the child targeted before, and why your area is considered within the 'at risk' footprint

Laquila Fri 17-May-13 14:50:03

Whilst technically you are ignoring the advice, you're not actually ignoring the risk - you have thought about it sensibly, in the light of yours and your son's personal circumstances, and made a considered decision.

If it were me, I think I would probably still let him walk to school.

Oblomov Fri 17-May-13 14:52:19

Our school recommend Year 6 children can walk to school, if not too far, and no parental pick up required at home time.

teaandthorazine Fri 17-May-13 14:54:59

Unfortunately I don't know any of those details scaevola - I just know what I've put in the OP. The email didn't say anything else.

Am sure the school will add this to the list of unsuitable things I've done, like forgetting to give him a piece of fruit for fruit and drink, and not paying parentpay bills on time!

diddl Fri 17-May-13 14:56:23

"no parental pick up required at home time."

I'm admittedly only in a small town (in Germany)-but parental pick up/drop off has never been required!

Oblomov Fri 17-May-13 15:05:34

Sorry not parent. Adult. Our school, in reception, year 1 and year 2, only releases the child from the classroom steps, once the teacher sees, (and nods in aknowledgement, at) the collecting parent.

Oblomov Fri 17-May-13 15:06:50

All children see collected, or they go to after school club. On the first few years.

xylem8 Fri 17-May-13 15:07:47

I don't see how they can possibly enforce a drop off rule?

diddl Fri 17-May-13 15:11:52

Well they don't start here until age six.

For the first couple of days we could go up the the classroom, then after that any collecting parents/adults waited in the playground & children came out en masse, sans teacher.

5Foot5 Fri 17-May-13 16:55:56

YANBU. 10 is quite old enough to do the journey you describe on his own.

The alleged abduction has a whiff of myth and hysteria about it if you ask me.

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