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to assume that 12 year old kids cannot be left alone in park

(200 Posts)
mum7 Tue 24-Jun-14 15:04:33

I would love to hear what you think: after sports day, my 12 year old daughter was left by herself in a park she was not familiar with. Apparently, she followed a large group of girls and then realised that these children were going home with their parents or by themselves. When she went back to where the games had been, no one was there. I called the school, and they did not know where she was. I think by then all the teachers had left. I have now re-read the letter from the school and it said that the "day is scheduled to finish at 3:45 at the track", which I now realised meant that we had to collect the girls from the track and not the school. Am I unreasonable to expect the school not to let my daughter alone just because I am not there as expected? If I had been late to collect her from school, she would have felt safe and just waited for me. In the park, she started panicking.

defineme Tue 24-Jun-14 15:08:09

I think as she had left they would have assumed she had gone with parents. I am sure they would have stayed with her if they had known she was there. Legally they haven2 responsibility aafter school hours at secondary age.
your poor dd but it sounds like an unfortunate mix up on your and hers part and its good we have mobile phones these days.

BeachyKeen Tue 24-Jun-14 15:08:43

yabu! She is 12! I am sure by that age she could ask another parent to borrow their phone to call you, if she didn't have one? Plus, you had written notice, so it really isn't the school at fault.
This would be a great time to talk to her and teach her about what to do if she finds herself lost/alone/not where she thought she was.

DamnBamboo Tue 24-Jun-14 15:08:47

She left though didn't she? They didn't leave her, so yes YABU.
And no, 12 years old is not too young to be left alone in a park.
My nine year old regularly scoots to our closest park (approx 10 mins scoot away) to play with his friends and then scoots back.

Has she ever been anywhere without an adult before?

NancyJones Tue 24-Jun-14 15:09:29

Hmm, I'm not sure because at 12 I made my own way to and from school on 2 buses and my 10yr old goes to the park unsupervised.
To be fair, school did tell you what was going on and as I'm assuming it's a secondary Sch then I would think it rare for them to wait until every child was picked up. Your dd did go off on her own do really I think it's a mixture of yours and her fault but I don't see that school is at fault at all unless I'm missing something.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 24-Jun-14 15:09:51

It sounds like the school might have made it a bit clearer what was going on, but at secondary level I wouldn't expect the school to be responsible for the child till her mother comes.

fatlazymummy Tue 24-Jun-14 15:10:03

My kids brought themselves home from school at this age. I wouldn't have any problem with it at all.

OldLadyKnowsSomething Tue 24-Jun-14 15:11:48

You misread the letter, and your dd left the track. How long do you expect teachers to hang around an empty sportsground on the offchance a 12 yo might wander back? Sorry, yabu.

How were they supposed to know she had followed these other girls by mistake, and was going to come back? Or that she wasn't allowed to go home from sports day on her own?

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 24-Jun-14 15:13:00

At 12, she should know better than to wander off.

Secondary school children are responsible for getting themselves to and from school most the time, the school were not BU to assume she left with her parents. They don't get handed over like in primary.

diddl Tue 24-Jun-14 15:13:38

12 is pretty old to expect teachers to wait around tbh.

When you called the school, I don't understand why they didn't tell you that she was probably at the track.

How far away is everything from you?

APlaceInTheSummer Tue 24-Jun-14 15:14:24

To answer your question, YABU to assume that 12-year-olds cannot be left alone in a park. Most 12-year-olds will get themselves to and from school alone.
As for what actually happened, your dd went off with a group of children and parents. The school had no way of knowing that she wasn't supposed to be with them. Since they sent you a letter with the details of the day, they would expect you to make arrangements but they can't be privy to the plans of all the parents and pupils.
I can see why you are upset if your dd was panicking but it's not the school's fault that you misunderstood the letter or that your dd went off with a group of other parents and pupils.

CrabbyBlossomBottom Tue 24-Jun-14 15:14:47

Sorry but yes, I think that you're veing very unreasonable indeed!

MaidOfStars Tue 24-Jun-14 15:15:42

YABU. At 12, barring any special circumstances/issues, she should be capable of getting herself home, and I suspect the school thought she had done so.

Hamuketsu Tue 24-Jun-14 15:15:45

I have a 12 yr old and would have no problem with that, either. Just a mix-up. Mine would just have texted/called me, borrowed a phone from a friend if she didn't have hers with her, or if no friend around would just have walked back to school and got the office to ring me.

CrabbyBlossomBottom Tue 24-Jun-14 15:15:56


CoffeeTea103 Tue 24-Jun-14 15:17:49

Yabu, where did your dd think she was going when she followed the group of girls. She's 12 not 5, couldn't she have borrowed a phone. Once she walked off the teachers probably assumed she was going home.

bigTillyMint Tue 24-Jun-14 15:20:10

Secondary schools do not expect that 12 year old's are going to be picked up by parents - they would expect them to make their own way home. And normally 12 year old's are fine with that - they check with their friends how they are going home and make a plan.

Sorry for your DD, but you need to explain to her that she is now responsible for getting herself home from school events - if she wants you to pick up, she needs to tell you in advance!

diddl Tue 24-Jun-14 15:20:27

As well as the letter, was your daughter also told that the day would finish at the track?

Stinkle Tue 24-Jun-14 15:20:30

My now 12, nearly 13 year old has been going to/from school, the park, shop, round to friends houses, etc on her own for a couple of years now.

How far away was the park? Could she walk home from there?

TBH, I'm not sure what the school could have done. You misread the letter and your daughter wandered off on her own.

Although, I would say that while 10/11/12 + are free to go home from these events alone, both our primary and secondary school send out letters where you confirm that they can either go straight home, will be collected from the event or taken back to school to walk home/be collected.

Even at secondary they check them in and out with things like this

muttonjeffmum Tue 24-Jun-14 15:20:32

When my year 7 dd has her sports day in a few weeks they are expected to make their own way to the track. This is 2 bus rides away for my DD. She knows where to get the buses and what is expected of her. She would be mortified if I turned up to pick her up. Maybe it's time to start encouraging your dd to be more self reliant and using some common sense. I would put it down to experience and build on it. Hope she gets over it OK.

sanfairyanne Tue 24-Jun-14 15:23:35

shame she felt upset but noones fault (well she probably shouldnt just wander off if she doesnt know where she is)

I also think you need to talk through with your dd what to do if something like this happens. Eg - she could have walked back to school, gone to the office and asked to use the phone. I assume she didn't have her phone with her because she isn't allowed it at school.

KirjavaTheCat Tue 24-Jun-14 15:25:43

At 12 years old I was basically a functioning adult, I don't think it's too young at all.

Perhaps a cheap mobile phone is something to consider for when situations such as this arise?

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 24-Jun-14 15:26:49

It's not the schools fault if she followed a group of girls, how were they meant to know?

At 12 I got to and from school on the bus and walked by myself to the stop.

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