Speaking of freedom... what about crossing the street alone?

imamommySeptember 14, 2010

I started to write this as a response to someone else's thread but then realized it might be hijacking so I'm starting a new thread.

I think SD11 has been too sheltered and for the last couple of years, I have pushed for DH to let her do more for herself. This year, we put her in a new school district to see if she could do better in a new atmosphere. The school is also closer to where I work & she catches the bus a block from my office. So, I have been having her walk to the bus in the morning, which is a block away & she has to cross the street at the crosswalk.

Today, I got a call from the bus supervisor telling me that it is illegal for her to cross the street alone. I was told that she would have to use a different bus stop that would mean I have to get to work at 6:30am... we open at 7. The options are 1) come to work early so she can catch the bus at the beginning of the route. 2) drop her off on my way to work & she stays at the stop for 20 minutes (which I find less appealing since the stop is at a store that has gone out of business, so it's a vacant parking lot) or 3) I take her to work with me & leave work 20 minutes after I get there to drive her a block away to her stop, which isn't a great option since there are times I am the only person there & I can't leave the business unattended.

So, I called a law enforcement agency to ask if it really is illegal to let her walk & cross the street. The officer actually laughed and said the school is wrong. I agree that SD is immature & if they had told me they had concern for her ability to cross safely, I would be on board with finding an alternative. But, she has been using the crosswalk & their only issue seems to be that she has to cross a street to get to her bus stop, which they apparently have a problem with. She is in the 6th grade & I think it's ridiculous to have to drive her like she's in primary grades.

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Ha ha, Ima, I'm going to move where you live! When SS was in first grade, to get to his bus stop he was supposed to walk down our street, cross the main street where not only was there no crosswalk, there's no intersection! (our street is a side street that comes off of the main street so there's no light, no stop sign, no yield, no "slow kids crossing", nothing but parked cars and our little dinky street poking unseen between them. Assuming he managed to cross this street at age six without getting run over by a texting, on their way to work driver who was not expecting a little kid to step out between parked cars in front of them, he then had to walk across a bridge, cross the street again at a t-intersection with stop signs on one side only, and cars turning left and right without slowing, and then he arrived at his bus stop. And of course the same thing in reverse on the way home.

I think what happened was that the route was drawn up via a map, and no one realized that pedestrians could only cross the bridge on one side - the far side, thus requiring two non-crosswalked street crossings. Still, it was a mess. We always walked him, of course, but...The other problem is that even though he was five minutes from that school, he was the last stop on the route. That was fine, except on the few times when there was a sub bus driver who would do the route in reverse - whereupon he'd be dropped off 25 minutes earlier than usual to find no one waiting.

A "big kid" of nine, bless his little heart, would take it upon himself to walk SS far enough home to help him cross safely if that happened. The "big kid" was so excited at the end of the year when DH and I got him a McDonald's gift card and a thank you card - he said he'd just been "helping out a friend". :)

Last year we called the bus company and got the stop switched to the end of our street. I walk SS down in the morning; he's the only kid at that stop since we got him into the different school and he's too young to wait alone! But in the afternoon he is allowed to walk home alone; our street is a dead-end, very quiet, and all the neighbors know each other.

It is completely bizarre to me to think that most eleven year olds cannot cross a normal street at an intersection with a cross-walk. I wonder if there is something else entirely going on there - does the bus company want to cut that stop from the route? Are they trying to get a crossing guard there? It sounds odd to me.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 9:16AM
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Weird. Did the person from the bus service say at what age SD could cross?

Either way, I'd be more apt to listen to the police officer than the bus person.

I have no idea but for what it's worth, I drive by the middle school in our district every day---6th-8th graders, so 11--14 year olds---and I watch them crossing a VERY busy intersection every morning and afternoon.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 9:40AM
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We have a strange situation on the main street (we're a few streets back) because there are three lights, but the one at the school is nearly 3/4 of a mile from the next light which means every day at 2:30 there are clumps of kids crossing a four lane road (with a very narrow, low median) to get to the other side. Understandable that they don't want to walk ALL the way down to the crosswalk, but extremely dangerous. They are middle school age.

The kids at my DD's school (K-5) walk home by themselves. Last year I watched one little girl in my DD's class walking home. To get there she had to walk a block down then walk a block up and cross two streets with crosswalks. Not what I would trust a 2nd grader to do, but she seemed competent enough. I admit I did go very slowly (after a bit I was afraid she'd think I was stalking her!) to make sure she made it across safely.

In order for my DD to walk home she'd need to walk across one street with a crossing guard and two small side streets with no crosswalks,etc. Maybe in 5th grade, lol.

IMO, 6th grade is plenty old enough to cross with the light.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 11:39AM
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If the police say it is fine then I would continue to let her walk. If the bus supervisor calls you again about this I would let them know the police said it is not illegal. Also let them know that the earlier bus stop will not work for you. So unless they are planning on picking her up in front of your office then sd will continue walking to the bus stop!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 6:27AM
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