SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Is Walking To School A Thing Of The Past?

Is Walking To School A Thing Of The Past?

For many parents, the idea of their kids walking to school is not an option, no matter the distance.  With horrific stories of kidnapping circulating daily in the news, it is no wonder that parents fear the worst will happen to their children if they walk the streets unsupervised.  According to data from the National Household Travel Survey, in 2001 only 13 percent of children walked or rode their bikes to school as compared with the 41 percent that used to in 1969. 

So why the big decline, is it really that much more dangerous to walk to school now as it was back then?  Or are our fears compounded by the increase in media coverage and outlets that allow us to hear more stories about children being abducted?

A recent article from New York Times reported that roughly 115 children are abducted by strangers each year as compared to the 250,000 that are injured in auto accidents.  So is it really safer to drive your child to school?  Paula Fass, author of "Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America" explains, "We try to control our fears to the nth degree, so we drop our children off right at school.  It’s a confirmation that ’I’m a good parent.’"

The minority of parents that allow their children to walk to school often report experiencing disapproval from other parents as well as school officials.  One mother, Lori Pierce, from Columbus, Miss. allowed her eager 10-year-old son to walk to a nearby soccer practice.  Several people who saw the boy walking reportedly called 911 before a police officer arrived and drove the boy the rest of the way to his practice.  Pierce was later reprimanded by the officer for allowing her son to walk alone.

What do you think of the decline in parents allowing their children to walk to school?

Do you feel it is safe enough to allow your children to walk or ride their bikes to school?

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • sangeetagarg By sangeetagarg
    09.14.09  

    I think none of us want our kids to face any mishap ,thats the only reason we don't let our children walk or ride to school.

  • mselayne By mselayne
    09.14.09  

    I think it's a little bit of both. It's like Sangee says, parents want to alleviate as many mishaps as possible! I drive my children to school (ages 3 & 15). I do allow the 15yr old to ride the bus home. She is able to spend time with friends that she does not have classes with ; that's one of her times to socialize. Soon she will be driving (uugh)!!! Dare I say it , another set of worries(smile). Times have changed since we were young & the rules are definitely not the same on watching out for our babies. I pray and leave it Gods hands.

  • dedezozo By dedezozo
    09.14.09  

    I'll admit it...I'm overprotective. I would rather drive my kids to school than face the thought that the one time I didn't something happened to either of them. I think that the world is different nowadays but I also think that there is more fear, founded or not, because of the media coverage.

  • jami78 By jami78
    09.14.09  

    When I know that I live in a Pedophile-FREE area, then maybe I'll reconsider, but until then, my daughter will NEVER walk to school or ANYWHERE alone. We don't even allow her to play outside alone. She's almost 8 yrs. old. We live in West Allis, which is the same town that Jeffrey Dahmer killed and seduced some of his victims. (Jeffrey Dahmer is dead now, of course, but it doesn't mean there aren't other crazies out there like him!). I grew up in Southern California during the time of Adam Walsh's disappearance. My mom was the same way with me and my little sister that I am with my own daughter. My daughter started a new school this year that is a lot closer to our home than the other one was, so sometimes WE will walk to school in the mornings, but that means it's me, her, and baby brother!

  • wheeler1 By wheeler1
    09.14.09  

    I would NEVER let my daughter walk the 2-mile distance to school. Not in elementary school, not in middle school, or in high school. I would never forgive myself if something happened to her. It is worse for a parent to feel like there was something they could have done to prevent a terrible thing vs. an accident.

  • aimeerenee22 By aimeerenee22
    09.14.09  

    I used to walk when I went to grade school, it was only a few blocks away. But I also live in the country,"not that nothing could happen here it could But Im sure its more on the lower Crime level then in a big city" Today with the way children go missing, No I don't think I would let my Child walk, even if we lived next door I would walk with her. You never know these day. Things have changed so much since I was small,just like it change for all of us.

  • Ezausner By Ezausner
    09.15.09  

    I don't have any kids, but when I was growing up in Long Island in the 1980's my Mother always let me walk to school as long as I walked with a buddy. There were many kids on my block that attended the same school so if we walked in a group she was okay with that. We also walked up to the shopping center which was 2 blocks away from my house, again though, I needed to walk with friends. Maybe if today's parents would do the same thing as my mother did forcing me to walk with friend if I wanted to walk to school, or go somewhere else, parents would feel more secure in this decision. I know that I benefited from the freedom my mother entrusted me with.

  • shannonmk By shannonmk
    09.15.09  

    I do not allow my son to walk to school. We live in the same small town I did growing up but the local news had reported on a sexual preditor who was being released and moving to our town which prompted me to run a search online. To say that I was shocked not even begin to describe my feelings. Population: 2596 .....Registrered sex offenders: 12......I think not!

  • lbowlus By lbowlus
    09.15.09  

    I didn't allow my kids to walk to school. In this day and time. It is not as safe and idealistic time as it was maybe 50 or 60 years ago. Crime has increased as the population has. Now way. Now that I am of grandchild age, I would encourage my children to to not allow their children to walk to school.

  • mom2angelandrew By mom2angelandrew
    09.15.09  

    My school district wants to stop busing to our neighborhood come next year. I am upset. The walk is 20 minutes for me alone, with 2 kids ages 11 and 8 the time will get longer. I will never let them walk alone. I would be afraid something could happen to them. I will either be driving them or walking with them.

More stories like this