The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Parental choice

I sent Mstr A to school on his own again this morning. I drove him there yesterday, but it's WRONG to drive your kids to school, & I want him to grow up healthy & independant, so thought it would be better to let him take himself there.

Last time he went on his own we recieved a phone call that afternoon from the school saying that they had recieved a complaint from a parent that he had cycled alone. Aggie fielded the call, which is lucky, as he was very polite about it. He explained that it was a one off because I was ill. The school said that they have a rule that children should not cycle alone until they have their cycling profiency (min age 10 round here), and he said that's OK. He also said that it wouldn't happen again. The school suggested that if he did have to come to school on hi own again we should send him in a taxi!

I wasn't very impressed when he told me & said it would undoubtedly happen again! If I'm ill again, or more likely, if the girls are sick, I am not going to drag them out in the freezing cold/rain unecessarily - and accompanying Mstr A while he cycles to school is unecessary imo. I also pointed out that how my child gets to school is parental choice, and the school has absolutely no say in it anyway. they have no responsibility for him until he enters the school gates, and no right to tell him or me when is is able to go out alone. I am absolutely appalled at the suggestion of sending him 1 mile to school in a Taxi, which is immoral, unethical, unsafe and expensive! Immoral because I am trying to teach him about the environment & healthy living, unethical because the school has said they want to reduce the number of children being driven to school, and have initiatives to encouage children to walk. Unsafe because taxi drivers are not CRB checked, do not have to use child seats, and are statistically more likely to be criminals than pretty much any other profession. I have no idea how much it would cost to send him in a taxi, but it's definitely more than we can afford!

In fact the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. "A parent had complained"? Since when do schools pass on complaints about parenting choices to other parents? If they were honestly concerned about his safety or wellbeing, they sould pass on their concerns to social services! If I can complain about parenting techniques seen during the school run, i think the things that affect all the kids are slightly more important! For example, parents who chain smoke while walking to/from school, and/or waiting outside the school gates. Or indeed, the ones who insist on driving 1/2 mile each way every day, causing major traffic problems. How about the parents who send their kids to school with a packet of crisps and a couple of chocolate biscuits for lunch - those kids cause chaos with bad behaviour every day. Maybe I should complain next time I see a child arrive at school wearing Lelli Kelly shoes - causing scores of screams from every other girl in the playground. In fact there is no shortage of things to "complain" about in your average state school. We do not all parent our kids the same way! What a sad world it would be if we did!

So this morning, when I sent him off on his scooter (see, as Aggie had said he wouldn't cycle alone again, I sent him on his scooter instead) I was half expecting him to be told it's not allowed & had primed him to answer any complaint made to him with "my mum says it's ok, and it's up to her", but apperently the parent(s) were too scared to say anything to a 6 year old, and complained to the school again. They phoned this afternoon - and got to speak to me this time:-) The moment he said "Mstr A travelled to school alone this morning" I launched into a spiel about parental choice & the school minding their own business. He did accept that it is parental choice, and pointed out the school rule about cycling alone. I immediately came back that he didn't cycle, which seemed to take him aback a bit, so obviously the complaints were not very coherant (truthful), although that rule was completely unenforcable! I also pointed out that he's in year 2 (top infants to us oldies) - that's not a baby! When I was his age, not only did I walk much further to school each day - over a main road too - but I also took my little sisters there and back and my baby brother home from nursery. And the country is a hell of a lot safer now that then (check the stats on ROSPA), and here than there. He finished the call by saying he did not agree year 2 is old enough to come to school alone. I finished by saying it would happen again - not a lot, but definitely occasionally.

Apparently some of the parents complaining were from the old school, which is even worse!

I am considering writing an open letter for the schools to hand out to any parent who complains again. Although I don't really see why I have to justify my parenting to people who are too scared/lazy to speak to me myself, rather than hide behind the school!


  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 3:52:00 am, Blogger Miss M. said…

    You get 'em, Mrs A! The nerve some people have!

    No doubt if someone complained about them they'd feel all huffy and indignant, and yet feel its fine for them to shelter in the shadow of the schools complaint services.

    I think its fantastic that Mstr A gets the oppertunity for some independence, which is what so many kids miss out on and seem to struggle with later on. It's almost like they can't deal with it when they get to their teenage years and suddenly they think all the boundaries should be raised all at once. Doing it gradually seems much better to me. Good on you!

  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:16:00 am, Blogger Miss M. said…

    Also, you have been tagged.

  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 11:20:00 am, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said…

    What do you suppose the "spying parent" is alkl about? I mean if there is someone so disturbed by this why not get in touch with you! But my question is what are these parents or this one parent doing monitering how someone else's child comes to school???
    Really Disturbing. I.m glad you set the school straight about who's responsability it is...!

    I am so sorry that you are still so ill! Fever and everytning! Whatever these bugs are now they seem much much worse than they used to be...I hope this new Antibiotic does the trick for you!

  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 6:37:00 pm, Anonymous ~ Stacy ~ said…

    Grrr! I just finished typing up a three paragraph comment, then I hit the "Publish" button, and then I got a "page error" message. My comment was lost in cyberspace. Waaaah!

    Anyhoo, I had started off by LMAO! at the fact that you sent Mstr A back to school on his scooter. Love it! You are so clever. [wink]

    I also admire your bravery in allowing Mstr A to make his own way to school. I'm sure it's a bit nerve-wracking, but overall, a good feeling for you. He's learning confidence this way and that's always a good thing. I'm proud of the little guy. What an accomplishment, really.

    If more parents took a cue from you and encouraged independence in their children, I believe we'd have less bullies in this world. Confidence seems to erase the desire/need for one child to put down another, don't you think?

    Also, it only takes about 10 minutes, or less, to cycle (or scooter) a mile; and there are plenty of nosey parents along the way that will track Mstr A's progress... So it's all good. [grin] No worries. Next time, you ought to thank them for being so neighborly. [bigger grin]

    By-the-by... Does Mstr A own a pair of roller-blades? [heh]

  • At Thursday, September 28, 2006 6:56:00 pm, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said…

    Are there other children in your neighborhood who attend the same school? Perhaps their parents share your view and together you could have the group of kids walk to school alone, since it's only 1 mile. I know I walked over 2 miles to school and back everyday. There were always older siblings or kids from the neighborhood walking the same route. I don't remember any parents ever walking with us. There's strength in numbers, find others who agree with you and join forces. When my kids were younger, we lived just across a park from the school but they had to cross a busy road. I walked my bike along side them to school every morning, then hopped on the bike and continued on 4 blocks to work. We all got a lot more exercise then. *sigh*

  • At Friday, September 29, 2006 7:39:00 am, Blogger Emily said…

    Fucking hell!

    When I was aged 8 I used to walk to school which was a good 20 mins away. If I had a bike then, I would have cycled but I didn't get one until my 10th birthday.

    It sounds like control nanny state freakery gone mad. MAD I TELL YOU!

    Kids are couch potatoes! The headlines scream and the schools tell you to sen them in a taxi!

    That my dear is the crazy world we live in.

    What exactly is the school going to do about it? Report you to social or keep ringing every day you send him in on his own? Maybe they will get bored soon enough.

    Tell them to focus on kids who are really neglected and stop wasting your time.

    ARGH. I am really cross now.

    It would be interested to see what your council's guidelines are as to responsibility of the school to advise on the travelling method to school

  • At Friday, September 29, 2006 9:34:00 am, Anonymous Nanny A said…

    I love my DinL when she's on her soap box!!!!. He is being well supervised on his way to school with all these nosey parkers watching along the way- so he shouldnt come to any harm.See you saturday.

  • At Saturday, September 30, 2006 9:26:00 am, Blogger caramaena said…

    I guess I've got all this to come since mine is only 4 yet.

    here via Michele's

  • At Tuesday, October 03, 2006 2:29:00 am, Blogger Michele said…

    As I read this post these are a few of the random thoughts I had:

    Parents are not supposed to tattle on other parents for such a thing, are they?

    Since when did it become the concern of others how a parent decides their child will get to school?

    It is possible to be an underage to ride a bike alone?

    Then I quickly remembered that I do not have any children, so I usually never have to think about these things. It's scary. Of course what is scary is NOT the children but the parents of other children.


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