WaPo - It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently. Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children. “We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” Danielle said. She said her son and daughter have previously paired up for walks around the block, to a nearby 7-Eleven and to a library about three-quarters of a mile away. “They have proven they are responsible,” she said. “They’ve developed these skills.” The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world. “The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.” On Dec.?20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora, walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well. The children made it about halfway. Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them. Police on Wednesday did not immediately have information on the case. But a spokeswoman said that when concerns are reported, “we have a responsibility as part of our duty to check on people’s welfare.” The Meitivs say their son told police that he and his sister were not doing anything illegal and are allowed to walk. Usually, their mother said, the children carry a laminated card with parent contact information that says: “I am not lost. I am a free-range kid.” The kids didn’t have the card that day.
I didn’t intend on blogging this story when I saw it this morning but now it’s gaining all sorts of national news so let’s have at it. There are two major things going on in this story:
1) It is ridiculous that kids can’t walk to and from school anymore. I feel we get a story like this every month about kids being scooped up by police for walking to school. Pussification of America, blah blah blah. I walked to school in elementary school with my neighbor and I turned out just fine right? Kind of crazy they can’t walk home a mile.
2) What the fuck is a “free-range parenting” and are they being ironic? This is some real-life Big Daddy letting Julian wear a colander on his head and eat 30 packets of ketchup type shit. I thought it was just called being reasonable, but nope, they have to come up with a hipster buzzword and let their kids do whatever they want. Free-range kids, Chipotle approves.
Also, who the fuck calls the police when they see kids walking home from school? That’s another wild part of this.
It’s all whatever to me, I don’t care what people do with their stupid kids. If the parents want their kids to walk to school, let the kids walk. If the kids get snatched up, that sucks but is what it is. You can’t just protect everyone from the real world out of fear. That’s how we let China and Russia beat us.