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Links of the Day:

– News Flash! A first grade boy from the Syracuse area “escaped” from school and walked a half-mile home without getting abducted or run over by a car.

Little Nathan left school because he doesn’t like sloppy joes. His mother made a huge stink – and the Syracuse Post-Standard bit. She blamed the loss of cafeteria aides for not keeping an eye on her kid. The mother, who says she drives her kids to school every day, feels this is a horrible outrage, because something bad could have happened:

“He said he kept saying to himself, ‘there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,’” she said. “What if that had been his last thought before he was run over?”

Of course, kids shouldn’t be allowed to leave school whenever they want. But my takeaway from this story wasn’t that little Nathan could have been killed. It was that little Nathan is a mischievous and independent boy who is capable of walking .66 miles by himself.

The kids in Maplewood, including myself, walked to #7 School alone when we were Nathan’s age. Crime stats indicate Rochester was far more dangerous back then. It’s not the times that have changed – it’s the cultural norms.

My colleague, Evan Dawson, wrote about becoming a father and fearing his child won’t have the same freedom we had as children. I told him to start reading the Free Range Kids blog. Lenore Skenazy’s message is that society cannot eliminate all risk and in the process of trying, creates real harm.

– Cuomo has an “Indian problem,” writes City & State. Native Americans have been excluded from the table, the column says.

– Cuomo’s “transparency website” is anything but, Innovation Trail discovered in a thorough takedown of the effort.

– A bunch of doctors have diagnosed the LeRoy teens with conversion disorder. At what point should the media stop calling it a “mystery?” It is very common with conversion disorder for families to reject the diagnosis and doctor shop.

– Rochester was once home to the “Waldorf of Western New York.”

4 Responses to The Horror!!!

  1. The kids in Maplewood, including myself, walked to #7 School alone when we were Nathan’s age. Crime stats indicate Rochester was far more dangerous back then. It’s not the times that have changed – it’s the cultural norms.

    Rachel, you have nailed it! My wife (and children) talk about the dangerous world that our grandchildren live in. It is not dangerous. We only think it is. (I walked back and forth to St. Monica’s School twice a day in the 1940s and 1950s and nobody gave it a second thought.)

  2. January 27, 2012 at 8:27 am Christopher Smith responds:

    I could not disagree more about your characterization of the safety of the Maplewood neighborhood. I grew up on Lakeview Park, and as a 1st-2nd grader in the late 70’s, walked to Nazareth Hall, half a mile away.

    I worked in that neighborhood (Dewey/Driving Park) as an adult about 10 years ago. To suggest that it’s safer now is insane. I’ve been accosted by prostitutes and groups of drunken bums, fearful for my safety walking across the street in the dark to my car in the Wegmans parking lot.

    The world most certainly is more dangerous now, particularly in that neighborhood.

  3. January 27, 2012 at 11:36 am Lee Drake responds:

    Funny story. I lived in Syracuse, probably in a similar neighborhood to where this kid lives. In 3rd grade I simply skipped school for 3 days before my parents found out. That’s right 3rd grade. Me and a buddy figured school was overrated so we went to the park for the day instead. We just waited until we saw the other kids going home and went home with them (we were in 3rd grade, we didn’t have a watch! 🙂 ). In any case on the third day we mistakenly went home with the Catholic School kids that got out an hour before public school (they started an hour earlier). My mom was like “what are you doing home”…… Couldn’t sit down for a week lol….

  4. March 9, 2012 at 2:33 am Gabriel Hart responds:

    i realize I am a little late in responding to this, but I couldn’t resist. I am hugely frustrated by the overprotective nature of society today. Like you, I used to walk close to a mile to and from school. Now, my daughter can’t even walk five houses to and from school on her own. It’s not that she’s nor able. The school won’t let her. We can sometimes get away with her walking to scho, but there must always be someone to pick her up, or she mist ride a bus…to go five houses away, at which point someone still needs to be there for them to let her off the bus. What happened to the days of the latch key kids?

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