I’ve climbed up on my soapbox today, here’s why

I haven’t climbed up on my soapbox in a really long time but this particular issue has been bothering me for a really long time as well.  I’m trying really hard not to be judgemental because I don’t know these people or their personal situation.

We live by several public grade schools and kids from all around us attend these particular schools. 

It’s become very commonplace for me to witness young children, like kindergarten and preschool age, walking themselves to and from school everyday. 


I don’t necessarily know where they live, but they have to walk the distance between my house (where I see them walk by) and the school, at the very least. This is something that really bothers me. 

Who let’s their 5 year old walk to school alone?

Let’s take it a step further. 

Who let’s their 5 year old walk through a neighborhood, with known pedophiles and sex offenders,  all by themselves?

When they make it through these neighborhoods, they have to then walk along and even cross one of the busiest streets in Canton, Ohio. 

Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture? Maybe I’m not able to evaluate these situations anymore because I’m a special needs parent and that probably impacts my judgement.

But honestly, where are the parents? My knee-jerk reaction is to assume that the parents just don’t have a problem with this, but that’s not fair of me to assume that.  Maybe they have to work and can’t drive their young child to and from school everyday?

Why not stick them on the bus then? Perhaps, if bussing is an issue, have them walk together with at least one other child……
The cynical side of me says that the parents just don’t care. I say this because I know where I live and I see things happen that I would think caring parents wouldn’t do. I’ve seen these kids wandering the streets, well after dark. 

It’s pretty clear they don’t have much supervision.

Here’s the thing.  I wouldn’t let any of my kids outside in our yard without being right there.  I can’t even imagine allowing them to walk to the same school these other kids are, all by themselves.

Am I just so accustomed to raising kids with special needs that I sorta transfer that attitude to other kids as well? In truth, not all kids need the same supervision, I mean, when I was younger, I walked to school everyday. Having said that, I grew up in a much, much better area and I walked to school with a group of people, never alone.

This is where you tell me what you think.  I wish to know if I’m overreacting or if you see something wrong with this as well. Let’s talk about this and come to a consensus about whether or not my opinion on this matter is influenced by me being a special needs parent………


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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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mindthecompany Believe it or not, America is safer now than it has ever been and a child is less likely to be abducted by a stranger than they were a generation ago.


That’s a tough one…. Here they are pretty strict about walking on your own- and have gone so far as to say that children under the age of 10 WILL NOT be picked up at the bus stop without and adult present.  It is an immense pain in the butt for working families *however* we make it work as best we can. They won’t let the kids off the bus at the end of the day if there is no one to meet them either.  5 is a little young, especially if they aren’t walking in a group.  I did walk myself to school at that age (quite a distance really) but that was a different time.  I really don’t like the idea of counting on strangers to be around to help should something go wrong…..

Carrollynn Henshaw

I think that was judgemental and wrong. And you assume an awfully lot. I think you need to get off your soapbox and whack yourself in the head with it! Gently of course 🙂

Lost and Tired

AutismAdventure rjones22 JenniferWhynott Amy A megskitchen 
Is my neighborhood really that bad…. That’s a good question and I suppose it is a after of how you look at it.  In the last 2 years, I’ve been directly involved in drive by shooting, a shooting/stabbing victim collapsed in front of my house and I provided first aid and our van was stolen as I was walking out to it. 
We can hear gunfire almost every day. There have been several random shootings as well, which is why we don’t walk the dogs in the neighborhood anymore.  
Just a few days ago, I was shot at by these two kids rode their bikes down the street around 9pm. They were just riding around shooting at houses.  I could go on and on and won’t even go into the number of sex offenders…… 
My neighborhood itself isn’t the problem it’s the gangs, drugs and violence creeping into it.  I would never in a million years let my kids will to school in my neighborhood, Autism or not.  They aren’t even allowed in the porch without one of us there.  
Again, I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective and experience.

Lost and Tired

rjones22 AutismAdventure JenniferWhynott Amy A megskitchen thanks everyone.  Hopefully, these kids will be okay.


AutismAdventure i asked the policeman about the kids in my apartment complex with at least 400 apartments which means at least 400 cars is it legal for these kids to be riding on the apartment streets without a helmet and he said yes because it is private property. It is the parents responsiblity but they may not know the kid is out there or see the need of a helmet. it is crazy. when my kid was 13 he quit riding his bike altogether because i said no helmet no ride. he chose no ride as even though he had a “cool” helmet, it was not “cool” enough.


There is definitely something wrong with that picture. I will say this I walked to school & back by myself in 1973 in a bad neighborhood, but there was no busses and my my worked 8 to 5 and we were really really poor. There would have been no other way for me to get to school. She also let us walk to Mcdonalds (the once in a blue moon we had any money) and I was with my sister and it was dark. I remember thinking that it was dangerous myself I don’t know why she let us go. The school thing was different as she may have thought there was no choice but us going to mcdonalds & back was a choice she shouldnt have made. I have to say she was an abusive parent (not giving her a pass but…) but I don’t think she wanted us killed, raped or kidnapped. I was thinking it could happen so I know she had to think it. But I NEVER let me kids 21 and 26 now walk except from the bustop in the afternoon, i knew the bus driver she knew I was a crazy mama & i had her cell # & it was a half a block to our house in a “good neighborhood”. I live in a “good neighborhood” now in an apartment complex & I am surprised at this day & age that anybody lets there kid go anywhere. People move in & out all the time. i see 5 to 16 year olds alone walking down the street. has anyone not heard about older kids getting kidnapped for the sex trade. It is right on the internet where the pedofiles are & pedofiles drive. Rob, I know I am overprotective but I can’t see how people can’t see that their kids could get snatched up. do they not see the news or talk to other people? Then again, do they have to work & have no choice? I was a stay at home mom for only 3 years & all the other years my kids went to afterschool care & you had to pay. I did without for myself & paid. A single mother with one kid on minimum wage cant afford afterschool care (or anything else)& may still care about her kid. I can’t judge the mother (because I dont know her) it might not have been her choice (if you know what I mean) to get pregnant but is still raising the child. Also there are so many old grandmothers having to raise the kids on fixed incomes that can’t physically go outside. I have seen these kids talk to strangers that are male (no offense). These kids want to pet my 100lb lab mix. he is a good dog but that is dangerous I say no unless there parent is there. so there is the danger of an animal bigger than the kid is & the kid just walks up to him. Next year, our “great school system” is stopping school bus service because there is no money. I don’t know what the parents are going to do because the kids can’t cross these highways. if they were to drive them to school they would have to be so early and pay for before school care. The parents are trying to fight it. I hear about those kids in chicago that have to go thru gang areas and walk to school. I dont know the answer.


I would have the same knee jerk reaction but, I think part of it is being a special needs parent.  Kids with autism have less executive function, impulse control and they often have a reduced ability to react to stranger danger.  I don’t let my 8 year old walk to school.  I take him.  That being said…..
I had a very protective mother growing up, yet I walked to school each way when I was 5.  My entire neighborhood did.  Unfortunately and sometimes for good reason we have become a much more protective society.  I have visited many other countries where the environment is more dangerous and the children are often less supervised and given more responsibility at a younger age.  Even our neurotypical children have a difficult time developing executive function and independence now a days. Some parents also are too young to know better or they were raised without supervision or they have no other options.  Some are just irresponsible.  
Is your neighborhood really that dangerous in  full daylight when people are on their way to work and kids are on their way to school or is it just really at night that it becomes a dangerous place.  I’ve walked around with my 1 year old in the town with the highest violent crime rate in the world without any real concern.  I wouldn’t do it after nightfall or on certain days of the year, or have allowed my little one to go with someone I did not know.  It’s really about being smart and making good choices.  We need to teach our children that and to not live in constant fear.  I imagine that statistically, those kids would be in more danger of dying in a car accident on the way to school if their parents drove them than actually having something happen to them while walking.
If you are concerned for the safety of the children perhaps you can start a sort of neighborhood watch to school.  Like you and other parents could stand watch on some of the streets to make sure kids make it to their destination.  Maybe designation some safe houses on the streets, work with the police perhaps to have some homes as a safe place to run if they are in trouble.
Now, my soapbox – kids in my neighborhood that ride their bikes to school with NO HELMETS!


So preschool and kindergarten seem very young to me.  I know most of the kids in Soren’s second grade class walk themselves to school.  For me it would depend on how far they have to walk and what the crossing situation was.  Also, I have had to make some hard choices as a parent to keep my job, and that included leaving soren at home alone for 20 min or so last year a few times.  These were all very early in the morning so he would be asleep, not quite the same situation but I can see how letting them walk to school would be an ugly decision I could see myself making.

Lost and Tired

JenniferWhynott Amy A You both make very good points. Regardless of the reasons behind this, I feel saddened that there are children out there in the world that are in this situation. I wish things were different and all I can really do is try and look out for them, from a distance. I can also take comfort in the fact that I’m probably a better parent than I give myself credit for. 🙂


I like you have the same knee-jerk reaction. I do not understand how these kids can be left alone to wander the streets to and from school and then play well past dark. Then there is the Christian side of me who aches for these kids because chances are some fall into the group who have parents that just don’t care or are too bothered by their lives to care. Most of these kids probably fall into the group of parents having to work 2, 3 or more jobs just to put food on the table and there are no other options for these kids. If at all possible if you had time in your extremely busy day when you notice them walking by go onto your porch wave to them and ask how they are. These kids are lonely either way and a strong adult influence can change their lives. If they are ever in trouble then they will know and feel safer running to your house to alert you of the trouble. You may save a life this way. Ask them if they know any of the other walkers and remind them or suggest that they buddy up. I also guarantee that if you befriend these kids your house will not become another place to egg or toilet paper when these kids start pulling pranks.

Amy A

I couldn’t imagine letting my 5 year old walk alone down any sense of a busy street.   I don’t even let him play outside if I can’t see him!   Even if he didn’t have extra challenges, I still think there are too many bad people in this world to let him out of sight that young, especially alone.  Our neighborhood is relatively safe now, but I’d still rather be on the safe side!