Utah passes America's first "free-range kids" law


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/25/minimalist-parenting-2.html


Wonderful news. May the other states follow suit, and quickly.


It is funny how this varies region by region .Where I live , a large east coast US city, middle school kids get free bus passes if they live more than 1.5 miles from their school. An 11 year old (5th grade), is expected to walk to a bus route stop, get on a public bus, swipe his pass, and get off at the school.Children who went to magnet schools at that age, had longer trips that may involve transfers. My son did this for three years, and then in High school (14 years old), took two buses and a subway every day. That was a magnet school and it was about 10 miles from our home.


A thought on the fine-grainedness of region: The Maryland couple from a few years ago were in Silver Spring; right on the DC border. Your description sounds like it could be DC.


I walked or rode my bike to school up until high school when I could get a drivers license. This whole business of policing parents for letting their kids go “free range” is BS. This Utah advance is good.




I’m not against it but it seems unnecessary to me. I live in Salt Lake City and ever since I was a kid myself it’s been totally normal for kids to go to school via the city bus system - like, regular public transit buses. I don’t see so many kids these days, but it still seems to be that way.

I did once overhear a couple of fathers saying how they wouldn’t let their children wander freely and use the bus like they did because they believed the world was more dangerous now than it had been when they were children. If that attitude were to spread I could see some people judging parents for continuing to let their kids out of the house. But as is, I think our local culture pretty well allows for it.

But I’m not a parent so I have very little insight into that world presently, so maybe I’m wrong.


As a (long ago) FRC, I walked the ~1 mile to school starting in kindergarten in Phoenix (then much smaller than now) and by the time I was twelve had no trouble taking half-day walks around Camelback Mountain alone. By my parents’ standards this was an extremely sheltered life; Barry Goldwater, at 12, took a horse to the top of Scorpion Hill, where he later built his dream house, for a solo overnight.

Agnes Morley Cleveland, who grew up “near” here in Datil during the late 19th century, recounted in her book No Life for A Lady how she and her little brother would be routinely sent on two-day (or longer) errands, in at least one instance to the Rio Grande, roughly 60 miles one-way over rough country. This, before her brother was 10. He could have picked up the train in Magdalena, but why bother for the short hop from there to Socorro (about 30 miles more.)


The meat is much more tender with free range. But sometimes they have parasites so you must cook throughly.


Those two fathers’ attitude reflects that of a large chunk of the population regardless of geography; that despite the overall reduction in violent crime and dramatic increase in resources that protect children, the world is more threatening and frightening than when they were young and able to exercise more freedom.

A friend recently had to endure a busybody literally blocking her car from leaving a parking spot while she ran in to the pharmacy for the medicine that would allow her child (and her) to sleep for the first time in days. It was only because she had snapped a photo of her finally-sleeping child in his car seat, thereby proving that she was in the pharmacy for less than three minutes, that no charges were pressed. The fact that this asshole didn’t just confront her and learn the details of the situation, let alone offer to help her, shows a level of righteous punitive vindictiveness that seems to be indicative of the general trend we’ve seen over the past few years.

Of course, if I had Fox News squawking at me 24/7 about the sky falling, perhaps I would also turn a suspect eye on the entire world instead of trying to comprehend and empathize.


Yeah, but they are harder to catch! The caged ones don’t move as fast.


It also sends a message to other states. Usually the first few states to pass a law are the hardest. Once a few are doing it, it becomes easier to make the case to other states’ lawmakers, and adoption of similar laws can accelerate. It makes sense for the state where it’s easiest to be the first, even if it’s not strictly needed at this point in time.

People like that ought to spend a night in county lock-up for harassment. There’s a lot to be said for giving assholes one night in jail to reflect on their antisocial behavior, IMO.


ugh. TFW when you have to spend all your legislative effort making laws that allow rather than prohibit


I agree with you there, but there is so much bureaucratic momentum involved in so very many things – regulatory, criminal, whatever – that all of the discretion is at the enforcement end. So the police, or CPS agent, or whoever can either decide to throw you into the wood-chipper of the state or not. This of course makes enforcement both over- and under-inclusive and renders due process a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a travesty of a mockery of a sham. So best, sadly, to do what we can on that end, too.


I had a similar first reaction, but then I realized I’d rather have laws that prohibit prosecution (thus limiting gov’t, like the Bill of Rights) rather than the reverse. It seems a sad thing to have to do, but it is a move in the better direction.


That’s the thing really.

I’m in my late 30s here in the UK, i was allowed so much more freedom than my younger cousins are now.

But if i step back and look at the actual data, is it actually more dangerous now? No, if anything the opposite.
The only real difference is that any negative occurrences are widely broadcast and on a national/global level, so you hear of a lot more bad stuff happening.


Here’s an interesting article about that very thing:


That’s the crazy thing. In general, it isn’t . Indeed the high profile abduction case in MY area was back in 1975, not recently.

But people insist in believing against all evidence that the world is MUCH more dangerous that when they were children.


Because it makes them leaner and tastier than the ones kept in pens.


I am still shocked we need laws to “legalize” what was SOP only 20 years ago.

Shit, I sound old. I am not that old.