Dad Reprimanded for Letting Daughter Walk to Bus Stop

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

school bus

The driver on the bus says ... that's dangerous! Credit: Zemlinki!, Flickr

Why did the 7-year-old cross the road?

Why, to get to the other side, of course -- but the punchline isn't so funny to some officials in one quiet English village.

London's Daily Mail reports that Mark McCullough's decision to allow his daughter, Isabelle, 7, to cross the road in front of their home in Glentham, England, and walk 45 yards to catch the school bus so alarmed the Lincolnshire County Council that he and his partner, Natasha Fegan, were threatened with action from child protective services.

McCullough tells the Daily Mail that he and his family live on what he describes as a "quiet country road," and that he isn't interested in "wrapping his child up in cotton wool."

The schoolgirl's parents allow her to walk the distance from her front door to the school bus stop on her own, both coming and going to school. She also crosses a two-lane road. The bus driver who ferries her to and from Normanby by Spital Primary School felt compelled to walk the child across the road when he dropped her off, thus leaving his other charges alone in the still-running vehicle.

He also alerted school officials, who in turn notified the Lincolnshire County Council. That group sent McCullough and Fegan a letter calling the matter a "child protection issue," and stating that the two could face action from child services if they continued to let the girl walk alone.

That's not all -- the letter also noted that Isabelle was sent to school without a sweater, and that the weather had been nippy that day.

McCullough, a 32-year-old father of five, finds the whole thing ridiculous.

"Lincolnshire County Council says it is a busy road, but that is ridiculous, it is just a country lane," he tells the Daily Mail. "We need to teach our kids to survive on their own because it's a big world out there and they need to be able to look out for themselves."

He tells the newspaper he had considerable freedom as a boy, when he was the same age as his daughter.

Debbie Barnes, Lincolnshire's assistant director of children's services, tells the Daily Mail that guidelines issued by Isabelle's school state that kids under the age of 8 should be accompanied by an adult, but conceded that individual circumstances do vary and that it was up to parents to decide what's best for their child.

Related: Big Mother is Watching You - Even on the School Bus

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.