Utah took a big step last week when the first ever Free-Range Kids and Parents federal legislation was passed by the Senate. A clause was added into the Every Child Achieves Act — a federal law that governs funding and regulation of elementary education in the US — which states that children can walk or bike to school alone, at an age their parents feel is appropriate.
. . . nothing in this Act shall authorize the Secretary to, or shall be construed to (1) prohibit a child from traveling to and from school on foot or by car, bus, or bike when the parents of the child have given permission; or (2) expose parents to civil or criminal charges for allowing their child to responsibly and safely travel to and from school by a means the parents believe is age appropriate . . .
In other words, just because your nosy neighbor feels that your child is too young to be walking the neighborhood to and from school alone, doesn't mean they can call the police to have you arrested. However, though the clause has passed in the Senate there is still some work to be done before President Barack Obama can be given the chance to sign it into law. But should it be successful, it could be a gateway to similar legislations supporting families — like the Meitivses — who believe in children having a little bit of autonomy and responsibility.