Father Reported for Letting His Kids Commute Alone

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. practicality / ˌpræk tɪˈkæl ə ti / (n) – the ability to make wise decisions about everyday life

    His practicality lets him manage his money well.

  2. custody / ˈkʌs tə di / (n) – the right of a parent or guardian to take care of a child

    After showing his capability, the father was granted custody of his child.

  3. sentiment / ˈsɛn tə mənt / (n) – an opinion about something

    Parents shared their sentiments about the new school policy during the meeting.

  4. scold / skoʊld / (v) – to criticize someone for what they did wrong

    The principal scolded some students for disobeying the dress code.

  5. absurd / æbˈsɜrd / (adj) – senseless or unreasonable

    People found the extreme punishment absurd.


Read the text below.

A divorced father from Canada was reported to authorities for letting his young children commute alone.

Adrian Crook started teaching his kids to commute to school in 2015. Eventually, he let the children, currently aged 7 to 11, commute by themselves. He uses a GPS tracker to monitor their location and ensure their safety.

Crook said that he wants to teach his children independence and practicality at an early age. He claimed that in the last two years, his kids never got into trouble while commuting on their own.

However, an anonymous commuter who saw the kids without an adult reported the situation to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The ministry investigated the situation. After interviewing the children, the ministry decided to prohibit Crook from letting his children commute without supervision. They warned that if he continues to do so, he might lose custody of them.

The decision surprised Crook because he previously consulted a transit operator about his plans. The operator told him that there is no minimum age for kids to ride the bus on their own. Crook shared his experience through his blog, where he also asked for financial help to take his case to court.

Some parents who commented on his blog agreed with Crook’s sentiments. One parent even said that authorities also scolded her for allowing her child to play a few blocks away from home. One called the ministry’s decision absurd, saying that he also used to commute alone at a young age.

Another critic warned that overprotective parenting, which is becoming more common in recent years, can pose harm on children.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that allowing kids to commute by themselves is a good way of teaching them discipline? Why or why not?
• If children would be allowed to commute by themselves, what do you think parents should do to ensure their safety? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What do you think is the best age for parents to let their children commute alone? Why?
• What do you think are the possible risks of overprotective parenting? Discuss.