Photo by I am I.A.M. via Flickr
VANCOUVER — The case of a British Columbia father who says the Children's Ministry barred him from letting his children ride the bus alone is sparking debate about when parents should be allowed to leave their kids unsupervised.
Adrian Crook says he spent two years training his four eldest children, ages 7 to 11, to ride a public transit bus from their condominium in Vancouver to their school in nearby North Vancouver.
He says the 45-minute trip begins with a bus stop visible from his living room window and ends at a stop directly in front of the school, and the children always travel with a cellphone so he can track them with a global positioning system.
So Crooks says his heart sank when he got a call from the ministry saying they had received a tip about the kids taking transit alone and would be conducting an investigation.
He says the ministry ultimately concluded that children under 10 cannot be left unsupervised, whether it's on a bus, riding their bikes around the neighbourhood or walking to the corner store.
Mariana Brussoni, a population and public health professor at the University of British Columbia, says it's important for kids to learn independence and the case highlights how "over-parenting" has become normal.