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Should I "bus" my son through rough part of town?

(13 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-Jun-11 18:41:46

(This is another Ask a gran question sent in by readers of the Radio Times.)

When my 11-year-old son starts secondary school in September he will have a 40 minute walk each way, through a not especially nice part of town. All the other mothers are talking about arranging a car rota because they’re worried about muggings, but it seems ridiculous to me. Am I being unfair?

absentgrana Wed 15-Jun-11 10:44:25

A 40-minute walk twice a day is a bit of a trek anyway. What about a bicycle – less effort, quicker and greener than going by car. Obviously, that does depend on the traffic and types of roads. Mind you, if the area is that rough, he might get mugged for his bike – it has been known to happen. Does he already have friends who will be going to the same school? If so, maybe some of them travelling there together – on foot or by bike – might provide the reassurance of safety in numbers.

Joan Wed 15-Jun-11 11:33:46

I am surprised that there isn't a school bus. I would probably want to drive him, or join a car pool, if I were his mother.

As for muggings - well, they DO happen. Would he be wearing the uniform of a private school? I reckon that could make him a target.

And I agree about safety in numbers.

harrigran Wed 15-Jun-11 11:55:35

A private school uniform should not invite mugging. My children travelled to private schools, for seven years, on public transport. There again I did not give my children flashy mobile phones nor did they carry designer bags which seems to be the norm today. I would not expect an eleven year old to walk for forty minutes, my goodness they would be tired before they started their lessons.

Joan Wed 15-Jun-11 13:45:02

Many years ago my grammar school uniform got me a bit of aggro once or twice. This was in the days when a grammar school was free of course, if you passed your 11+, but some kids resented us.

I'm very puzzled about the 40 minutes walk. Is public transport really that bad?

TwinsetandPearls Wed 15-Jun-11 14:08:37

It's at least a 45 minute walk to our local secondary. Or three buses. Simpler to walk. I don't think its unusual.

For the transport question, maybe play it by ear. Let him walk until he starts feeling uneasy about it, then offer a lift.

expatmaggie Wed 15-Jun-11 19:24:30

I think 40 minutes. perhaps 2 miles, is not beyond a healhy 11 year old. Many children all over the world walk much further to school. A danger of being mugged is another thing altogether. Go along with the a car rota, you can always change to walking or public transport later when he is a bit older and taller.

goldengirl Wed 15-Jun-11 20:16:37

I used to walk on my own over a mile to school across fields when I was at primary school and then by bus the 11 miles to secondary school. This was in the days when muggings and the like were unheard of in my area. I think nowadays I would also join in a car rota to be on the safe side. One of the problems is that so many young people carry various bits of technology with them which attract trouble with a capital T! I saw a young boy - around 9 or 10 - yesterday weaving around on a bike with a mobile phone clamped to his ear! No helmet of course.

Lynette Thu 16-Jun-11 19:35:42

Can you go with him one way or meet him half way or arrange for a friend to meet him? 40 mins on his own is a bit of a shlep. Why not do it one day and check it out for problem areas.

Fancy uniform invites trouble I'm afraid.

Is the school aware of this? Do they have any older people who take same route?

greenmossgiel Thu 16-Jun-11 21:14:52

I think I agree with the car rota idea. I wouldn't feel comfortable about a youngster walking a distance like that through a dodgy area. See if he can make friends with a group of other children who are all going the same way, perhaps? It does seem to be a long distance, though - are there definitely no school buses for this catchment area?

granmouse Wed 17-Aug-11 20:05:03

I would drive him or share in the rota-once is too often to feel threatened let alone every day.Secondary school is scary enough without the stress of a risky walk at each end of the day.

glammanana Wed 17-Aug-11 20:20:55

Car share or go on public transport with friends from the same school,I agree
with the post that moving to the big school is traumatic enough without
having to worry about his safe arrival after a forty minute walk,think what it would be like in the winter time after walking in the rain etc and then sitting
in cold wet clothe's all day,a no go with me I'm afraid

Jacey Wed 17-Aug-11 22:30:09

Depends on reason for 'choosing' the school ...if it has some special significance eg private, independent, grammar ...then the uniform could mean a target ...for a variety of reasons including the technology that may be carried.
On the other hand if it is the local secondary school ...then children from the "not especially nice part of town" could/would be going there too.
I would suggest that you initially contact the school and ask if they are aware of any issues with this long walk ...if there have been issues in the past then that will help you plan ...but if not, that could also guide you ...perhaps the other mothers are concerned more about suddenly allowing their sons that degree of independence?
All of you would have known about this walk when you opted for this school I wonder about the sudden concern this one mother, stirring you all up?
Have you discussed this with your son?
Yes bad weather, dark winter nights may alter your arrangements ...but this is the middle of August ...these decisions were made months ago think carefully about why this is surfacing now.