The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, have shown their support to Oliver and Gillian Schonrock after others criticised them for letting their children cycle to school alone.
The Schonrocks allowed their 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter to cycle the one-mile trip from their home in Dulwich to school.
The headmaster of the children’s school warned the couple they could be reported to social services if he believed the children’s wellbeing was being put at risk.
The parents stated they were trying to teach their children self-confidence and responsibility whilst providing them with the same freedom they had in their childhood. “We are trying to let them enjoy their lives and teach them a little bit about the risks of life” said dad Oliver.
Kevin Clinton of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said, “One of RoSPA’s key principles is that life should be as safe as necessary, not as safe as possible.”
Some, including Boris Johnson, called the parents “heroes” for providing their children with independence, but others feel they are being negligent and naïve.
Boris Johnson also attacked the overly cautious health and safety guidelines and said we shouldn’t be attacking the Schonrocks “but try to make their dream come true”. David Cameron’s spokesman also implied the Prime Minister’s sympathies lay with Schonrocks.
This issue has sparked other debates on child safety, for instance whether children under 5 should be allowed to participate in woodwork classes or go on public transport alone. The overall view was parents should have the opportunity to make their own judgment.
Would you let your child cycle to school alone?