I just turned on a podcast of This American Life. A woman began a story in which her seven-year-old son was grounded for crossing the street to see his friend because he is not allowed to cross the street by himself. I was like “I am pretty sure I have ridden the bus with seven-year-olds accompanied only by each other.”
On a more somber note, some dogs found the girl who’s been missing for weeks buried in a tangerine grove. Supposedly her neighbor just got out of jail for murder, so naturally he’s a suspect. This is what I hear.
I also learned recently that one of my students stayed up all Saturday night roaming the streets around the school until she was spotted by so-and-so who happened to be a teacher’s sister-in-law, who then called the girl’s grandmother, so that she had a place to sleep on Sunday. Her father’s an alcoholic, apparently, and she didn’t want to go home. There’s a lack here of social institutions that remove children from the custody of people who fail them. It makes me despair a little. How many of them? And I’ll never know about it.