President Obama Signs First Federal "Free-Range Kids" Legislation

Dec 10, 2015, 15:16 ET from

NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, when President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, he signed into law the first federal Free-Range Kids legislation. An amendment added by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) states that:

"...nothing in this Act shall...prohibit a child from traveling to and from school on foot or by car, bus, or bike when the parents of the child have given permission; or expose parents to civil or criminal charges for allowing their child to responsibly and safely travel to and from school by a means the parents believe is age appropriate."

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Senator Lee did not support the bill itself, but he expressed enthusiasm for the Free-Range Kids clause in an email to author Lenore Skenazy, who founded the Free-Range Kids movement:

"Our amendment protecting parents who allow their kids to walk to school is definitely a silver lining. Unsupervised moments are a huge part of how children learn, grow, and build the skills that prepare them for the rigors of citizenship and the adventure of adult life. America faces great challenges today. Kids walking to school with their parents' permission is not one of them."

A caveat to the law states, "...nothing in this section 10 shall be construed to preempt State or local laws.''

Skenazy, who travels the world headlining corporate events for working parents and addressing parent associations at public and private schools, says:

"There is still wiggle room for states to criminalize parents who trust their kids to walk to school (or who sleep through them doing this on their own). But this bill is a great start toward giving childhood back to children, and parenting back to parents. Most of us grew up 'Free-Range' and cherish our childhood memories. I'll bet you can still picture your walk to school. Now our kids can have that same independence, that also taught us problem-solving, self-reliance, confidence -- great skills to develop!"

For more information about Free-Range Kids or Lenore Skenazy, please visit The Free-Range Kids law appears on page 857 of the Every Child Succeeds Act.

Contact: Judy Tashbook-Safern
(214) 592-2125