School headmaster criticises couple for allowing five and eight-year old to bike to junior school

Parents condemned for allowing kids to cycle to school

Parents from South London have been blasted for allowing their children to cycle to school, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Oliver and Gillian Schonrock allowed their eight-year old daughter and five-year old son to cycle a mile unsupervised to Alleyn’s junior school in Dulwich, South London, leading the school’s headmaster to blast the couple for being irresponsible.

Headmaster Mark O’Donnell said: “If a school feels a child in their care is at risk, they have a legal responsibility to notify the local authority.”

“Is an eight-year old responsible enough to come to school with a five-year old and take responsibility when it comes to crossing busy roads? Or what would happen if the five-year-old has a tantrum?”

Mrs Schonrock said she believed “the benefits to our children far outweigh the potential risk from `stranger danger’, road traffic accidents and other factors”.

After a meeting the headmaster told the Schonrocks that they would be referred to children’s services – unless they supervised the journey in both directions. Currently the children are only supervised on the return journey.

Writing for the Telegraph, London Mayor Boris Johnson has praised the parents and lambasted the UK’s "barmy" culture of "air-bagged, mollycoddled, infantilised over-regulation".

Johnson said: "They want their children, aged eight and five, to have the right to walk or cycle one mile to school. They have found a route that seems perfectly safe to them – involving one crossing of the road, with the assistance of a lollipop lady or other parents. In doing so, they have scandalised the apparatus of the modern British state, because they have enough faith in their children, and in the safety of London’s streets, to allow them to do this on their own…

“What happened to the Schonrocks, when they were so rash as to allow their children to go to school or play in the park on their own? They were reported to the school, and the school consulted the rules. Last week the Schonrocks met the headmaster and were told that they must either supervise the journey, in both directions, or else be referred to social services; and I have to say I think that edict is utterly barmy.”

Sustrans have responded to the story here.

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