Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Parent concerned young kids may be left home alone
An East Kildonan parent is concerned about information being provided by the River East Transcona School Division.
Karen Wiebe’s daughter brought home pamphlets advertising a program that will help teach kids between the ages of eight and 13 how to stay home alone.
The program, Home Alone/People Savers Level 3, is being offered through the EdVentures course, operated by the division’s adult and continuing education department.
Wiebe fears that parents who read the pamphlet, but don’t take the course, will mistakenly think that it’s OK to leave a child as young as eight home alone.
However, it’s illegal in Manitoba for children under the age of 12 to be left alone.
"What ends up being the issue is the age range," Wiebe said. "Legally you can’t leave an eight-year-old child home alone regardless if you have a good plan."
Wiebe said she applauds the school division’s effort to improve children’s safety knowledge, but the information needs to be more clear.
"It’s never too early to learn about safety, ever. The problem is, this is being read by hundreds of people who are not registering for the course," she said.
"They’re just looking and see age eight, and think children can be left at home alone."
Wanda McConnell, senior communications co-ordinator with RETSD, said the division doesn’t condone leaving children under the age of 12 home alone.
"This course is designed to teach young kids basic safety rules in case they’re ever in an emergency situation and no adult is around," McConnell said.
"Participants are told at the start of the class that children under 12 shouldn’t be left alone."
Aside from the safety issue, Wiebe feels that people are also being misled legally.
Wiebe said families could be at risk of having their children apprehended by Child and Family Services if an accident or emergency occurred and parents can’t be contacted.
"It’s very concerning given that it’s a mail out going out to everybody," she said.
"I applaud their efforts to educate kids on safety, but they need to be more clear in their advertising."
McConnell said the division will be making changes to the information provided to parents in the near future.
"We are going to rewrite the course description to include a reminder that children under the age of 12 shouldn’t be left alone," she said.
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(1 of 15 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
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