The school bus pulls up in front of the house. The driver pulls the lever and the door squeezes open. The child goes down the steps and heads for the front porch.
How long will it be before that child is under adult supervision again? Is a parent or grandparent inside? Or is the house empty? Will young children be staying with young children? Will it be a half-hour, an hour, two hours or more before a parent arrives home?
Wanda Mankin, elementary school principal at Graham School, is especially concerned about that scenario this year. Why? In June, Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11, were shot to death on a dirt road near Taylor's home. No arrests have been made in their deaths.
So Mankin doesn't want to get to the point in August where the bus drops students off at homes with no adult present.
Now, I know the latch-key issue has been around for many, many years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends adult supervision for children until about the age of 11 or 12. But I also know that for many families this isn't possible.
But Mankin's statement got me to thinking about how after-school safety should be a concern not only at Graham School, but for parents of children in most every district. And that concern isn't limited to an arrest in this case. It's a day-to-day, year-to-year concern. That led me to take this topic beyond one district.
Sure, it's July, but that means parents have time to think and plan before this scenario comes up in August.