In the cycling case, the school actually warned the parents and then had a state trooper come in to greet them one morning to prevent the child from locking its bike up on school grounds.
In the walking case, a number of passersby (in cars) called 911 when they saw a child walking down the road. A policeman picked up the child and drove him to soccer practice -- but also reprimanded the parents and informed them that they could be charged with "child endangerment" if anything happened to the kid.
As I said recently, Americans live in fear. In this case, as in so many others, the fear is exaggerated:
Critics say fears that children will be abducted by strangers are at a level unjustified by reality. About 115 children are kidnapped by strangers each year, according to federal statistics; 250,000 are injured in auto accidents.
In Germany -- and in England, where I witnessed events a few weeks ago -- school kids fill public spaces in the morning and afternoon. It is hard to imagine a school not letting kids walk or cycle over here, and the German police would definitely laugh in your face if you called them to report a child walking or cycling.