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  #1  
Old 08-25-2009
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13-year-old Laura Dekker around the world

The battle goes on! Laura Dekkker a Dutch 13 year old girl wants to be the youngest to sail around the world. But the Dutch government wont let her go.
It's a court-case and even the parlement is discussing her dicision.


See for more:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Dutch bid to thwart young sailor

And her own page: lauradekker.nl
LauraDekker.nl de Jongste solozeiler ter wereld!
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Old 08-25-2009
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Interesting.

Her age and her boat's capabilities notwithstanding, a couple of things struck me.

From a legal stand point, it's amazing to this American that a court in the Netherlands could presume to strip the parents of their guardianship and make the girl a ward of the state, all for something that has not even happened. They are simply discussing plans and taking steps which would lead to her sailing around the world solo -- is this a thought crime in the Netherlands now??

There is no mention of any prior history of parental abuse. Unless they allege that her prior seven-week solo trip, which was successfully completed with no harm coming to the child, amounts to abuse and or neglect? If so, that is an extraordinary leap. What next? Was I abusing my children by letting them solo sail our dinghy when they were 5 years old?

And why is it that parents must get the permission of the State to withdraw their children from the school system? Have the European governments really intruded this much into their citizen's private lives? Here in the U.S., no such "permission" is required. Parents have the final say on their children's educational pursuits.

Couldn't her parents simply travel with her to another country and have her depart from there? Or will the State actually block their right to travel, as well?
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Old 08-25-2009
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Bad idea.

Some guy on SA nailed it when he posted the "news" story of the first fetus planning to circumnavigate in 2012. It's turned into a real debate.

Stop the madness.
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Without making any judgements if it is good for this little girl or not. In the Netherlands all kids 16 and under must go to school by law. Education duty. You need a permit for every day off. If not you risk a fine and even an arrest as a parrent.
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Originally Posted by PierreMundo View Post
Without making any judgements if it is good for this little girl or not. In the Netherlands all kids 16 and under must go to school by law. Education duty. You need a permit for every day off. If not you risk a fine and even an arrest as a parrent.
"Education duty"!?!?

When the government usurped the fundamental rights of parents, was there not even a whimper of dissent, much less a revolution?

P.S. I agree, there are two discussions here, and I am focussing only on one side of it for present.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
"Education duty"!?!?

When the government usurped the fundamental rights of parents, was there not even a whimper of dissent, much less a revolution?

P.S. I agree, there are two discussions here, and I am focussing only on one side of it for present.
What you describe as "fundamental rights" of parents is the real issue here. I suspect the majority of us (parents) would consider the safety and welfare of a child as a predominant responsibility parents have.

It makes no difference whatsoever if this child can sail.

the responsibility of a parent is to ensure the well-being of their children.

How some idiot can think sending their 13 year old girl off on any boat and have here survive not only the ocean but the people she will meet in port who could easily threaten the safety of a child alone is a "fundamental right" which should be questioned.

On it's face, these parents shouldn't be allowed any rights if this is an indication of their judgment.
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Old 08-25-2009
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First of all, I cannot imagine letting my son do that.

However, why is it that modern society views maturity by years of age and not by how they act? Some of the most immature people I know are well over 21. In fact, I have one at 29 that I know personally that my 9 yo is more mature than.

My grandmother was married and had her first child at 14. Yes, 14. I did not miss-type. Do a little history and you will see that many of the officers on the old wooden boats were well under the age of 18. They started them young and based their decisions on their suitability by their child and not so much his age. I think Master and Commander did a good job at presenting this. If I recall, I believe they had to be 13 or 14 to serve and they often lied about their ages. And read back to some of the history of the US and the old west and the ages of children when they were out trapping and building homesites. It is eye-opening. What about the kids who in Congo and other parts of Africa are handed a rifle at age 9 yo's and told to fight or die?

I realize the difference between serving in the military and taking a choice-trip around the world is very different. But I would not say that serving on a British Man of War was any less dangerous and maybe more dangerous. Being a child in Africa is certainly no less dangerous.

All that said, I cannot see me doing sending my kids around the world on some publicity stunt. What is the point? Is it for the child or a 30 minute claim-to-fame? I know John would not do it either.

My only frustration is that I hate the way our society has cataloged each of us based upon the number of years we have on the planet versus who we are. And I especially hate the way governments (ours or others) have unilaterally taken over from the parents as knowing what is best for children. These same governements not a hundred years ago were sticking their kids on frigates and sending them to war. It's still happening in Africa. And given the same circumstances, I would not be surprised to see them do it again for their own personal agendas or for what they feel is best for their country. Double standard if yiou ask me.

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Old 08-25-2009
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This is one of those issues where some consider government should not be involved in parenting as a matter of principle.
Sometimes common sense has to over-ride principle and this seems like a great example.
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Just heard that Laura (her parents, actually) won the case. She is allowed to go, according to the popular press...
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Just heard that Laura (her parents, actually) won the case. She is allowed to go, according to the popular press...
Okay, that's a relief. Now we can discuss whether she SHOULD go, which is an entirely different question from whether she is ALLOWED to go, or whether the State should be taking custody of a child because her parents choose to raise her in an unconventional way that potentially loosens the grip of the State's stranglehold on her education....


I went to her website, but for some reason I only got the front page and couldn't enter beyond. The article linked above indicates she will be sailing in an 8.3M yacht ("Guppy"). Beyond that I don't know much about her boat, equipment, preparations, planned route, etc.

Although, she was born aboard and cruised with her parents during the first seven years of her life. And she has completed a seven-week solo trip. That puts her well beyond the vast majority of sailors as far as experience goes. Sounds like she has salt in her veins.

So until I hear compelling evidence that she is not adequately prepared or equipped for this voyage, or that her parents are pressuring her to make it, I will reserve further judgement and only wish her "godspeed."
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