Debra Harrell works at McDonald's in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald's has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead. Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone. The girl went to the park—a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking—two days in a row. There were swings, a "splash pad," and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied. The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl "abandoned" and proceeded to arrest the mother.The girl in question, who is nine years old, has now been placed in foster care. I am willing to entertain debate about whether what this mother did is right or wrong. But arrest her? What good that could possibly do? If the cops didn't want her to leave her daughter in the park all day, why didn't they pay her a quiet visit and make a suggestion? How is it going to help this girl to yank her out of her family and place her in the care of strangers? What if the mother loses her job?
What a disaster.