Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Letting Your Daughter Play in the Park as Child Abuse

Lenore Skenazy at Reason:
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.


pootrsox said...

Good grief!

Query: were the police officers white and the woman in question a person of color?

Thomas said...

Things that are suspect about this story:

* 'Reason' is deeply ideological.
* This is the agenda of the author
* She buries links to the source stories deep in her article, while a good column should link up front - we shouldn't have to dig to figure out her sources

The local news clip that I did found was absurd, but it is local news.

(I think the author might have buried links because the woman is black, which is probably a contributing reason for the overzealous police, and libertarians are rarely interested in talking about race.)

John said...

Lenore Skenazy is dubious but Conor Friedersdorf also ran this and he is a much better reporter.