Boy, 5, Accidentally Walks to School on a Saturday Morning, While Dad Sleeps In. Cops Come Calling

A 5-year-old in Berwick, Pennsylvania, woke his dad up early on a Saturday morning and said it was time to go to school. Daddy told him no, hon, it’s Saturday—no school!—and went back to sleep.

Now the dad, Jeffry Wagner, is facing child endangerment charges. Unbeknownst to him, his son continued to get ready for school and ventured out into the chilly day to make his way to the bus stop.

Of course, no bus arrived, so the determined little boy started to walk to school. And then, reports CBS Pittsburgh:

[A] motorist spotted him and called police, who picked up the boy.

Wagner waived a preliminary hearing Thursday and will face the charge in county court.

Because, of course, only the children of criminally negligent parents ever do anything unexpected.

And any child who ventures outside is immediately in such grave danger, no parent should ever allow it, even if they’re asleep.

And no cop has ever had anything similar happen to him or her, because it’s only abusive, don’t-deserve-their-kids parents who sleep in on Saturday mornings.

Throw the book at that sorry excuse for a papa! And let’s hope that someday the child understands that it was thanks to his early morning gumption that daddy’s doing time. That’ll make the whole family a lot more functional. – L

P.S. I walked to school as a 5-year-old back when it wasn’t considered on par with crossing the Alps on a pony.

Sir, you are under arrest for not being all-seeing and all-knowing.

.

 

49 Responses to Boy, 5, Accidentally Walks to School on a Saturday Morning, While Dad Sleeps In. Cops Come Calling

  1. John B. December 29, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    This is crazy. They’re treating the dad as if he held his kid upside down by the feet outside a 100 story office building. When I initially read this post, I thought there might have been more to this story but not after reading thru the links. I would assume the charges against the father will be dropped but it never should have gotten to this point. Gosh, nowadays unless you’re a perfect parent you’re considered a criminal.

  2. Amy December 29, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    This happened to one of my past coworkers. We worked overnight and she left her three year old in the hands of the caregiver. Sometime during the night the child woke up and escaped from the house (she wanted to visit grandma) without the sleeping sitter hearing her. A motorist found her wandering (thank goodness it wasn’t on busy roads) and picked her up. The child knew her mothers name but not her address and phone number so the motorist took her to the police station. They were able to figure out from the little girl where her mom worked and called her. She called over to her house to wake up the (now very apologetic) caregiver and then met the police at her home. The police spoke them briefly, figured out what happened, released the girl to her mother and suggested she get a chain lock to help with her little escape artist. To me, that seems like a normal response. Could happen to anybody, the kid was fine (even if something bad had happened I would feel bad, but don’t believe the caregiver or mother would be criminals), and the mother had a learning experience and promptly taught her daughter their address and phone number. In the story above, how easy would it have been to just take the boy home and leave it at that after seeing everything was fine? If I was a motorist and since he knew where he lived I would have just asked if he was okay, explained to him no school, and then asked for his phone number to call his dad (well that’s assuming he was in distress or looked to be in danger. Otherwise I would have left him alone, but at some point he would have figured out there was no school and hopefully asked somebody for help). Now if he was in danger and didn’t know where he lived or his number then I guess I would call the police but I would feel horrible about it if the parents got charged for an honest mistake.

  3. Silver Fang December 29, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    Just another excuse to jail someone. The prison industrial complex is always hungry.

  4. JTW December 29, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    I see a great market for cages to put children in when parents want some sleep…

  5. Amy O December 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Don’t you need intent to commit a crime? Even if it’s negligence, don’t you need to ~intend~ to be negligent? I don’t understand how you can be charged for something that was completely unintended. No one was even hurt.

  6. Amy December 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Seriously? I once walked to school on a teacher training day at age 5 NAKED! The only thing that happened was
    the school called my mom to bring clothes when she picked me up. BTW it was 3 blocks away with two streets i had to cross AND NOBODY stopped their car to ask me what was going on. I WAS STARK NAKED but no cops were called nor court date filed. What is wrong with these idiots?

  7. Tracy December 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    This reminds me of the time I was driving home, past the elementary school in my neighborhood and saw, sitting on a wall by the school, completely naked, a small boy. Seems, the construction at the school, which involved big trucks and tractors and diggers, was very interesting to him. So, he was sitting there watching them dig. I stopped and asked him how he was. He didn’t say anything, just smiled. I asked where he lived and he pointed down the road…ish. I finally figured out, after finding his house, he was a little over two, totally into construction vehicles and didn’t like clothes. Also, that he had figured out how to get out the locked front screen door. Mom was very surprised and thanked me very much for bringing him home. She didn’t realize he wasn’t inside. Can you imagine what would have happened if I’d called the police instead. I shudder to think. Kids do the strangest things. I’m sorry about the dad in this story.

  8. Tray Brooking December 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Now that all three branches of government are in the control of the small-government party which believes in keeping the government off our backs, I am sure all of this will soon be put behind us.

  9. SanityAnyone? December 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    There should be a law against kids doing anything unexpected before 10am.

  10. Reziac December 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Father raises responsible, self-motivated kid; everyone else panics. [headdesk]

  11. Aliza Ellen Burton December 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    I was maybe about 5 or 6, when I packed my little suitcase, put my robe on and walked down the street to my friend’s house. I rang their bell and they had me come inside and called my dad to come get me. My parents then put in a buzzer that rang in their bedroom if I ever opened the front door again, which, of course, I never did.

  12. Jenny Islander December 29, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    @Tray Brooking: You’re joking, right? I expect to see many, many more reports of people being harassed, jailed, or outright shot for completely innocuous parenting decisions/mistakes or unavoidable bad days. But only if they look un-American (that is, not white, well dressed, able to speak fluent unaccented English, able to fit into narrow definitions of manliness/womanliness, afflicted with any condition that results in lack of social graces such as autism or social anxiety, or able to pass as Christian).

    Also look out for many more reports of young teenagers being beaten and jailed for classroom misbehavior that should have resulted in in-school suspension at most. But again, not the “good kids” (=clean-cut white confident correctly gender-performing Christian-shibboleth-reciting boys and girls).

    Also, you’ll see many, many more children being directly or indirectly deprived of food, safe drinking water, safe shelter, and medical care due to “small government” decisions. Then they and/or their parents will be blamed for their subsequent failure to become comfortably well off.

  13. Denise December 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    I knew I shouldn’t have sold that dog crate in my garage sale. I may need it for a grandchild one day. My local police think danger lurks everywhere.

  14. Workshop December 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Amy O, “intent” was once considered when deciding to charge someone with a crime. It is not any longer. “Failure to know the law in no way absolves you from needing to obey the law.”

    There are some laws written such that “intent” is not a consideration (for example, laws surrounding the control and distribution of classified intelligence material – if you handle classified material you sign documents saying if you mishandle them you are breaking the law, intent notwithstanding).

    The proper response from a prosecutor is to ignore this, as no crime was committed. The best response from a judge would be to laugh it out of court. The best response from the jury would be to seriously question the competence and intelligence of anyone believing this was a crime. But I’ve got a dollar saying none of that will happen.

  15. donald December 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    Remember when we would give awards to the eight winner? We didn’t want the children to feel bad. Nowadays we put criminal charges on the parents BECAUSE of what the child did.

  16. Jane December 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    Jenny Islanders, hon, you sound quite distressed over something that “may” happen.

    Do you need a safe space? Coloring book? Bubbles? Teddy bear?

  17. Dean December 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    When will this excessive silliness end?

  18. lollipoplover December 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    “A man faces a child endangerment charge after his 5-year-old son walked nearly two miles to school in near-freezing temperatures – on a Saturday morning.”

    On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, tens of thousands of children in other Pennsylvania towns who live within 2 miles of school are considered WALKERS and schools do not have to provide transportation for these students.

    All 3 of my children have walked or biked to their Pennsylvania public schools, my youngest since the age of 5. Pennsylvania has a variety of temperatures and outerwear. School-aged kids walk to school successfully every single day. Some even walk to school on Saturdays here, dribbling basketballs (we have rec league basketball games on weekends at our elementary school). School day/transportation mix-ups happen to even the best parents, who at the most, should get a warning and not criminal charges.

    Can someone link a contact to the DA office handling this case? I’d be happy to write a letter on Mr. Wagner’s behalf.

  19. donald December 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    A bureaucracy can become similar in character to Godzilla attacking Tokyo. This isn’t just a clever insult. If you read on, you may be amazed to see how truthful it actually is!

    I wrote this years ago. It isn’t centered around child protection. However, the unthinking mechanics are the same.

    In the good ole days, corruption was rampant. If you had the connections, it was easy to sell to or provide service to the government. As long as you paid off the politician that awarded you the contract, you had a certainty that you would get similar deals in the future. The cancerous effect of this corruption ranged from; only a select few can work for the government, to only those in the police favor (or paid them) will receive protection. In order to combat this problem, a mechanised system was needed that was immune to favouritism and to ensure that rules are followed.

    This process promotes equal treatment of all applicants, meaning that everyone has a fair chance to gain access to funding. In order for this to happen, an inflexible system had to be established so that favoritism, friendships and political clout have no effect and that rules must be followed by all.

    However, by doing so, we’ve created another problem. It’s powerful. It had to be in order to stand up to the powerful people that demanded special treatment. Therefore, the personal aspect had to be reduced. This is because thinking is the ‘Achilles’ heel or weakness in the system. If the system was controlled by a single person or a small committee, they could be bargained with. Rules could be bypassed, and the whole system compromised. The end result is a very POWERFUL AND UNTHINKING system – therein lies the problem.

    The bureaucracy itself has come to life. And like all life forms it grows and has a defensive system against attack. It grows more and more inflexible, and defends itself vigorously against anyone that suggest that the bureaucracy has become too extreme in its rigidity. On top of this, the vulnerability of the Achilles heel is continually being reduced by hindering thinking and making the system even more mechanical.

    My previous post pointed out a complete backflip.

    “Remember when we would give awards to the eight winner? We didn’t want the children to feel bad. Nowadays we put criminal charges on the parents BECAUSE of what the child did”.

    Now for the scary part. Even the most senior in change is almost powerless to stop this!

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/bureaucracy
    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/robot

  20. donald December 29, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    On top of this, there is another problem. Have you seen or read the book, ’50 Shades of Gray’? He got off on causing pain. There are many people like this and some of them become bureaucrats. Instead of hitting you with a leather whip, they beat you with red tape!

  21. Betsy in Michigan December 29, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I’ve said it before, people need to start lawyering up and suing. I hate that it’s come to this, but the ACLU and other such groups are going to be our friends even more so than ever before.

  22. Rebecca December 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    I read the article and thought this could have easily been better spun as how committed this boy is to school.

  23. donald December 29, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    “I read the article and thought this could have easily been better spun as how committed this boy is to school.”

    Let’s not reward, praise him for his initiative, or comment that he’s a ‘go getter’, let’s instead lay criminal charges on his father and then let the child cary the guilt for life!

  24. Andrea December 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    This man has either got to be a minority or low income/blue collar for any of this to make sense.

  25. James Pollock December 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    This is another one of those cases where I wonder if there isn’t some information that I don’t have. (These are all wild guesses) Maybe the kid was dressed particularly poorly for the weather. Perhaps there is something about the area he was in, had passed through, or was approaching that is particularly hazardous. Perhaps this kid has some kind of special-needs diagnosis that suggests that extra supervision is warranted. Heck, maybe this is not the first time police have been called to reunite parent and child.

    When I see something that looks like a massive overreaction to something that seems benign, I consider the possibility that it is, in fact, a massive overreaction to something that IS benign. I also consider the possibility, however, that there’s information that hasn’t been given to me, that explains the reaction and why it was appropriate.

  26. Ariel December 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Growing up in Buffalo NY, my dad has an often-told story of how he walked to school (jr high)(about a half hour walk), and when he got there it was closed because it was a snow day.

    Of course “times have changed”, and when i was in jr high, got in big trouble for walking home with a friend when we missed the after-school-activities bus.

  27. donald December 29, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    At the risk of being a traitor, I have to side with James. Although I still claim that bureaucracy has become uncontrollable, (even to the ones in charge) I also stand by an earlier statement that people can become addicted to outrage.

    We’ve seen decades of news stories being tailored to maximise outrage. Years back, child neglect was the target story. However this is changing. The injustice of the police and CPS is now in vogue.

    “I wonder if there isn’t some information that I don’t have.”

    I wonder this as well.

  28. MomOf8 December 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    @Tray Yessss!

  29. MichaelF December 29, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    So Innocent until proven Guilty is gone once there is a child involved…nice. NOT!

  30. bmommyx2 December 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

    wow, just insanity

  31. sexhysteria December 30, 2016 at 2:55 am #

    Was there a snowstorm?

  32. Chuck Baggett December 30, 2016 at 5:18 am #

    I walked to and from school over a mile when I was 5 in Memphis in 1959;. I would stop in at the fire station and buy a soda on the way home. Did in in blazing heat and with snow and ice on the ground. It waw normal.

  33. Amy December 30, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    I have another similar story. Happened so long ago I almost forgot about it. It may not apply to the story above, but my story really highlights how these types of scenarios really target and hurt lower income people. I had a neighbor who was a single mother. She had to leave for work before school hours, so her two boys would get themselves ready and catch the bus. I would say they were about nine and six and old enough to handle this (even if I were to think my kids couldnt at this age, it’s her discretion not mine). This was one of those neighborhoods where the bus stopped in front of every house ( a whole other issue). Nevertheless, they missed the bus one day. It happens. They started walking to school and got picked up by police. CPS was called and investigated. Now as far as I know she wasn’t charged with a crime, but CPS left the case open and she had frequent visits. They basically ordered her to never leave her children alone in the morning or they may take them away. They said they would stop by in the morning to make sure she was home periodically (?!?). No matter her income level this is ridiculous, but with her being low income what was she to do? She had to either pay for childcare (HUGE expense when you don’t make that much) or quit her job (obviously would make things worse). I did offer to watch her kids in the morning until they got on the bus, but it never should have came to that. Now, ten years later I have my own kids. They’re 10, 8, and 3. I’m a single mother (widow-so don’t even have somebody I can share custody with) and sometimes I have to get to work early. I’ll take my 3 year old to daycare but my other two get up and go to the bus on their own (and it doesn’t stop in front of the house). I choose to do this, because my kids can handle this. The difference is, if the same thing happened to me, I could allocate more resources to childcare. It is always an overreach to require this. For those people that say don’t have kids if you can’t afford them, they can shove it. Things happen and we should be compassionate and HELP (not feel superior to) those less fortunate, but besides this caring for a child means supplying love, teaching, and necessities. Since when is morning childcare for two capable children a necessity?? The thing that’s different about if something like this were to happen to me though, is that I could allocate more money (better spent elsewhere) to morning childcare if I was threatened. Not everybody has such an option. Unfortunately, I think people somehow think poor=bad parent and that’s just not true. The one thing that may screw me is the looking for food thing I’ve heard about CPS doing. This tells them nothing really. Personally, I live in a city where fresh food is readily accessible and convenient. I don’t like waste, so I buy daily for what I need that day. If they were to look and see my bare cupboards what are the chances they would accept that story? Sorry for the whole rant. Slightly off topic, I just feel so passionately about this.

  34. Papilio December 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    I keep making the mistake of thinking, ‘it can’t get dumber than this’. Then I read the next story…

    “I walked to school as a 5-year-old back when it wasn’t considered on par with crossing the Alps on a pony.”

    Yeees, but your great-grandparents MARRIED when they were TEENS! I mean, such craziness isn’t suddenly gone two generations later… 😛

  35. Anna December 31, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    “This is another one of those cases where I wonder if there isn’t some information that I don’t have. (These are all wild guesses) Maybe the kid was dressed particularly poorly for the weather. Perhaps there is something about the area he was in, had passed through, or was approaching that is particularly hazardous. Perhaps this kid has some kind of special-needs diagnosis that suggests that extra supervision is warranted.”

    I don’t really see how any such circumstance would make a difference to the culpability here. If my 5-year-old went out on his own like that before I got up, you can bet your boots he’d be “dressed particularly poorly for the weather.” This doesn’t mean he doesn’t own warm clothing; it just means he can’t see why snow on the ground necessitates wearing shoes. None of your hypotheticals changes the fact that the dad was simply asleep. Are parents of kids with special needs not allowed to sleep? And if you’re going to say something about a special lock on the door, my 5-year-old could figure out how to open any lock, and putting it up high would just mean he would need to drag a chair over to reach it.

  36. James Pollock December 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    ” don’t really see how any such circumstance would make a difference to the culpability here.”
    So you have a lack of imagination. Or you REALLY like to stick to your preconceived opinions. Neither one is particularly praiseworthy, and it’s brave of you to admit to having either.

    “If my 5-year-old went out on his own like that before I got up, you can bet your boots he’d be “dressed particularly poorly for the weather.” This doesn’t mean he doesn’t own warm clothing;”
    But if he DOESN’T own warm clothing, and you lived in Pennsylvania, that would be poor parenting, no?
    If it were cold enough to get frostbite, and that is in fact what happened (or was likely to happen, had not the police picked him up), you can see that would be bad, right? The sort of thing that parents are ordinarily required to prevent?
    You’re TOTALLY UNWILLING to consider the possibility that the cops found this kid outside, in inadequate clothing, because the parent(s) neglected their parental duty?

    “None of your hypotheticals changes the fact that the dad was simply asleep.”
    I guess that’s why none of my hypotheticals is hinged over whether dad was simply asleep. Although, if he was simply asleep because he was in some kind of drug-induced haze, that ALSO wouldn’t change the fact that he was “simply asleep”. If he told the kid “listen, go outside and play in the snow in your pajamas so I can sleep, ok?” and then went back to sleep.
    Then again, the reason you KNOW he was “simply asleep” is because… that’s what he told you. there’s NO POSSIBILITY in your mind that he might have, perhaps, been just slightly less than truthful?
    Allow me to spin you a hypothetical that covers everything the cops observed, and you see if you can spot anything, anything at all that sounds like criminally bad parenting, OK?
    Dad decides that he wants some time to do a little crack and and bring in some hookers. So he wakes the kid up and tells him to get to school right away… he’s already missed the bus and will have to walk. The kid doesn’t even finish getting dressed before he gets pushed out the door. The kid’s not even out of sight before dad’s got his crack connection on the phone, and the escort agency soon follows. Dad has his cocaine-fueled hooker orgy while junior’s trudging along the street, freezing cold, no breakfast. The cops get a report of a small lost-looking, under-dressed kid walking down the street, so they pull up and ask him who he is and where he’s going… maybe the kid needs a ride in a nice, warm police car (“don’t touch the shotgun, kid”). Since the answer provided is “I’m on my way to school. I missed the bus” and the cop does somehow miraculously have enough brain matter to recognize that this answer doesn’t match the fact that it is Saturday, he continues to assess the situation… where are this kid’s parents? Back home? And where is that? I see. Can you show me where? OK. Then, when the cop knocks on the kid’s door, dad answers and makes up some story about how he TOLD the kid it was Saturday and there was no school and he was just sleeping, and NOT having a cocaine-fueled hooker party at all.
    Did you see anything, ANYTHING AT ALL, that suggests criminally-bad parenting at work? No? OK, moving on.

    “Are parents of kids with special needs not allowed to sleep?”
    Yes, that’s an obvious inference from what I wrote.
    People who A) have special needs kids who B) tend to go outside, wander, and get lost, and C) are aware of A) and B), need to set up special preparations for their house, such that, for example, an alarm is triggered when the door is opened by the kid. It’s right there in the label… the child has “special needs”. The needs of the child are special, that is, not the same needs as ordinary children.

    “And if you’re going to say something about a special lock on the door, my 5-year-old could figure out how to open any lock”
    Congratulations to you on your world-champion lock-picking child, I guess.

  37. Papilio December 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    @Anna: “my 5-year-old could figure out how to open any lock”

    I don’t get it. Surely you could hide the key somewhere that he can’t reach (without you noticing)??

  38. Anna December 31, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    “I don’t get it. Surely you could hide the key somewhere that he can’t reach (without you noticing)??”

    I suppose (though have you ever tried to hide a basic procedure of your household from a 5-year-old? Not easy!), but I would consider doing so to be a pretty big problem from a fire safety point of view – locking us all in such that we need to hunt up a key to get out. In fact, from a fire safety point of view, I actually think my son should be able to get out of the house on his own steam.

    My point was not that my son WILL sneak out like this kid did – my point is that he COULD. I have to rely on his good sense not to; I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t, but kids’ good sense isn’t perfect, which is why occurrences like this should not be assumed to be the parents’ fault. To me, it seems more like the kind of thing that just happens, even if everybody is acting reasonably.

  39. Papilio December 31, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    @Anna: Riiight… My parents would just lock all the doors and take the keys into their bedroom because burglars. Hence why I’m always a bit surprised when everyone’s little kids are escaping out the front door at night, because in my 5-year-old mind that must have been impossible, if the idea occurred to me at all.

  40. James Pollock December 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    “have you ever tried to hide a basic procedure of your household from a 5-year-old?”
    Such as, say, the mechanism by which children are created? Yes, I have.

    “I would consider doing so to be a pretty big problem from a fire safety point of view – locking us all in such that we need to hunt up a key to get out. In fact, from a fire safety point of view, I actually think my son should be able to get out of the house on his own steam.”
    Getting out in case of a fire involves making use of potential exits which are not doors. This should be taught to children, since in case of fire the door(s) may not be accessible.

    “kids’ good sense isn’t perfect, which is why occurrences like this should not be assumed to be the parents’ fault.”
    On the contrary (surprise!). Parents are ALWAYS responsible for their children, from the moment they are conceived. The buck stops here. Children are known to lack good sense; it is the parents’ responsibility to protect them from that lack. Yes, this is an unattainable ideal. No, that fact doesn’t change anything. Yes, mistakes and accidents happen. Usually, due to luck or intervention by others, the results are not catastrophic.

    “To me, it seems more like the kind of thing that just happens, even if everybody is acting reasonably.”
    This is not, however, proof that everybody is or was acting reasonably in any particular case.

  41. James Pollock December 31, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    This is a true story (or so I’m told, it happened when I was too young to remember it directly).

    When I was very little, my parents had a home with a six-foot fence around the backyard, and a mini-golf place nearby. I wanted to go play in the water hazard at the mini-golf place. So, I took all the toys in the yard, dragged them over to the wall, and climbed over it to go play in the water. Everyone at the mini-golf thought that bratty child splashing in the water was with someone else’s group, and I got away with it for a long time.

    Well, mom figured it out and took away all the toys that could be climbed on. So I tunneled out. There were two inspection entrances to the foundation of the house, at opposite ends of the house, and importantly, one opened on the front yard and one opened on the back. I got under the house, crawled the length of it, and got out through the inspection hatch to the front yard. From there, I made it about a mile and half down the highway, before Johnny Law caught up to me. I wasn’t squealing during this roadside interrogation, but a co-worker of my dad’s happened to pass by and recognize the juvenile offender being detained by the law-enforcement professional, and he pulled over to offer assistance in IDing the perp. The cop returned me to my place of residence and asked my mom if she knew where her son was. “Sure… he’s out in the backyard” (*Joe Friday voice*) “Could you check, please, ma’am?” When my mother returned to the door, the cop released me to her custody.

    Skipping forward a few decades, my own offspring was a climber, with no fear of heights. So, I had to instill in her a requirement to determine “is it OK for me to climb on that?” before climbing in things. Before that got fully set, there were a few incidents where she climbed on things that should not have been climbed on, that I failed to prevent. For example, we were at one of those carnivals where they set up in the suburban strip mall parking lot. I took her on the Ferris Wheel… surely one of the safest rides there is, right? Well, if you are not the sort of person who climbs up the back of the seat when the ride has stopped with your seat at the top of the wheel, sure. My sister grabbed her and returned her to a seated position; I’d been pointing out something that you could see from the top of the wheel and hadn’t noticed the climbing preparations. Another time, we hiked up the popular Multnomah Falls trail to the top of the waterfall, which is about 620 feet above the starting point. My daughter ran ahead, and then climbed up the wall at the edge of the waterfall because she couldn’t see over it. A kindly stranger had a death-grip on the back of her shirt by the time I caught up.
    And then there’s this one. My daughter broke her arm (while her mother was “watching” her). It wasn’t an obvious, Tyler Lockett break. My ex-wife didn’t detect it at the time. The arm was still sore when it was time to bring her back home, and I didn’t detect a broken arm then, either. The next morning, the arm was still bothering her (because it was BROKEN) so I made a doctor’s appointment for her… and sent her to school for the day. After school, I took her to her pediatrician, who ALSO didn’t detect the break, but sent her for an x-ray, just to be sure. The x-ray technician detected the break right away, but of course couldn’t tell us, because her job is to take the picture, not read it and tell us what it means. So the pediatrician looks at the x-ray and says “yep, there’s a break. Take her down to the fracture clinic so they can set and cast it.” So we had to rush over to the fracture clinic so they could treat it before they closed.

    What do these things all have in common? Two things… the parent was at fault in all of them, and none of these are criminal cases.

  42. Mya Greene December 31, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    At some point, we have to hold kids accountable and stop blaming the parents for everything. The kid left the house in the cold because he refused to believe that there was no school, and he did not know how to dress for the weather. Now, we might not know if the parent had provided the relevant information on dressing appropriately for the weather, but what we do know is that the child is the one who made the mistake, and hopefully, this incident will teach him a good lesson with good ‘ol punishment from nature. It will not be easy to legally negotiate how a non-arbitrary gradual transfer in responsibility would look, but it is a necessary conversation.

  43. A Dad December 31, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    You can’t hold the kid responsible – s/he’s a kid.

  44. Mya Greene January 1, 2017 at 12:58 am #

    I just think the system needs a little more nuance than arbitrarily holding parents responsible for ALL that their kids do for an arbitrary time period, which includes a hell of a lot of development, at different speeds for everyone. We already have a little bit of this with the juvenile justice system. Otherwise, the parents would be arrested when their kids, say, vandalize property. Sure, it is convenient to say, under 18, blame the parents, the day one turns 18, all on your own, but is it the best? Sometimes it shouldn’t be so simple.

  45. BL January 1, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    “At some point, we have to hold kids accountable and stop blaming the parents for everything.”

    So … what’s there to “blame” for? A kid got confused about what day it is and walked somewhere because of that.

    Am I “blamed” because I go to the grocery store and find it’s been closed early because it’s Christmas Eve (to name an actual recent example)? How should I have been “held accountable”? I wasted a small bit of time. No big deal. I got what I needed at a convenience store that was still open. No big deal.

    Should I have been arrested and charged with … uh, something? And I’m well past childhood, I guess I should know better, huh?

  46. Anna January 1, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    “Getting out in case of a fire involves making use of potential exits which are not doors. This should be taught to children, since in case of fire the door(s) may not be accessible.”

    Um, yes, if doors are unusable or blocked, you get out a window. Deliberately blocking the door so a window must be used in case of fire. . . nope, that’s not part of our family’s fire plan.

  47. Lunch Pail Steel Mill kid school ethics January 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    It isn’t a true posting without @James Pollock opining and pontificating on the “what ifs”. Boring day in Oregon again?

    I would like to commend the father for not neglecting his body’s need for sleep on a non-work day when school was not in session, but he should be ashamed for not making sure his boy was properly retucked into bed that morning in Steel Country! Ay yi yi The poor kid could have wanted to grab is his lunch pail and head to the steel mill for a shift of work….

    However, if the kid’s dedication to his education was the same across the nation, then maybe more kids……you finish the thought.

  48. James Pollock January 3, 2017 at 10:40 pm #

    “It isn’t a true posting without @James Pollock opining and pontificating on the “what ifs”. Boring day in Oregon again? ”

    Thank you for your input. Boring day in (wherever)?

  49. Nicoe January 4, 2017 at 8:57 pm #

    A lot is missing like is this area safe and how did the child know where to go (was he sure he could cross the street) . I don’t think this is the full story. Kids open doors and get out but being arrested makes me think the father was on something.