Readers — This story is so bizarre, I have to share it so I don’t explode:
While kids were napping at a Florida day care center last week, their teacher smelled smoke and went to investigate. Sure enough, she says, some chicken nuggets had caught fire in the oven. She tried to put it out but when the fire alarm went off, she ran back to get the kids out of the building. After a second check for kids, she went back to the kitchen, saw the fire was small, and put it out.
The owner of the center fired her for leaving the kids alone for the few minutes she went to the kitchen.
Now, the obvious point of this is: Duh — would the owner prefer a roomful of crisply fried children? But the point Free-Range Kids is this:
Since when does leaving kids alone for a minute or two constitute grave endangerment?
Part of the message we are here to spread is that kids are NOT in constant danger. Yet somehow our society has become convinced that even the safest circumstances are somehow so UNsafe that they require all our attention all the time. That’s why the the post below this one concerns a mom fined for letting her 6-year-old walk two blocks. The cop’s assumption was the same as the day care owner’s : Kids alone for even an instant are kids in DANGER.
Until we stop hallucinating horrors, we will continue to fine, fire and criminalize loving adults making rational decisions that involve NOT standing right on top of the kids every instant. Zero tolerance for unsupervised children is as ill-advised as all the other zero tolerance out there. And it comes from the same place: Overestimating the danger in everyday life. – L
Don’t investigate the smell of smoke?