Mom Arrested for Having Kids Wait 30 Ft Away in Mall While She Job-Interviewed

.

This story, from KHOU in Houston, is getting tons of attention and I think that will prevent the mom from losing her hard-fought new job! What’s great is that the whole country seems to have woken up to the idea that “unsupervised for a short time” does NOT equal, “In such terrible danger that only an awful parent would ever let this happen.” (See the Federal legislation from Thursday!)

HOUSTON – A mother charged with abandoning her children at a Houston mall said she had just moved to Houston with her young son and daughter.

Laura Browder said she had her 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son with her at Memorial City Mall for a job interview because she didn’t have enough time to line up child care. Browder sat her children down inside the food court near a McDonald’s and went to her interview, she said. The interview wasn’t for a job at the mall, but the food court was a meeting ground for each party.

Browder said she wasn’t more than 30 feet away from her children at any point and they were always in her line of sight. After Browder returned to her children, a police officer was on scene and arrested her.

The arrest came moments after Browder had accepted a job. She said she’s unsure how her arrest that day will affect her opportunity with that job.

CPS officials said they’re still in the early stages of their investigation, but added they could offer services to help Browder find suitable daycare.

Drop the investigation, CPS! And yes, help this mom find daycare! – L

.

It's just possible that a child survive at a food court for 30 minutes.

It’s just possible that a child survive at a food court for a short time.

.

69 Responses to Mom Arrested for Having Kids Wait 30 Ft Away in Mall While She Job-Interviewed

  1. Angela July 19, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    I am a mom trying to find a job, and every day I am reminded of how little mothers are valued.

    I have to hide that I have kids when job hunting. I have been asked “why would you work when you have kids?”. And its always asked like I am either negligent or stupid. I can’t accept some jobs because the pay is so low I would be in the red from paying daycare fees. Thanks Michigan, and all your excessive regulations! As soon as people know I am a mother, job wise I am just a useless liability, no matter what skills I possess… I am married, but the only way for me to work is if my husband stays home.

    Interviews are a whole other form kf terror. I have had interviewers schedule an interview for two hours after they call- what a wonderful way to weed out anyone with children!

    I am so sorry for this woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if she lost the job now, simply because now that she is in the spotlight the company will see her as a visible liability. They can’t look like they are supporting someone on CPS’s bad side! And I am sure that woman has searched for daycares. Good luck finding one that charges less than a private prep school.

  2. anonymous mom July 19, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    I’m glad people are supporting this woman.

    On a side note, it would be nice if more employers realized that it’s not always easy or possible for people to line up childcare for job interviews, especially if we’re talking about single parents without much money (much less being new to an area), and were willing to accommodate that. I don’t think this mother did anything wrong. But, it would have no doubt less stressful for her, and avoided all of these problems, if she could have told the person interviewing her, “My kids are here with me, and they’ll be sitting at this table next to us while I interview” and that would have not been considered a strike against her.

    It’s certainly not ideal–I wouldn’t want to interview for a job with my kids with me! But, it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable accommodation for a prospective employer to make in a situation like this. Yes, these parents shouldn’t be punished for leaving children “unattended” for short periods of time while interviewing for a job, but the fact that they feel like they have to do so–rather than feeling like they could tell their prospective employer they had to bring their children with them–is also a problem, in my opinion. We’re not talking about interviewing for a CEO position, but to work at a McDonald’s, and it shouldn’t be a strike against somebody that they don’t have the resources to obtain a sitter for every job interview they go on.

  3. CONTACT INFO July 19, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Greetings, All,

    Below is a link through which you can electronically contact the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). This is a state-level portal, so you will have to be very specific regarding the case you are discussing. All CPS services in Texas are state-managed through this office. I could not locate any direct electronic avenues to the Houston CPS operations in question, as they have multiple offices in Harris County, none of which seem to have public email addresses. The best I could do was locate a mailing address for DFPS Region 6, which oversees the entire Houston area. You’ll also find an email address for the Houston police.

    Electronic contact with Texas DFPS (state level): https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/Default.asp

    Mailing address and phone for Texas DFPS (state level):

    Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
    P.O. Box 149030
    Austin, TX 78714-9030
    512-438-4800 (7:45 AM – 5:30 PM, M-F, Central Time)

    Texas DFPS Region 6 Mailing address (Houston):

    Texas DFPS
    Region 6 Headquarters
    2525 Murworth Drive
    Houston, TX 77054

    Email contact for the Houston Police Department. Again, remember to be very specific about the case in question, the Houston police force is huge. I’m still working on the specific precinct responsible for the arrest.

    public.affairs@houstonpolice.org

    BW

  4. Angela July 19, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Why would it matter if its for a CEO position or fast food? Unless of course the message is that if you are poor you should stay poor.

    I very much think that the scrambling for an interview at the last second is completely on purpose. Women, especially childbearing women, are not valued or wanted in the workplace, and fathers are only slightly better. Its a great way to weed us out while avoiding discrimination lawsuits.

    That woman can’t admit she has kids during an interview, unless she wants to find herself defending her ability to find childcare, raise a family, and work. Ever tried job hunting while pregnant? Almost every interview I got made it clear I was a waste of time.

    I sure as heck would never mention kids at an interview, even if they were 5 feet away.

  5. Jessica July 19, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    I love that the comments on the article are mostly positive and supportive of this woman and her situation, with some even talking about providing babysitting. That’s what we need: people supporting people, not trying to drag each other down. Double kudos to the mom for standing up for herself as well and not accepting this arrest as a fair assessment of her parenting skills.

  6. Marcello1099 July 19, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Give me a break, I walked almost a mile to school alone when I was 6. Besides which, the kids were in the mom’s view at all times. More hysteria from the nanny state enforcers.

  7. Greg July 19, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    I just checked the linked article and come to find out the woman is Black. I Wonder how much effect That had on the determination for arrest. If I’m not mistaken the police do have discretion when it comes to who and when to arrest an individual. Many on talk radio seem to have the stereotype that ALL black women are terrible parents, by all the police interactions. It makes me doubt my conservative principles, as too many want to believe everything is the fault of that poor (as in indigent) black person. It doesn’t say if someone called the police but could the reason be that attitude. There are simply to many assumptions by too many people.

    If the woman would try to explain the situation this would be taken as reason for arrest under various charges. The first question that should be asked is; Is there an actual need for involvement; and second; Is there really a need for arrest. Instead, it appears the ONLY question that is asked is: How can we MAKE this INTO an arrest. The dialog by police and others bears this out. I had seen a video by an ex-policeman who pointed out this is Actually the purpose. The type of questions were for this end. The entire justice system is so corrupt from the very top to the very bottom that I don’t see a remedy anytime in the future. It’s as if we need to throw it all out and start over, as the founders had done.

  8. Michelle July 19, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    I live right by Memorial City Mall. It’s VERY popular for families with small children, so much that you can barely get in to their little playground. (And they’re super uptight about their rules, with a security guard standing right there to enforce them. I had to take off my shoes just to step in and tell my kids it was time to go.)

    As much as I wouldn’t trust my toddler to sit at a table and be good while I interviewed, apparently her kids did. And if she could see them the whole time, that’s not neglect! But I’m not super surprised. Seems like the people running that mall have gotten too big for their britches!

  9. Michelle July 19, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    PS, I am very hopeful that CPS may be more reasonable than the police. That was my experience when the cops brought my daughter home from the park, and it’s possible that we’re under the jurisdiction of the same CPS office.

  10. Warren July 19, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    I have been in the position to conduct interviews for our company and companies I have worked for. I have had both moms and dads ask me if they could have an extra day to find a babysitter. They always got a very serious and professional, “Bring the rugrats along. It is just an interview.”. Besides you can get good insight into someone by they way they handle their kids in such a situation.

  11. CrazyCatLady July 19, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    So, what does this mean for the playground? I have to be within two feet of my kids or risk arrest? There have been many, many times when my kids were more than 30 yards away from me at that age. Daily at my own home…out in the yard, while I was hanging clothing on the line. (And for the record, yes, I let them out in the yard without me too. And I did have kids about the same age as these two.) We went to the park almost daily, where I met other moms and we walked a path around the playground while our kids played. Why is this place any different?

  12. Katie July 19, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    My husband is just returning to the workforce after around a year as a stay-at-home dad. He found in earlier job hunts as well as his most recent that most employers expect that when they say “jump”, you’ll ask “how high?” Try to get a little more time to schedule a babysitter or sort out child care, and a lot of companies will just move on to a candidate who can interview whenever they like.

    It’s easy for seasoned professionals who are already employed to say, “Well, then that’s a company you don’t want to work for anyways!” but it’s a much harder decision if you’ve been out of the workforce or are becoming desperate for income.

    I am fortunate to have PTO and some flexibility to work from home on occasion in my own job, because I’ve needed to use it on very short notice recently so that he could go on job interviews (our regular sitters were on vacation, at work themselves, had plans already, etc. and you certainly can’t blame them for that). If I didn’t have this flexibility in my own work schedule he would have had a much more difficult time interviewing and ultimately getting the job. It’s not just interviewing either; he had to take a drug test, which can’t be done with a toddler in tow but he was able to go right away for that because I was able to work from home for an hour.

    While I personally would not be OK with my 5 year old supervising my 2 year old in a crowded public place, what other choice did this mother have? Being new to the area she likely didn’t know anyone who could be a last-minute sitter and she may not have been able to afford a drop-in daycare center.

  13. Ariel July 19, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    Just want to say that my parents heard this story and the first words out of their mouths was about how when they were kids, (paraphrased) “a 10 year old could (and did!) babysit, now you can’t trust a 12 year old.”

  14. Warren July 19, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    My oldest just reminded me, that when we were at the mall, my girls at similiar ages would sit at a different table in the food court, to feel grown up. No immediate need for it, they just liked it.

  15. JP Merzetti July 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    It’s a jungle out there. With jungle law, apparently.
    What a novel idea. To actually extend aid and help to a woman who happens to be a mother.
    This apparently, is too human and humane a response. Better to kick her around a bit.
    But then, with predatory ideologies running rampant from the top down, why would the good folks not behave like T Rexes, rather than civilized human beings?
    30 feet away and never out of the line of sight doesn’t register against myopic affliction.

    And CPS……daycare help for court dates?
    (We need a little Texas humor here – seriously.)

  16. Bmj2k July 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    We live in such a reactionary country. Child safety is of course important, but it is going to extreme lengths. Too bad our country doesn’t feel as interested in voting.

  17. Alanna July 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    A six year old is certainly old enough to watch a two year old while within sight of the mother.

  18. Crystal July 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Since when is having your children within your sight at all times STILL neglect? Seems like we need to give these law enforcement people a better idea of what neglect actually is. How about getting a legal definition on the books, federally?

  19. SKL July 19, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Are there more details, because if the mom was in the same room and the kids were in her line of sight, how were they “unsupervised”? Did something terrible happen and nobody responded? Was the 2yo sticking a knife into her eye? Were they crying and screaming with nobody responding? Did they wander away and get run over by a car? Did they tell the cops they had no idea where their mom was and that they’d been sitting there for hours?

  20. Anna July 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    SKL, I totally agree. I don’t see how you can call this “unsupervised” in any sense of the word. They were in her line of sight in a public place where she could hear them if they called out, for Pete’s sake. Inside the average home, a 2-year-old spends plenty of time at least 30 feet away and out of sight of mom, for that matter, don’t they? (In my home, anyway. . .)

  21. SKL July 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    She had just moved to the area. How was she supposed to secure child care, when she didn’t know anyone? You can’t just drop your kid off at a child care center. You can’t just knock on your new neighbor’s door and ask her to keep your kid for a while.

    I’m a professional with money to afford child care, and I’ve lived in my house for 20 years, but I still take my kids with me to work-related stuff (or leave them alone for short periods now – they are 8) rather than take the time to find someone who is both trustworthy and willing to babysit.

    And I let my kids entertain each other for up to an hour when they were tots. I was under the same roof, but on a conference call or whatever. Nobody died.

  22. lollipoplover July 19, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    Child abandonment?
    For eating a Happy meal 30 feet away from mom in a food court for 15 minutes?

    Is there some sort of radio frequency collar we need to install on our pets err children so we have them within the proper non-abandonment criminal charge zone when in public gathering places, like malls?

    This is sheer and utter nonsense. The Paul Blart mall cop that ringed her for this “crime” and arrested her for this should be publicly shamed. I’ve separated my children and sat away from them in food courts out of necessity (Christmas shopping hell) and it never occurred to me it was a crime. I am also not black and poor. I guess things are different in Texas.

  23. SKL July 19, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    Come to think of it, my parents always used to sit us kids at a distant table if we went to McD’s. (I wonder why….)

  24. James Pollock July 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    “Drop the investigation, CPS! And yes, help this mom find daycare! – L”

    On the contrary, finish the investigation, so that you can report that this was an unreasonable arrest, and the police can get new instructions on the subject.

  25. SKL July 19, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    I’m sure there is video to show how long the kids were sitting there and how close the mom was the entire time. Perhaps they should look at the video before arresting people.

  26. Jeni July 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    And to make sure that all children are never more than 30 feet away from their guardian, the Houston highways are flashing this: NEVER LEAVE A CHILD ALONE IN A CAR, IF CHILD ALONE IN A CAR GET HELP.

    BTW, that particular food court is a giant, open rectangle with a carousel and bathrooms on one end and the hallway to the mall on the other. I’d always assumed it was so that parents felt more comfortable letting their kids range a bit freer.

  27. Michelle July 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    Jeni, those signs make me crazy!! I wonder if whoever put them up knows that isn’t even the law? In Texas, you can’t leave a child younger than 7 for more than 5 minutes unless accompanied by someone at least 14. Which means it’s NOT illegal to leave a 10 year old and 11 year old in the car for two minutes while I pay for gas, thank you Mr. No Good Busybody at the gas station.

  28. Jeni July 19, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    Michelle, EXACTLY! Granted there’s not enough space to add many details on those highway signs. But if I leave my 14 year old and 10 year old in the running car with the A/C on while I run a quick errand I shouldn’t have to worry about getting arrested because someone was *encouraged* to be a busybody.

  29. Warren July 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    So in Houston they are lighting up the signs with warnings that are actually not in line with Texas laws.

  30. Peg July 19, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Enough already with the helicopter bs, CPS!

  31. Papilio July 19, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    @Warren: They should warn against that! 😛

    Anyway, not exactly the same urgency level as ‘white heroine is being sold to tourists as cocaine’…

  32. SanityAnyone? July 19, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    I’d like to find my own daycare without an intervention, thank you very much! Not every 10 minute period requires daycare.

  33. Joy July 19, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

    I’m a bit confused…a 6 yr. old and a 2 yr. old? Even though they were in sight of mom, she didn’t want the interviewer to know they were there. So, what would have happened if during the interview, the two year old had done what typical two year old children do- get out of her seat, start crying, calling out for mom, arguing with her brother? I would understand this scenario if the second child wasn’t two. Should she have been arrested, I don’t think so. Was it a poor choice, maybe. Anyone could have stopped and asked those children where their mommy/daddy was-which may have been what triggered the involvement of officials. I know I would have, seeing a two year old with a six year old alone at a McDonald’s. In a large, busy, public place the two year old should have been directly supervised by someone older IMHO. Again, I am all for Freerange, but within boundaries, for without some type of boundaries, children can and do get hurt.

  34. En Passant July 19, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    Nationwide, incidents like this happen frequently enough to give Lenore’s website more than enough material daily. Virtually all of these cases require some legal intervention and followup by their victims to resolve.

    Yet, as far as I know, there is no nationwide organization or coalition that serves as a “clearinghouse” or “hotline” for a parent to call if they need referral to local legal assistance for these specific kinds of incidents. There are some organizations which might provide assistance in some cases, but none which have local or (800-) phone numbers to call to get a referral to an experienced local lawyer who can assist or intervene.

    Such a network need not provide the longer term legal assistance (like, say, the ACLU or ACLJ), but only needs to refer people to local attorneys who can start the process of getting their kids returned. Maybe, if faced with quicker responses, some “authorities” might temper their actions and use better judgement.

    If there is an nationally organized network for parents to reach local “first responders”, it would be worthwhile for every parent to know their number.

    If there is none, what does it take to form one?

  35. theresa hall July 19, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    even with mom not far and in the same room they throw a fit. I highly doubt anyone even tried to talk to the kids to find the parents because adults seem to have a problem with getting all the facts before they yell help kids in danger. and thanks to help like this kids end up needing real help to get over the “help” that was given. these people say we’re helping these poor kids but most of the time nobody actually needs any help. and when cops and cps rescue someone who never needed it all then end up doing is hurting the ones they are insisting on saving.

  36. SKL July 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    Joy, it depends on the kids. Some 6yos would be responsible enough to sit with a 2yo for half an hour and keep her occupied and safe with Mom in the room. Only the mom knows if her 6yo can be trusted to, for instance, call Mom if something Really Bad happens.

    Since the kids did in fact sit there as directed (I assume, having no contrary information), the mom was probably right to believe it was going to be safe. I think it’s worst first thinking to punish the mom because something bad and rare “might have happened” and that if it happened the mom “might” not have noticed it in time to respond.

    We should also remember that we’re weighing a remote “could have” against the less remote results of her being arrested and investigated and possibly losing the job she just got. Can anything good come of seeing Mom get arrested and possibly being separated from her kids because NOTHING bad happened? Can anything good come of Mom being unemployed?

    Again, this assumes there isn’t more to the story.

  37. Beth July 19, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    I guess 30 feet is a whole lot longer than I thought it was. Because if the 2-year-old “get out of her seat, start crying, calling out for mom, arguing with her brother” I was certainly betting that the mom would notice or hear it.

    I’m also betting that, if someone stopped by the table and asked where mommy/daddy was, the 6-year-old could have answered that question with words, pointing, or a combination. 6-year-olds aren’t infants, and they’re not toddlers; they might even be in first grade! They can communicate and use hand gestures when needed, so someone asking where mommy is should NOT trigger involvement by officials because she is right there in the food court.

  38. Meg July 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

    Once again it’s less about the cops or CPS than about the idiot who reported the “crime.” Said idiot only had to ask the 6 year old and she would have no doubt pointed out her mom 30 feet away. Obviously the mom had a good reason for sitting the kids down a few feet away in a food court where they could not possibly have been in danger. As pointed out here, kids are frequently placed at separate tables in fast food joints, both for their benefit and for that of the parents. Anyway, no kid would ever leave a MacDonald’s, once established. I am very suspicious that the mother’s race was indeed a factor, and I’m not one of those people who has a knee jerk racism response to everything. I hope the prospective employer had the good sense to understand the situation and stay with their offer.

    By the way, at the very mature age of eight, my granddaughter was practically the primary care giver for her two year old brother. I’m not saying it was right but I am saying she was perfectly capable. It’s interesting to speculate that had the mother left the kids home alone, there might have been no consequences, since law enforcement might not have been called. But since she made the safer choice, she pays the consequences.

  39. Peter Grace July 19, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    Why did the police get involved. The kids were fine.

  40. Donald July 20, 2015 at 12:51 am #

    10 years ago this woman would have been crucified through the media and immediately fired from her new job.

    Times have changed. There is a lot of support behind her and this incident may even help her job. She’s obviously trying hard to make ends meat. Employers like dedicated workers that make an effort. Perhaps it won’t help her but the fact that she wasn’t immediately fired says volumes on how times have changed. There were even several job offers that came through!

  41. RetailGuyWhoDoesn'tWantToGetFiredForThisStory July 20, 2015 at 1:20 am #

    I’m a manager in a big-box retail store (not the one everyone hates), and, just tonight, I had a guest tell me that there was an “unsupervised” girl in one of the toy aisles. She went on to say that she looked all around and didn’t see the girl’s parents, so she thought she might be in danger. I walked over to the aisle, asked the girl (probably 5-6) if she was lost, and she said, “No.” I asked if she needed any help, and she said, “No.” I went back to the lady and told her, “She says she’s fine.” And the lady looked at me like I was crazy. Haha! I did hang around for a few seconds to confirm that her dad did walk back from Sporting Goods to meet the girl. But I think the lady was wanting me to go into full-on Amber Alert, because a little girl was looking at Doc McStuffins toys without a parent being less than 30 feet away.

  42. sexhysteria July 20, 2015 at 1:32 am #

    Another case of police brutality.

  43. Juluho July 20, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    Unbelievable. These stories just keep gettin more and more Kafkaesque.

  44. Michelle July 20, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    “Once again it’s less about the cops or CPS than about the idiot who reported the “crime.””

    I understand this sentiment, but I disagree. You can’t expect every single person in the whole wide world to behave reasonably. (Well, you can, but you will be disappointed.) But we should be able to expect reasonable behavior from those in whom we entrust special power and responsibility to resolve disputes and provide assistance.

    We need to embue the police with the ability to say, “No crime has been committed here,” and then expect them to do so.

  45. C. S. P. Schofield July 20, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    “Why would it matter if its for a CEO position or fast food? Unless of course the message is that if you are poor you should stay poor.”

    Exactly. I wonder how much Liberal outrage a newspaper could generate by pitching a story like this as

    “White power structure catches Black woman trying to escape the Welfare Plantation, threatens to take her children unless she puts the shackles back on.”

  46. bsolar July 20, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    @anonymous mom: “We’re not talking about interviewing for a CEO position, but to work at a McDonald’s.”

    They arranged the interview at the mall but she was actually applying for a job at an Apogee store nearby.

  47. lollipoplover July 20, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    @Michelle-
    Yes, but the snowball effect of calling police and involving authorities (who are required to act upon these calls) needs to be called out, even if we cannot expect others to act reasonably. Calling the police or security first instead of trying to find a parent is not only lazy, it HURTS children. I agree that once the police are involved they should be entrusted to act with special power, but when there’s irrational busybodies pressing for action, I feel for the police in these situations.

    It starts with the irrational observer who thinks action is dialing 911 for non-emergencies, and not actually getting involved (and waiting with the children or asking if they knew where mom was). We, as a society, need to reign in this counterproductive behavior, for the sake of our children. There are many levels of supervision, direct and indirect. Sitting 30 feet away from a parent is not ever going to be child abandonment. It dilutes the meaning of this crime and is insulting to children who are neglected and abused.

  48. Warren July 20, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    You can give the police and dispatchers and everyone all the power in the world to say this is not worthy or police action or intervention.

    One problem. All those people in authority are in a position that requires them to cover their butts. They won’t risk backlash. They won’t risk being wrong. In today’s society one of the biggest anxieties is losing one’s job.

  49. Tabatha July 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I used to leave my young kids at a table while I went to get food at the mall all the time. This is NOT neglect on moms part, however it is overreaction on the part of CPS. She has most likely lost her new job and will end up on assistance because this will prevent others from hiring her. This kind of response by police and CPS isn’t helping anyone.

  50. Jennifer Fink July 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you for continuing to bring these cases to public attention!

  51. Diane July 20, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Houston is rated more dangerous than NYC. Memorial City mall is not a bad mall… not many shootings there..but if it was Willowbrook Mall (also known as killobrook mall) I’d be leery of even shopping there. Again, this is the over-reaction from people. I was leaving our local Walmart, some lady had left her kid in the car seat, engine running, while she ran into Walmart. No biggie as far as I’m concerned. I left my kids once in the car while paying for gas. I hit the lock button, went in…and then when I’m out 15 seconds later, the 7 year old is laughing and will not unlock the door. 😐 She thought it was hilarious that mom was locked out of the car. I had to call a locksmith to come pop open my car. After that, I just dragged them in with me.

  52. lollipoplover July 20, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    @Angela and other moms trying to find employment-

    If you have to hide that you have kids from potential employers, I don’t think you want to work for those companies. I say this as a mom who has worked full time/part-time/flex-time and unemployed as a stay-at-home mom for years.
    Having a supportive, family-friendly environment with good bosses makes all the difference to be a good employee and parent.

    I would highly recommend looking into job recruitment sites like Mom Corps. I’ve done contract work for them and their prime candidates are…moms. They specialize in flex-time, part-time, virtual job arrangements so family can be your main focus. Moms (and Dads) are great employees. Kids are not a liability for job seekers. I make many contacts for my current job through people I meet because of my kids.

    My current employer remarked on my volunteer youth sports coaching positions on my resume when hiring me (and only added that to cover up my time as a stay-at-home mom). Most of the dads in my office have kids that play sports. It’s a good commonality we can make small talk an everyone at the company I work for now has kids. How do you hide children from employers? Do you answer your phone under your desk and whisper in code? There are many great family friendly companies out there that are willing to make flexible arrangements for working moms. Find them.

  53. John July 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Now I am not the type of person who is always looking at race as being a factor in negative judgments, whether it be for job appointments or arrests, BUT I do think there may be something to the fact that this woman is black. In fact, the lady who was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to play in the park all day while she was at work was also black.

    I think this may stem from the fact that whites seem to have this false perception that black people don’t care about their kids and allow them to run nilly willy and commit crimes. Now the family unit within the African-American community has suffered immensely and this can contribute to the crime rate but this doesn’t mean that mothers who are African-American don’t care about their kids and what they do on the street. In fact, I have observed the opposite with a typical African-American mother holding a special bond with her son.

    Regardless, if I were this woman I would focus her defense on the common sense approach, which she seems to be doing as indicated in her statement, instead of bringing race into it. I think this would be better in the long run for all parents, white or black or brown or Asian, etc., who are falsely accused of child neglect/endangerment because this woman now represents ALL parents who end up in this precarious situation.

  54. Buffy July 20, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    ” Memorial City mall is not a bad mall… not many shootings there..”

    I don’t know what number “not many” might be, but please remember that the mom was THERE at the food court, 30 feet away; she did not leave them there to maybe get shot.

    In addition, parents just don’t have super special powers that protect their kids from every harm, even if they are right there on top of them.

  55. Greg July 20, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

    It’s More dangerous in your Own home. How many children have been shot and even killed in the home by drive-by shooters.
    I’ve heard of several cases just recently.

  56. Laura July 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    An example of where Free Range Kids issues overlap with economic issues — the criminalization of poverty. Parents who struggle to afford child care have trouble finding a job and keeping a job because of these crazy expectations — and of course if they stay home with the kids they are “lazy welfare takers.” I agree with some others that there’s also likely some racism involved in the assumption that a single Black mom must be doing something wrong.

  57. SKL July 21, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    I don’t agree with making this a black thing just because this lady is black. Unfortunately there are plenty of white moms getting arrested for making legitimate parenting decisions. Nobody tried to make it a “white thing” when the Meitivs were going through it.

    Maybe there are statistics that show black people or low-income people do get more grief for the same parenting choices. But I kind of doubt it, because in my observation, busybodies tend to be more privileged / middle class types and striking in their own neighborhoods.

  58. SKL July 21, 2015 at 12:03 am #

    Though I do believe there have been some individual cases that were handled unfairly due to racial or economic bias. I’m just not ready to say it’s a general trend.

  59. Michelle July 21, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    @Diane: ”Memorial City mall is not a bad mall… not many shootings there..”

    @Buffy: “I don’t know what number “not many” might be, but please remember that the mom was THERE at the food court, 30 feet away; she did not leave them there to maybe get shot.”

    —-

    Well, I’ve lived down the street from Memorial City Mall for about a decade, and I don’t remember hearing about any shootings, so not many. But paranoid people will always find something to complain about.

    BTW, my mother shops at “Killobrook” all the time, and she’s never been shot, either.

    Besides, like Buffy said, if someone starts shooting, how much of a difference does it make whether you are right next to the kids or 30 feet away? Moms aren’t bulletproof.

  60. Michelle July 21, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    @SKL, I agree that the busybodies tend to be middle-class, and therefore their meddling tends to happen in middle-class neighborhoods. However, in interactions with the police in general, minorities are more likely to end up arrested, charged, convicted, and face harsher penalties. Notice that the Meitivs were never arrested.

  61. Michelle July 21, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    @Warren: “You can give the police and dispatchers and everyone all the power in the world to say this is not worthy or police action or intervention.

    “One problem. All those people in authority are in a position that requires them to cover their butts. They won’t risk backlash. They won’t risk being wrong. In today’s society one of the biggest anxieties is losing one’s job.”

    Then we need to DEMAND it. The police are accountable to us. They are not allowed to just do whatever they want. (That’s worse than anarchy; it’s tyranny!) If we can’t have reasonable, responsible police, then we can’t have police at all!

  62. Michelle July 21, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    PS. I just Googled it, and the only shooting I could find at Memorial City Mall was in 2003 when some fool literally accidentally shot himself in the ass. I’m not kidding.

  63. Donna July 21, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    SKL – Your reasoning is the same as saying that blacks are not imprisoned at a much higher rate than whites because white people get arrested sometimes too. Yet blacks make up only 13% of the general population and 38% of the prison population.

    Of course poverty, if not race, is at play here. This woman didn’t take her kids to a job interview because she thought it was a good idea. She took them because she was desperate and had no other option. Treating it as if she made some well thought out parenting decision as you have in several comments in this thread is ridiculous.

    The fact is that a middle class person would probably never be in this position to start with so we can’t compare what happens to rich people who take their kids to McDs while they interview for a job. Middle class people have resources. At minimum, they have computers and internet connections. They can afford to pay $30 to go on care.com and pay any babysitter that is available. They are also more likely to be able to say no to an interview if they absolutely can’t arrange childcare at that time rather than take their children with them.

    95% of CPS cases qualify for a free attorney for a reason and it is not that middle/upper class parents are stellar. It is because we criminalize poverty in many ways. Most busybodies may be white middle class (seems like an odd statement since all we ever read about here is how evil anonymous reporting is, but assuming the truth of the statement), but that doesn’t mean that white, middle class is who they are reporting. The races and classes are allowed, and frequently do, intermingle.

  64. chornedsnorkack July 22, 2015 at 1:01 am #

    To Donna:
    “SKL – Your reasoning is the same as saying that blacks are not imprisoned at a much higher rate than whites because white people get arrested sometimes too. Yet blacks make up only 13% of the general population and 38% of the prison population.

    Of course poverty, if not race, is at play here. ”

    “95% of CPS cases qualify for a free attorney for a reason and it is not that middle/upper class parents are stellar. It is because we criminalize poverty in many ways.”

    Do poor whites – a small but not insignificant part of whites – get imprisoned and persecuted by CPS at the same rate as equally poor blacks, or at a different rate?

  65. Larry C July 22, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    There seems to be a growing epidemic in this country, I call it “Getting-into-everyone-elses-busininess-itis”. It is increasingly apparent that more and more people are more concerned about the faults of others. They seem to be on the lookout for the “mistakes” of others and criticizing them for what they deem is wrong. It seems apparent to me that someone turned this mother in without finding out what was going on. The person apparently did not know that the mother was constantly in view of her children, nor did she bother to find out. this country would be a whole lot better off if all these “mistake viewers” would take care of their own stuff and clean out their own mental and emotional attic. People like that are only looking at the mistakes and faults in others in order to keep from introspection which would involve looking at themselves and cleaning their own lives, which can be an emotionally painful thing to do.

  66. Papilio July 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    “Getting-into-everyone-elses-busininess-itis”.

    Oh, I like that one! Since -itis refers to infections, it basically kind of says that those people behave like germs and cause harm 🙂

  67. SKL July 23, 2015 at 4:27 am #

    Donna, the reason I don’t like people jumping to “it’s all about race” is because that makes it seem like it’s happening to “them over there,” when the reality is that it can and does happen to us over here.

  68. Donna July 23, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    “Do poor whites – a small but not insignificant part of whites – get imprisoned and persecuted by CPS at the same rate as equally poor blacks, or at a different rate?”

    I don’t know. I don’t see any divergent treatment between blacks and poor whites in the courts that I practice in, however, I don’t get cases until after the people have already been arrested or persecuted. I can’t say if poor whites are arrested or persecuted less often than poor blacks.

    However, note that I said “divergent treatment between blacks and poor whites,” and not “poor blacks and poor whites.” I see a clear difference between middle class whites and poor whites, but absolutely no difference between any blacks. College students of color and hood rats are treated exactly the same. Blacks are far more likely to be viewed as poor, criminal (thugs) and bad parents in general than whites. Take a poor white person out of the outer trappings of poverty, and they will be treated as through they are middle class until proven otherwise. A black person is far more likely to be treated as a thug until proven otherwise than the reverse. This is the racism that people are unwilling to accept.

  69. Allison July 24, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Its too bad she couldn’t have someone to watch her kids for the interview. How is she going to work if she can’t find someone to watch her kids for 30 minutes ? I also hope she can get a job that pays well enough to make it worth her working. It costs 900 plus dollars a month for day care. I found this out while doing research for a baby shower game. That would have been 3/4 of my paycheck if I would have had to pay a babysitter. 🙁