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Rhode Island Out to Criminalize Latchkey Kids, Recess When It’s Cold, and More
March 18, 2016
Congratulations, Rhode Island! Looks like you are about to become the proud parents of every child in the state, pushing aside those stupid “real” parents, because you know so much more about how to raise their kids than they do!
State lawmakers are debating a bill that would punish parents for leaving a child younger than 7 alone in a car. They’ve also proposed legislation to ban kids under 10 from being home alone and older kids from being home alone at night. Legislation could even extend to private preschools, where a bill would ban outdoor recess when the temperature drops below freezing.
What’s wonderful is that any time parents are not exactly perfect under these proposed laws — say, for instance, they expected to take just five minutes buying the Ibuprofen while their kid waited in the car, but got stuck behind a lady who couldn’t find her coupons — they could be fined $1,000. That’ll certainly make the family safer, siphoning off their savings.
Sen. William Walaska, the Warwick Democrat who introduced “home-alone” age restrictions [said]: “Imagine they open up a cupboard and there’s some chemicals in there.”
Naturally, if you can imagine something terrible happening to a child, it’s reason enough to ban any otherwise normal activity.
Like playing outside the cold! At last, our precious children, from pre-k through elementary school, will be safe from outdoor recess during the long winter months. When the mercury dips below 32, it’s forbidden. The kids can rest inside quietly, like invalids.
Helping to spread the parental outrage and mobilize opposition was [yours truly Lenore] Skenazy, who has repeatedly ridiculed Rhode Island lawmakers.
“These laws are preposterous,” she wrote in her blog. “They assume it is the government’s job to dictate family life. They criminalize maturity in children and common sense in parents, and turn mundane decisions — like running out to do an errand — into legal minefields.”
State health officials also weighed in, saying it would lead to a surge of unwanted calls to the child welfare hotline for situations that aren’t a safety risk.
Law enforcers, civil-rights advocates, supporters of victims of sexual assault and experts who study sex-offender management say the expanded ban could actually decrease public safety by forcing offenders to move frequently or become homeless, destabilizing their lives.
Whether the legislators proposing and passing these laws are only posturing, or actually do believe that local children are suddenly and constantly beset by danger at home, in cars, and at school, Rhode Island is quickly earning a name for itself as the state that loves punishing decent parents and crippling independent kids. – L.