Update on Mom Who Was Handcuffed and Arrested for Oversleeping

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Maria Hasankolli, the iiritkyaty
Connecticut mom who was arrested
after police found her son, 8, walking to school while she overslept, had her court appearance yesterday. Here is what she wrote:

So I just left court. I was informed that “risk of injury to a minor” (my charge) carries with it a ten year sentence, five thousand dollar fine, and five years probation. My case was continued to January 6th, 2016.

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Thank you all for your support and words of encouragement. I’ll keep you informed as I go. Perhaps someone reading is struggling my struggle and will find comfort knowing they’re not alone.

She’d certainly be able to supervise her son a lot better from a jail cell till he’s 18, right?

Anyway, Maria is most certainly NOT alone. So many of us understand that this kind of interference from the authorities is based on the two corrosive beliefs of our time:

1 – That children are in danger every second of every day from everything and everyone, which means the moment they are unsupervised it’s as if they’ve been left to die.

and

2 – That if only the authorities could micromanage our lives, they could do a much better job of saving our kids from the constant danger they’re in.  (See above.)

Put those together and you get a society second guessing every parenting decision that isn’t “Keep them inside with  the A.C. on.”

Maria was not the only mom I heard from this week. There was also a mom in rural Utah who let her 8-year-old (with a cell phone) stay at McDonald’s watching his 2-year-old brother in the play area, while she dashed across the strip mall for a hair trim. She was back in 15 minutes. By then a cop was there and, as she told me over the phone, “He was talking about there being charges, and how DCFS was going to come to my house and file a report or something and do an investigation and all this stuff.”

She sounded beside herself.

Now I know this will elicit some cries of, “Eight is too young!” or, “That’s something I would never do!” Which is fine. You can feel that, and you can parent as you see fit. But I hope we can agree that escalating this into an actual “case” is beyond the pale.

Around the world, according to anthropologist David Lancey, 40-60 percent of children are looked after by their  older siblings. We have forgotten this. We have forgotten that 15 minutes is a blip in time. We have forgotten how safe we are in America. We have forgotten that 8-year-olds can take on some responsibility — especially a task as undemanding as playing with a brother at an indoor playground where there are plenty of adults around if he seriously needed any help. And we have forgotten that not every parenting decision needs to be investigated as if it’s a crime scene.

Parents are the new criminals. – L.

If I'm found guilty, I can go to jail till your 18th birthday, son!

If I’m found guilty of putting you in danger (by oversleeping, one time), I can go to jail till your 18th birthday, son!

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141 Responses to Update on Mom Who Was Handcuffed and Arrested for Oversleeping

  1. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    I won’t back down from doing the right thing just because some people might dissaprove. My kids will still get to play outside, walk to school, go on adventures, have sleepovers, wait in the car if they want to, and get age-appropriate independence and responsibilities.

  2. bob magee December 3, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    I have seen many comments regarding the margins of this story:

    She was at fault for sleeping – should have woken up and gone back to bed after child left for school

    She has “priors”

    The road was unsafe because:
    no sidewalks
    industrial area
    distracted drivers

    the 8 year old was afraid of the Mom

    the 21 year old should have driven youngster to school

    But the one over riding issue is simply – did her “actions” rise to the level of a crime?

    Crime has real consequences – imprisonment,loss of rights, public shame and fines are all on the table.

    Did this mother’s actions rise to that level?

    That is the only issue at question

    The police only were involved because this child walked along a certain road at a certain time.

    That’s it.

    Do you think this was a criminal act?

    Everything else about this woman and her family and her mothering skills is unknown to us; every foray into the margins of this story is just speculation.

    Speculation is equally worthless whether assuming the best or worst case scenarios. Speculation is often times simply a projection of our experience or values, but at root it is just a guess.

    So – were the police justified in charging this woman with a crime based solely on the facts presented?

    That is the story and that should be the discussion

  3. MommyPerfect December 3, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    Excellent summation of the matter. Spot on.

  4. Jane December 3, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    I’m not surprised about the McDonalds case, honestly. I have worked in retail, libraries, and other jobs that are semi-public spaces, and none of those places want any unattended children around the place under age 11 or so. Not because they necessarily are afraid the kids are going to get snatched or injured, but because they are afraid the kids will act up and annoy other customers. If the child has an adult with them, either the adult can discipline them or they can be asked to leave the store (without the local news saying “Eight-year-old and toddler thrown out on the street by local McDonalds!”).

    I think the more important thing to look at is the lack of community in this situation. The McDonalds mother apparently had no one she could ask to watch the kids for fifteen minutes. Why was she in that situation, and what can we do to make it easier for neighbors and friends to help each other out? Was there nobody else in the McDonalds who could have watched the kids for a minute, or was she afraid to ask them?

  5. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    “But the one over riding issue is simply – did her “actions” rise to the level of a crime?”

    I don’t know. The people closest to the case seem to be split on it… the mother and her son say no, the police and the prosecutor say yes. Obviously, SOMEBODY’S wrong, but I can’t tell who from here (3000 miles away). It would have to be an awfully dangerous road to rise to the level of a crime, but awfully dangerous roads exist.

  6. bob magee December 3, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    The child missed the bus. The child then decided to walk to school – even though there were 2 adults at home (sleeping mother and awake adult brother).

    Child CHOSE to walk to school.

    Being asleep is not relevant here – what appears to be the issue is that the Mom was not aware child missed bus.

    Only way to know if child made or missed bus would be to actually be at the bus stop.

    Is that what this case is all about?

    Remember, even if she woke the child, dressed the child, fed the child and walked the child to the bus stop – BUT did not remain to see child get on bus – the situation is the same.

    The child CHOSE to walk to school.

    So, is the arrest about a child walking on a road – unbeknownst to any adult in his household – that some think should not be walked?

    Is the arrest about the mom sleeping through the child leaving for school?

    Is the arrest about not waiting at the bus stop to see the child get on the bus?

    Only the 3rd option guarantees that the child does not walk to school

    Is that the law?

    Do we want that to be the law?

  7. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    “It would have to be an awfully dangerous road to rise to the level of a crime, but awfully dangerous roads exist.”

    Sorry, but no. The road, parkway (the grassy strip just past the curb), and the sidewalk are public domain. They belong to all of us, and when used lawfully, no crime is committed. If the 8 year old was using the public right-of-way unlawfully, by jaywalking, obstructing traffic, or throwing rocks at cars, then he committed a crime, not his mother. But that isn’t the case here, is it?

    Limited-access highways have limits on the types of vehicles that can use them, and pedestrians are prohibited except in emergencies, but the 8-yo wasn’t walking on an interstate highway. He was walking along a public road through a business/industrial park.

    The public roads, parkways and sidewalks belong to all of us, for all of us to get from place to place. If other motorists are making the right-of-way unsafe to use, then they are breaking the law, not the law-abiding pedestrian.

  8. Michelle December 3, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    In the previous post, it was said that when the police woke the mom, she said she thought her child was downstairs. It appears she never intended to sleep through him leaving for school.

    If that’s true, then it doesn’t matter how dangerous the road was. She never had any thought that her child would BE on that road. If that’s criminal, then it’s criminal to take a nap when your children are home. It’s criminal to not wake up when your toddler wakes up in the morning.

    Even if she expected him to get ready and get on the bus while she slept, she STILL didn’t think he was going to be walking down that road. Is it criminal to get your child ready for school, send him out to the bus stop, and then go back to sleep before he actually gets on the bus? What if you don’t realize that the bus has already come?

    I don’t understand why anyone is speculating that the child must be “afraid” of his mother. Kids often don’t have a good grasp of when it’s appropriate to wake someone who is asleep. Sometimes my kids won’t even knock on my bedroom door when I’m watching TV, because they thought I might be asleep and didn’t want to wake me. But they had no problem waking me up early this morning, the first day of my vacation, because don’t we usually get up at 7???

  9. Agent0013 December 3, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    If “risk of injury to a minor” can be put upon someone who was sleeping while their kid walked to school, then it surly applies to the judge and “child protection” agencies that want to throw that kids mom in jail. I say the judge should be put into jail for 10 years along with the cop that arrested her in the first place. What if the kid got injured because his mom was taken down to the police station. That is “risk of injury to a minor” right there.

  10. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    “Sorry, but no. The road, parkway (the grassy strip just past the curb), and the sidewalk are public domain.”

    No. Private property is private property. (Thank you, fifth amendment).
    Zoning rules are different in residential, commercial, and industrial areas, because (duh) the land is used differently. .

  11. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    “If “risk of injury to a minor” can be put upon someone who was sleeping while their kid walked to school, then it surly applies to the judge and “child protection” agencies that want to throw that kids mom in jail.”

    Except… the parent of a minor has legal responsibilities to the child. The judge, police, and child protection authorities do not.
    Heck, neither you nor I did anything to keep this kid off that road, either.

  12. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    “No. Private property is private property. (Thank you, fifth amendment).
    Zoning rules are different in residential, commercial, and industrial areas, because (duh) the land is used differently.”

    Zoning regulates land uses on private property, not traffia safety. The public right of way is public. The child was not charged with tresspassing. You are wrong on so many counts.

    Drop it. You are out of your depth.

  13. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    “If that’s true, then it doesn’t matter how dangerous the road was. She never had any thought that her child would BE on that road. If that’s criminal, then it’s criminal to take a nap when your children are home.”

    You left out a step. It would be criminal to be asleep while your child is home, IF your home is an inherently dangerous place for children to be. Since most homes are NOT inherently dangerous places for children, it doesn’t come up (and when it does… say, because the house is being used to cook methamphetamine… nobody complains when the authorities remove the children from the home.)

  14. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    “Zoning regulates land uses on private property, not traffia safety.”
    Traffic safety is part of “land use”.

    “The public right of way is public.”
    The public right-of-way is public, true. But not the land next to the public right-of-way.

    “The child was not charged with tresspassing.”
    Neither are most children who trespass. Neither are most adults who trespass, for that matter.

    “You are wrong on so many counts.”
    Or not.

  15. Andrea D. December 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    My mom left me alone once when I was eight for about a half hour. I watched TV the whole time in her room. Thank GOD I lived to tell the tale!!!

  16. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    ChicagoDad, please refer to the Connecticut statutes, Chapter 249, Section 14.300c, copied here for your convenience:
    Sec. 14-300c. Pedestrian use of roads and sidewalks. Required to yield to emergency vehicle. (a) No pedestrian shall walk along and upon a roadway where a sidewalk adjacent to such roadway is provided and the use thereof is practicable. Where a sidewalk is not provided adjacent to a roadway each pedestrian walking along and upon such roadway shall walk only on the shoulder thereof and as far as practicable from the edge of such roadway. Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder adjacent to a roadway is provided each pedestrian walking along and upon such roadway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of such roadway and if such roadway carries motor vehicle traffic traveling in opposite directions each pedestrian walking along and upon such roadway shall walk only upon the left side of such roadway.

    (b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb, sidewalk, crosswalk or any other place of safety adjacent to or upon a roadway and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close to such pedestrian as to constitute an immediate hazard to such pedestrian. No pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree which renders himself a hazard shall walk or stand upon any part of a roadway.

    (c) Each pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to any authorized emergency vehicle, as defined by section 14-1, approaching such pedestrian and emitting any audible signal or displaying or making any visual signal reasonably indicating that such vehicle is being operated in an emergency situation. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to relieve the driver of such an authorized emergency vehicle from any duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway or from the duty to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian.

    (d) Except as provided by sections 14-299, 14-300, and 14-300b to 14-300e, inclusive, each pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to each vehicle upon such roadway.

  17. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    James you are arguing from false assumptions and your arguments are convoluted and unpersuasive. You have an incorrect understanding of zoning regulations, traffic safety law, and the components of the public right of way.

    So let’s cut to the chase, you say that if a road has heavy, fast moving traffic, even if the young pedestrian is lawfully and safely using the public right-of-way, the parent of that child could be as guilty of a crime as if the child were left unsupervised in a meth-lab. I think that is a false-equivalency and disingenuous argument.

  18. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    “So let’s cut to the chase, you say that if a road has heavy, fast moving traffic, even if the young pedestrian is lawfully and safely using the public right-of-way, the parent of that child could be as guilty of a crime as if the child were left unsupervised in a meth-lab.”

    Funny. I thought I said:
    “I don’t know. The people closest to the case seem to be split on it… the mother and her son say no, the police and the prosecutor say yes. Obviously, SOMEBODY’S wrong, but I can’t tell who from here (3000 miles away). It would have to be an awfully dangerous road to rise to the level of a crime, but awfully dangerous roads exist.”

  19. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    James: “It would be criminal to be asleep while your child is home, IF your home is an inherently dangerous place for children to… say, because the house is being used to cook methamphetamine”

  20. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    “James you are arguing from false assumptions ”

    If you’re going to complain about this, you PROBABLY shouldn’t inject your own assumptions, such as ” even if the young pedestrian is lawfully and safely using the public right-of-way”. Also avoid making broad, sweeping claims about the law which are easily checked and disproven.

  21. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    “James: “It would be criminal to be asleep while your child is home, IF your home is an inherently dangerous place for children to… say, because the house is being used to cook methamphetamine”

    True enough. You disagree with this statement?

  22. Diana Green December 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I am in tears. This is so horrible. If this us the law, we should change the law.
    Don’t we have a Constitutionak right to live free? How does this differ from tyranny? A police state?

  23. Catherine Caldwell-Harris December 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Really like this point: “Around the world, according to anthropologist David Lancey, 40-60 percent of children are looked after by their older siblings.” In hunter-gatherer cultures, children as young as 4 start caretaking by carrying one year olds around (of course tons of other people are around too to help). 8 years old is the perfect age for looking after their young siblings. Adult t time/energy too precious for it to be spent on routine childcare.

    In a different culture, an 8 year old looking after at 2 year old would be fine. I wouldn’t leave a child of any age at a McDonalds because I know McDonalds (or other parents) will object, but I like Lenore’s point: don’t criminalize parenting decisions.

  24. Becks December 3, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    I find it hard to understand how anyone could say her actions were a crime. To think she’s facing such severe consequences is scary. That wee 8 yr old must be going through hell to think that one decision he made to walk to school has ended this way. We parents always say ‘think before you act, ie what possible consequences could come of this?’ I doubt anyone would come up with this as a possibility.

    In reference to that morning, there were two adults in the house so if the child misses the bus and decides to walk to school without telling anyone how can they be held responsible? If she were in the shower when the child left or on a call the situation would no doubt be the same. As someone before me said (who I agree with) unless the mum physically puts him on the bus she has no other way to ensure he doesn’t walk if indeed she doesn’t want him walking. That is a law I DON’T want!

    Another question is, what age would this child have to be for the authorities to not take action? 9,10,11,12….,21?! I’m interested to know what age would they deem leaving home and making your way to school acceptable.

  25. John December 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    Very well said Lenore! Think I might have mentioned this before on this blog but it’s worth repeating. During a Nepal trekking adventure back in 1999 within the Annapurna range of the Himalayas, so many of the school children, who were poor, would flock around us Westerners as we would hand them pens. For these kids, receiving a pen as a gift was like an American kid getting a fancy video game as a gift, they were that poor! But it was simply amazing how these kids as young as 8-years-old, boys and girls, would be caring for their younger siblings. NOT ONE TIME DID WE SEE A SINGLE PARENT AROUND! It was all older kids watching their younger brothers and sisters. When showing the video of my trek to my niece and her family, she was simply amazed at how these kids would care for their younger siblings.

    But you know something? It used to be that way here in America! During the 1963/64 school year when I was in the second grade at East Elementary School, there was this little Kindergartner named Danny, cute little booger bear! Well, Danny had an older brother who was in the 6th grade up at St. John’s Catholic school which was located a block away. So everyday after school, little Danny would wait for his older brother to come pick him up for their mile long walk home across a few busy streets. It wasn’t mom or dad picking little Danny up, it was his 11- or 12-year-old brother instead. Obviously they survived although I’ve wondered what became of little Danny who would be about 57-years-old today and his older brother about 63! It’s amazing how time marches on.

    I really worry about the future of this nation after these helicoptered kids of today grow up

  26. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    James, Sigh.

    The CT pedestrian safety laws you quoted don’t support your arguments or disprove anything I claimed. If anything, they support the claim that pedestrians may lawfully use use a road without sidewalks.

    I have never seen a zoning ordinance that regulates use of the public right of way by pedestrians, and I’ve sadly had to read hundreds of them. Anyway, I don’t think that the zoning enabling statutes in any state would allow this type of regulation.

    The area between the sidewalk and the curb of a public street is called a “parkway” and nearly everywhere in the USA, the parkway is a part of the right of way, not private property. When no sidewalk is present, the private property line is almost always set back from the curb of a public street to accommodate future improvements or utility access.

    In any case, James, you think it could be a crime for an 8yo child to walk down a street. I disagree. The argument doesn’t need to go any further than that.

  27. Reziac December 3, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    “Child endangerment” was supposed to mean stuff like “dangled kid by two fingers out a 12th storey window” or “tossed baby from moving vehicle”. It wasn’t supposed to mean every incident of “kid out of immediate supervision of a particular adult” or “used unapproved carseat”. This is why laws need to be not only specific (not open to interpretation or scope creep) but also need to have sunset provisions, in case the unintended consequences are worse than whatever was legislated against.

  28. Rachael December 3, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    She is in trouble because she is raising a responsible, confident young man.
    He felt it was his responsibility to get himself to school. That’s WONDERFUL! How many 8 year olds would use that as a free pass to skip class?
    I feel we could all learn a lot from these two.

  29. JKP December 3, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    “Sorry, but no. The road, parkway (the grassy strip just past the curb), and the sidewalk are public domain.”
    No. Private property is private property. (Thank you, fifth amendment).

    Actually, James, you are wrong. The sidewalks and grassy areas between the sidewalk and curb are actually public property, not part of your private property (I’m sure there are exceptions somewhere, but in most places this is true. Even if there are no sidewalks, that part of the the land is still public property and people can walk on that grassy part next to the curb without being on your private property.)

    My dad is a surveyor, and he just went through a dispute with their HOA and a bunch of property owners who objected to people walking on “their” grass in front of their house. He surveyed for 30 years and property lines don’t extend all the way to the curb (I’m sure there is an exception out there somewhere, but it’s rare). The property owners were appalled to discover that my dad was correct and they don’t actually own that bit of grass in front of their house.

  30. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    In reference to that morning, there were two adults in the house so if the child misses the bus and decides to walk to school without telling anyone how can they be held responsible?”

    Well, only one of them can be held responsible, to start with.

    “If she were in the shower when the child left or on a call the situation would no doubt be the same.”

    There’s a combination of things at work, which involve the child’s making a decision that the authorities disagree with, enough to go through criminal proceedings. Maybe they are wrong to do so, but I’m choosing to skip over that question for this comment. So… this kid made a bad decision, AND his mom didn’t catch it and correct it before the kid was placed in a dangerous situation as a result. (Again, assumptions are here… the situation the kid was in WAS dangerous being a big one)

    Your objection (and others’) seems to be “hey, if she’s sleeping, how’s she supposed to supervise him?” Well, we have high expectations. You can remove all the dangers, so that it doesn’t matter what the child chooses (good luck with THAT, although you can (and probably should) reduce some of the obvious ones.) You can appoint someone else to double-check the decision-making, you can instruct the child in decision-making, including when to seek assistance. All of these should be applied. When you bring a new life into the world, you’re going to be responsible for it until he or she can manage on their own.

    “As someone before me said (who I agree with) unless the mum physically puts him on the bus she has no other way to ensure he doesn’t walk if indeed she doesn’t want him walking.”
    Some places have required parents to serve punishment for their child’s truancy.

    “Another question is, what age would this child have to be for the authorities to not take action?”
    I don’t think it’s a matter of age, but of the decision reached. If the child had chosen a nice, safe route to school, with sidewalks and bike lanes, I don’t think you get this result… whether the child is 7 or 17.

  31. Erika December 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    Stay the course. Use the court system to prove you did not intentionally put your child at risk and that under the circumstances your child managed just fine demonstrating so. My daughter 8 is encoraged to walk home from school and taught how to be safe in doing so.. Many 8 yo get themselves going in the mornings and help their siblings. Only You know the specifics of your situation and what you did. I used the legal system and won. It cost me money and lots of stress, but now others have a clearer understanding of the intent of the law and cannot apply it to charge moms in similar situations.

  32. sigh December 3, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    Wow. “Risk of injury to a minor.”

    So the following things must be punishable by a 10-year prison sentence:

    Going on a bike ride with your 8-year-old

    Baking cookies with your 8-year-old

    Driving your 8-year-old to karate lessons

    Allowing your 8-year-old to TAKE karate lessons

    Installing a playset / jungle gym in your back yard for your 8-year-old to climb on

    Taking your 8-year-old ice skating, sledding, or having a snowball fight

    Any maybe while we’re at it, let’s just criminalize giving birth, because man, that sh*t is so risky. How could you put a child’s life in danger by giving birth to that child? Oh, wait, in order to GIVE LIFE there must be risk present…

    Hmmmmm…..

  33. SanityAnyone? December 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    Insanity math. Mom needs to get her child to school and camp 300 days per year from age 2 to 8. She does it right (6*300)-1 times, failing once accidentally and with no intent to neglect or endanger. Score 99.94% success. Multiply this by six kids whose average age can be assumed to be eight years, so (6*300*6)-1. Success ratio is 99.99% over 6*8=48 equivalent parenting-years. Not good enough. Go directly to jail.

    Give parents some slack when they are trying real hard, people!

  34. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    “The CT pedestrian safety laws you quoted don’t support your arguments or disprove anything I claimed. If anything, they support the claim that pedestrians may lawfully use use a road without sidewalks.”

    So, the law REQUIRES people to walk in the roadway, when there’s (you claim) public area immediately adjacent that the cars aren’t trying to use? This makes more sense to you than the contrary idea that the public right-of-way limited to the width of the street, unless specifically extended (as is typically required in residential and commercial areas?

    “I have never seen a zoning ordinance that regulates use of the public right of way by pedestrians”
    Right. Have you seen any that requires sidewalks or setbacks be constructed? That requires a maximum speed limit be set? That authorizes use of speed-control measures? Really?

    “In any case, James, you think it could be a crime for an 8yo child to walk down a street.”
    It absolutely can be a violation (not a crime) for an 8yo child to walk down a street, under certain circumstances. I pointed you at the relevant statute. If you don’t like it, take it up with the legislature (but don’t expect much traction.).

  35. Drew December 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    When I was 6 years old myself, my brother, and just about everyone I knew who was the same age was responsible for taking care of farm animals ad we were even trusted with small caliber firearms on the ranch. By the time my brother was 7 years old he was operating farm machinery on his own. I know that sounds like a tall tale but it is absolutely true. All of the kids in my family including myself started babysitting other kids in their farm houses without any adults within 1 mile by the age of 10 and my two sisters started at 9 years old. I am only 40 years old so this was not that long ago.

    This helicopter parenting and the absolutely irrational fear mongering of stranger danger borders on child abuse.

  36. Melea December 3, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Any YET-In Australia the new punishing welfare rules force children of sole sole parents, at the age of 8 in the same ‘at risk’ category, while mothers are required to work for slave wages/nothing at all aka ‘work for the dole’. If not WFD (which is so measly and low fathers on the same benefits are exempt from child support) she then has to leave her child alone for hours while participating in meaningless ‘courses’ that lead nowhere as the problem isnt the individual- its the system- 80 people vying for 1 job- a single mother has no hope. These children are being taught a lesson from our western liberal democracy that life is cheap- they dont matter and this double standard ‘state endorsed child neglect’ disgusts me.

  37. Maxine December 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    Just this morning, my ten year old got herself up and out to school while i slept in. I am in the midst of peri-menopause and last night I did not sleep. Regardless, she makes her lunch each nite for the next day, gets up and makes her bed, feeds the cats, gets her healthy breakfast brushes her teeth and is on her way. What is the big deal?

  38. sigh December 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    From a CT criminal defense lawyer’s website about “Risk of Injury to a Minor”:

    “Section 53-21(a)(1) forbids any person from causing any child under the age of 16 to be placed in a situation where (a) the child is placed in physical danger, (b) their physical or mental health is likely to be injured, or (c) their morals are likely to be compromised or impaired. For the full text of the statute, click here. Obviously this covers a lot of ground, and police usually err on the side of caution and will tend to arrest rather than issue a warning. Such scenarios include: driving drunk with a child in the car, driving at excessive speed with a child in the car, committing any kind of crime (even a minor one like shoplifting or breach of peace) while your child is present, leaving a child in the car without supervision, sending or exposing a child to adult pornographic images or explicit sexual content, excessive, inappropriate, or gratuitous horseplay with a child, or using violent, inappropriate or cruel home discipline on a child. Whatever the scenario, if the police believe you have caused injury or risk of injury to a child’s physical health, mental health, or morals, then they will charge you with a Connecticut Risk of Injury felony under C.G.S. § 53-21(a)(1).”

    So you can’t place a child in physical danger.

    Every. Time. You. Drive. Them. Anywhere.

    And never mind sports like football or hockey.

    These laws are worded in such a way that literally ANYTHING could be construed as putting a child in danger, since you can dream up any kind of freak accident. Tossing babies in the air is putting them in danger. How much danger is too much danger? Who decides what’s “dangerous”?

    It’s all highly subjective, and this is getting to be a huge trauma for families where the intervention from law enforcement and the courts causes far more harm than the original “dangerous” situation.

    Seriously flawed strategies here. No shades of grey. We go from “safe” to “dangerous” with no incremental risk tolerance, and every single parenting decision becomes a felony charge.

    I want to scream.

  39. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    “Actually, James, you are wrong. The sidewalks and grassy areas between the sidewalk and curb are actually public property, not part of your private property”

    No, no, no and no. If the sidewalk was public property, then A) the public would bear the expense of constructing it, B) the public would bear the expense of maintaining it, C) the public would bear the expense of clearing it of ice or snow or other impediments to travel, and D) the public would bear the liability if someone were injured due to a defect in the construction or maintenance of the sidewalk. None of these are true, anywhere that I am aware of. (Although, to be fair, I’m not aware of the local sidewalk codes for the vast majority of places… if you can point to one where this is true, well, it doesn’t apply to me, so I don’t care.)

    “Even if there are no sidewalks, that part of the the land is still public property and people can walk on that grassy part next to the curb without being on your private property.)”
    You’re confusing an easement with public ownership, I think. Residential and commercial areas have these, industrial and rural areas tend not to. And some roadways expressly forbid pedestrian travel.

  40. Nicole December 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    There are very few good foster homes available. There are very few suitable relatives willing to step up and raise soeone else’s kids. And group homes are a worst case option for raising a chwell adjusted child. To think that putting a parent in jail is a good idea in any but the most extreme cases is to say that you really don’t care about the kids at all, you just want to punish for punishment’s sake. Children want their parents. Parents sometimes need better resources, training, or guidance. Parents don’t need 5 years in the clink for forgetting to set an alarm clock.

  41. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    “How much danger is too much danger? Who decides what’s “dangerous”?”

    Why, it gets assessed at several different steps along the way. First off, the person who sees it has to say “say, that’s dangerous” or there’s no call to the cops. When the cop arrives, the cop has to say “yep, that’s dangerous” or there’s no arrest. Following the arrest, the prosecutor has to say “Dangerous”, or there’s no charges. Finally, the jury has to find that the situation the child was placed in was dangerous, or there’s no conviction. And, of course, if the governor says “that’s not dangerous”, the conviction can go away.

  42. Roger the Shrubber December 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    In any case, James, you think it could be a crime for an 8yo child to walk down a street. I disagree. The argument doesn’t need to go any further than that.

    As you can see, that’s asking a lot from Master Pollock.

  43. Mandy December 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    “Risk of injury to a minor”

    So you mean…that thing parents do every time they strap their children into a car? Or take their children to the beach or the pool? Or let their children do pretty much anything? Klutzy as I was as a child, I’m pretty sure my parents “risked injury to a minor” every time they let me get out of bed.

    Stupid law designed to allow maximum busybody interference in parenting choices. I hope she gets the charges dismissed and then sues the hell out of the city for traumatizing her son.

  44. David December 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    @James: That may be true, but a person walking on the sidewalk in front of your house is not trespassing.

  45. That_Susan December 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I completely agree with what Erika said here: “Stay the course. Use the court system to prove you did not intentionally put your child at risk and that under the circumstances your child managed just fine demonstrating so.”

    I sincerely hope that Maria has gotten herself good legal representation and that she stands her ground and doesn’t let them scare or bully her into any kind of a plea bargain. If she does stand her ground, and Lenore and writers like her keep doing their part by informing the public about the insane trial taking place on January 6th, the world will be watching and I think it’s quite likely that the outcome will be very similar to the Meitiv’s.

    By the way, has anyone heard whether the Meitivs won their lawsuit, and if so, how much money they were awarded?

    Enough cases like this, and police officers, CPS workers, and other government officials will start thinking twice before making complete asses of themselves and their departments. Of course, I think it’s awful that certain families are being forced to bear the weight for this important change. That’s why the rest of us need to be as supportive as we can whenever we hear about cases like this.

  46. JKP December 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    James – are you a surveyor? If not, then shut up and stop spouting off about stuff you obviously know nothing about.

    My dad was a government surveyor his whole life and literally just finished a dispute on this very issue where he had to educate the HOA and property owners that their property line ends at the sidewalk, not the curb. The sidewalk and grassy area are PUBLIC property, not private property. It’s one of his biggest pet peeves, so I hear him gripe about it all the time because he’s constantly having to educate property owners about this specific issue.

    “A) the public would bear the expense of constructing it,
    B) the public would bear the expense of maintaining it,
    C) the public would bear the expense of clearing it of ice or snow or other impediments to travel,
    D) the public would bear the liability if someone were injured due to a defect in the construction or maintenance of the sidewalk.”

    The public owns the property from the sidewalk to the curb, but the zoning requires the property owner to maintain all of the responsibilities listed above in maintaining that public property. If you don’t believe me, then you’re free to pay a surveyor to come out and survey your property, but you’ll probably be surprised where your property lines actually end. The HOA my dad recently had to work with was quite surprised to learn that their property didn’t end where they thought it did and that the sidewalks to the curb were public property. And when they learned that where they property line actually ended, they tried to claim – as you did above – that they then had no liability or responsibility to maintain that publicly owned property, but then learned that the zoning required them to bear the expenses of maintaining it and insuring it even though they didn’t own it.

    Your zoning can actually require you to maintain property that you don’t own. My brother’s house was on the corner of the street, and he was actually responsible for paying the electric bill for the city-owned streetlight on the city-owned property on the corner in front of his house.

    Now I am sure there is probably some exception somewhere in the US, but typically your property line does not go all the way to the curb (even in the absence of a sidewalk) and yet you are still responsible for maintaining that public property.

  47. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    “That may be true, but a person walking on the sidewalk in front of your house is not trespassing.”

    Duh?

  48. Jana December 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    I am not sure what is going on, but 17 years ago our then 3 yrs old daughter left our appt without our knowledge and walked with a bucket and spade “to the park” (which was actually on the other side of the busy road – she did not cross, but went obediently to the crossing lights). When we found out that she disappeared, we panicked looking for her everywhere. Then, a policeman rang at our door, bringing her in and saying that if this happens again, the social services will be called… Everything took about 15 – 20 minutes. So I do not know. It happened in Missouri, but the policeman seemed pretty reasonable to me. No evident abuse, the child looked confident and happy, parents desperate beyond themselves with fear etc. Poor Maria…

  49. JKP December 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    James – since you are so fond of google – here are a couple examples to help you understand.

    Portland
    http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/?c=28857
    “The owner(s) of land abutting any street in the City shall be responsible for constructing, reconstructing, maintaining and repairing the sidewalks, curbs, driveways and parking strips abutting or immediately adjacent to said land”
    “The owner(s) and/or occupant(s) of land adjacent to any street in the City shall be responsible for snow and ice removal from sidewalks abutting or immediately adjacent to such land”

    Topeka
    http://www.topeka.org/pdfs/row.pdf
    “Ask a homeowner where they believe the property line is in front of their house. In general, many will say that their property line ends at the curb or sidewalk. In fact, a homeowner’s property line ends somewhere behind the curb or sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, then it ends a number of feet behind the edge of the traveled way or shoulder. Although the sidewalk lies on the public property side, most towns charge the maintenance (i.e., shoveling of snow and keeping it free from obstructions) of the sidewalk and grassy area to the homeowner.”

    Most cities have similar ordinances stating that you are responsible for the public property abutting or adjacent to your private property. So even though you don’t own the sidewalks or grassy area next to the curb, zoning still requires you to be responsible for it.

  50. Steve December 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    This woman needs a copy of your book – Free Range Kids – to give her lawyer and to hand to The Judge.

    Lenore, why not have this mentioned prominently on your website. “Take copies of Free Range Kids to Court.”

  51. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    “James – are you a surveyor? If not, then shut up and stop spouting off about stuff you obviously know nothing about.”

    So sorry. Didn’t realize you were a SURVEYOR.

  52. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    “By the way, has anyone heard whether the Meitivs won their lawsuit, and if so, how much money they were awarded?”

    Way, WAY too soon. The news coverage seems to peak in mid-April with news that they planned to file a lawsuit; there’s no indication that they’ve even filed a suit yet, and even if they’d filed in April they would still be waiting for a court date. It takes a LOT of time for federal lawsuits to work through the system.

  53. JKP December 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    “So sorry. Didn’t realize you were a SURVEYOR.”

    Not a surveyor. I said my dad was, and dealt with this issue all the time. And yet, you wanted to insist that you were right and I was wrong. “No no no,” you said. It can’t be that way because you know everything in spite of anyone else’s training or experience.

    I notice you still aren’t man enough to admit when you ARE wrong (which, by the way, is quite frequent and is definitely true in this case). Instead you will probably google research until you can find one specific city where this is not true, never mind that it’s true 99% of the time, and argue that I was wrong even though I allowed that there could possibly be some rare exceptions.

    I just get sick and tired of you in every thread arguing with people who are experts at what they are talking about and nitpicking line by line what anyone else says until the whole thread is derailed over and over again. This site was so much better before you showed up. I don’t visit nearly as frequently as I used to, solely because of YOU.

    I wish Lenore could change the commenting software she uses so that users could block annoying people like you and not have to read your comments, which end up being 50% of the thread because you reply line by line to every single post anyone else ever makes.

  54. Roger the Shrubber December 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

    Master Pollock – did you really just degenerate the intelligence of all in the profession of surveying?

  55. JKP December 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    “Master Pollock – did you really just degenerate the intelligence of all in the profession of surveying?”

    Exactly – 3 of the 4 presidents on Mt Rushmore were surveyors.

  56. lollipoplover December 3, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    “Parents are the new criminals.”

    And children are the new pets.

    Apparently, there are leash laws for children too. Requiring this imaginary leash of supervision at all times and making a parent/adult supervising always responsible for the actions of the child produces a generation of children who are not accountable for their own actions. I find this completely unacceptable and know that kids are so much more capable than we give them credit for. I refuse to treat my kids like feral dogs who need tethering- they are not possessions they are human beings.

  57. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    “Master Pollock – did you really just degenerate the intelligence of all in the profession of surveying?”

    No… did you?

  58. Donald December 3, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    “Such childhood independence is unusual today, but only because we overestimate danger and underestimate kids, to the point where we barely think of them as humans. We treat them like clueless, adorable, endangered pets.”

    All of their lives children are told that they are ‘maze dull’.

    Let me explain what maze dull is. Robert Rosenthal conducted an experiment in the Pygmalion Effect. He took ordinary lab rats and labeled them at random as ‘maze bright’ and ‘maze dull’. He then told his students a hoax that these rats were specially bred. Some can be taught to navigate a maze quickly and some had a low intelligence and were difficult to teach.

    Each student was given a rat and was instructed to teach them how to run a maze. They ran the maze hundreds of times and the average time taken. The results were amazing! 40% of the rats performed exactly like the random label given to them! Some rats were stupid simply because the students thought it was so and treated them this way!

    However assuming that children are stupid is considered as good parenting. In fact in some cases it’s illegal NOT to treat them as clueless, adorable, endangered pets.

  59. Roger the Shrubber December 3, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    So sorry. Didn’t realize you were a SURVEYOR.

    I think you did, Master Pollock.

  60. Lin December 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    My mum worked as a nurse when I was that age. She was asleep most of the time when I left for school. Sometimes she wasn’t even home at all. I did have older sisters, but I used to walk to and from school on my own regularly.

    Would a good lawyer make a difference to the outcome of this case? There’s a lot of pretty vague terms in that legislation. Should we crowdfund for her legal costs?

  61. MR December 3, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    At 8 years old I often walked to a near by McDonald’s with my friend, cash in hand to have lunch or dinner. My children have walked to the nearby 7-11 with money to buy treats. I know they have walked there with their youngest sister in a stroller, she was likely between 2 and 3 which means my oldest was 10 and my twins were 8. At what point are they a problem that shouldn’t be there and at what point are they paying customers? It is common to see kids between 8 and 10 with younger siblings in tow at that 7-11.

    If she left the 8 year old with food or money to buy something, or they bought something when she returned are they not paying customers rather than a problem? (My kids are now 12,10,10,6 and 4. At 8 years old my kids have so far all been more than capable of caring for their younger siblings for short durations, my 6 year old is actually quite capable of caring for her younger sister who is almost 4, although I am always in the house when they are together, she is very mothering. Sometimes when I hear people talking about things kids shouldn’t/can’t do I feel like my children are the only ones this capable and independent, but clearly that can’t be true).

  62. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

    “Each student was given a rat and was instructed to teach them how to run a maze. They ran the maze hundreds of times and the average time taken. The results were amazing! 40% of the rats performed exactly like the random label given to them! Some rats were stupid simply because the students thought it was so and treated them this way!”

    I think you’re misreporting this. If only 40% of the rats matched their random label, when you’d expect 50%, that suggests a negative correlation… calling the rats dumb actually increased the ability to run mazes, or calling the rats smart actually decreased the ability to run mazes, or some combination of the two amounting to 10% of the rats.

    If perception of the rats natural ability affects their actual ability to perform (or, more accurately, has a measurable effect on their trainers), then that 40% should be higher than what you’d get from random distribution.

  63. sexhysteria December 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    Parents should just stop sleeping.

  64. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    “I think you did, Master Pollock.”

    I’ll give your opinion the full weight it deserves. As soon as you explain how I can “degenerate” people who happen to be surveyors.

    Meanwhile, for people who are slow, like you, I’ll explain the joke, so you won’t make that mistake again..

    You see, the text I quoted suggests that people who are not surveyors are not entitled to an opinion on the legal definition of ownership of property. But… that opinion comes from somebody who is not a surveyor, and therefore…

    And if we substitute in the question “are you descended from or related to a surveyor”, well… guess what my maternal grandfather did for a living?

    PS: I hope you are enjoying your little “master” digs. But… the only other person who ever called me “Master Pollock” was my great-aunt, so every time you do it it creates a mental impression that you, also, are a little old lady.

  65. That_Susan December 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    @Lin: “Would a good lawyer make a difference to the outcome of this case? There’s a lot of pretty vague terms in that legislation. Should we crowdfund for her legal costs?”

    That’s exactly what I’m thinking! The reason they’re coming down so hard on her now is they realize what idiots they’ll look like if it actually does go to court and get tons of public attention. If they can scare her into pleading guilty to something lesser, their stupidity can disappear from the public eye, while an unimportant (to them) citizen foots the bill for everything by paying a fine, and having something else tacked onto her permanent record to boot.

  66. sigh December 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Okay, so James Pollock, this is precisely what I’m getting at.

    If there is a cultural mass hysteria about what constitutes a child being in “immediate danger” even though statistically it isn’t borne out, then we are at the mercy of vaguely-worded, highly subjected phrases like “risk of injury to a minor” which can be interpreted to mean felony charges in circumstances that are highly unlikely to yield injury to the child…. even though the bystander, police, DA, and judge all agreed it was “Dangerous.”

    There are shades of nuance in a case where someone is killed by another person. Did they have intent? Were they of sound mind? Interpreting the state of the killer’s mind can mean the difference between electrocution and ending up out on parole in a few years.

    But no one argues that someone is dead. Someone is dead.

    In the case of “child endangerment,” when the child is perfectly, 100% A-OK and has not a mark on them, not a psychological wound present (except from seeing their parent arrested and taken to jail), we are completely and utterly at the mercy of mass hysteria.

    No one came to harm, and yet a felony was committed? Huh?

  67. Paul December 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    JKP-

    You could do what i learned to do long ago – just read past any comments left by Mr. P. I know it’s hard to do, and there are comments responding to what he said, but you’ll find you wind up wasting far fewer hours (and brain cells) trying to keep up with him.

  68. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    “If there is a cultural mass hysteria about what constitutes a child being in “immediate danger” even though statistically it isn’t borne out, then we are at the mercy of vaguely-worded, highly subjected phrases like “risk of injury to a minor” which can be interpreted to mean felony charges in circumstances that are highly unlikely to yield injury to the child…. even though the bystander, police, DA, and judge all agreed it was “Dangerous.”

    You’re assuming that THESE circumstances are “highly unlikely to yield injury to the child”. I’m not making that assumption. The fact that MOST 8-year-olds can walk down MOST streets perfectly safely doesn’t mean that THIS 8-year-old can walk down THAT street perfectly safely. The only adult on the scene promptly removed the child from the situation. Maybe because it was massively dangerous, maybe because the kid was supposed to be in school, maybe because the cop who picked him up felt sorry for him having to walk. I don’t know which of these. But the first choice exists. It can’t be ruled out. Now, maybe the guy who saw this kid walking along the roadway is a “git off my lawn” type, who just doesn’t want kids anywhere near his property. Maybe the cop didn’t get enough sleep the night before, and was totally crabby and overreacted to the slightest provocation. Maybe the prosecutor is going through a divorce, and isn’t giving the case the examination it deserves. I can’t rule any of those out, either.
    The point I was going for is that there are multiple safeguards in place, multiple places where a bogus complaint can get detected, and discarded. That doesn’t mean that it works perfectly… no system designed and operated by human beings is perfect and works without flaw. It’s not perfect, it’s just the best we can manage.

    “There are shades of nuance in a case where someone is killed by another person. Did they have intent? Were they of sound mind? Interpreting the state of the killer’s mind can mean the difference between electrocution and ending up out on parole in a few years.
    But no one argues that someone is dead. Someone is dead.”
    Well, sometimes there are cases where it turns out the dead guy isn’t dead, and some more where it turns out the dead guy isn’t who we thought he was. And some more, where he’s dead, but dead of natural causes.
    It’s not like child endangerment is the only crime that can occur with no harm to any actual person. For example, when a police detective goes online and pretends to be a 12-year-old alone for the weekend, and gets an indictment against the adult who stops by with beer and condoms, the victim may not only not be harmed, they may not even exist.

  69. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    “You could do what i learned to do long ago – just read past any comments left by Mr. P.”

    This is also what I recommend.

  70. Donald December 3, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    I can expect two things when I come to this site.

    1. Lenore’s blog

    2. James will argue about anything and everything.

  71. Lyla Ward December 3, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    When I was 8 yrs old I walked 11 blocks to school. I’m not sure if my mother was there or not when we got ready for school.. I would say sometimes she was sometimes she might have been at work. It varied. On a very cold day in November of 1975, I was 9 yrs old and my brother was 11 yrs old, we were getting ready for school while our parents were driving to work. We had NO supervision, we did what we had to do. We were responsible at that age. It’s sad that today that people are getting arrested for things that were an everyday occurrence when I was a child and when people older than I am were children. Seriously this is getting silly.

  72. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    “2. James will argue about anything and everything.”

    http://www.freerangekids.com/update-on-mom-who-was-handcuffed-and-arrested-for-oversleeping/#comment-397378

  73. Roger the Shrubber December 3, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Master Pollock – As usual, you purposefully misinterpret, split hairs, or in my case, jump on obvious typos in an attempt to refute a point that no one is making. You are being your usual boring self.

  74. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    “Master Pollock”
    (giggle)

    “you purposefully misinterpret, split hairs, or in my case, jump on obvious typos”
    Wasn’t sure if it was intentional or not, and, in any case the answer (as was explained to you) was still “no”.
    Do you need it explained again, slower this time?

    “in an attempt to refute a point that no one is making.”
    So, you admit you had no point? Never mind, then.

    “You are being your usual boring self.”
    http://www.freerangekids.com/update-on-mom-who-was-handcuffed-and-arrested-for-oversleeping/#comment-397378

  75. Susan Power December 3, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    I was allowed to babysit during the day when I was 8 in the 60’s. We’ve gone nuts as a nation.

  76. pentamom December 3, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    I was just thinking about this today, before I saw this post.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that the mom in this situation really messed up and it was objectively dangerous to her child for him to walk to school along by the side of a busy road. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that it was bad, wrong, and irresponsible for her to allow the situation to arise due to her lack of attention.

    This makes it criminal endangerment? Why is there suddenly no territory between doing everything right, and being a criminal? Same goes for the Meitivs, same goes for all these crazy cases. Even if these people are using bad judgment, or acting irresponsibly (and I don’t concede that they are, but for the sake of argument, let’s say they are) how is it that they’re charged with *same crime* as people who leave their children in the care of known abusers, and other obvious and horrible forms of endangerment?

  77. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    I’ve been away from the computer for a bit. I had some time, so I flew to Portland and walked in the parkways in front of every house, apartment, business and factory in town. And nothing else happened. Not conclusive, but it doesn’t look like it’s illegal for a middle aged guy to walk in the parkways in Portland.

    I had some time left over, so I disguised myself as an 8 year old walking to school in the parkways. I got some strange looks, a few people crossed the street as I approached, but still not arrested, nor was my mother. Thank goodness! She would have been rather irritable. Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence, and yet…..

  78. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    “it doesn’t look like it’s illegal for a middle aged guy to walk in the parkways in Portland.”

    Unless you count, say ORS § 814.040 (“Parkways” are roads here.) For example, Naito Parkway runs downtown all along the riverfront.

  79. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    “ORS § 814.040 (“Parkways” are roads here.)”

    You’re joking, right? There is no way I could walk in front of every building in Portland, OR in one afternoon. I went to Portland, IN…obviously.

  80. Mel December 3, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    While I agree the government over steps a lot when it comes to our children. I do not agree with 8yr olds being left alone. Or to babysit toddlers! Don’t have kid’s if you can’t be responsible and watch them. It’s not “other adults” in the area’s job to watch them. I wouldn’t. Not to mention, I have an 8yr and she could easily be kid napped! Teenaged get kid napped all the time. Then there’s the fact they don’t have the best impulse control. Absolutely ridiculous to leave an 8yr old unsupervised!

  81. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Mel, please stop encouraging James. It will only lead to chaos and heartache. And by the way, do you have anything to say about surveyors, parkways, zoning ordinances, traffic safety regulations, or the hokey-pokey? Because, apparently, that’s what it’s all about.

  82. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    “Let’s say for the sake of argument that the mom in this situation really messed up and it was objectively dangerous to her child for him to walk to school along by the side of a busy road. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that it was bad, wrong, and irresponsible for her to allow the situation to arise due to her lack of attention.

    This makes it criminal endangerment? Why is there suddenly no territory between doing everything right, and being a criminal?”
    Because you’re not seeing the territory between doing everything right, and being a criminal. “Being a criminal” is a pretty binary thing, usually, you either are or are not a criminal.
    Let’s play some more “Let’s say for the sake of argument”. LSFTSOA that the best thing she could have done is to wake up, make sure the poor lad is on the bus to school. Does that seem like the best thing possible? OK, then some other, not best but good things would have been to A) make sure some other adult ensured he got on the bus. Or B) drive him to school after he missed the bus. Or C) walk with him to school (Not saying she SHOULD HAVE done this, just that it’s one of the things she could have done that would be not the best thing possible, but not criminal either.) Or D) maybe get someone else to drive. She could have called the school, and said he wasn’t coming in. She could have practiced ahead of time “what do we do if we miss the bus” and selected a safe route to follow, or at least established that “this is something you need to tell me about”. She could have solved the problem in many ways (sure, a lot of them involve hindsight.)

    So, what you really mean (I assume) is that this happened once, and doesn’t seem like a deliberate act, so why’s it a crime? I don’t know. Remember, FTSOA, the roadway the boy chose is so horrible that it’s obviously dangerous… was it really? Well, the adults in this story who were there acted to remove the child from the environment. Is there some kind of history, to which we have not been made privy (such that this was a “last straw”?) Did the boy, in his conversation with the cop driving him to school, say something that made it sound a lot worse than it actually was? Was it actually worse than we’ve been led to believe? Dunno. Maybe.

    So, on to the statute:
    Sec. 53-21. Injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children. Sale of children.
    (a) Any person who (1) wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that the life or limb of such child is endangered, the health of such child is likely to be injured or the morals of such child are likely to be impaired, or does any act likely to impair the health or morals of any such child, … shall be guilty of a class C felony.

    Now, if (remember, FTSOA) the child is in a truly objectively dangerous situation, and got there because the mother permitted it to happen, then you have two big pieces of this felony. The other piece would be “willfully or unlawfully”. “Willfully” seems like a stretch from the mom’s side of the story presented here. But… depending on what the kid told the cop about why he chose to walk instead of waking mom up, asking a sibling for help, even just coming and saying “I missed the bus”, there might be a case for “willfully”.

    Depending on a few things, you could get “guilty” as an outcome. Certainly, we know that the prosecutor is familiar with this statute and knows what he or she will have to prove to obtain a conviction. And the prosecution is proceeding. That’s not conclusive proof, by any means, but it certainly suggests that this isn’t a case of a child walking down the street singing and dancing with rainbows and flying unicorns.

    Here’s what we DO know… if she does get convicted, it means that either a jury of her peers saw the evidence and was convinced that there was, in fact, a crime here, or that she voluntarily pleaded guilty. If she doesn’t get convicted, it means neither of these things happened. Time for “wait and see”.

  83. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    Darn it Mel. See what happened? I am holding you responsible for this mess of a comment right above here. I tried to warn you…you put one foot in, you take one foot out, you put one foot in and you shake it all about…

  84. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

    “You’re joking, right? There is no way I could walk in front of every building in Portland, OR in one afternoon. I went to Portland, IN…obviously.”

    Gee, and I thought you were serious. Guess that guy walking in the parkway ranting about various things wasn’t you. No wonder he looked so confused when I asked him about the weather in Chicago.

  85. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    ” I tried to warn you…you put one foot in, you take one foot out, you put one foot in and you shake it all about”

    Geeze, I can’t keep up with your off-topic whining about things getting off-topic.

  86. Charles Batchelor December 3, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

    I guess my parents are guilty of what 180 counts times three years or 540 counts. Looks like the courts and CPS are the ones needing to grow up. I understand why CPS in getting involved, it’s a power grab for them. The more “investigations” the bigger their budget.

  87. Warren December 3, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    ChicagoDad,

    James does this because Lenore is too nice to cut him off. He also does it in here, because in person he would never get away with it.

  88. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

    “I can’t keep up with your off-topic whining about things getting off-topic.”

    All we ask is that you try your best.

  89. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    Thanks, Warren.

    I imagine that James has a secret talent that would be really interesting in real life. Maybe he is an excellent ballroom dancer, or he has superb taste in scotch. Someday his best topic will come up on Lenore’s blog and one of us will read his comment and say, “Wow, James, that is insightful and apt!”

    But then James will reply, “No. It’s not”

  90. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    “I imagine that James has a secret talent that would be really interesting in real life. Maybe he is an excellent ballroom dancer, or he has superb taste in scotch. Someday his best topic will come up on Lenore’s blog and one of us will read his comment and say, “Wow, James, that is insightful and apt!”

    But then James will reply, “No. It’s not”

    I don’t dance, and I don’t drink. Close enough?

  91. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    “I don’t dance, and I don’t drink. Close enough?”

    That’ll do, James. That’ll do.

  92. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    “That’ll do, James. That’ll do.”

    Gotta keep my fans happy. Say “Hi” to Warren for me, that guy’s been carrying a torch for me forever.

  93. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    “Gotta keep my fans happy.”

    You know, you and I never post comments at the exact same time. What if you’re like Edward Norton, and I’m like Brad Pitt and we’re in that f*d up bar? If so, I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

  94. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    No idea what you’re talking about.

  95. ChicagoDad December 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    “No idea what you’re talking about.”

    Seldom, if ever.

  96. trey December 3, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    Moderator! Moderator! You’ve got a troll poisoning your community. Name of James Pollock. You might want to look into your ban tools.

  97. James Pollock December 3, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    “Moderator! Moderator! You’ve got a troll poisoning your community. Name of James Pollock. You might want to look into your ban tools.”

    Ah, you’re cute, too.

  98. Caiti December 4, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    I don’t get it. It’s not like the kid said, “hey moms asleep, I guess I’ll take the car keys and drive myself to school.” Instead, he came up with a logical and SAFE solution– even on a busy/ dangerous road a person is unlikely to be hurt or killed on a one time walk– and he was perfectly fine and unharmed when approached by the cop. So mom accidentally overslept and the kid acted appropriately, but it’s only because of the kid’s mature decision making that the mom is arrested. And since our job as parents is to teach our children to mature and solve problems, it’s obvious she’s doing a good job of mothering. So It seems to me that the child’s decision is reason enough for the prosecutor to drop it.

  99. hineata December 4, 2015 at 4:18 am #

    You know, there was an eight year old in Australia who helped run a sheep station. Those things, in Oz anyway, are ridiculously large, running into hundreds of thousands of acres plus. His mother actually was a waste of space, who abandoned him and both an older and a younger brother. By the time he was 11, he was left in charge of the ‘blackfellas’ and the station while the boss went droving, six months at a time.

    He ended up in WW1 (of course!) and in later life was a prominent trade unionist. The book is called ‘An Ordinary Life’. And his mother may have eventually been arrested for general drunk and disorderly, but certainly not for abandoning her kids.

    There has to be a middle of the road somewhere, between children running farms the size of small nations and mothers being arrested for sleeping in on a school morning. Or God help us all….!

  100. andy December 4, 2015 at 5:28 am #

    @hineata 19 century Germany had 4 years old kids alone playing on the street whole day while both parents worked 12 hours a day. Which is why some good middle class soul organized first kindergartens. Minority grew to be politicians and wrote memoirs, but many ended much worst. The middle of the road is probably the best.

  101. Roger the Shrubber December 4, 2015 at 6:43 am #

    Master Pollock December 3, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQCU36pkH7c

  102. Elaine December 4, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    Every time someone goes on about a child possibly being kidnapped I am reminded of the O. Henry short story “The Ransom of Red Chief”. I made the mistake once of mentioning this to someone who went red in the face and started spluttering. I moved away quickly.

  103. BL December 4, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    ” I flew to Portland and walked in the parkways in front of every house, apartment, business and factory in town. And nothing else happened.”

    See? People are getting away with heinous crimes every day!

  104. Buffy December 4, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    My gosh people, stop engaging the troll. Don’t you see that’s exactly what he wants?

  105. Emily December 4, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    1. For all the people asking why the 21-year-old brother couldn’t drive the 8-year-old brother to school, there might have been a good reason–maybe he didn’t have a driver’s license (I didn’t get my G2 until I was 23, or my full G until 25, because I have a spatial disability that makes co-ordinated tasks like driving harder). Maybe he didn’t have a car. Maybe he had to go somewhere else (either on his own steam, or waiting for a ride), or he was expecting company, and he couldn’t change his plans at the last minute to drive his brother to school. We don’t know, because news articles like this one don’t usually include every detail.

    2. For all the people who say the boy “should have chosen a safer route to school,” we don’t know that there was one. Let’s not blame an eight-year-old child for infrastructure that doesn’t support walking, which is the unfortunate new reality in a lot of places. Anyway, I don’t think he was being that unsafe, because he walked on the grassy shoulder in the industrial area, not on the road.

    3. For everyone wanting to ban James Pollock, it’s probably not going to happen. Lenore doesn’t ban or gag people on here, because she takes a very free-range approach to running the Free-Range Kids Blog. It’s not perfect, but I know some other forums that moderate people (sometimes even up to a permanent ban) for disagreeing with the popular opinion there, so I like this approach better.

  106. David (Dhewco) December 4, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    Too bad this blog doesn’t have an ignore function (if it does, I’ve never found it). I used to find the James-Warren dichotomy (is that the right word?) amusing…now it’s kinda tired.

    Anyway, on to the topic. Somewhere along the line, with the rise of the ‘everybody is a victim’ mentality and the inner child people, a lot of adults lost trust in children and they’re capabilties. We’re told about all the kids who supposedly fall for the ‘puppy’ lure, come close for a piece of candy, and other kidnapper methods. It’s easier to assume it’s kids that are inherently naive and stupid and must be protected. It’s easier to do that than teach the kids the proper ways to protect themselves and then let them go.

    This last part is the important one. Helicopter parents usually teach them to avoid candy givers, pupper losers, and such but then they don’t trust the kids to follow through. When kids see that their parents don’t trust them, they internalize that stuff. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When the kids who aren’t trusted fail, the parents feel vindicated and up their ‘protection’ to the point we get the college and high school kids who need their parents to sit in on job interviews and do their college entrance essays for them.

    I’m hoping the next generation rebels against their parents in ways that are more free range. I don’t trust that it will, but I hope.

    David

  107. David (Dhewco) December 4, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    God, I’ve got to proofread…I should have used their. Sorry, I was trying to get it all out.

  108. lollipoplover December 4, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    “I have an 8yr and she could easily be kid napped! Teenaged get kid napped all the time. Then there’s the fact they don’t have the best impulse control. Absolutely ridiculous to leave an 8yr old unsupervised!:

    It’s comments like this that make me stare into my coffee and want to pour bourbon in it.
    Absolutely ridiculous to leave an 8yr old unsupervised? Like these are kids in diapers with binkies having no skills or brains? It’s truly maddening to hear about parents that treat their kids like big babies.

    My youngest has biked to school since 5. I biked her in (half-day) and her siblings biked her home. She has done more miles on these roads on her bike and feet and knows them better than most of our neighbors (and their kids) who just do them in a car. She’s 9 now and gets to school independently each day, part of her commute alone now (cold weather causes a drop off in kids biking) but she meets up with her friend who she calls to make arrangements (on the home line-she doesn’t have a cell phone) and review weather, how to dress (gloves required), and plans after school. She’s awesome at it.

    This morning we spoke (after I toasted her bagel while she packed her lunch) about her friend and basketball. Her friend was worried about signing up this year because the baskets are higher and they have to play in the “big” gym. The mom texted me her daughter’s worries and asked if I could have my daughter talk to her about it and reassure her. That’s probably what these girls will talk about this morning, unsupervised. It’s good they have *alone* time as friends to talk on these morning bike rides to school. I like my alone time with my friends too.

    Kids worrying about bigger baskets, making a team, those are normal childhood worries- not anxiety disorders from being left alone or fear of being kidnapped and harmed- or “napped”, whatever that is. My daughter NEEDS the physical outlet of biking or walking- she only gets one period of gym each week! This week they had gym in their classroom because the indoor gym was occupied. They don’t do gym outdoors for some reason and for her ONE period a week of physical activity, they played rocks, papers, scissors. I ‘m not joking. We’re getting ready for snow season, which means recess will be limited to the blacktop because snow is toxic and cannot be touched and makes clothing wet,, the horrors!

    These kids are jumping out of their skin, getting put on drugs to *calm* them, and it’s an absolute travesty.
    And it all starts with people claiming “Absolutely ridiculous to leave an 8yr old unsupervised!” It’s attitudes like this that lead to shopkeepers calling the cops on a kid walking. The shop is located near a school. A kid with a backpack commuting to school is such an uncommon, dangerous sight? What a poor infrastructure to exist around this community school and in this neighborhood. THAT is ridiculous.

    Kids walking and biking and getting physical exercise is a sign of a good community! Children who engage in exercise prior to attending school have better impulse control and do better academically than those who are driven. Kids who have no outlets and are constantly supervised by overparenting zealots are a dream for pharmaceutical companies. Either they get you with an ADD drug early or an anti-anxiety or depression drug when your child realizes that she’s miserable and paranoid and can’t handle basic functions of normal people, thanks to the mom who thinks she’s always going to be kidnapped. I’ll take my chances raising a capable, independent child who can rationally assess risk with the help of those encouraging her and is healthy and strong physically and mentally.

    Good luck with pharma parenting, Mel.

  109. Maria Hasankolli December 4, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    I may be tossing a pebble in the pond here, but none-the-less; Lucan(my 8 yr old) is the youngest of six; 21,17,15,14,10, then him coming in at 8. All boys except our 10 yr old.
    I’ve raised them all the same. I’m not a coddler but I am a fabulous teacher. They are well versed in self care and maintenance, they are urged to be problem solvers and to use free thinking. I allow failure and mistakes to help mold them into well rounded human beings, and in our home, we believe in freedom of choice. They understand that life has success and consequences, abd that sometimes, regardless of how hard you try, things just don’t work out.
    That being said, Lucan has watched, listened, and learned from his siblings that walking to ones destination can and often does turn into an adventure. He had multiple options for a ride to school. He waited until his brother turned his back and willingly chose (with his freedom of choice) to walk.
    Contrary to some bloggers beliefs, I wouldn’t allow him to walk North Plains Industrial Road because I too, believe it is too dangerous, but I wasn’t arrested for the fact that he was walking. I was arrested for not being awake whilst he prepared himself for school. When the cop came to my home, it was 9:40 in the morning. I had only been asleep for a few hours so when he asked me where Lucan was, I was half asleep and went to his room to get him. I had no idea what was going on.
    His bus pulls into our driveway at 8:30 every morning. He’s had the same routine since kindergarten. On this particular morning however, he missed it (reason not important). I woke his father up at 6:02 a.m. when I came home from Yale New Haven hospital after sitting with my aunt until she passed. I was emotionally distraught and physically drained since I had been there since 8:30 the night before.
    When DCF came to my home the following day and I conveyed this information, I was told that at 8 yrs old, a child must be supervised at all times. Even whilst outside in the back yard. Everyone is entitled to opinions, but sometimes it’s all the little details which get left out that paint a picture of truth.
    I hope this helps to clarify some things. I did not commit a crime.

  110. BL December 4, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    @lollipoplover
    “It’s comments like this that make me stare into my coffee and want to pour bourbon in it.
    Absolutely ridiculous to leave an 8yr old unsupervised?”

    I know I’ve described this in detail about three times in the comments of this blog:

    When I was 8 years old we moved to a new town in a different state. While the moving van was still being unloaded, I went off to explore my new home town. By myself. A town of 5000 with two state highways crossing in the center of town. A town I’d never seen before. No, I didn’t sneak away, my parents knew what I was doing.

  111. CrazyCatLady December 4, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    What I don’t get, (and maybe it was explained in this thread someplace but I haven’t seen it,) is why, if there was the older brother home at the same time, why wasn’t he charged too? No, I don’t want this young man who is in the military to be charged with a crime any more than the mother. But…somehow the police feel that this 21 year old, who is in the military, was not competent to also supervise his brother? (And granted, little brother may not have told him what he was doing either, he just went and did what he knew he was supposed to do.)

    To me, this smacks of discrimination based on gender. Only WOMEN are able to supervise children, according to law officers. And it is not just this case. The case (not discussed on FRK) about the toddlers who apparently put their baby sibling in the oven…who were left at home alone – the MOTHER was charged, because she was at work. But at the time she LEFT for work, her boyfriend and father of at least one of the kids, was there. Why was HE not charged for leaving them alone and allowing the horrific events to happen? Why is the news only talking about the mother, who left what was supposed to be a responsible adult in charge. Likewise, in this case….there were two adults in the house. One happens to be male and one female.

    Are we REALLY at the point where only women can take care of children according to the law? Haven’t we passed the 1950s and made great strides in Dads being able to watch the kids, change diapers and even get custody of kids as a single Dad? And again…I think it is stupid that ANYONE was charged….if the police felt the kid was in danger….tell him not to do it again….get one of the two adults to take him (or walk with him) to school.

  112. common sense December 4, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    maria..of course no crime was commited. so cps wants you to supervise him at all times? including when he’s asleep, on the toilet etc? are you supposed to go to school with him and sit next to him so he’s supervised by you? when you have a psychotic breakdown from not sleeping during this supervision, will he be going with you to the mental ward so you can still supervise him? if I wasn’t sure they would arrest you for harassment I would say call your case worker ,oh say, every hour or two around the clock and inform her[or him] what luka is doing, just so they know you are supervising him. or go with him to school and inform them he must be supervised. again don’t do it but can you imagine if you got the other parents in his class to go in to supervise their kids also[since 8 year olds must be watched all the time.] cps is insane. most of the worker have no kids or experience with kids themselves, and no matter how little training they have think that they’re gods. in my county the only requirement is two years of college[doesn’t matter what subject] and a 3 week traing course. and with this they are allowed to destroy families and lives. cps must be abolished. if abuse is occurring let the police investigate, that is their job. not some holier than thou 20 something year old who believes every report is true til proven otherwise and if you don’t make 100,000 dollars a year you’re nothing but white trash.

  113. CrazyCatLady December 4, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Maria, you have my sympathy for your recent loss of your aunt. I am so sorry, but I am glad that you were able to be with her. I really wish the “professionals” in this case could have been a bit more caring and understanding. Not only the police, but also that judge.

    I hope that you get a good lawyer, and that the lawyer can point out that your husband had been home and awake when you came home that morning, and that your 21 year old was also home. Granted, your husband was probably at work at the time of missed bus, but the point is, there were lots of adults around at the time that this child, who may also have been confused about the loss of a family member, decided to take matters into his own hands to spare the effect on his mother. Kids do have compassion. He may have also have needed some time on his own to process the events of the night…not that he purposely missed the bus, just that when that happened…he did what he needed for his own mental health. And before people say “he wasn’t close to this aunt,”….he doesn’t have to be close to a person to have emotions about death. (And, for all we know, he was close to her.) That an 8 year old did what he did, does not make anyone in the family criminal. In fact, if the opposite were to happen…if the boy sneaked out of school to go home…HE would be in trouble with the school…the school would not be charged with a crime.

  114. pentamom December 4, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    James, don’t be ridiculous. There is territory between doing *everything* right, and being a criminal.

    Doing everything right = sticking strictly to a budget, never overspending, and keeping a healthy level of savings.

    Blowing $5 I can’t really afford on a Starbucks is not doing everything right, but it is not criminal.

    See the difference?

  115. L Radcliff December 4, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    Stop feeding the troll people!! James Pollock is baiting you and you are giving him exactly what he wants, the more you respond to him the more he enjoys it. I understand how hard it is to resist correcting stupid people but you can not fix them, they just drag you down to their level. The thing that internet trolls hate the most is being ignored, so just ignore him.

  116. lollipoplover December 4, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    @BL-

    I continue to be amazed at how we are dumbing down the age of 8. Your bike was probably the first thing off the moving van, right? It’s natural for children to want to explore and go places without constant adult supervision. It’s very healthy for them actually developmentally. Except in Connecticut where it’s criminalized.

    I saw this article recently and completely agree:

    https://www.childrenandnature.org/2015/05/06/the-unsafe-child-less-outdoor-play-is-causing-more-harm-than-good/

  117. pentamom December 4, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Thanks L Radcliff, you are right. I have low resistance He Who Shall Not Be Named because of the way he abuses logic so egregiously, but I need to stop feeding the monster.

  118. James Pollock December 4, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    “There is territory between doing *everything* right, and being a criminal.”

    That’s what I said.

  119. James Pollock December 4, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    “why, if there was the older brother home at the same time, why wasn’t he charged too?”

    The same reason you weren’t charged, too (after all, you didn’t do anything to prevent this, either).

    Parents have legal responsibilities to their children People who are not the child’s parents don’t have those responsibilities. The legal answer to “am I my brother’s keeper” is no (by default… in some cases this can be changed but it requires a legal proceeding first).

  120. L Radcliff December 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    I am right there with you Pentamom, I have little to no patience with trolls, pot-stirrers, and people with no common sense so it takes all my will power to stop myself from taking his bait. The only thing that helps me is that my desire to avoid giving him what he wants is stronger than my desire to set him straight. Lol!

  121. Bill December 5, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    What is really the problem is not the police officer responding to a call. Somebody called 911 or their local police station and reported a problem. If the department did not respond, or take some kind of action after a reported problem (whether it was a minor walking alone or two minors left unsupervised at a McDonalds), the media or some good Samaritan would be all over the agency. In neither case were the police just happening by when they took action. Either a McDonald’s employee (since most play areas have signs requiring adult supervision) or a fellow parent most likely called the police to report the issue. Now could the police have taken alternative measures in handling the issues? Sure, but just as most of you complain about gov’t second guessing your decisions, what gives you the right to second guess theirs? Each parent is, or will be, given the chance to explain their side of the story. Either the reporting party or the officer will have to explain why the incident was dangerous or illegal. If you want to yell at someone, why not choose to complain about the busy body individuals out there whom report the wide range of stupid calls received by your local law enforcement agencies daily. I feel sorry for the 911 operators and police officers who are put in the position of dealing with the bogus calls and still needing to protect themselves from lawsuits when what they do isn’t good enough.

  122. That_Susan December 5, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    @Bill: “Sure, but just as most of you complain about gov’t second guessing your decisions, what gives you the right to second guess theirs?”

    It’s kind of like how it’s nobody’s business how I (as a private citizen) vote on a particular issue, but voters still feel entitled to know about politicians’ voting records. Parenting decisions that just affect our own families aren’t on the same level as public authorities’ decisions to interfere with families that are not their own.

    I realize that there are some parenting decisions that can affect others — like if I’m just letting my children run loose without having taught them to respect others and their property. But letting your child walk to school (which didn’t even happen in this case, as Maria said she wouldn’t have wanted him walking on that road), so long as the child just walks to school and doesn’t stop along the way to torment dogs or slash tires or something, doesn’t affect others any more than it does if you or I decide to take a walk.

  123. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Much more troubling than the second-guessing of the police is the rush to judgment.
    Look how many people took the time out of their busy lives to tell me how wrong I was about whether or not the road is dangerous, presumably out of a rush to defend Ms. Hassenkolli from anyone who dares to suggest that it’s possible the police were right, who actually have no knowledge of the road in question. But they were SO SURE the roadway must be perfectly safe, because…

    There are a lot of people who pick sides in a dispute, and once a side has been chosen,cannot be convinced that “their” side might be the “wrong” by any sort of evidence. Scary, sometimes..

  124. Warren December 5, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    L Radcliff

    You are absolutely on point.

    We have a saying here. “You can’t fix stupid, but you can slap it.”

  125. That_Susan December 5, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    At any rate, nobody needs to convince Maria that the road is unsafe. She has already quite clearly stated that she wouldn’t have wanted him walking on that road, either. So the real debate is about whether it’s acceptable to arrest a parent because an 8-year-old made a decision on his own that “could” have put him at risk but didn’t actually result in any harm.

  126. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    “So the real debate is about whether it’s acceptable to arrest a parent because an 8-year-old made a decision on his own that “could” have put him at risk but didn’t actually result in any harm.”

    Oh, it definitely is… in the sense that there are scenarios where it would be appropriate. Here’s a couple:

    8-year-old brings a firearm to school for show-and-tell in a state where firearms are required to be secured if children are in the home.
    8-year-old brings felony amounts of drugs to school.
    8-year-old decides to play “Mario Kart” on the neighborhood streets with the family car.
    Any number of cases involving reckless burning/fire.

    The real questions are A) was the situation this boy was found in so dangerous that it merited criminal charges rather than, say, a warning to make sure it didn’t happen again? B) was the parent’s action willful or unlawful? Or just negligent (or neither)?

  127. That_Susan December 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    “8-year-old brings a firearm to school for show-and-tell in a state where firearms are required to be secured if children are in the home.
    8-year-old brings felony amounts of drugs to school.
    8-year-old decides to play ‘Mario Kart’ on the neighborhood streets with the family car.
    Any number of cases involving reckless burning/fire.”

    Those above cases involve a child having access to things he shouldn’t have, so unless you believe that children should have their legs strapped together and be unable to walk anytime their parents are asleep, Maria’s 8-year-old didn’t have access to anything he shouldn’t have.

  128. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    “Those above cases involve a child having access to things he shouldn’t have”

    Those above cases involve “an 8-year-old made a decision on his own that “could” have put him at risk but didn’t actually result in any harm.” and were offered to show that the question of “whether it’s acceptable to arrest a parent because an 8-year-old made a decision on his own that “could” have put him at risk but didn’t actually result in any harm.” has a definite answer, and that answer is “yes”.

    If you’d like to go on and argue that the examples offered have no relevance to Ms. Hassenkilli’s case, that would be correct… and also the point I was making.

    “Maria’s 8-year-old didn’t have access to anything he shouldn’t have.”
    That doesn’t follow from her own statements. She says “I wouldn’t allow him to walk North Plains Industrial Road because I too, believe it is too dangerous” Are you second-guessing her assessment?

  129. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    Oops. I’ve mis-spelled Ms. Hasankolli’s name, several times. I apologize for that.

  130. That_Susan December 5, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    “’Maria’s 8-year-old didn’t have access to anything he shouldn’t have.’”
    That doesn’t follow from her own statements. She says ‘I wouldn’t allow him to walk North Plains Industrial Road because I too, believe it is too dangerous’ Are you second-guessing her assessment?”

    She didn’t give him access to firearms or illegal substances, which are the first two examples you cited. The third example you cited was driving the car. In this case, he either he had no access to a car or (like my own children at his age) had a sufficient appreciation of the fact that it would be very dangerous for someone who hadn’t had the proper training to just take off driving on their own.

    So what did this 8-year-old had access to? He was able to walk; he was able to open his front door…so he had access to the use of his legs and of his hand (to turn the doorknob). Because he was able to open the door and walk (as practically all 8-year-olds are), he had access to the busy road that his mother wouldn’t have let him walk along had she known about it. No doubt she has now made it clear to him that she doesn’t want him walking there.

    “If you’d like to go on and argue that the examples offered have no relevance to (Ms. Hasankolli’s) case, that would be correct… and also the point I was making.”

    Thanks for being clear on this. In other words, you and I both agree that the kinds of child behaviors that might reasonably result in a parent being arrested HAVE NO RELEVANCE to the case that we’re talking about here. I’d misinterpreted your posts as being arguments against what I was saying, when in reality, you were just trying to reinforce the points I was making. Thanks again.

  131. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    “Thanks for being clear on this. In other words…”

    Are you being dense on purpose?

  132. That_Susan December 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    You’ve just explained that the examples you gave of situations in which it might be reasonable to arrest a parent for a child’s behavior HAVE NO RELEVANCE to Maria’s case. So all along, you were just trying to remind us that there were “some” cases where an arrest would be appropriate — cases that actually HAVE NO RELEVENCE in this discussion. That’s the whole point you were trying to make. I finally get it.

  133. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 6:26 pm #

    Yes or no?

  134. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    If it’s “no”, and you really ARE that dense, the point I was trying to make is:
    “The real questions are A) was the situation this boy was found in so dangerous that it merited criminal charges rather than, say, a warning to make sure it didn’t happen again? B) was the parent’s action willful or unlawful? Or just negligent (or neither)?”

  135. El December 5, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    I know this is a slippery slope argument which is looked down upon in a debate.. but, I’m debating anyone so I don’t really care.

    What do cases like this mean for autistic kids who notoriously slip out of care (usually they observe and note when people are distracted or asleep. They’ve even found ways to disable alarms!) and wander off (often to water or traffic)?

    Or say a child gets a note home from the teacher with an assignment “to be signed by a parent” and goes to wait at the bus stop and decides to hide in the bushes and then walks to a creek and hides there all day. Are the parents endangering a minor – despite the child’s lie – if this happens?

    Let’s say a mother is asleep and her child gets up out of bed and goes into the kitchen and gets a snack at night and chokes and suffocates.. Are the parents being grossly negligent when this happens?

    If a bus driver (harried as they are) accidentally drops a child off at the wrong stop..

    If a teacher doesn’t immediately notice a child left the school building during recess to find a lost pet..

    If a person has a freaking human moment.. And it happens to have *possible* risk involved..

    You know what else has possible or even plausible risk? Riding in car (even properly secured, which most children are not, and not being parents are evil, but because car seat safety is not a top public health priority), eating food, walking.. no, just walking.. you could slip – hit your head – and break a bone or die (happens a lot actually!). I mean.. If we’re going down this road.. It’s terrifying really. She was asleep. And even if she wasn’t, if he said he was going to get on the bus and then disappeared – she might have never known he missed it and tried to walk.

    Why didn’t he go back inside and tell someone the bus was gone?

    Why do 8 year olds.. 6 year olds.. 10 year olds.. 16 year olds.. 30 year olds… why do they do anything? That question is best asked of said human. And if it was *actually dangerous*, he needs a talking to about that. Not. This. This, this is just disgusting to me and ignores the fact that people are *humans*.. humans.. who can make mistakes or even on their best game can be lied to or fooled.

    I just don’t get it.

  136. James Pollock December 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm #

    “What do cases like this mean for autistic kids who notoriously slip out of care (usually they observe and note when people are distracted or asleep.”

    A: Probably nothing (at least, in Connecticut)
    The statute requires willful or unlawful action by the person charged. It doesn’t cover negligence (that would be a civil matter, not criminal, most likely).

  137. Tim December 6, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    Why only ten years? The police say anything could have happened. Doesn’t that warrant a twenty year sentence? Oversleeping and not noticing that your kid left for school is a just about the most horrible thing you could do. Anything could have happened. The police said so. While ten years in prison can be traumatic, soul crushing and destroy your chance for a career, retirement, marriage, or any sort of normal life, wouldn’t twenty years drive the point home a little more effectively?

  138. Jill December 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    i don’t have children–I have oodles of nieces and nephews–but these stories make me absolutely insane. In one generation we have gone from children who are semi-independent, able to think and reason on their own, to spoiled, coddled ankle biters, learning to fear everyone and everything, helped along by helicopter parents who think the world revolves around their little angels. Basta!

    We had ONE car when I grew up, and Dad took it to work. No one got a ride to school, in fact, woe to any of us who even thought about asking! And if my mom slept in a bit (till a whopping 7 AM), WE DIDN’T DARE WAKE HER. It’s called respect! My school was 2-3 miles away and I walked. Every. Day. Even in the rain and snow. It’s just what we did. As did the rest of the entire school. In fact, kids that took the bus we tended to view as wimps!

    And that sexual predator thing – I wish they had a better scorecard for that–you can’t tell the non-offensive offenders from the real true offenders! That’s part of the problem, too. Everything is so topsy-turvy nowadays. Wrong is right and right is wrong. It’s crazy.

  139. Oy vey December 10, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    @James Pollock

    For crying out loud! The kid may a decision of his own and executed it. The parent was asleep and the other responsible adult, 21 yr old older brother, had the watch. He was the responsible adult, not the sleeping parent! It was a tag team or joint family effort. The cops got it wrong! Of course, I don’t want him to get into trouble anymore than Maria getting into trouble. Maria’s problems are the source of a overzealous prosecutor and law enforcement department. They looked into her past and have decided to make her an example for others to learn from. The 8 yr old boy knew what he doing when he left when the older brother left the area.

    The one thing that is being forgotten here is the 8 year old boy who has to hear about his mom getting into trouble because of his actions. How does he feel? He thought he was doing the right thing by going to school even after he missed the bus. So much for thinking about what needs to be done and always being afraid of being second guessed on your decisions. Way to go about reaffirming thinking! You can thank the prosecutor and law enforcement department on that.

    Drop the charges and leave the family alone…..you are not going to make DA or Chief of Police anyway…..

  140. James Pollock December 10, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    “Maria’s problems are the source of a overzealous prosecutor and law enforcement department.”
    Maybe.

    “They looked into her past and have decided to make her an example for others to learn from.”
    Maybe.

    “The 8 yr old boy knew what he doing when he left when the older brother left the area.”
    Maybe.

    You sure have a lot of certainty. How long have you had the family under surveillance?

  141. Red December 15, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    I hate to say this, but “welcome to the New World Order!” The road to hell has been paved with our “good intentions!” All we ever wanted to do was make sure our children were reasonably safe. What do the authorities do?!? They go 5 miles TOO FAR with it!!! Not only do our children no longer have any “freedom” whatsoever, but law makers, the authorities and the MEDIA are working diligently to make sure we are FORCED to be just what we don’t want to be!!! “Helicopter parents!!! Now, if we don’t “helicopter” our kids – especially our DAUGHTERS-, ( if we so much as let them go to the corner 7-11 by themselves, the authorities take our kids into “protective custody”, and then arrest us for “WRECKLESS CHILD ENDANGERMENT!!! Which is a FELONY in many states!!! … I no longer “recognize” my own country. This literally paves the way for Soviet style authoritarianism, because today’s children already have no idea, at all, what “freedom” is like! By the time they are grown, they will have no “appetite ” for freedom, because a person cannot “miss” something that he or she never did have!!! Freedom will, no doubt, look like lawless, criminal “anarchy” to them!!! And THAT, folks, is exactly what we’re setting our children up for, by being so paranoid and allowing law enforcement to FORCE us all to raise our kids “zero-tolerance-style!” In the face of all this oppression of our youth, man, we should be fighting for our children’s FREEDOM!!! But, sadly, most of us are NOT fighting for our children’s independence. Most parents have been “duped” by the cops, the MEDIA, and the law-makers into believing that, in every state, some 2,000 children “go missing” every year!!! All the time, I hear people talking about how the world is just “too dangerous for kids!!!” And it never ceases to dismay me how, even on holidays and weekends ( with a rare exception or two in the ghetto ), you cannot find a single child out on the open streets!!! No kids on bicycles, tricycles, rollerblades or on skate boards. All the schoolyards are empty, as are all the skate parks. All the dirt-lots where the boys used to ride their BMXs are now fenced off throughout town. And no one lets their kids out of their sight for even one SECOND!!! A free range kid out there is going to be a LONELY free range kid! Indeed, we “free range parents” are a very, VERY tiny “minority.” I’m the ONLY free ranger I know in the entire city of San Jose, California!!! I even got online and tried to find “free range kids California. … Believe me, there was NOTHIN’!!! I hate to say this, but though I heartily AGREE with Mrs. Skenazy, I think that the Free Range Kids movement ( a movement that is desperately needed to restore our children’s civil rights )is dead in the water. Sad to say.