Cops Are Called When Mom Refuses to Pick Up Kids, 12 & 15, from Local Library

Hi Folks! Just a quickie: The kids in this Michigan story, 12 and 15, walked to the library on their own. When it was time to go, the temperature had fallen and, according to this asryizabed
, “library staff” would not allow them to walk home. So they called their mom to come get them. She was busy at their grandmother’s and said no.  Next thing you know:

The children were taken to Farmington Hills Police headquarters at 11 Mile and Orchard Lake Roads. The officer spoke to their mother, who said she was upset that the children called for a ride seven minutes before the library closed. The report indicated the officer told the mother when she picked up the children that a report would be filed.

How outrageous is this? Let me count the ways:

1 – The children were ready to walk home but were not allowed. Why not? They were game.  They’re not babies. Yes, they might have been cold. But maybe that means next time they’ll bring their coats.

2 – The cops and library staff both assume that moms can and should drop anything they’re doing to come to the aid of their kids, even teens.  This makes sense in an emergency — come to the hospital, quick! But for chauffeuring? What if the mom was at work?

3 – It sounds like the library was closing and, with the mom not coming by, the staff didn’t know where to put the kids. The police station was the answer. But just because that’s a safe, warm spot doesn’t mean the police should actually get involved.

4 – If the 15-year-old was a babysitter, we’d trust him/her to take care of the 12-year-old. Why didn’t the library staff? And frankly, the 12-year-old is old enough to be a babysitter, too. So why were they both treated LIKE babies?

Sounds like a confusing situation that got out of hand. I wonder what would’ve happened if a staffer offered to drop the kids off. To me that sounds like such an easy alternative. But I’m sure it opens a whole can of worms. Or a whole can of lawyers. Whatever. — L.


111 Responses to Cops Are Called When Mom Refuses to Pick Up Kids, 12 & 15, from Local Library

  1. Steve Wildstrom December 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Since when does a library get to give patrons, even kids, permission to leave. Seems like significant “mission creep” for the staff.

  2. forsythia December 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Yet another case of public “professionals” who constantly whine about all the things they “have” to do because “parrunts are not dooooing their joooobbbs” when they won’t LET parents ACTUALLY do their jobs.

  3. Dave December 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Close the library and send the kids home. This really came to all that? Shame on the librarian and shame on the police for not telling the librarian no crime was committed not our job.

  4. Troy F. December 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Do not fool yourself as the name implies, the Public Library is public meaning that its run by the government. So with that in mind this is yet another reason why the government so do as little as possible or be involved in our lives as little as possible. I think this mom should sue the city, both the library and police for false imprisonment. She probably will loose but it would make a great point. There is no reason for this to ever hapen.

  5. cb December 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Library workers took the children against the will of the mother? Shouldn’t that be the reson for a police report being filed?

  6. Athlyn December 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I think what needs to be looked at is how cold it was and the fact that they did not have their coats. No one, whether child, teen or adult would want to walk even for a short distance if it was -20 or -30 out. Magnify this with high winds and you have the potential for ill people.

    Obviously, the librarian must have been concerned about the weather in all of this.

  7. Jo Davis, DEM EMT-B December 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    My children frequently walk to the library (about 2 blocks from our house) They are 10, 12 and 14. Once they called to be picked up because it had gotten darker than they liked, but they were told that if they waited till after dark again, that they would be walking home in the dark.
    Children will NEVER learn to make reasonable choices if every single choice is made for them. It makes me CRAZY that someone would insinuate themselves into someone else’s business and involve the police on something like this, but drive right past a barefoot homeless person sleeping in a cardboard box, intentionally looking the other way so as to not make eye contact. Grrrrrrrrr. When I was a kid, the librarian would have driven the children home herself if she were so concerned!

  8. Rachel December 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I’m with cb. That sounds like kidnapping to me.

  9. Emily December 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    If I’d been in that situation when I was fifteen (or maybe even twelve), I would have probably just thanked the library workers for their concern, and walked home of my own volition. After all, the public library is open to the public, and I’m a member of the public, so therefore, during library opening hours, I’m free to come to the library, use the library, and leave the library, as I please, providing that I don’t break any of the library’s rules. Likewise with the young people in this story–they went to the library, behaved appropriately, and yet, they were treated like they weren’t competent to get themselves home. Now, I don’t blame the kids for not predicting that it’d get cold later (I’m Canadian, and sometimes in the spring and fall, it can be positively balmy at noon, but then snowing by dinner time), and I don’t entirely blame the mother for refusing to come and get them, since they called only seven minutes before closing, and she was involved in a project at the grandmother’s house, but I definitely think that the librarians were wrong to make a criminal case out of this. After all, the library is the same distance from the kids’ house in both directions, and if it wasn’t too far for them to walk there, it’s not too far for them to walk back. Maybe next time, they’ll bring jackets “just in case,” or maybe not–either way, I’d just chalk this up as a “nobody’s fault” situation, and move on with life. However, I don’t think the kids would have been wrong to leave on their own.

  10. DJV December 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m ashamed to admit that I live in this city; I thought we were a little smarter than this.

    I actually looked up the hourly temperatures for that day and the temperatures didn’t even vary more than 2-3 degrees over the whole afternoon, even once the sun went down. The temperature reached a high of 37 that day and it was about 35 degrees when the library was closing.

    It looks like we missed an opportunity to teach a couple kids some common sense…

  11. Alison R December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I am sure these kids walk home from the school bus stop in the cold all the time. Sounds like the librarian was way out of line. I can only hope there were extenuating circumstances that we are not hearing about to justify her behavior!

  12. David Carrington Jr. December 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Did anyone notice the inflammatory tone of the article’s headline:

    “Tree Decorating Mom Refuses to Pick Up Kids from Library, Police Called”

    Making the mother out to be some self-absorbed monster.

  13. Donna December 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Note to self – when the child is old enough to go places alone, tell her that it is okay to simply ignore people who try to stop her from leaving by herself.

    So the kids walked to the library without coats in 37 degree weather and did not freeze to death as shown by the fact that they were still alive to leave the library. When it is time to leave, it is a mere 2 degrees colder. Sounds to me like these are either very hot-natured kids or kids who have now learned a lesson about going out without coats in the cold, but either way, death or hypothermia was not imminent on the walk home.

  14. Ben December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    It came up in an earlier post. Librarians are not there to look after your kids, so unless they happen to live nearby, you can expect them to offer a ride.

    Still, that doesn’t mean the police should’ve been involved. If they’re 12 and 15, they’re old enough to walk themselves home.

  15. Brian December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    1) I am not upset that the library called the mother. That is people in a community looking out for each other. It is below 0 outside and 2 kids are leaving without coats, it is not unreasonable to say, “hey let me call your mom to have her come get you.”

    2) Calling the police was a bad decision

    3) I am not sure how the librarians got involved here. The kids must have at least spoken to them about the situation. I mean they didnt have coats but someone had to notice that.

  16. Donna December 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    I love some of the comments that insisted that the mother needs to get a nanny and stop using the library as a daycare. For 12 and 15 year old people.

    Or that she should make them wear coats. How? She can strongly suggest they wear coats (she may have). She can punish them for not wearing coats, I guess. I suppose she can lock all the doors with locks that only she has the keys to and refuse to allow them to leave until they are wearing coats. But I would have extreme difficulty wrestling my 30 pound 7 year old who didn’t want to wear a coat into one and preventing her from taking it off 2 seconds later. I can’t imagine a mother trying to do it to her 15 year old son.

  17. Mike in Virginia December 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    My cousin is a librarian and the last time I shared something from this site about libraries and kids, she jumped in to let me know how things “really” are. She described a situation where children from broken homes with neglectful parents using the libraries as free daycare, dropping them off without food or drink, and not picking them up after closing, leaving the library staff with the burden of figuring out what to do with these children, many of whom don’t know where their parents are or how to get a hold of them. I completely agree that a 12 year old (and certainly a 15 year old) can take care of themselves and it is none of the library staff’s responsibility to care what happens to the kids after closing, but I also see how they have become sensitized to what appears to them as an epidemic of neglect and they don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of leaving children alone, outside, after dark, who haven’t had dinner and don’t know where mommy and daddy have gone. In a small town, maybe the librarian can offer to give an occasional child a ride, but in a city, the staff can’t be expected to provide a bus service every night for a dozen kids (which is what was described to me).

    As for this particular article, it states “The report noted temperatures had fallen below freezing.” Calling the police seems like an overreaction, but “below freezing” is more than just “it got cold.’

  18. Craig December 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    and to the good old days the librarian would have just offered them a ride home.

  19. MeliJ December 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I am a librarian and it is against our policy to drive a child home–its for their safety as well as ours (“mom i was ALONE with the librarian and…”).

    It is also our policy that we call the police if children are waiting more than 30 minutes after we close for a ride. I wouldn’t stop kids walking home. I always just say “if you are here 30 minutes after we are closed I am supposed to call the police to make sure you are safe”. Usually that gets parents coming quick or the kids walking home.

    My own kids walk the 2 miles home from our library so…

  20. Donna December 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    @Brian –

    Saying “Hey, it’s cold outside. Do you want to call someone to come pick you up?” is community looking out for one another. If the answer is “no,” the community needs to shrug and walk away. Taking it upon yourself to refuse to allow someone to leave your establishment and calling a parent to get them against their wishes to walk home, is not my idea of community.

    If the kids asked to call their mother to come get them because they realized on the walk to the library that 37 degrees is freaking cold without a coat, that is a different story. But that is not what it sounds like happened here.

  21. WendyW December 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    @ Mike in Virginia,
    “below freezing” is more than just “it got cold.”

    In Virginia this may be true. I’m often mentally laughing at what my southern friends call “cold”. I live in Mn, where the climate is very similar to Michigan where this took place. This time of year, temps around freezing are the norm, not an unusual occurrence, and CERTAINLY not something they aren’t used to. The presence of the sun can make a big difference in your comfort level, but if these kids have not yet learned that the sun and the temp goes down in the evening, then I guess they’d have to learn the hard way. If they need to keep warm, they can walk faster and work up some body heat.

  22. Yan Seiner December 3, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    It doesn’t say what the kids *were* wearing. Knowing teenagers, they were wearing hoodies – which are plenty warm for a brisk walk home.

    My kids wear shorts to school, pretty much year round. And they walk. They’re now 12 and 15 and neither one has frozen to death. It dips to around freezing once in a while.

    I believe I’d get a good lawyer, and take the police chief, head librarian, and mayor to task for this. Kids won’t be responsible until someone teaches them responsibility.

    I know that if my kids called me and asked to get picked up because it’s cold I’d tell them “It sucks to be you. Start walking. Maybe you’ll remember to bring a jacket next time.”

  23. Donald December 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Society often complains about the irresponsibility of children. However, as a society we set up a culture that ENCOURAGE irresponsibility.

    The 15 and 12 year old gave the mom seven minutes notice. “Mom drop everything now and come pick me up”

    The article doesn’t say that the kids demanded mom to be their taxi. (the librarian did) However, it’s a police matter if she doesn’t comply with this.

    Therefore we promote kids to retain the me me me attitude that normally comes at age 2. We encourage them to keep it until they are at least 18 so that there will be no possibility of legal backlash.

  24. Ali December 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    To characterize a 15 yo teenager as a child does a disservice to the teen and to our society as a whole. At age 15 I would hope a teen could navigate a walk home with a younger sibling in tow. If they can’t, then I’m not sure I want them voting or fighting wars for me in 3 years’ time. The mom was right in refusing to be an emergency taxi service.

  25. Amanda Matthews December 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    You mean the cops were called because library staff illegally detained two patrons, right? RIGHT?

  26. Amanda Matthews December 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Heck at 15 I was in college. I can’t imagine the library staff keeping a college student hostage until their mommy comes to pick them up.

  27. BL December 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm #


    When I was a child I lived less than 10 miles from where this happened. We walked to school in sub-zero (not just sub-freezing) temperatures and went outside to play after school and on weekends.

    And I wasn’t quite 9 when we moved away, so I was younger than these people the whole time.

  28. Thad Moren December 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    If I was mom, I would file suit against the library staff for false imprisonment of my children.

  29. Chihiro December 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I am a Minnesotan, I can confirm that ‘below zero’ means zip. When you’re this far north, if it’s anywhere close to freezing, you are on your knees thanking Mother Nature.
    Back before I got my license, I would frequently walk from my high school to a nearby gas station to get something to eat in between school and rehearsal. (which stretched to 9:30 PM, so I needed it) It was about a half hour walk. There must have been days I went out in below-zero weather. And guess what? I walked every time.

  30. Alicia December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    How ridiculous! At 9 I was staying home alone and taking a taxi to school on my own. (No buses, and way too far to walk.) At 11 I was babysitting, and at 15 I had my license. (I also joined the military at 17.) So in what way are a 12 and 15 year old incapable of walking home *together* in cold weather?! Especially when they walked there in the first place?! So it was around “freezing”. That’s 32 degrees F, *not* below zero. Living in Michigan, I would imagine that those kids were more than used to colder weather than that. I grew up in the UK and now live in Colorado, and I’m still use to colder weather than 32 degrees. (Add to the fact that I had to wear a skirt for school as a kid no matter the temperature, and these two can’t walk while most likely wearing pants?) Man, that librarian would be getting an earful from me if those were my kids!

  31. Donald December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm #


    Good point

    At 18 years old you can vote or fight in a war. However at 15 you’re not allowed to walk home.

  32. Austin December 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    When I was 15, I would have been incredibly insulted by this librarian assuming I couldn’t take care of myself going home. (Let’s assume that home is not 10 miles away). I had a summer job at 12, and a real job (Part time during school, full time during summer) job at 13. I had my own checking account. I think a 15 year old can get home on their own, and having a 12-yr old sibling with them doesn’t change anything. This is crazy.

  33. Pee December 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    She should have made them walk home from the police department.

  34. Andrea G. December 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    This reminds me of a situation I find myself in at our health club. The stakes are not as high, but the silliness is similar. Sometimes my six year old son goes to yoga, where I have to sign him in, and a parent has to pick him up. My two year old and I go to the pool, which is right down the hall from the yoga studio. Like, you pass right by the pool on your way out from yoga. I asked if I couldn’t just have my kid come find us, as he gets in the pool with us after yoga class. No, they said. Against the rules! We could lose our jobs! Really, it’s a 30 second walk and it’s about impossible to get lost, and besides that, my son is smart and responsible, he can find his way from one room to another. But no. Usually my husband comes to work out at the same time and picks up my son, since I spend the hour of yoga in the pool with a toddler, but one day he couldn’t make it and I misjudged the time and was a few minutes late getting my toddler dressed to pick up my son (he wasn’t going to get to swim that day, since I didn’t want to be taking a wet, cold toddler down the hall to wait for him…) The yoga teachers brought him to the locker room to find us, and gave me a lecture about how they can’t let him go by himself, and yet they have to be out of that room right away since there’s another class afterwards. (Duh, I know. Can you understand how it’s sometimes hard to get a two year old dressed from out of the pool, and/or sit and wait an hour doing nothing while my son does yoga?)

    It’s funny, though — the same health club has another gym across town where my son sometimes does tennis camps. The tennis program is so casual that they don’t have anything on paper, don’t have my phone number, might not even know my son’s last name. No medical release, no record of allergies, nothing. One time I was a couple minutes late and I found him walking down the hall from the tennis courts alone (and mildly panicked) because he didn’t know where I was or what to do. We talked about what he should do if that ever happened again, and it was a good learning experience. Honestly, the tennis people could be a little better organized, but they’re good people, good coaches, and the club itself is plenty safe. I find their lack of alarmist hyper-vigilance refreshing, so I’m happy to leave my son with them.

  35. toconnor December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I agree with some of the other posts- on what authority did the library refuse to let them leave?

  36. Kay December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    What a bunch of crap! Back in my day, if a place was closing, the employees would say goodbye and have a nice day- get out, they didn’t care if we had rides. Did the “kids” put up a fuss or something or did the librarians really stick their nose in this teenager’s and pre-teen’s business because they were shocked to discover they were “unaccompanied”? Otherwise, why didn’t the kids just leave? And a police report on top of it?! Moms, you got to hold their hands until they turn 18 (and in this day and age, and then some). This is all sorts of wrong. Hope the mother can get this nonsense thrown out.

  37. Marc Armitage December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Cold? I think my answer to that would be: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland (there’s a clue in the name of that one), Greenland, and …. I could go on.

  38. se7en December 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    It is a crazy world … our library goes a whole lot further… my kids all walk to the post office, store etc to run errands and yet if they go to the library they are not “allowed to choose or return” books because they are not accompanied by an adult… insane… my oldest is 15 and walks everywhere and yet may not take out a library book!!! Imagine if he were to take his little brother to pick out books – outrageous idea – I think not!!!

  39. jimmy g December 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    sweet mother of good. you people should all have your children taken away.
    first of all, for the record, of all the thosands of children abducted every year, 59% of them are 15 years of age or older.

    wanting to teach your kids to be self-reliant is one thing, but when that burden moves from you to your children to somebody else, that is not okay. if something had happened to those kids, on whom would the burden fall?
    the mother, who was phoned on 3 separate occasions by her children for a ride and declined and then was later phoned by both the library staff AND the police and STILL DECLINED TO COME PICK THEM UP?!?!?!
    i’m sorry but that’s not “free range kids” that is “neglient and irresponsible parenting.”

  40. Uly December 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Jimmy, of the thousands off kids abducted every year, very nearly all of them are taken by their non custodial parent or another relative. Very few people are shocked when this happens. But way to ignore the facts for your own… actually, I’m not sure why you want to wallow in your own ignorance.

    Nothing bad was about to happen to those kids. If they got there just fine, they could get home fine.

  41. jimmy g December 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    “Thad Moren, on December 3rd, 2012 at 4:15 pm Said:

    If I was mom, I would file suit against the library staff for false imprisonment of my children.”

    srsly? what is wrong with you people? the library didn’t hold anyone against their will AND if they did, YOU lost the ability to argue against it when you bestowed the library with the responsibility of your children.

  42. jimmy g December 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    do you know that the kids walked there from their own home? because i don’t. from where they walked to the library was not published. do you know how far away home was? because that was also not published.

    you do, apparently, know that they would have been fine? but i’m not really sure how it is you came to that conclusion. obviously some sort of empircal evidence? hard research? more likely, imagination.

    but i’m sure when the library staff was sued for negligence after the mom skirted the responsibility of her children, their lawyers could’ve championed the sensible voice of reason that is “Uly”

  43. BL December 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    @jimmy g

    What on earth does “bestowed the library with the responsibility of your children” mean?

  44. Julia December 3, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    What time is curfew in relation to the library closing hours? If it iwas past curfewit would become a police issue.

  45. Captain America December 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    People in Canada get crazy with all this political correct stuff; witness the thought policing that takes place there on a regular basis. . . Canada is really the Big Bad Nanny State run amok.

    There is very much to be said for individual liberty and freedom, and charging people with the responsibility to act reasonably on their own initiative.

    I say this and I’m no libertarian. I just strongly feel it’s good to promote healthy individuals rather than wasted, wimpy whiners.

  46. SaraLu December 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    @jimmy g, I think you are on the wrong site. This site is the one that teaches our 15-year-olds, and 12-year-olds, to be self-reliant, confident, and competent, teaches us that there is not a bogeyman around every corner just waiting to snatch our precious, precious snowflakes, and that a community’s law enforcement should be used for, you know, law enforcement.

  47. cb December 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    We should take seriously the opinion of somebody who wishes to violate parental rights and destroy families simply because people disagree with him.

  48. Lollipoplover December 3, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    FYI- jimmy g is the commenter on the Patch article who suggests a NANNY or daycare for the 12 and 15 year olds. Brilliant.

    But we should all have our kids taken away from us. Yes, because the government (and the library, apparently) do such a better job raising self-sufficient, capable adults. Ones who can’t go home the way they came.

  49. C.J. December 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    That’s really not that cold for this area. We haven’t even had any really cold weather yet this year. I live on the other side of the border, not that far from there. I’m still wearing my fall coat most of the time and see many teenagers still walking around with just a hoodie on. It’s not like it was dangerously cold where there would have been a concern for their safety.

  50. Seoppy December 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Sheesh, I was babysitting at age eleven. I went to the library to take out books alone when I was 8. I worked in a library and we never once had a problem with the kids or teens. They simply went home when we closed.

  51. Puzzled December 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Everyone wondering why the police don’t arrest the library staff is right in principle, but missing how this works. See, they’re on the same team, and you’re on the civilian – opposite – team.

  52. Shaylene December 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    After reading so many of these ridiculous articles, I keep thinking how weird our society is. Apparently isn’t not against the law to have a child when you’re a teenager, but it’s against the law to go to the library by yourself. Hmmmm….a teenage girl has a baby out of wedlock, and now her life is going to be really hard. She’ll more than likely drop out of school and work for minimum wage her whole life. 2 boys innocently go to the library to progress in life, but the cops are called. What is this society coming to?

  53. olympia December 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I can’t speak too much in regard to older kids in cold weather, but I can say that when I’m watching my nephews (ages 1-6), they seem able to tolerate lower temps VASTLY better than I, a middle ager can. 35 degrees? My nephews are ripping off their jackets and running around in t-shirts- anyone else have this experience with little kids? Sometimes, when out in public, I find myself wanting to wrestle them into more clothing not because I think the lack of clothing is going to harm them, but because I’m wary of being judged.

  54. mollie December 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    “I’m cold. Put on a sweater.”

  55. Donna December 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Anyone else wonder if Jimmy g is the librarian in question?

  56. CJB December 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    1) The article does state that the teens walked TO the library.
    2) The library’s published policies and procedures state that a child of 11 or older may use the facilities independently. So both were of age.
    3) One person posted that it was below 0 – it was not: You can look at weather underground for the temp history for the day.
    4) Another poster wrote & I ALSO “actually looked up the hourly temperatures for that day and the temperatures didn’t vary more than 2-3 degrees over the whole (DAY), even once the sun went down. The temperature reached a high of 37 that day and it was about 35 degrees when the library was closing.” ( the wind was an avg of 10mph, also ALL DAY so with windchill the temp would have been below 32, all day.
    5) The article states that neither were wearing a jacket. Well, what were they wearing?? My teenage daughter refuses to wear a winter coat, instead she wear’s hoodies and humors me by CARRYING gloves and a hat in the bottom of her backpack.
    6) I grew up in SD, MN and moved to AK as an adult. I am familiar with cold & wind, and know just how cold MI 35 is as well as Fairbanks -40.

    I would advocate that the Mother have a good talking to the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the Head Librarian with a lawyer present. No – I am not saying that she sue, but rather that they talk – and press for a public retraction in every paper that this article was carried in – in just as predominant of a spot.

  57. JJ December 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    My 12 year old son has not worn a real jacket or coat in 3 years (apparantly they aren’t cool) and he goes plenty of places in 30 degree weather. . 30 degrees is not cold if you are moving fast.

    What I don’t understand is did they kids refuse to go or did the librarians not let them go?

  58. mollie December 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    I just read the comments after the article and there’s some pretty strong advocacy for the mom and for the kids’ own responsibility in the situation. Yay!

    I’m wondering if it was a scenario like this: that the kids wanted to go to the library, and they wanted a ride, and Mom said, “Get yourselves there and back, I’ll be busy.”

    Then, as the library was closing, the 12 and 15-year-olds suddenly decided they wanted to play the pitiful card, lingered at the door, made sad eyes at the librarian after commenting on how COLD it was outside, and the librarians probably bit on it and encouraged them to call for a ride.

    When Mom said no, as per their original agreement (along with original admonishment to dress properly for the weather), the kids reported this refusal to the librarian and, with a little rebelliousness in their hearts, maybe played it up. “She won’t come, she says she’s too far away, we have to walk,” boo hoo hoo.

    Then comes the call to the police, after seeing how “neglected” these poor kids are, all along these “poor kids” are probably enjoying a bit of the fuss they’ve kicked up, We’ll show Mom, see, even the law is on our side, we shouldn’t have to walk, no one else does, etc.

    If anything, I’m expecting that the kids were “working it,” as they say. I imagine this because I’ve been there and done that, as a child, and then, been on the receiving end as a mom.

  59. Meg December 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Not that I agree that a librarian has the right to detain the teens…but IF it was Michigan, in winter, and they had no coats, there CAN be cause for someone with sense to say, “gee…a person could easily die walking a mile with no coat on in this. Hmmm….!”
    Someone told me who lived in Michigan, that just because you can see it, doesn’t mean you can actually walk there, in the dead of winter, because things that look close enough, aren’t reachable in deadly cold temperatures. You can die of foolishness, trying. Easily.

    I don’t know if that was the situation…but kids with no coats in the Michigan winter? Much as I despise creeping totalitarianism, this is one of those cases, where human judgement might well have been used well…we NEED leeway for individual judgement calls. I would like the freedom to leave my old-enough kid in the car 2 minutes while I dash in on a mild day, to pay for gas at a pump that doesn’t take cards, without living in fear of someone overreacting, but on the other hand, someone sees a kid or dog left in a closed-up car on a hot day, I hope they’d use individual judgment enough to question the situation.

    We don’t want everyone to turn a blind eye on a serious need / emergency, but we also don’t want to live under constant scrutiny and surveillance, fearful of ever making our own decisions.

    Michigan winter, no coats? That’s a tough call. But since I wasn’t a fly on the wall when it all went down, I have no way of opining whether this was an overstepping by overreactionary librarians and police, or a mom actually not having the sense to realize her kids would be imperiled if they did walk, coatless.

  60. SaraLu December 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Meg, did you read ANY of the above comments that detailed exactly what the temperature was? No one was going to die walking even 5 miles in those temperatures, and if there was a possibility of death do you really think the mom wouldn’t have arranged to pick them up?

  61. Meg December 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    nope, and just now I was, and doing a headsmack on myself. I must remember always to read stuff thoroughly before saying anything. Consider me egg-faced. Ha!
    The temp wasn’t the uber-cold. It wasn’t 40 below. It was just below freezing? Maybe if these kids and their mom were just in Michigan on vacation from the Caribbean (who would do that?) and were wearing shorts, and had never been in anything cooler than 65 degree weather…

    Yes, I will read stuff in the future (I hope!) D’oh!

  62. Violet December 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Jimmy G: One hundred percent of all adult women who were abducted and/or raped and/or killed were adult women. Should my husband keep me indoors?

  63. Violet December 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    My son and husband wear shorts and tees when I am in jeans and a sweater. I couldn’t get my kid to wear a jacket when he was in first grade and still, busybody people would comment that he “forgot” his jacket. Um, no. We live in Florida and he is not cold so he didn’t need one. Of course, when I was about ten, I used to go the Y for swimming and walk home with wet hair in the snow. But I lived.

  64. Meg December 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    And I’m a mom who was beyond aggravated, that when my daughter was in a 2-morning/week preschool, I was told there were “concerns” about my letting her baby brother stay asleep in his carseat (not the carrier kind) so she could walk less than 20 feet to the door, on a sidewalk (not even crossing the parking lot, mind you!) in my direct line of sight. I was even willing to get out of the parked car and stand watching her, so they’d see she wasn’t “alone” but that wasn’t enough either! Apparently sidewalks are known to rise up and smite the children who dare to walk more than 2 feet on them unescorted, even if their parents are watching them walk the entire time.

    So I should know better than to get into the “yes but what if..” arguments in favor of totalitarian ridiculousness.

  65. Shannon December 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    I live in LOUISIANA. I am not that accustomed to cold weather in my middle age (I did go to college in New England so I was more acclimated then). I am not horrified by the idea of walking around in mid-30’s temps without a coat. I probably wouldn’t DO it, but my kids, who have lived here all their lives, very well might. And we’d all survive if we did.

    And at 12 and 15, I assume kids have every bit as much sense as their parents when it comes to what they need to wear. As has been noted, younger people are often not as bothered by the cold. I don’t presume to tell my kids (both teenagers) what to wear. They often wear shorts when I am in jeans and a light sweater. So far, they have survived.

  66. LTMG December 3, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    If the Farmington Hills police are still like they used to be in the 1970s during my high school days, then I expect their reaction was pretty mild. They were a very professional and strongly community oriented force 40 years ago. I can easily imagine that “a report will be filed” is a palliative for the overreaching librarians.

    Based on this Free Range Kids post and another recent one about a librarian, let’s face it … librarians are not exactly role models for super heroes. Seem like a timid lot. Outward Bound training would serve them well.

  67. Uly December 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Jimmy, they’re not children, they’re adolescents. If their mom thought it was safe, and those kids got there safely, then that’s good enough for me.

    Also, if you won’t type like an adult, you have no chance of being taken seriously. You certainly won’t be taken seriously because of your arguments.

  68. Steve December 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    The article is called:

    “Tree Decorating Mom Refuses to Pick Up Kids from Library, Police Called”

    which shows how far our culture has fallen.

    A better title might be: Farmington Hills Public Library Personnel and Police Dept. Out of Touch on How to Raise Strong – Resourceful – Independent Children Who Will be a Credit Their Parents and a Quality Addition to American Society –

    And don’t forget, this is the public library at Farmington Hills, Michigan.

  69. WendyW December 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Quote from my 13yo son when I told him about this story and the discussion: “If they’re too stupid to think ahead and bring a coat, maybe they’ll learn a lesson and bring one next time.”

  70. Earth.W December 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    America won’t be a super power for much longer. The children are so babied, they’ll need a foreign power to hold its hand.

  71. Yan Seiner December 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    @Earth.W: A lot of truth to what you say. I travel quite a bit and I see kids in Europe particularly acting like young adults, not kids (although disaffected teenagers seem to be everywhere).

    But I take heart in that these stories are reported because they are rare, not because they are commonplace (at least I hope not.)

    I see a lot of young kids taking responsibility and doing the right thing, but they don’t end up in the paper. Maybe we need a website celebrating healthy, normal, responsible kids and teens and young adults.

  72. Katy K December 3, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    All I can think is: aren’t these the same librarians who complain that they don’t have enough time to play babysitter to “unattended children” so please don’t send them to the library? But they have time to notice and then prevent perfectly capable teens from walking home? Seriously?

  73. Seamus [Impetus Engagement] December 4, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Seems like a parent’s job is to teach kids responsibility. I can remember my mom telling me several times as a kid, “don’t write a check your fanny can’t cash.”

    Parenting books say that when children make a mistake, that parents shouldn’t jump in and rescue them. It teaches kids that someone will always be there to save them. So why should the government or public be aloud to engage in bad parenting?

    If it was dangerous that would be another story: Snowing, icy, stormy, whatever. Seems like the kids got themselves into a situation that they were more than capable of getting themselves out of.

    Thank you Lenore for pointing out ways that society can help make itself better through better parenting!

  74. Annalyn December 4, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    When I was 12 I regularly rode my bike to the library with a big bag to fill up . BY MY SELF. My mom wasn’t even home when I did it. And I didn’t even have a 15 year old to watch me. Because I was fine. I mean, 12? Seriously? I made my own dinner and walked or rode my bike to and from school daily (and had to wake myself up and leave without my mom reminding me of the time), did my own homework (my mom didn’t check it) and did chores and cleaned and went on walks by myself and basically took care of myself. Why? Because my mom had to work. Did I survive? YES! Without incident!

    When I was 15, I considered myself an adult. I behaved in public and took care of myself. This is just Ridiculous!

  75. RobynHeud December 4, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    I also grew up in this area of Michigan, and I spent more than one winter’s evening walking home from school in the snow. I also went to school in the morning with wet hair (usually thawed and dried within a couple of hours). When I joined the Navy and went to my school in Great Lakes, just north of Chicago, we were shoveling the walks outside our barracks. I had on a thin jacket while everyone else was bundled up and huddled up when the watch came out and announced we had to come inside because we had been out for more than ten minutes in below freezing weather. IN this case it was -10 F with the wind chill, and I couldn’t even tell. If these kids have lived most of their lives in Michigan, with the freezing winters and the blistering summers, and the erratic weather every other day of the year, it really probably wasn’t a big deal to them. It never was to me, and even when I ended up walking the two miles home, after dark, with snow up to my knees, and the rest of my family wasn’t home and I didn’t have a key, I went to a neighbor’s house who gave me dry socks and dinner until they got home. That’s community, and that’s looking out.

  76. Jenny Islander December 4, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    To repeat what DJV posted further up this thread:

    I actually looked up the hourly temperatures for that day and the temperatures didn’t even vary more than 2-3 degrees over the whole afternoon, even once the sun went down. The temperature reached a high of 37 that day and it was about 35 degrees when the library was closing.

    35 degrees Fahrenheit, on a walk they had already made coming the other way? It is to laugh. When I was in high school, a boy no more than two years older than the oldest kid in this article walked down the hill to McDonald’s for lunch. (Open campus FTW.) He made the trip with no hat other than a baseball cap, and no hood. His parents, his teachers, and some of his friends had all warned him, “Hey, the wind chill is 35 below zero out there, you better cover up or your skin is going to freeze.” Sure enough, after a 10 minute walk each way with a break in the middle to eat his lunch, he arrived back at school with dead white patches over his cheekbones and the tops of his ears. The white patches turned black that afternoon. The skin sloughed off and the resultant scarring may have been permanent.

    Did his parents get in trouble with CPS? Nope.
    Did his parents sue the school? Nope.
    Did he sue his friends? Nope.

    Because he was old enough to know better, and natural consequences were in play.

  77. Stacey December 4, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    what ever happened to you don’t have to go home but you have to get the heck outta here? that’s what you’re supposed to say when it’s closing time.

    note to libraries: don’t want to be treated like babysitters? then mind your own business. just because there are kids around dosn’t mean anyone was asking you to take care of them.

  78. SaraLu December 4, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    @Meg, sorry if I jumped on you. One of my pet peeves (and certainly not just on this site) is people who won’t/don’t read the prior comments before posting.

  79. Peter Brülls December 4, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    @Amanda Right. That was my first question. Why didn’t the teens just leave? As described, this sounds like illegal restraint to me, which would be punishable with up to 5 years in prison over here.

  80. linvo December 4, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I grew up in Belgium and rode the 3kms to and from school every day, no matter what the weather. And I was constantly losing my gloves and hat. I remember how my hands got numb riding home when there was ice on the roads. And I remember especially how much it hurt when my fingers started defrosting after I got home! And that stabbing pain in my temples from riding without a hat or scarf. Ouch! And No one ever took pity on me because I and I alone was careless enough to misplace my gloves and hat. My mother’s only duty to me was to give me access to warm clothes. What I did with that was my own responsibility entirely.

    I get really annoyed at how much kids are sheltered form the elements these days. My daughter and I have been riding our bikes to and from her school (only half a km) since she started school at the age of 5. When it is pouring rain, my daughter’s friends will sometimes come up to me and ask: “How will you get home now?” I always tell them what my mum used to tell me when I was a child: “You are not made of sugar. You won’t dissolve in the rain.”

    I think exposure to the elements is good for kids. Not only does it teach them some resilience but it makes them feel like part of their environment.

  81. Warren December 4, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    Parents have got to start empowering their children. Our kids have to know that when Mom and or Dad tells me to do something or give their permission to do something, that is all they need.

    So if a well meaning adult or plain busy body tries to interfere, the child politely tells them “I am fine, and my parents know all about it”. That our kids know in these times they are to ignore that particular adults instructions, and leave.
    I have even got my kids to the point, that if the polite response isn’t enough for them, they will then tell that adult to back off, or they can deal with their Dad, and that is something they do not recomend.

    As for this library, I would be talking to the District Attorney’s office to see if their were any charges that could be laid. Whether it be for detaining or custodial interference.

    I know, I know, we want to be nice, diplomatic and kind. But sometimes a message needs to be sent.

  82. Bradley Roenfeldt December 4, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Where does the library get the authority to hold these children against their will? That would be kidnapping!

  83. Denny December 4, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    No idea how far they live from the library, but I agree that if they can walk there, they can walk home. If it’s especially cold, walk faster or run.

  84. LRH December 4, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Warren Exactly.


  85. JP December 4, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    o lord – a 15 year-old who wouldn’t just take the bull by the balls and clear on outa there and solve their own problem? (with kid bro or sis in tow)
    Sounds a tad dysfunctional to me.
    Librarians can be cranky over-reactionaries (believe me, I know – I work with them!)
    I don’t wonder that the cops were a bit tiffed at having to be involved in this at all.
    Um – if ya walk there – ya walk back home again.
    A little chilled? Life’s lesson in forward planning.

    As to the “not allowed” to leave the library? Say what?
    One precious year too young to auto-pilot? Jaysus.
    The blithering adult eyes in the picture see that age as a “child?” The poor tots fall down and go bump in the thermometer.

    And Jenny Islander – I had that very same experience in grade 10 (35 below zero) – same age as the oldest kid in this story. Scared the crap outa me when the skin turned black and started to peel. By the end of the day it was just like itchy sunburn. Pleased to report it all healed up nicely. My own damned fault? You betcha! I wasn’t a “kid at risk.” I was just dumb.
    So 35 above and a mite wind-chilly? yow.

  86. EricS December 4, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    That precinct is in a whole lot of trouble now. lol According to Michigan law, these kids (especially the 15 year old) are well within their rights to walk to the library, and walk home from the library. So long as they aren’t on the streets past midnight. Which I doubt it was when the library closed. Just goes to show that it only takes a hand full of ninnies, to cause so much trouble and inconvenience. This wasn’t against the law, it wasn’t called for, and it definitely wasn’t necessary to get the police involved. Just to make a point, I’d bust their balls, both the library and the police.

  87. jimmy g December 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    you people are insane. seriously. it has nothing to do with the liklihood of them getting abudcted. it has nothing to do with coats or coldness or almost 95% of what any of you are babbling about.
    some people may feel it’s okay for a 12 year old to walk home some people a 10 year old, some a 6 year old. the library has to establish a policy that will work across the board – for everyone and it has to protect both the library and the children.
    how did the library staff know the kids were telling the truth? how could they be sure they didn’t live in akron and were 50 miles from home? how could be sure they were even talking to the kids parents? maybe the kids were trying to get out of the house to go to some filthy sex/drugs party. NOBODY KNOWS.
    if some mom wants to give her kids the responsibility to walk all over town, that’s fine – whatever the age is. SHE IS taking respnsibility for them at that point and if something happens, it’s on her.
    THE PROBLEM lies in putting that responsibility on someone else. the last person to see those children are library staff, and that puts their safety on the library staff. if something had happened to those kids on their walk home, however far it may or may not have been, do you really think the mother would’ve owned up to it and taken the blame there? the library can’t take that chance. sure, it’s highly highly unlikely that anything would’ve happend, but to not recognize the situation that mother is putting the library in, is ignorant and obtuse.

    it’s amazing that nobody is blaming the mother, who couldn’t be bothered to go pick up her kids after being called numerous times by her children for a ride – before closing time and then again by both the library staff and the police dispatcher.

  88. Warren December 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm #


    The only issues that need to be addressed are those of the library and the police. Both of whom overstepped their bounds and authority.

    It is not up to any librarian to determine what is appropriate for someones child. They were not given that authority by the mother, nor did she ask them to take responsibility for her kids. The library staff did it on their own, and they were wrong.

    The police overstepped their authority when they detained the children, which constitutes custody, a violation of their rights. They also overstepped when they did not respect the mother’s wishes.

    Both organziations should be held accountable for their actions, and taken to task.

    Had they been my kids, nothing would have changed, they would be walking. The library staff would be charged, and I would be seeking charges against the cops as well.

    The mother is the kids parent, not the librarian or cop..

  89. Yan Seiner December 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    @Jimmy: My daughter is 15. Are you seriously suggesting that any and every adult should be able to detain her if, in their sole judgement, she is not capable of doing something as basic as walking? Seriously?

    You don’t know who the kids are either, or why they called. Maybe the library staff told them to call.

    My 12 year old has climbed 10,000 mountains. Repeatedly. Has snowshoed up mountains in blizzard conditions. He hiked 26 miles across a desert earlier this year. In one day. Without his parents.

    My 15 year old has swum 1.5 miles in open water. Repeatedly. She has performed first aid in the backcountry on a child who broke his arm in the dead of winter. She runs to the mall. 5 miles. One way.

    Are you suggesting that these two kids be detained and turned over to the police, if, in the opinion of some adult who does not know them, they are incapable of doing something as simple as walking home?

  90. Meagan December 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    @ Jimmy:

    Someone ALREADY posted that the kids were OLD enough to be there on their own. They were both of age.
    In the STATE OF MI 13 is the legal age to babysit a kid.
    That 15 year old was old enough to be caring for their sibling.

    The library would not be held liable as their own POLICIES stated that the kids were of age to be there. If they can get there they can leave.

    You have NO clue that the mother “couldn’t be bothered.”
    Do you work there and you’re trolling here? Cuz you’re sounding like it.

    Otherwise, mothers, like me, have a responsibility to teach our kids Personal Responsibility. And if the community wants our kids to assume personal responsibility, they would do well to to not have a nanny style approach and call the police when we let our kids deal with natural consequences.

    “Your mom said you have to walk? Let me have a word with her?… Mrs. ______ are you releasing your kids to walk home? (insert Charlie Brown teacher voice) Well, okay then. Nice talking to you. Kids, you better get walking, it’s getting late. Next time wear a coat.”

    It really was that simple.

  91. Donna December 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    How exactly did the mother place the responsibility in someone else? By allowing them to use the library?

    Good grief, I’m an adult who uses the library. Have I, by simply walking in the building, abdicated my rights to do whatever I like? Can the librarian decide that it is too hot for me be outside in long pants and make me stay in (it’s the South Pacific so cold is not an issue)? If I mention that I am walking, can she refuse to let me leave because I don’t have a water bottle? After all she doesn’t know how far it is that I am walking and I could die of dehydration before I get there.

    The last person to see a person alive is not actually responsible for their deaths. These kids are 15 and 12, not toddlers. Both are perfectly capable of walking somewhere. They proved it by walking there. In some time less than a year in many states, the 15 year old will be licensed to drive a car. Are you then going to argue that, if the kid gets into a wreck on the way home from the library, the librarian is to blame for failing to stop him from driving?

    I stand by my belief that jimmy g is the librarian who called – or a close relative. Nobody else would be this obtuse.

  92. Donna (the other one) December 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Donna, if he was the librarian, presumably he could write properly, use good grammar, and frame an intelligent response.


    Let’s see – when I was 12 I was babysitting for several families, and making darn good money at it too. Walking all over Seattle in all kinds of weather. Certainly to the library – ALONE. (Gasp!) At 15 I was driving a tractor, and getting ready for my first job, where I helped support my younger siblings.

    Thank God my parents raised me free range.

  93. Donna December 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Donna (the other one), good point – at least we hope.

  94. Amanda Matthews December 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    @Donna ” If I mention that I am walking, can she refuse to let me leave”

    I’m wondering the same thing. I walk to/from the library quite a bit, and this time of year I’m often walking home in the dark. Should librarians stop me from walking home and call my husband to pick me up? Because I could be abducted, raped, hit by a car, any number of things if I walk home alone. Or wait, should my husband’s job allow him to drive to the library alone? He could be in a car accident after all, and they were the last ones to see him… Where does it stop?

  95. Meagan December 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Had a great talk with my husband about this.
    His response was different from mine.
    “She should have known better.”
    The mom, not the librarian. Ultimately, her decision to let the kids walk home is not wrong, per se, but in a society this litigious, and with so many viewpoints, and laws, if you’re going to do this, you might not get the response you want.

    Further: without knowing the distance (or do we?) it’s hard to say exactly who is right and who is wrong. I do know the area well. I go there often and the librarians are actually pretty nice. The area has a variety of venues within walking distance where a child can wait for a parent to pick them up. So, I do think that the police didn’t need to be called and something smells fishy to me.

    Either the mom had shown a pattern of being irresponsible (not coming to pick her kids up all the time does not qualify) or something.

    I would be curious to ask when I next see them: what’s YOUR take on how this is coming out. I’ll be happy to report back to you with their side of the story.

    Gotta love husbands to get their viewpoint in.

  96. JJ December 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    @ Jimmy “THE PROBLEM lies in putting that responsibility on someone else. the last person to see those children are library staff, and that puts their safety on the library staff.”

    If you reread this comment will you see how ridiculous it is? Try extending it out in general. Any unaccompanied minor in your plane of vision is de facto your responsibility? Their safe delivery to parents is now your burden? Seems like a strange and stressful way to go though life.

  97. Maegan December 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    This is pretty shocking. I’ve walked home in 30-degree temperatures after dark without a coat. It’s unpleasant, but that’s all. In my opinion, 12- and 15-year-olds can be expected to carry out a very long list of adult activities, including getting around town and taking responsibility for their wardrobe. The librarians and police should never have interfered in this situation. Sometimes “kids” have to walk home in the cold.

  98. Warren December 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm #


    About your husband’s comments.
    1. The whole notion of parenting to comply to other people’s viewpoints is wrong. It doesn’t matter what other people like or dislike. More so with kids this age, if a parent decides they are walking home, then they walk home. It is not up for debate with the community.
    2.The distance is irrelevant, as it was close enough for them to walk there, it is close enough for them to walk back.
    3. Assuming that there was a pattern of behaviour by the mother, is the same ole same ole give the police the benefit of the doubt. Because they never make mistakes.

    The librarian and police both overstep their authority and should be dealt with accordingly.

  99. Stacey December 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    walking to and from university from my condo is quite dangerous. i have to cross roads and parking lots that are getting very slippery this time of year. On the way back to my condo i have to go uphill and am usually thirsty by the time i get home. Sometimes i have to take that walk when it’s dark, cold, and/or stormy. Should the university force me to get a ride every time just in case? Or should they recognize that if I’m old enough that they expect me to be responsible for getting to my classes and exams on time, it’s none of their concern how I decide to get home out of it, since i’ certainly old enough to know what I’m getting myself into when i take a walk through the dangers most normal people face on a regular basis?

  100. hineata December 5, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    @Yan – I’m having a coronary just thinking about all the exercise your kids are getting, lol! Heck I need to get out of the ‘burbs more….

  101. linvo December 5, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Wow, someone suggesting that the librarian had to keep the kids hostage because they could’ve been planning to do drugs or have sex really is quite messed up. I wonder how they are able to go about their daily business with all those teenagers they must meet in public places. I have this image in my head of them rounding them all up like a sheepdog to make sure they don’t sneak off to do something ‘filthy’. It takes “It takes a village” to a whole different level!

  102. Laura D December 5, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    I live near this city and it hasn’t even gotten very cold in Michigan yet this year. Several days in November we had to turn our heat off because it was too warm outside. People are calling this a “Michigan winter” but fail to remember that it is still Autumn. I have 4 small kids (ages1, 4, 5, 7) and they’ve only worn a hat one day so far. The kids in this article were older. They can decide whether or not they needed a coat. Besides, have we forgotten that walking raises body temperature? They may have needed to take their coats off during the walk. And as for safety, I would say Farmington Hills is an extremely low crime city. Maybe the police department needed something to fill their time.

  103. tdr December 5, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Our library (Baltimore County) announces 15 (30?) minutes before closing that children in need of a ride should call for one. The library sensibly assume kids will be alone at the library in the evening doing homework or using the computer.

    12 and 15 years old is plenty old to handle themselves in this situation (though probably less able to keep track of time — my kids are terrible at that). I would have done exactly what their mom did.

  104. Yan Seiner December 5, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    @hineata: We moved here to be a part of this community. While we’re somewhat more active than many, we’re certainly not outliers. One of our newspaper contributors, for example, spent 6 weeks hiking 20 miles a day with his 15 year old, and hiked clear across the state along a mountain range.

    Two things I was told when we moved here:

    1. There’s always someone older and faster than you here.
    2. No one here cares what car you drive or how you dress; people care about what mountain you climbed or what race you ran.

    Minor correction: My son has hiked 10,000′ mountains. Forgot the apostrophe.

  105. CrazyCatLady December 5, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    The lesson that I have learned from this is: If the kids call home and say the librarian told them they needed to have a ride, I need to talk to the librarian.

    I, as parent, need to make it clear that I told my kids to wear coats, that I told them they would have to get home no matter how cold it was, and that she was to escort them out the door right then.

    Really, 35 is not bad, unless there is a big wind chill. My siblings routinely “forgot” their coats at school so that they would not have to wear them out of the house. My mom made them go out and do choirs and such anyhow. She very well could have been the mom in this situation too. It taught responsibility for self. It is now funny to see my siblings yelling at their kids to get their coats on!

  106. Jiltaroo December 5, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    I have given up reminding my boys about coats and jumpers. I figure that if they are cold, they may start to remember. I’m a single Mum and I refuse to pander to them. That’s not to say they are unloved or unprotected. I just want them to grow up to be independent and to have the ability to think for themselves. It was not a police issue to be reported. That is ridiculous!

  107. Maegan December 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    “I can confirm that ‘below zero’ means zip”

    And this was actually reported to be “below freezing”, which is around 30 degrees, instead. Which is nothing to be concerned about and in the winter can be considered quite nice.

  108. Maegan December 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Where does it end? Adults are sometimes assaulted and abducted when out and about. So they shouldn’t walk anywhere, either. Of course, sometimes they are in car accidents. So, driving is out. And rarely, but sometimes, people are assaulted in their own homes. So it’s not safe to stay there, either. Risk must be assessed logically when determining the level of safety. The risk of something bad happening to these teens on their walk home in unpleasant, but not dangerous temperatures, was extremely low.

  109. Mags December 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    In my day, I would have said (as a 12 or 15 year old). Thank you mr//ms Librarian but I can walk home.

    I remember a day when I was 15 years old when I left the house on a cold winter day with only a light jacket (new jacket-wanted to be hip). I walked less than a mile home from a friend’s house and froze my butt off. I never did that again.

    The kids should have been allowed to leave and walk home, sans a blizzard, they would have been fine at their ages.

    It all comes down to liability. Library afraid of being sued.

  110. GW December 11, 2012 at 1:41 am #

    Hell, when I was 15 I worked for the library. None of the librarians I worked for would’ve thought twice about my walking home, regardless of how cold it was.

    Now I’m a librarian at a college and the only rule I can think of offhand that we have regarding kids is under-12s need to be there with an adult. But that’s because it’s a college and only open to the public so long as they don’t disturb the students.

  111. coach outlet online April 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    I simply wished to appreciate you all over again. I am not sure what I might have accomplished without the ideas shown by you about such situation. It seemed to be the traumatic case in my view, nevertheless finding out the well-written technique you processed it made me to weep with contentment. I am just happy for your guidance and thus believe you really know what a powerful job that you’re undertaking instructing the rest thru a site. Probably you haven’t come across all of us. coach outlet online