— The story below makes me so sad and so angry, and you will see why. If anyone at Child Protective Services or the police department would pick up a single book written before predator panic swept the country, they’d see that 6-year-olds were always part of the neighborhood scene, scampering, playing, or even — in many eras and areas — working! The idea that a 6-year-old can’t be outside without constant supervision is new and warped.
It also seriously underestimates kids.Â Is there a law requiring parents to stunt their children’s curiosity, competence, maturity and independence? I fear it may only be a matter of time. – L.Â
Dear Free-Range Kids: I’ve run across your site a few times and generally ascribe to the parenting principles that you write about. I’d like to anonymously share what just happened to my family with you and your readers to elicit some feedback.
We’ve taught our six-year-old, whom I’ll call Emily, about crossing the street, reading maps, etc.Â Â As she’s learned these skills we’ve let her try them out, first with supervision, and then on her own, to make short trips around the neighborhood.Â Â We live in a fairly average residential neighborhood that has a mixture of stop signs, stop lights, and crosswalks.Â Â The state that we live in does not have any laws regarding a minimum age for a child to be unattended.
Recently, Emily went by herself to a small store a few blocks away. When she was out a little longer than I expected, I went looking for her.Â Â The shopkeeper said that as she was walking out the door the police were coming in, asking if Â anyone there was her parent. Then they took her.
POLICE REFUSE TO LET HER GO
Once I got to the police station they would not release her to me for over 20 minutes, though she was sitting behind bullet-proof glass just 20 feet away.Â Â When the police finally came to talk to me, I was told that they had responded to a call of a young child being unsupervised.Â Â They refused to identify a reasonable cause for her detention, or even what law had been broken.Â Â They insisted that they were waiting for CPS to respond before they would let me see my daughter, but then they later came back and said that they were releasing me to her because CPS had told them to give her to me, since I was waiting for her.Â Â
I received a letter from CPS today.
Emily knows her name, address, phone number, etc.Â Â Furthermore, the responding officer knows exactly who both Emily and I are since she responded to a complaint regarding Emily crossing the street by herself just a few days prior, during which we were detained for more than half an hour.Â Â After this previous incidentÂ Â her supervisor had confirmed that there was no law against a child crossing the street by themselves.
So what say you Free-Rangers to the cops picking up a 6-year-old, not contacting the parents, and then refusing to give her back? – A Dad in Distress
Dear Dad: We say that this is not a matter for the cops or CPS. You are a responsible parent, and you are raising a responsible child. Â How dare these authorities suggest they care more about her than you do? Â – L.
Boy age 5 or 6 selling Saturday Evening Post in Sacramento, 1915
It’s absurd. Australian Government websites say that children but not be left alone outside and be under supervision at all times. We have politicians with politicians making it difficult for a parent to be a stay home mum yet are also keen to criminalise these same parents for leaving their children unattended. The number of childcare places are not enough in supply and many simply cannot afford it.
When you let the mental asylum inhabitants loose, they take up positions of authority. Elected or not.
Were any 6 year old children walking around alone in Australia, Police and society would view the child as lost or having wandered away.
It’s not the threat of an abduction or predators or accidents that scare me. It’s this. This kind of story. I want to raise my children this way but am terrified to just because of stories like this. I considered not following your Twitter feed anymore because these stories make me so angry. I feel terrible for the children that are being raised free range because they are growing up with peers that are not going know how to do anything for themselves and have no common sense. Our children are going to have to put up with this. It all just makes me sad.
What kid of f—cked up world do we live in when instead of making a child feel proud of herself for being able to walk a couple of blocks alone, we scare her to death by detaining her in a police station like she and her dad are some kind of criminals. Horrible. It is so sad how we seem to have lost all common sense. If a kid is lost or in trouble THEY WILL TELL YOU! Why couldn’t the cop in this story just talk to the kid like a human being and ask “Where are you going? Does you dad know? Ok, do you know how to find your house? Ok, great, have a nice day.” Or if he wanted to be super safe, watch the kid walk home.
How is it that the very popular (and perpetually airing) PBS show “Arthur” depicts children in the third grade running all over town by themselves (or in small groups)– to the library, to the ice cream store (one kid even works there because it’s his family’s store), the Sugar Bowl, bowling etc. All. over. town. –Alone. No one bats and eye. Is it any wonder that real-life kids want to do the same thing??
I have friends who moved to Croatia when thier girls were about 11 and 9. They’d go all over the place (they’re in HS now) by themselves– and they didn’t even speak the language at first.
I’d want to know who the darned busybody is who keeps calling the police!
Fight the good fight and stand up for your right to let your kid roam freely. Get other parents in your neighborhood on your side. If you all stand together, the authorities, like most bullies, will back down eventually.
btw, I meant that it’s natural and good for kids to go places on their own (like they see on Arthur), not that Arthur is bad. It just shocks me that busy-bodies haven’t gotten that show removed for being dangerous!
That’s true @Earth.W. – but it didn’t use to be, and there’s no reason why it should be so today. In my own Australian childhood 6 year olds commonly walked or cycled to school on their own and played in their neighbourhoods without adult supervision.
There is no valid reason why that should have changed; children are at no greater risk now than they were in the 60s and 70s, when I was a child – indeed rates of crimes against children have fallen substantially since then.
Rather odd, I must say to see the CPS having more commonsense than the Police.
This is just their way of preparing kids for adulthood when everyone will be required to take a cop, a lawyer and a social worker wherever they go.
We are here to support you against this sort of crazy, intrusive “protection”. Your child should be able to walk to the store, with your permission, uninterrupted by police, CPS, or other agents.
There’s a nice article in this month’s Discover Magazine called “The Enduring Importance of Neighborhoods” written by Dan Hurley. I thought of this site when I read it.
@EarthW, in my state of South Australia, there is no minimum age a child can stay home or be unsupervised, but it is the parents responsibiltiy for any one under the age of 18 in their care. I know this because I asked a police officer friend and he looked up the law for me. Of course most people would use common sense, which in the incident stated in the story was not used.
The good in the story is that the child protection agency did show alot of common sense, just goes to show that not everyone in authority is out to ruin our children’s freedom.
Where did this happened?
In this case: call a lawyer!
Anyone remember this from sesame street? http://youtu.be/8VZR3dl5iac
Eliza, in States such as Queensland, leaving a child aged 11 without supervision can land you a prison sentence.
Eliza – Queensland does not state the age where a child can be without supervision but the Police and the Courts can still give a parent a criminal record for it. Crazy stuff.
The police abducted the child!
I am glad I don’t live in your neighborhood. When my son was around 6, we went for a bike ride. His sister and I got quite far ahead of him. (It is difficult to balance a bike at his speed!) When I turned around to check on him, a police car had stopped next to him. When I got there, the friendly officer asked if I was Mom. He told me that he had spoken to my son to tell him that the law says you must ride on the right side of the street as it is safer. He told us to have a nice ride to the park and took off.
To be fair, perhaps the Australian authorities have gotten the same propaganda the rest of us have inasmuch that every square inch of Australia is covered in creatures either venomous or chompy.
I wouldn’t want to be left alone in Australia. 🙂
Disgusting that the police took your daughter in! I have to say, I am a free-ranger, but I would not feel comfortable having a 6 year old cross a busy street. My 7 year old runs all over the place in our neighborhood, but we live on a quiet dead end street. She knows where she is allowed to go and where she is isn’t. I hope its okay that we can agree to disagree on some of these choices. Still, I give you credit for having such confidence in your daughter, and think its horrible that she had to experience getting taken to a police station.
First of all, congratulations for these parents for bringing up their girl so well (I know my 6 yo isn’t capable of figuring change yet, although I feel confident about the crossing-streets-on-his-own part).
And second, I’m sorry about all this police harrassment… I know where I live, people who stumble on my kids when they’re navigating on their own tend to talk to THEM to check they’re all right. And if they aren’t satisfied with the situation, they stay with the kids until we meet, or call ME on the phone. Ditto if they’re misbehaving. But fortunately, no one has considered it necessary to call the police. Yet.
I know it helps when you get acquainted with the neighbours and shopkeepers, and they know the kids (and parents) by name. I realize it can be a nuisance for them, making them sort of responsible for the kids when I’m not around. But we try to make up for it by teaching the children to try to make themselves helpful (helping an elderly lady to take her groceries home, or cheering a toddler when they’re throwing a tantrum, that sort of things). So far, it’s working. I’m confident people in our community would prevent the police taking my kids away, but of course, you never know…
Add an item to the list of lessons you want your daughter to learn: The authorities are not your friends. The police and CPS (and “zero tolerance” school authorities) believe their job is to separate children from their parents.
Make it part of learning her environment. She should still be allowed to explore the neighborhood, but be aware of the fact that a certain percentage of the time, she will be hauled to the police station for it, and detained against her wishes and those of her parents by folks whose brainwaves are flat lines.
Eventually she may be come the next Rosa Parks, just saying “NO” to the brain dead authorities.The goal of the revolution will be to get these morons out of positions of authority. Societies have historically been upended by people who finally said they have had enough. A child shall lead them.
First, this goes to the assumption that the sight of children in public without an adult is no longer a normal, good feeling sight; It now induces anxiety and irrational fear to *do something*, which in this case, the busybody called the police. The report of a “young child in danger” in most NORMAL towns is a diapered toddler or baby crawling on the highway or perhaps a scared child, crying. It is NOT a 6 year old.
I don’t where Emily lives but I don’t believe we have leash laws for kids YET. Like Lenore’s photo of a child selling newspapers ALONE, kids mature differently. And with parental guidance, they become quite capable adults. It’s a parent’s decision when to let their child attempt tasks like going to the store or crossing the street alone. Crawling baby? No, most 6 year olds can master this task (stop, look both ways, listen) in their own neighborhoods. It’s not rocket science, it’s a basic task of daily living, one of personal freedom.
To the Dad who wrote this, please fight this battle. It’s wrong on so many levels. You are the parent and sound like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders to raise an independent, capable girl. I also have a 6 yo. She bikes and walks to school almost daily. We have rules and she follows them. She’s a good listener and prefers to get there independently because the other option is driving and she doesn’t like sitting in traffic. She’s not a baby and we don’t treat her like one.
@Earth W. and Greg–I actually lived in Australia for two years, and my experience was completely opposite to what you describe. I saw kids Rollerblading, or riding their bikes or skateboards around the neighbourhood alone, kids going to the beach and swimming, body boarding, or surfing alone (in fact, some kids’ bikes had surfboard racks fixed on the back), and kids taking public transit alone as well. As for the “venomous and chompy creatures,” you just have to be careful. For example, if you’re at the beach, you have to watch for blue bottle jellyfish washed up on the shore, and then, if you see them (or a sign warning you of blue bottles), don’t go in the water. In fact, there are even surf report websites you can check in advance, that tell you what the waves are like, and it usually includes information on blue bottles as well. I used to do that, and then ask the lifeguards upon arrival, and if there were blue bottles, I’d swim in the free pool at the beach instead. As for poisonous spiders in the forest, etc., those were much more rare than people make them out to be, and some of them were much more menacing-looking than they were harmful, like the huntsman spider. It’s as big as a dinner plate, but, as the exterminator I talked to on the phone explained, when I found one on my bedroom wall, they aren’t poisonous–their sting is no worse than a bee sting. In the end, I got one of my housemates to squish the spider with a broom, and life moved on.
I’ll bet the average six-year-old is more mature than the average cop these days.
Hey “Dad am I” THANKS for that video, I DO remember it. What an awesome flashback.
That clip was from the 1970s — when we walked to kindergarten after being taught to cross traffic-heavy Main Street only with the light at the intersection. I would’ve been six. It was about a half mile each way.
and that’s why the next generation will be a bunch of obese pansies that are scared of their own shadow
I think my head just exploded.
This is the biggest threat to Free-Ranging. It’s not criminals or stray kidnappers/pedophiles, but misguided “do-gooder” busy-bodies and ignorant police.
Most people teach their children to go to the police if they are in danger, but as more and more of these stories surface of cops arresting parents and children for living as though the sky is not falling, it becomes harder and harder to do that.
At this point, I would rather my children took a chance and trusted a random stranger than a “boy in blue”.
I think my kids would be safe either way, but I would be safer if the cops didn’t get involved in my child’s freedom.
Perhaps it is time for a Free-Range letter writing campaign to local police departments, explaining the proper response to children playing outside unattended.
I like the suggestion above – try talking to the child. See if they are in danger. See if they know their phone number (I personally think that should be a requirement before adults let their children roam.) See if they know their address.
If you’re still concerned – TRY CALLING the number that the child gives you. That’s what we have told our children to do – let them show you what they know.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and my parents started encouraging me to go to Cubs games by myself when I was in 3rd grade. I’d bike to the L by myself or with a friend and we would take the L by ourselves and watch the game then come home. How many times my parents evidently should have been arrested. Oh and since I’m writing this I was obviously never abducted or hurt or anything else, amazing isn’t it?
Guess it’s never to early to start teaching your kids:
“Am I being detained?”
“Am I free to go?”
“and thatâ€™s why the next generation will be a bunch of obese pansies that are scared of their own shadow”
Let’s be optimistic and hope they’ll grow up to understand that the government is not your friend.
I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the obvious step would be to obtain a restraining order against the police and CPS.
This is very sad. I remember being six and walking to school – by myself – every day. School was only a couple of blocks away. One day, my cat followed me. My teacher let her stay with me until lunch time, when again I walked home for lunch. I was the hit of the day. Nothing like instilling joy and pride in a child who can walk to the store, cross streets, etc. Maybe give her a phone so she’s still got a lifeline in case something happens? But still. Now this child is traumatized by the reaction to a simple, everyday action like WALKING TO THE STORE. What has this country become when our children can’t be outside alone??
Wow. Just…. wow.
I’m sorry I don’t have anything more profound to say. I’m speechless and very, very sad.
It’d be nice to see some proof that this actually happened. A location, police report …
Don’t you know that you are treading hard upon the “professionalism” of the cps and the cops?
It is an insult to their expertise and an assault on their authority. Big mistake there!
They’ll next be coming for you. Watch what you do. Watch what you say. You need to march to the tune.
Leslie makes a valuable point above. Many kids tv shows show kid aged characters with the freedom to do all sorts of things with out the parents. Off the top of my head, in addition to Arthur, I think about Franklin, Dora, The Backyardigans and the kids in Martha Speaks. Heck, Max and Ruby have so much apparent freedom that people have wondered if they even have parents since whenever they need an adult they go down the street to Grandma’s House.
Strange how tv can instill so much fear into adults but seems to send a very very different message to children.
Suzanne, I love your story. A couple of weeks ago I ventured to my childhood home and drove along the old walk to school. It was easy enough, wasn’t it? Of course, I’d get distracted by squirrels, cats and dogs, interesting bugs and such.
Cool teacher letting you keep the cat a while.
What we need is a Free Range Kids legal defense fund. Let me explain what “fight the good fight” costs-a minimum of $1,500-$10,000. In America you must pay, innocent or not. You will not be reimbursed for your time, your endless hours of worry, attorney fees, court fees, time spent going to court…
You will not be granted a publicist or communications advisor to deal with press. Child Protective Services has rights beyond anything granted by law- they can keep records showing they opened a file on you that would prevent you from ever having a job at a school or day care and they never need to substantiate, investigate, or validate the claim. My family (which includes a professional who works nationally with social workers and an attorney) is always surprised when the general public cries out “get a lawyer” as though they are free and will guarantee justice to the wronged.
I would happily support a legal defense fund. Maybe it is time Free Range Kids moved to the next level of activism.
Good for you for letting your child grow up properly.
By the age of five, I was walking to the local bakery for broken biscuits. This involved crossing a 4-lane road halfway through a four-block journey. Then I had to ensure I had the correct change (pounds, shillings, and pence). Walking home without eating the cookies was the hard part.
Getting lost involved finding a policeman to find your mum. Now, I would not want to call the police if I could avoid it. I have completely lost my faith in the Toronto cops.
My kids loved reading the Ramona books and the stories about Fudge. At the age of 5, my daughter started to notice that the kids in those books had so many more freedoms to move around and be independent. When we were in NYC, my son sought out and swore that he had found the rock in Central that Peter and his friends used to hang out on. He insisted on climbing and sitting up there all by himself. NYC is the only place I’ve felt a little nervous about being free range, but everyone had a great time.
In the name of safety and protection, we terrorize children and families.
This strategy is not getting the authorities what they’re wanting. How do we show them that?
I suggest a restorative justice circle.
“victims” in this case being families and children, “offenders” in this case being the authorities, police, CPS, etc.
JS just read my mind. I nominate Lenore to head up the project 🙂
Same here – I grew up in England and remember walking to school every day (somewhere between 1/2 a mile and a mile) at around that age. Not a big city, but not farmland either. This is just getting rediculous. I understand that the parents don’t want to thrust “Emily” into a spotlight, but at the same time someone will need to expose some of these overreactions (maybe get your local news involved, so that they can interview the police and get their viewpoint, etc).
I see a business opportunity here for an enterprising set of attorneys. Stories like this are eerily reminiscent of the early days of homeschooling, when a knock on the door could be the police coming to take away your child for “educational neglect,” and when homeschoolers were advised to stay inside during school hours to avoid being reported to CPS. Out of this void of fear and harassment was created the Home School Legal Defense Association. For $100/year, you “retained” a staff of lawyers well-versed in home education law, who would be your advocates in case of interference by the authorities. They would defend you in court, if necessary, but often simply a letter from them was enough to get the authorities to back down. We never had any problems, but I still consider it to have been well worth the fee to have a card I could present to any questioning authority, with the words, “Talk to my attorney.” It sounds paranoid, but the legal status of homeschooling was still much-questioned back in those days.
So … I’m wondering if we need a Free-Range Legal Defense Association. Lawyers who would specialize in the relevant statutes and step in when police and CPS exceed their proper authority. You know they’ll just take more and more unless they are stopped. If I had young children, I’d happily pay $100/year for such a service. Everyone, paying the fee or not, would benefit from some legal muscle on the Free-Range side.
Too bad I’m not a lawyer; it sure seems like a good business opportunity to me. And a public service.
It’s sad. A few weeks ago on a nice day (we live in CA and our winter has been very dry this year, lots of nice days). I let my daughter play in front of our house while I went inside. I gave her guidelines to use and checked on her after 10, just to be sure she was doing okay.
This weekend my daughter asked to play out front again. My husband said no, when I as why he stated that 1 in 3 girls are raped by the time they are adults. As I was getting ready to leave the house with the kids anyway I let it pass. I’ve got plans to prove him its safe for her to play out front. Sad, that he buys into the crazy stuff. I think she’d love to explore more.
A person takes a child, or an adult for that matter, against their will, and for no legal cause/purpose. I believe that is called kidnapping.
How is this not kidnapping?! I would be calling internal affairs and a lawyer for the cops kidnapping my kid and making it unsafe for them to go outside!
from Merriam-Webster…”: to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom”
from legal-dictionary…”The crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force or Fraud, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with an intent to carry that person away at a later time.”
from Macmillan dictionary…”to illegally take someone away and make them a prisoner, especially in order to make their family or government give you money or allow you to do what you want”
definition from Washington State Legislature…” A person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree if he or she intentionally abducts another person with intent: To inflict extreme mental distress on him, her, or a third person”
I agree with Manny, we need kids to watch the ACLU video on how to deal with cops.
Here’s one response to a cop who says it is unsafe to let kids be around the neighborhood – isn’t it your job to make the neighborhood safer?
I think if I had real defense, I’d be in for $100 on it. Lawyers are expensive and, unfortunately, they’re the only thing nowadays treated as Real Adults by the legal system.
Much as I agree with the idea of free range parenting (having been a free range kid myself), I’m disturbed by the complete lack of detail.
We don’t want our children growing up in fear. A lot of baseless fear starts with, “I know a guy who heard of a guy…” With no detail at all, that’s what we have here.
This is really horrifying. I’ve just started letting my 4.5 year-old trail half a block behind me on the walk home because she loves ringing the door buzzer (small apartment building) and having me ask who it is. She was SO PROUD the first day (“I did it! I did it!”) I’d hate for someone to stop her. I too am more fearful of busybodies than predators.
Raise high holy hell with your local paper. Sometimes media embarrassment for the autorities is the only way to protect yourself.
They have to mark the early episodes of Sesame Street as not for kids these days; too much obvious free-ranging in the slots involving the kids doing their own thing.
@MHM Tell your husband it’s better to teach your daughter what the appropriate boundaries are, and to support her in enforcing them (eg that you will believe her if she says that something happened, and that you will also respect those boundaries), than to hide her away. If she can learn to do it unobtrusively, it will benefit her for her whole life.
This should be illegal. Like I said yesterday about kids making pretend guns in school: do we need a law before people will leave kids alone when they are perfectly safe and doing nothing wrong?
I sent my girls to the park a mile away when they were 6. Granted, they were together. It was the right decision, but I took a lot of flak for it.
Is it a bit sad that I am eager for my kids to get older so I can stop having to feel like a rebel every time I let them out of my sight?
@BAP, What sort of details would make a difference? There’s a good chance that identifying details are being withheld on purpose.
When I turned six, I had been walking to and from school for several months. It was about half a mile. Rain, snow, night, day; this is what we think of as progress?
@George, Perhaps at least a city or state this happened in. Even a statement that identifying details were being intentionally withheld would have been nice.
I’m also curious what you mean by “make a difference.” Unverifiable stories only preach to the choir. Folks who disagree get more ammunition for their disagreement. And if the story ends up debunked, it makes us look foolish for jumping on it.
I just finished dealing with CPS (for two months!) after letting my 6yo daughter go to the park alone. She’s been going with her older siblings since she was 5, and was so excited to turn 6 — all of her older siblings were allowed to go “out front” by themselves at that age. But the first time I let her go, she was brought home by the rudest policewoman I have ever met (who also threatened to shoot my fenced-in dog, and said I was “threatening” her when I said I was going to complain to her boss).
CPS investigated us up and down, but in the end they simply told us that we’d done nothing wrong, that there was no law against letting our daughter go to the park alone, but that we’d better not do it again because if the police kept complaining to them about it, they’d be “forced” to do something. So… I’m not breaking the law, my daughter is merely exercising her rights, but we have to change because the police have decided to harass us about it. I’m furious over it, but I feel like there’s nothing I can do.
You should consult an attorney about filing a civil rights lawsuit against the police for unlawfully detaining your daughter on both occasions. If they admitted there is no law against the act for which they detained her, they have made a damaging concession. You should seek declaratory and injunctive relief barring them from this type of misconduct as much as any compensatory relief. Also, you and your daughter should learn these phrases: I do not wish to answer these questions without an attorney. Am I free to leave? Am I being detained? If you are detaining me against my will, what crime do you suspect me of? You should also consider filing a Freedom of Information Act request to learn the name of the person(s) who called the police. Once is a coincidence, twice is a pattern. I suspect you have a nosy neighbor who is trying to “teach you a lesson.” Once you learn the person’s name, you can educate the person.
You need more positive stories. People are getting hopeless.
Pay the mommies to stay home and pay into their Social Security till the children reach 24. This will open jobs for men and protect the children and keep many of them from going to drugs and jail
Since she was not breaking the law nor in distress, I would suggest to the police (through an attorney) that that officer, himself, be charged with kidnapping as he had no cause or authority to remove your child and essentially committed the tort of false imprisonment. Civil remedies abound, esp since this is a second incident with this officer. Even if you are not litigious by nature, this sets a tone for that department and their future dealings with you, your children, and other children in the area. Just my $.02.
It’s really unfortunate that we take away all of the good parts of children maturing like letting them explore on their own, but at the same time we act like they’re more mature than they could be developmentally and we allow them to watch violence and over-sexualize them.
I agree with a previous commenter that I’ve been tempted to delete FRK from my newsfeed because the stories make me so upset. I’m doing my best to prepare arguments for the way I want to (and think is perfectly fine to) raise my children and I’m hoping to get local statistics to prove my points.
@BAP: I think that it’s safe to say that Identifying information is being withheld. Assuming that this incident is current, the writer is probably trying to avoid making any statement that could be used against his family.
The idea of setting up something like HSLDA to defend the rights of parents and advocate for bounds to governmental incursion sounds great. It’s probably too late to help this guy, but I would support it, too.
Anybody have any idea about how to get it going?
I wonder if this is an issue that the ACLU would be interested in. Don’t parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit as long as the are not actually abusing them? Doesn’t a 6 year old have the right to walk down the street without being harrased by the police?
@Linda, I would definitely join a group like that for free-rangers. I’m already a member of the local version of HSLDA, but I still feel like I have to hide my homeschooled kids away until the other kids get out of school. If someone calls the police, all they have to do is change their story to, “Well, they’re too young to be out alone anyway.”
If you can afford it, retain a lawyer, and file a harassment complaint. If you can’t afford a lawyer talk to the police chief, and get him or her to sign a statement confirming that there is no law preventing your daughter from doing what you allow, and have your daughter carry a copy on her person at all times.
For everyone who says the cop broke the law by detaining Emily, they might not have. Where I live, if a cop feels like a child is in danger, the law *requires* them to remove the child from the situation and call CPS. The problem is that the law doesn’t give any age that a child can be out and about alone (which you’d think would be a good thing, letting parents decide!), and it is completely within the cop’s discretion as to what constitutes “danger.” When I called the local sheriff’s office, the office in charge (I forget what his title was, he wasn’t the sheriff) told me that some of his deputies have brought home TEENAGERS for being out unsupervised, despite being repeatedly told not to.
Another police story – at dance a couple weeks ago my kids (9&7) who were waiting for their sister wanted donuts from a nearby Dunkin Donuts. It was cold, I was tired, so I said that I didn’t feel like going but they could go. They RAN out the door, as this is a big adventure for them – about 1/2 a block, one street to cross with a light, walking down a main thoroughfare, no mother to monitor the purchase. They came back a few minutes later, sans donuts. They didn’t want to talk about why. The story finally came out after some time that they made it to the corner, and my son crossed the street after checking against the light, but my daughter wanted to wait for the light, so they were standing one on each side of the street. A policeman came up, and apparently stopped them to talk to them. Thank goodness he didn’t take them, but he read them the riot act about being together at all times, scaring my daughter into thinking they weren’t safe and, hence, aborting the trip. My son, following the rules, came back with her. Now they are scared to go to the donut store lest they get yelled at by the police again – a trip that they were THRILLED to be allowed to take on alone…
I understand what BAP is saying. This letter was anonymously sent to Lenore by a stranger. There is no ability, even if she wanted to, to verify the story. This could be the truth or it could be that the police or busybody interfered because the girl is seen walking the neighborhood at all hours of the night, doesn’t appear to be in school and looks unkept. While all those could be perfectly innocent as well, they are cause for concern. The store Emily traveled to could be across a 6 lane road, making this less egregious. Or Emily could not exist at all and the entire thing made up.
While I don’t really doubt that something like this could happen, I’d put more stock in it if the letter came to Lenore fully identified with the request that Lenore post it anonymously if she chooses to use it.
In 1954 I was 6 and my mother walked me to a corner and sent me on my way to my aunts house about 0.25 miles away. She was expecting me and waiting. Mom was watching from one end and I was never out of sight of one of them. A county cop drove by, stopped and questioned me. The adults waved and he sent me on my way. I would imagine that had they not been there the outcome would have been differerent. It is one of my first memories. Can’t imagine being taken into custody and taken to station.
My dad was born in 1927. From age of 5 he walked across Sacramento several miles, from his school the the Capitol building where his father (a state senator) worked. He crossed streets with multiple lanes of traffic. By age 8 he biked 10 miles to the ocean while living in LA.
I was born in 1967. From kindergarten I rode my bike to school 1 mile every day, alone at least halfway. If there was a blizzard then I walked! I was free to “roam” the neighborhood and play with friends outside of school hours, until dark, every day, as were all the other neighborhood kids.
My college town neighborhood today is safer than the one I grew up in. And yet I feel the pressure to make sure my kids are supervised by adults 24/7. I fear for the consequences when they become adults.
Save the Nation. Re-elect no one. Ever.
@Michelle- I just don’t understand how we jumped from the danger being that Timmy fell in the well to just freely walking to and from destinations. Since when is walking dangerous?! ss
My 6 yo was in the school office last week- they called to alert me that she was all alone (she came there on her own) and not sure what to do. Seems the friend she always walks with ditched her as a joke, and our rule for walking to and from school is to walk with a buddy or in a group. The school asked if I wanted to pick her up and I told them to let her walk (as she normally does) and that her older brother would intercept her along the way. He realized midway that she wasn’t with the group and went back to get her- it all worked out (though we’ve had a talk about friends who play pranks that aren’t funny.)
It’s amazing how easy this is when you just contact the parents.
This dad should speak to an attorney. Detaining a person without probable cause is called “False Arrest” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_arrest). An attorney could help him understand the details of civil law on that matter where he lives.
Even if he’s unlikely to *win* such a suit, calling some media attention to cops holding his own child when there is zero evidence of a law being broken might be worthwhile.
Once upon a time, kids had no choice but to go to work, because there were no social programs to take care of them. Perhaps the real reason you advocate “Free Range Kids” is because you want to put kids back to work again?
Looks like it to me.
Sure! If kids come up with an idea to make money, recycling golf balls, selling lemonade, taking care of pets, delivering the newspaper, why not? Unfortunately, if you search through the site, you will find that lots of kids have had issues trying to do these simple things that kids used to do all the time.
(Not Lenore, but instead) CrazyCatLady
This is a very good idea. My youngest is 14 so I’m mostly out of the woods, but there does need to be a legal defense fund for free-rangers.
Yes, @Susan, what’s wrong with kids working? Not going back to 12 hour days in factories, but after-school jobs, odd jobs like the ones CrazyCatLady suggested, etc.? Why do we persist in infantilizing our kids, instead of telling and showing them that they are capable human beings and giving them the tools to do for themselves?
For the original dad, and others who are afraid of being harassed by the police.
Please check to see what your local elementary school does as far as kids walking to school or to bus stops. Some districts say that a kid within one mile (sometimes 2 now because of budget cuts) MUST find their own way to school. This means walking, biking or taking the bus.
Yes, I know some say 3rd grade, but check to see what written district policy says. 3rd grade may not be written.
Basically, if the school can accept that kids need to walk up to a mile to get to school, then the police, being familiar with this, should be fine with kids walking at least that far from home unaccompanied.
Question – at its root, is this really about safety, or is it about a little something else I’ve noticed lately – people not liking children around?
Here’s how I’ve come to see it – people see children as annoying and feel put upon when children are around. Why? Because adult mentality has become so much more child-like that children have turned into “little adults” and we see them in the same categories as adults. Most children, by that standard, are mildly criminal, social outcasts, and certainly undesirable. So the real key here is they want the kids locked up so as not to annoy them. I’ve seen so many people complain about kids in restaurants, etc.
@Susan, are you purposefully trolling Lenore, because what you said is beyond idiotic.
@JS & @Linda Wightman, I agree that I think the time has come for what you propose. Surely someone who reads this site has the drive and connections to make a “Free Range Kid Legal Defense Fund” a reality. Since I don’t home school my son, I wasn’t aware of the HSLDA. But it sounds like a relatively cheap and effective way to curb some of the overreaching by some authorities.
@Puzzled, that’s a great point. I know lots of people who don’t like kids in restaurants, too. I live in a college town, so the “child-like” nature of adults is even more pronounced. I always make the point that it’s the adults who are the loudest and most obnoxious in a lot of restaurants. But yes, I agree that people have a lot less tolerance for other people’s kids.
Here is a case on the ACLU website regaurding parents and childrens rights-
The photo reminds me of a book I read when I was little: “Here’s a Penny.” It was about a 6yo boy who was befriended by a paper kid and he stood on the corner selling newspapers to try to make money for his mom’s birthday present, if I remember correctly. (Or am I mixing up my stories?) Anyhoo, he was out there selling papers for hours, and nobody arrested him or his parents. Eventually his dad came and took him home.
I read this when I was about 6 myself, and it didn’t strike me as odd that a 6yo would be out without parental supervision. Could be because I had a bit of stomping ground myself at that age.
“Once upon a time, kids had no choice but to go to work, because there were no social programs to take care of them.”
Yes, and the programs that are available now COST MONEY. This goes to the notion that kids need to be scheduled or in a paid enrichment program to be properly supervised and that free play, neighborhood fun is unsupervised and therefore dangerous.
My son makes money all year round selling used golf balls. He just came home from school and needed to print out two contracts for friends who want to work for him this summer. He shovels snow in the winter (though we didn’t get much) and gets calls to dog sit. I thought this was part of growing up and learning a work ethic…not child labor abuse. Sheesh.
@Puzzled – I do think that is a big part of this.
A month or so ago when that kid was slapped on a plane for crying, many comments after said that kids shouldn’t even be allowed on planes because they annoy the adult passengers. One guy conceded that sometimes emergencies force kids to fly but kids should not fly for frivolous things, like trips to Disney World, until they are 6.
To Susan and citizen this isnâ€™t about money, lack of child care options, or wanting to bring back child labor. The dad was home!
This is about freedom for children to do what they wish to do, are competent to do, and have parental permission to do. And yes, occasionally, that includes small amounts of work. Not forcing work but letting them work. Yet far too many (including this cop) think children are too stupid to even cross the street. The 5 year-old city news boys of the past is just proof that kids arenâ€™t so flamingly idiotic as our society assumes. My mom was a stay at home mom, my parents had plenty of money, one of the largest houses in town, no mortgage. They were firmly opposed to me working even when I wanted to do so as a matter of pride. But I think I was 5 when I started going out without parents in tow. Not because there was no one to watch me, but because it simply wasnâ€™t necessary. My parents had their own life and activities, and I had mine, and we all liked it that way. I know I got a whole heck of a lot more play time and exercise when I finally earned the privilege to go to the park alone.
I want that for my child. She is a separate person not my property, not my shadow. And I am a separate person not her servant or her shadow.
There are so many things wrong with this story that I don’t know where to start. If you’re a follower of this blog, you already know most of them anyway. I’m also sad and angry. However I try to look at things from a different angle so that I’m not swept away by it.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the negatives such as, CPS and police are trying to force you to inject fear into your children. They want you to bombard them with the underlying message, â€œYou’re too frail and not smart enough to look after yourselfâ€ The world is too dangerous to allow your children to develop self esteem.
Tim Elmore wrote a great article on leadership. http://growingleaders.com/blog/3-mistakes-we-make-leading-kids/
It’s an excellent endorsement for raising kids free range. We can also extract that info and see that other children will be disadvantaged. Therefore, allow your kids to mature and they will be way ahead of the competition.
For years the idea to do this was to do things like play them classical music in the womb or teach them trigonometry when they are five. Now we’re learning to let kids develop naturally and they will be ahead
Although there are so terrible things in the letter, I also see some good things. â€¦….Â Furthermore, the responding officer knows exactly who both Emily and I are since she responded to a complaint regarding Emily crossing the street by herself just a few days prior â€¦….
This Dad in distress is not giving in. Kudos to him. We need more of that.
@Donna Just as there are spoiled kids, there are also spoiled adults. It is all the same behavior: throwing huge fits over silly small inconveniences and genuine belief that everyone must keep their convenience as a high priority all the time.
Unfortunately, while spoiled kids still have the capacity to change, chance with spoiled adults is much smaller.
@Emily – A lot depends on where you live. In Rockhampton, kids largely roam free while in Sydney, it’s almost a child free zone where parents live in fear.
Queensland is a staunch State where the Police are criminally charging kids as young as 10 for smoking pot or drinking alcohol. Underage teenagers in Queensland who participate in sexual activities also put themselves at risk of being criminally charged for a sex offence.
In the State of New South Wales, only a few years ago, a third of the State’s teenagers were known to child services having been reported for things like having hair lice due to the Mandatory Reporting Laws the NSW State had.
When I lived in Rockhampton(Queensland), I found myself being harassed by Police for simply allowing my then 3 and 4 year old play naked in the backyard or even, play in the backyard alone where there was no pool to drown in. The Police tried to convince me that paedophiles stand on every corner and one even tried to guilt trip me into being a paranoid parent. Another cop asked me what I would do if somebody hurt my child to which I replied; “They better hope the Police find them before I do”, much to the dropped jaw response from the Police Officer.
The understand what incident set the nation, Queensland off in a panic, do an online search – Daniel Morcombe.
Time for the parents to sit down with (God help me for saying this) a lawyer to create an effective and aggressive strategy to get the cops off this kid’s back.
To reply to the father this thread is about, I believe that the Police acted improperly. Sadly, something the Police seem to be a doing these days. At least the CPS had some commonsense. 🙂
@Puzzled – I think it is also about us having fewer kids, and people choosing not to have kids. Even my own sister is always going on (she chose not to have kids) about children being a lifestyle choice, and about how she shouldn’t have to put up with other people’s kids in her space if she doesn’t want to – her space being public areas. She is great with my kids, particularly now they’re older, and we come from a fairly traditional, almost ‘tribal’ style background vis a vis children, which makes her attitudes doubly concerning – if even people from large extended families don’t want kids around, what hope is there for the current generation?
What a lot of people forget is that while at an individual level children might be said to be a ‘choice’ (assuming you have access to contraception), at a societal level there is no choice – children are absolutely vital. People need to get over themselves and start enjoying the kids around them, their own or other peoples’.
Or we need to make a decision as humans to cease reproduction, and to say goodbye to our tenure on the planet (and I’m only being half sarcastic).
Of course, this website has shown we can get into trouble for trying to interact with other peoples’ kids, even positively, but let’s keep doing it anyway, until things turn back to sensible again.
A quiet revolution….
Currently I am on assignment in Japan, and every morning I see a number of 5-7ish year olds riding the train themselves to kindergarten or first/second grade. Of course, I also witness very over protective parents with some of the other children who drive them to school.
When I was first arrived here in Japan, I quietly panicked, thinking that some of the young commuters on the train were lost. But have come to realize that they are in fact confident enough to kindergarten or primary school on their own. Could also be a result of the fact that some of their parents must work and the child is confident enough, and the public transport is safe enough for the children to travel on their own. Amazing how cultures differ.
Gee, I hope these cops never come into our neighborhood. We have kids running around outside unsupervised all the time in the nice weather months, and most of them are between the ages of 5 and 7, including two of my own kids.
My dd was allowed to walk or ride her bike all over town from the time she was 8 (about 7 yrs ago). All the shopkeepers and police knew her. Occasionally a tourist would call the police about an unattended child drinking hot chocolate and reading magazines at the coffee shop. The officer would call us, and ask us if we knew dd was loose about town. He would say he understood but he was required to follow through on such reports and then (get this) he would apologize for having to call.
As someone noted up above, why not a Free Kids foundation? After all, money talks.
You basically said it all, Jennifer.
A normal adult response from a normal adult is all that’s required. Yet adults and their responses are no longer normal, it seems.
Battle lines are drawn and battles rage around ideologies of supposed securities, threats, and imagined dangers. And a little bit more freedom is lost. The land of the free does not include its children in the contract.
Makes one wonder though, just who they are owned by, and for exactly what purpose?
Ah heck, I burgled school driver’s lunch boxes when I was 4 and bored, and 1 year too young to go into the school myself. I was a regular hellion. It wasn’t a question of whether or not I was safe enough in my town – it was whether or not my town was safe from me.
@Travelbug it’s not because both parents are working, though that is a little more common now, the majority of mothers in Japan don’t work. It’s because it would be silly and unnecessary for mom to ride the train with the kid, and then back, and then there again to pick the kid up. Mom is at home taking care of the house, or walking to the local store to pick up fresh food for dinner, and the kid is perfectly capable of going to school themselves, having been taught to do so and allowed to practice.
It is not unheard of for teenagers in Japan to go to a high school that is too far away from their house to commute, and so live in an apartment alone, or in a dorm – like college students in the US. Basically, over there they mature 5+ years faster than in America! This isn’t because they are special, it’s because they’re allowed to mature. I don’t get why people don’t see that kids are capable of learning anything if allowed to do so.
This is such a gut-wrenching story. Here’s a guy doing the right thing, teaching his daughter how to be independent, bucking the trend of helicopter parents. And what does he get for it? He gets treated like a child abuser! Have we become some paranoid and unreasonable that we cannot use common sense?
Keep doing what you are doing, Dad in Distress. The world needs more dads like you (and girls like your daughter). Fight the power!
Let Her Eat Dirt
A dad’s take on raising tough, adventurous girls
How can you let your kid out into such a dangerouse world, where there are armed abductors waiting to capture your daughter (and who have done it twice) and where any person walking down the street could really be a scout for the abductors, ready to phone them to come swooping down and to capture Emily for a third time. Teach her that the world is indeed a dangerous place!
We just got back from a weekend camping with the cub scouts and I have to tell you it was SO NICE! We had some activities with the kids, but we also had lots of free play time. They ran all over the area, unattended, playing “fort” and various other make-up games, just like we did as kids. There were boys and girls from Kindergarten to 5th grade running, playing with sticks, making it all up as they went along.
We all need to remember that what I’ve just described is what’s normal. Not detaining a 6 year old for going to the store and crossing the street!
I’m not a sue happy kind of person, but I wonder if you have any legal actions available to you… they took your child without your knowledge and refused to contact you or allow her to do so. Then they refused to release her to you, all without lawful reason.
In my mind that makes them child abductors.
On the flip side, you might teach Emily to not go with cops. Tell her to stand her ground right where she is at and demand that they call her parents first.
Perhaps the police officer was not wrong, merely over protective. It is their job to help kids who are lost, and our society does a bad job of labeling kids as needing help. I wouldn’t teach a child to ask for a lawyer, but instilling something like “why don’t you call my dad, I know the number” might have helped this situation. We can teach children how to interact with people who are trying to enforce new (to them) rules, but getting yelled at and learning why later is also part of life. It starts and ends with education, unfortunately negative experiences are part of learning.
How do officers approach children? Why don’t we teach them to ask if they need help, if their parents know where they are, can we call their parents and verify that (easier than trouble, safer for the times kids do need help)? Officers should be approachable, if we teach kids to avoid them we cause other problems, if we teach officers free-range is always ok we cause other problems.
Someday these kids may need police help, so rather than teach them they are bad, why don’t we work on teaching the cops that our kids are good? I would try to have a friendly conversation with the police involved, perhaps even CPS, educate them on how they can help more without intruding on your parenting space. It’s a small world and we all have to live in it together.
Find out the city this happened in, time to go after these thugs !
Horrible. BTW my great grandfather also sold the paper at a young age. I don’t let my 6 yr old son wander the neighborhood past our block not because he is six, but because he doesn’t always listen or pay attention. If your six year old is more responsible & pays attention I see nothing wrong with it. I was such a child & wandered our neighborhood at the age of four or five (I didn’t cross any busy streets in case your worried). When I was five I started to walk to school on the same block along a busy street I didn’t cross any streets, but busy school driveways. By six I walked to school crossing one traffic light & several bock sometimes alone & sometimes with other children.
I walked with another kindergarten child to his home every day, about 10 blocks, crossing a busy intersection and a few residential streets way way back in 1978. My fondest 5-year-old memories! Now I have to pick up my child at the front door of the school; they aren’t even allowed to walk by themselves to the car. Duh.
My choices in general are made based on what CPS -not strangers- might do to our family.
How in the world do police departments have time for this? Picking kids up for walking into stores unsupervised, collecting kids from libraries when they say they are going to walk home, talking kids from school bus stop when no one is there tower them (even though they can easily walk home). I guess I should be thankful that my own city’s police department is too busy with violent offenders to have the time.
In Finland, 7 years olds are expected to walk to school or take public transit to school, by themselves. And they are quite capable.
A child’s self-reliance, sense of achievement and independence are only possible when parents stop being dependent on a child being dependent.
CPS rules are not bad in and of themselves. Nonetheless, their implementation depends on an authority base whose policies have been created based on reaction rather than action, fear rather than logic and emotion rather than common sense.
Captain America: Yes, it was a very easy walk. Literally no more than 5 minutes. Keeping the cat was so cool. This was the late 60s and there was no problem with letting the cat stay, whereas now i’m quite sure there would be a kerfluffle over that.
How did we as go, in the space of less than 100 years, of being a society where it was okay for children to work all day in mills to one where children must be boxed up like fragile china? There’s a middle ground but the extremists ignore it.
Oh Bernard, this is true. But there is always a CYA aspect to this, as well as Cover Your Liability. . . which means worst-first is the first response. CPS staff are fearful humans like anybody else.
Suzanne, nice word, “kerfluffle.” I’ll try to use that today! 🙂
That is scary. I know how we all feel about frivolous law suits and that is the way I feel as well. However, court decisions set many precedents in this country and this story makes me wonder about the wisdom in contacting a lawyer and investigating the merits of suing the police department for false arrest and/or unnecessary detainment of a minor.
We have seen several stories on this site recently about children being picked up and taken to the police station when no law had been broken by either the parent or the child. The police in this country are overstepping their bounds and we need to be able to do something to set precedents against this behavior or it will only increase. Also, if a standard hasn’t been set in opposition to this type of police involvement it will eventually become the norm and that cannot be allowed to happen.
I would definitely support a FRLDF.
I’m all for a legal defense fund.
My grandpa started selling newspapers at a young age. By the time he was a teenager, he and his two brothers were doing all kinds of work in the newspaper office. I think it was the experience he got there that helped him go on to college and get a JD and become a CPA. He certainly didn’t get any financial support from his folks, and probably not a ton of moral support, either. The working is what got him there.
More and more, parents are teaching their children to be inept, and incompetent kids who don’t know anything. And will never know anything until they are 18 or older. So everything must be done for them, including protecting themselves. And because police and CPS are people too, they fall prey to the same ignorance of fear and paranoia for children. It’s sad to see society implode on itself just in the last 2 decades. Since it’s taken technology, media, and social media to spread the fears. We should all start using the same things to revert back to a more stable and intelligent way of thinking. Which in turn, we teach our children. Just like all the parents from history.
It’s funny to see how people have become pansies this day and age. When, in the past, children were taught to hunt and gather at a very young age. When we humans learned about agriculture, children were taught to farm. As time went on, children lead adult lives by the time they were 13. See, prior to the last 20 or so years, parents mindset was to prepare their children for adulthood. We weren’t coddled, we weren’t made the subject of paranoia, we were encouraged (sometimes forced) to do things on our own. Learn from our experiences. Learn to deal with adversity and disappointments. We learned the value of hard work and determination. Many of us back then were self sufficient by the age of 8. And authority figures, only strengthened our resolve. Because they too encouraged us to be kids, just all the children before us.
Now, people have become stupid. Yes, STUPID. Adults no longer think for themselves, hence their children don’t think for themselves. Parents and other adults confuse and contradict themselves, by letting their kids do certain things based on what the parent is feeling at the time. ie. Parent is adamant to NEVER leave the child unattended. Yet, if it’s an inconvenience for them to gather them up from the car just to pay for gas, they will leave them unattended in the car. Which isn’t a bad thing, but does prove my point that it’s all about the parent’s feelings, and when it suits them. Not about the child. Police are no different. There are some good cops who think old school, and there are cops who succumb to the fears of today’s society. And the ironic part, we live in a much safer society than times past. Makes no sense. And this is what is being taught to kids these days. No common sense. People have forgotten that commons sense is an essential tool in human survival. But again, it’s not so much teaching kids survival, and preparing them for a challenging life ahead of them. It’s about making the fearful parents/adults feel better about themselves.
@Suzanne: I would file a lawsuit against the police dept. Primarily just to make a point. No laws were broken, yet my child is being detained, scared and confused. And I’m not allowed to put her at ease? Let alone see her? That’s by law (and no cop is above the law), forcible confinement/detainment, with no just cause. Like I’ve always said, people do what they do (the stupid things), because they are allowed to. Most people will just ignore them. Giving them, and enforcing their sense of entitlement and reason to be idiots. Because they know they won’t face consequence. If my rights, and the law has been compromised, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to court.
My husband and I are looking to move. We are planning on getting a condo in a urban area with great public transportation (no specific one, but in general). People keep looking at us and going well don’t you want a house with a yard for the kids to play in. I even got this from the a realtor although personally I think he was just trying to jack up the price. Anyway I look at them and just want to say and occasionally do, really why? If you let kids out you just get the police and CPS called on you by the neighbors. Personally I would not be worried about the safety of the kids playing outside, but an incident like this is exactly what I fear. That some helicopter parent is going to call CPS and even though they are the ones who are far more destructive to their kids, I will be the one who ends up getting my kids taken away or have that threatened and end up with who knows how much in legal bills. I don’t see myself having the time to be outside for long periods of time like that. All a lawn and house will be is a hassle to deal with the outside areas.
People are so paranoid and clueless. It is like they have this new fear or predators, but then want you to pretend like they don’t.
Once is one thing, but TWICE? Enough!
Dad needs to hire a lawyer.
Dad needs to get the media in on this.
If there is a Freedom of Information Act, then the dad needs to use it to find out–if possible–who is making the calls and who is pushing this in the police department.
Also, it’s probably time to try to get a legal defense fund going. Home schoolers have become a force to be reckoned with simply because they fought back when they were pushed. Lenore, it may serve you well to have a conversation or two with the folks at HSLDA or similar groups to see how they got things started.
I homeschool. My girls have the afternoon off because teaching fewer children in a smaller space takes much less time. My six-year-old has successfully argued that since she have proven her ability to use crosswalks, good manners, and phones, she should be allowed to take her purse downtown without me. I’m a bit nervous sometimes about what adults might say–but I have never been afraid of something like this! Who do those cops think they are?
There is a law that any discussion of homeschooling must have an error in it.
I can do number agreement. I really can.
She didn’t have her permission papers from Government Central Command & Control!
I think the busybody who had been calling police should be suited gore the trauma incurred to your family. Sure the cops as well. I read recently that this had been successfulin Yonkers. It’s been successful enough sp Thai the GANNETT news penned a report on thus a couple of months ago and took a great deal of Carr to use ALL the rhetoric they coitus muster trying to evoke sympathy for the poor government for having to deal with all the law suits. Their solution – stop the law suits, perhaps even u out law the practice. Mine – flood the courts and exposE, exposE til stop.
AND the psych they are being trained with has PLENTY of defects. And the chips are too stupid to even KNOW. How bam they know
The cops and lawyers
don’t know enough about it, to KNOW that they don’t KNOW. These are people who otherwise wouldn’t enter a library or bookstore, let alone s university, let alone study psychology. I often think what trouble they must be causing on their own families, these poorly trained psych cops.
I’ve spoken to a few on internet radio who hat such a loss of impulse control, they came our of hiding to DEFEND what I just attacked. You didn’t even KNOW they was this THIRD person there listening. After a couple off minutes of my addressing what I have addressed here, and a surprise voice would enter the conversation, defending PSYCHOLOGY. LOLOLOL. I have to reminds them them that the ISSUE I am arresting is that they THINK they know psychology, but on facT, they don’t know enough about it to KNOW that they dip not yet KNOW enough about out.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but when I was 6, in the 1960s, I used to walk to school in first grade, and then help my friend with his paper route after school. He only had 30 addresses on his route, but it was something special for him.
lenore, i’m a huge fan, and wondering — is there a way we can organize all these parents who feel this way into an activist force? can we all send letters to this police station, to implore them to rethink their policing? what happened to the neighborhood beat cop? what happened to helping people instead of busting them? what happened to common sense and giving people the benefit of the doubt? there are so many people who agree with your position — we need to be able to channel all these voices into ACTION on our children’s behalf. please post about it! thank you for all you’ve done.
and to the dad: i am SOOO sorry this has happened to your daughter. i nearly cry thinking of what they’ve done to her perception of the police and authorities. i send her all the strength and inner wisdom to realize that the problem is not her, and that she is the bravest little girl to face the police down and go on living her life in the way that suits her. one possibility is to help her get to know all the people along the street, in the shops, so that they can claim “responsibility” for her if the police ever show up again. another possibility is for her to go the police station and get to know the local beat cops by name, bring them cookies, flowers from the garden. in fact, i may have to do that myself. sheesh.
wishing fervently for a more sane world for our kids…
From what I’ve heard, there are laws in the United States that forbid police from detaining people unless they have probable cause to assume that a law has been broken (unless someone shouts “Terrorists!”, but that’s a different story).
I hear even cops can get in trouble if they do more than bend those laws.
Is there some specific law that sates that human rights don’t apply to people under 18?
This parent does not need to file a law suit.
This parent needs to get ahold of the state police, I am assuming the incident, was with the local cops. The parent then insists the state police arrest and charge the local cop, with unlawful confinement, forcible confinement, assault, kidnapping or however the state allows. If they refuse, then go up the chain, and do not stop. Not until all the officers involved are either out of work, in jail or at the very least in fear of losing their jobs.
Police are not above the law, and need to be reminded of that.
Now some are going to say to just walk away, because you do not want to buck the system, and make enemies of the authorities. You have to decide………….fight or flight?
If everyone just keeps on running, it will only get worse. The proof is right here. In the horror stories like this one, that seem to be more frequent than ever.
â€˜All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothingâ€™
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ is usually attributed to Edward Burke, the famous Irish politician of the 1700s, who said a good many things worthy of quoting, but never this.(According to Wikipaedia, anyway. I just had to look it up, because it is one of those statements often bandied about). Apparently it probably comes from a Soviet-era adaptation of ‘War and Peace’, which is rather ironic, really.
A companion quote to this one, which was just now made up by me, would be:
‘Almost all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to act stupidly’.
Though in this case, going to the State Police might not actually be so stupid.Except for the jail time and threats to jobs……It might actually work, were the person doing the talking to remain articulate, and not resort to foolish threats and silly blustering.
The other problem we face today is that most people will make assumptions about other’s, when their views or passions differ.
@hineata, the only stupid act one could do is to not act at all. Something you and Donna seem to advocate quite often. Unfortunately you do not seem to think your children are worth the time or effort, and that is a real shame.
And I did not attribute the quote to Burke because the actual quote has been changed over time, so as the meaning is still there, but the exact words are not. And if Wiki is you end all source of knowledge…………well enough said.
Actually, Warren, no, my source of all knowledge, fortunately, is not Wikipaedia, (I am currently working on my third postgraduate qualification, so am quite familiar with other sources of knowledge, thank you), though it is useful for all the little nonsense that urkes you occasionally. The constant offering of quotes that are fairly meaningless, really, is one that happens to urke me.
I am, as I have said earlier many times, very lucky that I do not have to put up with the sort of nonsense this poor man has had to. Good luck to him. Hopefully you do not have to put up with too much of this sort of rubbish either. We should both be grateful we don’t live in the States.
I might display more of your ‘in-your-face’,’let’s-bash-heads-in’ style if I actually had anything in my life that warranted such a style. As it is, I live in a relatively peaceful area of a relatively peaceful, still rather sane country. There really is nothing that I need to stand up for my kids about….
The only person who has ever constituted even a minor threat to my well-being has been my husband,and a couple of years of upending his clothes in the driveway, threatening him with various kitchen implements, using cuss words (very effective delivered by someone who seldom resorts to them) and insisting that his behaviour change resulted in a much-improved family life for all five of us, himself included.
I am perfectly capable of standing up for both myself and my kids, thanks, Warren, and I do so when necessary. So while your assessment of me is interesting, don’t be surprised if I choose to ignore it.
As always, have a great day…
Really, I wonder sometimes if those, like myself, who advocate a more diplomatic style don’t do so because they suspect that, if pushed, they would be capable of extreme violence. I remember after having one of my kids, being extremely grateful that I didn’t have access to a knife or a rolling pin (and also, that a C-section had left me in too much pain to swing said anyway) because I wanted to kill one of my husband’s uncles in the worst possible way….
And extreme violence seldom solves anything in the long term.
Maybe it’s time to sue the police departments for unnecessarily traumatizing and abducting the child. Surely a reasonable jury would find that there was no probable cause for detaining the child and transporting her to the police station (!) where she undoubtedly witnessed a lot more “bad” things than she did at the corner store, instead of calling the parents or simply saying hello and helping keep a friendly eye on her while she went about her business.
I don’t think I started going to the store by myself at age 6, but certainly by age 8 I was walking up to the 7-11 half a mile from our house to buy candy and comics with my birthday money or — the horror! – money my friends and I raised by collecting glass bottles in the neighborhood and returning them for the deposit money.
Perhaps a few lawsuits from the free-range side will balance out the lawsuits from the nut-job paranoid side and help return society to a more normal state of being. Even if the lawsuit is not successful, it might help raise awareness and start educating people about normal, healthy, self-sufficient kids!
Who wants to take this case? ACLU? Anyone?
@LegalMist – I hope you didn’t do what one or two of the naughtier boys in our neighbourhood did, which was to nip down the side of the dairy to where the owner stored all the bottles he’d paid the kids for, and then collect them up and re-sell them! Very naughty, though lucrative, LOL!
No hineata, my assessment of you is quite accurate. You talk a great talk, but you would not stand an be counted, for fear of rocking the boat.
I have seen many people like you and Donna, in my life. They all talk the talk, and when you turn around to see if they actually are willing to stand and be counted………..you see them running for their little homes.
I know this, becuase the two of you automatically consider anything other than polite phonecalls or letters, as violent and confrontational. Which tells me that you do not have the skills needed to get things done.
Standing up for yourself, does not have to be violent. And yes letters, phonecalls, petitions, movements can be effective in the long run.
You take that route, and maybe all your work will help your great grandchildren. I will take my route and get things done alot quicker. Do not really care if you like my tactics, or personality. Quite frankly I find you two faced and weak.
As for your statement that extreme violence seldom resolves anything…………depends on whether you are the one standing, or the one sprawled on the ground.
The meek shall not inherit the earth, because the strong won’t allow it.
Okay, Warren, am not sure why I keep feeding the troll – I suspect it’s because I would rather do this than focus on what I should be doing, which is attempting to understand the statistics of research, which I freely admit I’m not terribly good at.
Anyway, you don’t know me at all, any more than I know you. You don’t see the hours I spend advocating for a decent education for my students, or marching on Parliament for causes I believe in. You don’t see the many hours I spend in hospital and at appointments, ensuring my sick daughter gets the care she needs to become a fully-functioning member of society. You don’t see the hours I’m spending at the moment trying to write papers that will, if successful, ensure secondary/tertiary cross-over in education here, meaning all bright students will get the chance to complete diplomas at high school, rather than only in the ethnic language schools as at present. You also don’t see the time I put into volunteer work.
Likewise, I don’t know you at all. You write like a Rambo figure, but I suspect you are probably a reasonable human being under all that. I imagine you have your causes you are passionate about, and I hope that you do something constructive to help further those causes. From what you have said of the work you are employed in, you probably provide a useful service to society.
All the best in that. As to the meek inheriting the earth or otherwise, it might pay to remember that it wasn’t Edward Burke, Winston Churchill or any great Maori orator who is quoted as saying that – it was the Son of God, and I don’t imagine He particularly cares what weak little me or big strong you has to say on the matter – it will be as He decrees.
That is where you wrong, by being insulting and degrading.
A common tactic by people when they hate someones stance is to call them a troll.
The use of the name Rambo, I take as a compliment, thank you. You see there are those that walk into a room, and ask for assistance when they have been wronged. Then there are those who march into a room and demand answers.
I have no respect for those who will judge a person, because they have a strong personality, strong will, and are not afraid to take the bull by the horns.
Just because you do not have it in you to march into a room, slam your fist down on the desk, and demand answers. Do not judge those of us who can, and do.
And honestly, I do not care what the son of your god has to say or think, because in my life that work of fiction does not exist. The Great Spirit, is in all of nature, and not some group sitting on thrones, in some paradise.
I have not read all the comments so I apologize if this has been said before, but:
I understand that the original submitter may want to remain anonymous. However, postings like these cannot do nearly as much good if the readers cannot take any sort of action on them. Could a municipality or city be provided without compromising the submitter’s anonymity, so that we could contact the local officials responsible? The government responds to the will of the people, but only if the people can be heard.
I would gladly contribute to the free-range legal defense fund.
I’m new to the site. I just started looking around because the other day I let my 7-year old son ride his scooter in our driveway with the garage door and front door open (storm door was closed) unsupervised for 10 minutes or so while I was helping my 4-year old daughter inside the house. When my husband found out later he called it bad parenting and irresponsible. What??? I wasn’t even sure what to say. I also let him sit on the porch while I walked around the block one more time as he was tired and didn’t want to go another time (his sister and father were in the house). My husband proceeded to tell him to get in the house and didn’t understand how I could let him sit on the front porch unsupervised. We live in a relatively quiet suburban neighborhood. I feel a little shaken right now and need a little support that I am not crazy for letting him have a litte freedom.
I wonder if the ACLU would help? http://www.aclu.org/
For the ACLU / Ohio complaint page, here is the link: http://www.acluohio.org/resources/need-legal-help
We live in a backwoods area. My girls walk all over, but I still get neighbors calling when they see my older children taking the younger children out. I know they are concerned for their safety and so I thank them for letting me know where my girls are in the neighborhood. I usually explain they are taking a little walk to visit a friend or something like that. My question is, if these people know who the child belongs to, why not call mom and dad? Why not ask what’s going on? Then let it be. That way both parties could communicate their concerns.
We don’t talk to each other enough as neighbors. If I were the father, I would personally introduce myself and Emily, hand out my phone number, and explain we home school. I would let them know that Emily is a big girl that likes to mail letters by herself. I would do this for every house on the entire three blocks she must walk. Then I would ask that if they see Emily in trouble to call me immediately. I bet other parents would stop the cops from harassing this child. My neighbors have stopped the cops from harassing my children when they were on walks. Neighbors are your best defense.
There is much cultural illumination in this. Sorry to hear that you are the one that has to carry this burden for a time. Others do too, but you don’t often meet them. They are also suffering, some fighting back with logic, law, and sanity.
The difficult thing about CPS being involved is that the culture tends to react as if you “must have done something wrong”, even when it’s very clear that you are good parents and have done nothing wrong.
The shadow of CPS in a life taints a family for a long time.
Which runs afoul of their supposed mission to help a family. We all know of the grotesque overreactions and abuses by the agency. It is heartbreaking. But society continues to cringe away from those who have been snared in the trap, even when they are perfectly innocent.
That is probably enough of a reason to abolish CPS and start over, find a better way to accomplish the mission of protecting families.
You have my support and my encouragement. It will be okay in the end. Document document document, and don’t agree to nonsense, sign as little as possible, keep copies of everything. Get a lawyer if you can, but maintain your innocence: Your real internal innocence, that part of you that still trusts and still hopes and still believes—-do not let this experience jade you, or your daughter will sense it and it will be bad for all of you.
Stay happy and optimistic and trusting, don’t let this situation steal that from you. I know.
Many people reading your story know your truth and support you. We are shocked that you have had to go through this, but you are not the first.
Let the people know if you need help. We’re out here. Stay strong and thank you, for doing this battle for all of us who want our children to grow up healthy in a sane world, and to be independent and self confident.
CPS is simply a criminal operation…nothing more or less. Who benefits from CPS? Firstly are the BAR attorneys, judges, social workers, CASA, psychologists, foster families.
One must deal with CPS for what they are: criminals hell bent on stealing your child for their monetary benefit. Their business is our child. The police work for them as co-conspirators. Visit my site for a detailed discussion on this private business funded by the federal government.
This just happened to me. My six year old daughter and her friend went for a walk on their own and now we are getting a fine. The cop wasn’t at all interested in what we had to say just said we were getting a fine in the MAIL. In PA there are no laws regarding what age to leave your child alone, this cop was a douchebag! The kids were TWO blocks away and were gone no more than five minutes when the police came. Someone seen them walking and called them. When I was six in 1985 I would walk to the store to buy my dad CIGAREtTTES. I refuse to be a helicopter parent, they need to learn independence for good or bad. Moral is – shove your kids up your butt or let them zombify in front of the tv.
You people are full of crap- your “free-roam” child crap amounts to nothing more than being lazy parents who don’t want to be bothered with keeping up with your kids. There is absolutely NO circumstance when it is ok for a 5, 6, even 7 or 8 year old child to be allowed to roam the streets, walk to school, the store, or any other location, other than the next door neighbor’s house, alone or unattended. It’s not helicopter parenting to watch your kids- it’s call RESPONSIBLE parenting. It’s called caring about and loving your kids. You CAN monitor your children without hovering or being over protective. Idiots like you are a perverts dream- they know they can count on you to turn your babies out for them to do their dirty deeds with- and no, that’s NOT being part of any “panic”- that’s freaking reality. Take a few minutes to learn just how many registered sex offenders are in your area- and note they most likely ALL are repeat offenders. And that number is just the ones that have gotten caught. Think about how all their victims felt, and think about how shitty you will feel WHEN it happens to your kid. Then, think about the family in my town that just buried their little girl b/c they thought it was ok to let her, at barely 7 years old, to roam the neighborhood without adult supervision. She was hit and killed by a car she didn’t see coming. Don’t pull any kind of statistics BS either- you all know it, I know it- people like you that just send their kids out for the vultures of the world because you THINK you are doing them a favor are horrible, lazy, undeserving so-called parents. What a shame that God would bless you with something for which you show such little disregard.