There was a time not too long ago when parents could let their kids walk to school alone, take a solo bike ride around the neighborhood, and, once reasonably old enough, stay home alone. Those days are gone, and gone with a vengeance. This type of parenting, which was once considered the norm, is now getting kids taken away from their guardians, and parents locked up and treated as negligent criminals.
The latest story comes out of Florida, where an 11-year-old boy, whose parents were delayed in traffic, hung out in his own backyard for an hour and a half waiting for them. I’ll let the mother who wrote to Lenore Skenazy over at her website, Free RangeKids.com, explain what happened next (emphasis from Skenazy):
My children are not free range children. The younger one has always had a baby sitter. The older one who just turned 11 a couple of weeks ago always had a baby sitter as well. This school year that changed. The eleven year old comes home and is met by his dad who lets him in the house. In the event dad isn’t here on time, his instructions are to wait in the backyard until I come home about 20 minutes later.
On this particular day, a little more than a month ago, both dad and I were both running late due bad traffic and rain. We were about and hour and a half late. When we arrived the police had been anonymously called and we were arrested for child neglect.
We still do not have our children, we are fighting for our own freedom and due to the nature of my employment I am no longer employed. My son was in his own yard playing basketball, not in the street or at the park. The authorities claim he had no access to water or shelter. We have an open shed in the back yard and 2 working sinks and 2 hoses. They said he had no food. He ate his snacks already. He had no bathroom, but the responding officer found our yard good enough to relieve himself in while our son sat in a police car alone. In his own yard, in a state, Florida, that has no minimum age for children to be alone. If you have any advice for what I should do I will accept it.
And then for her update:
Our sons were returned to us on Tuesday/Wednesday in the children’s court/DCF with adjudication withheld. However the criminal prosecutor is not dropping the charges as of today. We have to appear in the criminal court on June 11th to put in our plea. I would love to speak to someone however due to my job (which is still on the line) I don’t know if it will make it better or worse. I am a state and county employee with the school system and I was made to sign a paper stating I would not speak with teachers parents or students regarding the matter.
This is disturbing on so many levels. These children were taken away from their parents for a month. Criminal charges were filed against them, the mother may end up losing her job, and on top of all that, she can’t even speak about it.
Similar incidents are happening all over the country, and as Matt Walsh over at The Blaze points out, the problem is just as bad if not worse in public schools, where parental rights are virtually nonexistent.
This is the epitome of the nanny state and the worst part about it is that it’s not even to correct a problem in society—there has never been a safer time to be a child in America.
As Skenazy noted in her story about the article, “If this doesn’t convince lawmakers that they had better start revising the child neglect laws — and convince politicians that supporting Free-Range legislation would be a great, vote-getting platform — I’m not sure what will.”