A mom whose 9-year-old daughter was playing in the park alone was arrested. Now before you get your free-range knickers in a knot, consider that it was the third consecutive day that the girl was left outside while Debra Harrell went to work a shift at McDonald's.
According to an article in Slate, 46-year-old Harrell, from South Carolina, didn't want her daughter to be stuck indoors waiting for her mom on a beautiful summer's day. Harrell was arrested for “unlawful conduct towards a child” and later jailed. Her daughter is in the custody of social services.
The charge seems heavy-handed, yet each state has its own definitions of what constitutes child neglect and maltreatment. And what exactly does "supervision appropriate to the child's age and development" mean in real terms?
Like many laws, this one appears to hinge upon a subjective (and highly biased) decision of what is reasonable in a given situation.
The story is reminiscent of the single mom without childcare who left her babies in the car so she could sit a job interview. The true crime in these cases, to my mind, is that women aren't always able to afford adequate childcare.
You tell me—classic helicopter parenting or child neglect?
"Weird Al" Yankovic is back (or did he ever go away?). The inimitable performer, who made a career out of parodying everyone from Michael Jackson to Nirvana, has a new album full of his trademark shtick.
A headmistress in England is being commended for a letter telling pupils of her school that they are worth more than the grades (or scores) they get.
According to an article in the Guardian, following standardized testing known as KS2, the children of Barrowford school in Lancashire were sent home a letter praising their efforts, and reminding them "that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique."
Penned by the school's head Rachel Tomlinson, the letter delivered an affirming, if strange, message to students coming from a school official.
However, as the Guardian points out, a fair chunk of the letter echoed—sometimes verbatim—a blog posted last year:
"There are many more ways to be smart than what many schools are currently allowing. The current testing culture personally drives me crazy," wrote Kimberley A Hurd, an American teacher and academic. "It does not tell students that they matter. Tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each student special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each student the way I do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way the families do. They do not know that some of my students speak two languages. They do not know that they can play a musical instrument or that they can dance or paint a picture. Doesn't that matter more?"
With a population of 324 students, Barrowford is a larger than average school, with a lower than average performance rating, at 71%. (Last year's national average was 75%.) Yet the school was deemed as "a warm, welcoming environment that builds confidence and supports children to settle very quickly," by school inspectors.
"The scores you get will tell you something," concluded Tomlinson in her viral letter, "but they will not tell you everything.
What do you think of the letter?
This little girl took her homework complaints straight to the top.