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?