Here is a feel-good summertime story from our occasionally sane pals at Reason: a woman — she’s no “lady”! — is in jail and her nine-year-old daughter is in The System, because the woman let her go by herself to the park, several days in a row. Did we mention this 9-year-old girl was BY HERSELF?
We will wait while you wail and gnash your teeth and punch yourself in the face about these terrible so-called “parents” who endanger and abandon their children by letting them go to the park in the daytime in the summer where at least 40 other kids are playing at the same time. We just thank our lord and savior Jesus Christ that other parents were there to call the police on the “mom,” who was “working” at McDonalds at the time, for abandoning and endangering her nine-year-old, by letting her go to the park.
We mean, it’s no “leaving a 12-year-old in the car,” since wonderful community-minded Slate readers have already explained that “leaving a 12-year-old in the car” is a terrific opportunity to get your 911 on.
Debra Harrell works at McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina. For most of the summer, her daughter had stayed there with her, playing on a laptop that Harrell had scrounged up the money to purchase. (McDonald’s has free WiFi.) Sadly, the Harrell home was robbed and the laptop stolen, so the girl asked her mother if she could be dropped off at the park to play instead.
Harrell said yes. She gave her daughter a cell phone. The girl went to the park—a place so popular that at any given time there are about 40 kids frolicking—two days in a row. There were swings, a “splash pad,” and shade. On her third day at the park, an adult asked the girl where her mother was. At work, the daughter replied.
The shocked adult called the cops. Authorities declared the girl “abandoned” and proceeded to arrest the mother.
And now the girl is under the protection of the Department of Social Services, where she will never have to worry about going to the park again. Let us all give a prayer of thanks.