A Pittsburgh man left two children alone in a local park for two hours. One was 6. The other was 9.
A woman in the park called the police. They arrested the man. The charge? Child endangerment.
A web blog that is devoted to horror stories like this one ran the story. This alerted people in Pittsburgh, who decided to make an issue of it.
The police decided that it would be wise to back off. So, because the man attended classes on parenting, they let him go. They will not take him to trial. The follow-up story is here.
Is this a random event? No. Here is a letter from a mother in Virginia.
I might be labelled as an overprotective parent. I don’t allow my children to spend the night at anyone’s house, and also don’t allow anyone to spend the night here unless I know the parents very well. This is due to my own childhood trauma.
That said: I have had social services called on me twice and the police interrogate me 4 times, because apparently I am one of only two families that allows my children to play outside at all in our neighborhood (which is very safe) . Just today, I allowed all four of my children (they were all together) to go play in the field adjacent to my house. I could literally see them outside my kitchen window. My 10 year old ran home to tell my husband and I that a cop had stopped and was interrogating my oldest daughter.
No, this was not after dark, it was at 4pm on a Saturday. So my husband walked out to see what was going on, and the police officer even wrote up a report, stating that the children were left outside unsupervised.
So, since I am new to Virginia, I asked my neighbors if this was a “Virginia” thing. Their response was, “Well, you know it just isn’t safe anymore to allow your kids to play outside.” I thought I was overprotective making them carry cellphones to check in every 30 mins, and only allowing them wander off 1/2 of a block. Seriously? We asked the police if they were doing anything wrong, he said, “No they were very respectful kids, I just wanted to make sure they were okay because it was odd seeing them outside unsupervised.” We are not talking toddlers, we’re talking teens, pre-teens and one 5 year old all together.
People at Child Protective Services need to justify their salaries. This is how they do it.
On techniques to keep them at bay, read this.