Safety Gone Overboard
What happens when society get so concerned about child safety that it starts imagining danger EVERYWHERE, and punishes anyone remaining rational? Here are the child-safety follies of 2022:
MOM HANDCUFFED, JAILED, FOR HAVING SON, 8, WALK HALF A MILE
Last year around this time, Heather Wallace asked her son Aidan, 8, to get out and walk the half-mile home if he couldn't stop bothering his brothers in the car. Aidan was a block from his suburban Waco, Texas, house when someone called the cops. Three raced over to Wallace's home. One asked: "Would you do this again?" Wallace said she wasn't sure. "That's when the cop replied, 'OK, I'm going to have to arrest you,'" she recalls. He proceeded to handcuff her in front of the kids and take her to jail. Wallace could only talk to the press now, a year later, because she successfully completed 8 drug tests, 65 hours of community service and a personal essay of contrition, all part of her guilty plea. Had she gone to trial and lost, she'd have faced a 2-year mandatory minimum sentence.
MOM HANDCUFFED, JAILED FOR LETTING DAUGHTER, 14, BABYSIT
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, rural Georgia mom Melissa Henderson had to go to work, but her kids' day care center shut down. So, she had her daughter, 14, babysit the four younger siblings. One, age 4, wandered off to his nearby buddy's home and was gone perhaps 15 minutes. The buddy's mom called the cops. They charged Henderson with child endangerment, because, they said, the boy could have been kidnapped, run over or "bitten by a venomous snake." In February of 2022, David DeLugas, founder of Parents USA, filed a new motion to dismiss this case. If she loses, Henderson can face up to a year in jail.
STRANGER DANGER, PART I
The Lower Merion school district outside of Philadelphia canceled all six of its elementary schools' parades because, "Just the thought of having an entire school population of young children in a field surrounded by adults that we couldn't possibly screen was worrisome," said the district's community relations director. Yes -- kids around any unscreened adults. Awful! Speaking of which --
STRANGER DANGER, PART II: THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL
As I was walking past my local Queens, New York, elementary school in May, I paused to enjoy watching recess. The playground monitor told me: "You're not allowed to watch the kids."
"I can't stand on a public sidewalk?"
Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.