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Poll: Is Allowing A 7-9 year Old Child To Play At A Local Park ‘Child Neglect’?

August 3, 2014 Featured, Parks 9 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The St. Louis region has many beautiful parks, many within walking distance of resident’s homes.  But last week events in South Carolina and Florida might give parents pause before allowing their kids to go play in the nearby park.

In South Carolina a mom was arrested after allowing her 9-year old daughter to play in the park unsupervised:

She spent 17 days in jail, temporarily lost custody of her girl, thought she lost her job, and still faces 10 years in prison if convicted of felony child neglect. (CBS News

A very similar case reported in Florida the next day when a mom allowed her 7-year old to play in a park:

Dominic was playing when Port St. Lucie Police pulled up. Police took him home and arrested his mom charging her with child neglect. (source)

Judging by the online discussion of these two arrests I thought this would make a great poll question for this week. Here’s the question: Is allowing a 7-9 year old child to play at a local park ‘child neglect’? The poll is in the right sidebar, you can share your thoughts in the comments below.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Two in the afternoon? Probably not. Two in the morning? Definitely!

    The issue isn’t the playing in the park, it’s being there unsupervised and/or letting the kid walk past where known registered sex offenders reside. I’m a big believer in “free range kids” – I grew up as one – and I don’t have much patience with “helicopter parents” and the “nanny state”, but there are no absolutes, either. Both cases cited seem like an overreach to me, but I wasn’t there and I’m not familiar with the neighborhoods either park may be in. For that reason, I voted “maybe”. If the question had been “Does a 7-9 year old child require constant parental or responsible adult supervision?”, my answer would have been different.

  2. Lisa Burnett Robinson says:

    The arrest was absolutely ridiculous. We speak ad nauseum about children, video games, and the need for more outside play and exercise. Parents know their children. This is just another example of Americans need to mind their own business. Whether it was Trayvon Martin or Jordan Davis or this child playing … all bothering no one and doing nothing illegal. The police SHOULD have real crimes to prevent … it’s no wonder crime is so high.

  3. Lisa Burnett Robinson says:

    And another thing … the fact that there is a registered sex offender nearby is a huge problem for the City. Why is a registered sex offender allowed to live near a public park and playground? The child gets the playground, not the sex offender.

    • Mike F says:

      In some jurisdictions, peeing in public, or being caught performing a consensual sexual act are grounds for being put on the sex offender list. Just because someone is on that list, doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is a child rapist. Statistically speaking, most acts of violence featuring a sexual act are committed by someone the victim knows.

  4. Tony says:

    I was under the impression this was a free country. We are talking about playing in the park in the middle of the day. Now the mother may lose her job and has an arrest record. Absolutely ridiculous!

  5. Kate says:

    I think it’s important to note this difference between the two cases- in the 9 y/o’s case, the mom brought her daughter to the park while the mom worked a shift at a fast food restaurant. I don’t know how long shifts are in that industry, but I’d presume it was 4+ hours. The neglect was not that the kid was in the park per se, but that she was alone in the park for several hours while the mom was unavailable at work. I don’t think what she did was right, but charging her with a felony and sending her to prison certainly seems like overkill. The 7 y/o’s mom was at home, which was, as the article stated, within walking distance, and the kid was able to walk home at any time and had a cell phone.

    • bailorg says:

      The 9 year old also had a cell phone.

    • Mike F says:

      Are you kidding me? When I was a kid in the 70’s, living in Glendale, we would walk for miles in a creek which ran through our neighborhood. We ended up in Ladue a couple of times. Not to mention riding our bikes all over the place. All of this without adult supervision. For an entire day, all the way to dinner time. To be sure, we were somewhat older (8-10) than the girl, but it apparently never entered our parents heads that we would be harmed (and rightly so). As I noted above, most kidnappings, acts of violence of a sexual nature, etc., are committed by someone the victim knew. For instance, in a news article from about a decade ago, a story came out about a priest in the parish (RC) in which I grew up who allegedly sexually molested one or more altar boys, right about the time I was in the parish school. I knew that priest, and I was about the same age as the boys in question. It came as rather a shock, as we all thought he was the “cool” priest.

      As for the cell phone being a lifeline to aid, have you read the story which came out recently of a girl who texted “OMG, I think I’m being kidnapped”? Found dead.

  6. Jewel MzJaye Norman says:

    We always complain about the police ignoring possible neglect. We criticize when the ignored neglect escalates to abuse possibly resulting in serious injury and even death! Sooooooo, thanks for showing a genuine concern for the well-being of a child and not making light of possibly serious situations. Let’s protect our children. They can’t be left home alone at that age, so why should it be ok for them to be at the park unsupervised? Wake up and wise up!


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