Dad lets kids, 9 and 6, play in park for two hours

by Walter Olson on April 13, 2012

The kids were playing on swings and were fine while the father ran errands and took a shower at the gym, but police charged him with child endangerment. [Free-Range Kids; Chartiers Valley Patch (suburban Pittsburgh)]

Also via Free-Range Kids: more on play date and birthday party liability waivers [Today Moms; earlier here, etc.]

{ 12 comments }

1 David Schwartz 04.13.12 at 6:05 am

He also lied to police about how long he had left them. That probably wasn’t a good idea.

2 Scott 04.13.12 at 7:21 am

His first mistake was answering the cops questions.

3 Yeaah 04.13.12 at 7:37 am

1.) Mistake and lie are two different things.
2.) Why did police investigated two playing kids at all? When did 6 and 9 year old playing outside alone came from “who cares lets go back to work” to “oh my god call the swat team”?

4 Richard Nieporent 04.13.12 at 9:16 am

What’s your point David? Why are you trying to defend the indefensible? The kids were quietly playing. Since when is that a crime? Do you really think that there is a local law that states that children below the age of 10 (12, 14,16?) are not allowed to play in a park without a guardian? What should have happened is that the police should have told the busybody to mind her own business instead of sending out the SWAT team. Did they also call in CSI to determine how long the children were left alone? When I was a child, we played outside all day without any adults being around. When my children were growing up the same was true. Hopefully that will still be true for my grandchildren. We complaint that children are obese, but we don’t let them play outside by themselves. Yes that makes a lot of sense.

5 adam zur 04.13.12 at 9:47 am

Making laws that people cant keep is a government device for population control.

6 JDoors 04.13.12 at 10:44 am

Great example of why “The Village” should mind their own damned business. Kid’s playing is now a crime? Preposterous.

Go ahead and make excuses, “but he should have done this-or-that,” or whatever, kids playing by themselves is not a crime, and to turn it into one is … there are no words … appalling.

7 ps 04.13.12 at 11:41 am

says more about the police’s inability to maintain law and order than it does the guy’s parenting skills.

8 Mannie 04.13.12 at 11:49 am

kids playing by themselves is not a crime, and to turn it into one is … there are no words …

… a crime. It’s a crime against humanity.

9 Bumper 04.13.12 at 1:47 pm

Consider the plight of the officers:

“gee, mr-you-must-be-a-foreigner, because even your first name is spelled funny, who just admitted to playing a pansy-ass game totally lacking in manly body contact, and to frequenting a non-union establishment for foods loaded with salt and sugar and fat (more child endangerment) who can’t even stand a little sweat on his non-contacted body, and who just lied to us by more than two times on how long he had left these incapable of caring for themselves children; while we are being watched by a nosey old biddy who probably has the local TV station on speed dial, while we could be out eating doughnuts or better yet rousting some low life junkie with my not-yet-today-bloodied night stick.”

Bad satire aside, I suspect that the policemen got more instruction on how to properly fill out a parking ticket than they did in ascertaining child endangerment, while being watched by a nosey old biddy. And given the blowback on the failure to arrest Zimmerman, I would suspect that any policeman in a similar position would conclude “better we let the courts sort this one out.”

10 Jerryskids 04.13.12 at 4:04 pm

I am not so sure this story is quite as one-sided as it appears. Leaving two kids alone in the park is a bad idea because bad things might happen. The dad left the two kids alone in the park and – sure enough – bad things happened, didn’t they? Maybe now the dad will learn his lesson about leaving kids alone by themselves where the cops might be able to snatch them. He should have equipped the kids with a rape whistle and taught them to scream for help anytime a cop approached them.

11 Scott 04.13.12 at 4:37 pm

@Yeaah But if you never answer the question then it doesn’t matter if it was going to be a lie or the truth.

12 David Schwartz 04.15.12 at 4:44 pm

Richard Nieporent: As I understand this case, the police had reason to think something might be wrong because the children couldn’t explain where there parent was or how long they would be gone. The person who called the police also didn’t know how long they had been left alone. So the big thing that triggered police interest and that they didn’t know was how long the children had been left alone. So they ask the guy that question, and they get an answer they know is not right.

Could everyone involved have handled it better? Sure. Should we have expected the police to have handled it better? Absolutely.

But can we also learn a lesson here about not lying to police? I think so.

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