“The long-awaited decision from Montgomery County Child Protective Services has arrived at the home of Danielle and Alex Meitiv, and it finds them ‘responsible’ for ‘unsubstantiated child neglect’ for letting their kids walk outside, unsupervised. If that decision makes no sense to you, either — how can parents be responsible for something that is unsubstantiated? — welcome to the place where common sense crashes into bureaucratic craziness.” [Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids] The “finding of unsubstantiated child neglect means CPS will keep a file on the family for at least five years and leaves open the question of what would happen if the Meitiv children get reported again for walking without adult supervision.” [Donna St. George, Washington Post] Earlier here and here.
Danielle Meitiv, who with her husband has come under Child Protective Services scrutiny for letting their kids walk home from a local park, has some thoughts on the still-in-progress episode in the Washington Post [earlier]. I have often wondered why there were not more stirrings toward a legal defense organization for parents facing overreaching CPS actions, and a group called National Association of Parents apparently is hoping to fill that gap (its Facebook presence).
P.S. Well, this is neat: at the New Yorker “Talk of the Town,” Lizzie Widdicombe profiles Lenore Skenazy.
- New report: “Schools Cut Back as Litigation Costs Eat into Budgets” [California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, PDF] “Swings too dangerous for Washington schools” [AP; Richland, Wash.]
- “Appeals Court Ruling Paves Way for Gender Quotas in High School Sports” [Saving Sports, Ninth Circuit on Title IX] More: Alison Somin [Ollier v. Sweetwater Union School District]
- “College and university administrators demolishing freedom of religion and association” [Bainbridge]
- “Grenade Launchers: The Newest Must-Have School Supply” [Jason Bedrick/Cato, earlier]
- “It was against the school policy for elementary kids to have Chapstick” [Amy Alkon; Augusta County, Va.] “Mom Tells Therapist About Briefly Leaving Kids Alone, Shrink Calls Cops” [Lenore Skenazy]
- Disability and school discipline: “Wondering why a preschooler would ever need to be suspended? Here’s an explanation.” [Amy Rothschild, Greater Greater Washington]
- Civic education needed: some Greendale, Wisc. parents and educators wonder why non-parents are allowed to vote on school matters [Lenore Skenazy]
- “When I asked them why they decided to sell their [toy import] business, they said that they got out because of Proposition 65 and the CPSIA.” [Nancy Nord]
- State tax regimes are getting more aggressive about grabbing money earned in other states [Steve Malanga, City Journal]
- “Still can’t get over the fact that all [development] permits are discretionary in San Francisco” [@TonyBiasotti linking Mark Hogan, Boom]
- How would American politics change if political parties could expel members, as in many countries they can? [Bryan Caplan]
- Defenders of Wisconsin John Doe prosecutor push back against Stuart Taylor investigation [Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via Althouse, more, related on “blue fist” posters and John Doe investigator, earlier]
- “In Britain, Child’s Weight Leads to Parents’ Arrest” [New York Times in June, King’s Lynn 11-year-old; also, Cadbury agrees to “stop making chocolate bars in Britain with more than 250 calories”] More: Pencil-twirling in class leads to CPS referral in New Jersey [Katherine Mangu-War, Reason]
- Should there be judicial remedies — what kind, and for which plaintiffs — when federal spending is politicized? [Daniel Epstein, Federalist Society “Engage”]
- ObamaCare, Common Core, EPA policy all raise specter of federal commandeering of state governments [Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola, The Atlantic] Vocally supporting Common Core, William Bennett provides new reasons to be queasy about it [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
- Mom lets six-year-old play within sight of his own front door. Then Child Protective Services arrives [Haiku of the Day]
- Study finds no evidence California cellphone ban reduced accidents [The Newspaper]
- Or maybe if you’ve been in good health for 13 years it’s okay to let the grievance slide: pols, union leaders urge unimpaired WTC rescuers to enroll for possible future compensation [AP/WCBS]
- “Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your Content” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- New frontiers in urban expropriation: San Francisco imposes crushing new “relocation assistance” burden on rental owners [Pacific Legal Foundation]
- A lesson in standing up for individual liberty, and not being discouraged by setbacks [my Cato Institute piece on Lillian Gobitis Klose’s flag-pledge case, Donald Boudreaux/Cafe Hayek]
- Say nay, laddie: Unsettling new Scotland law will assign each child state interest guardian (“named person”) [BBC, Scottish government, more, Josie Appleton/Spiked Online, opposition group and another] More: Skenazy.
- Why Judge Alex Kozinski doesn’t like jury nullification [Reason interview last year]
- “Asbestos Ruling Boosts Transparency —- and Threatens Plaintiffs’ Attorneys” [Paul Barrett, Business Week, on Garlock ruling]
- Winona, Minn. town cap on rental conversions violates property owners’ rights [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- Challenger claims Ohio attorney general’s hiring of debt collection firms amounts to pay to play [Columbus Dispatch]
- Mixed verdict in Philadelphia traffic court prosecutions [Inquirer, ABA Journal, earlier]
- Save the date! Cato’s annual Constitution Day returns Wed., Sept. 17, with panelists and speakers like P.J. O’Rourke, Nadine Strossen, Tom Goldstein, Judge Diane Sykes, Roger Pilon, and a host of others [details]
“Dad Gets 1 Year Probation for Making Son Walk a Mile” [Hawaii; Free-Range Kids]
- Gabriel Kolko: “A historian who understood why big business wanted regulation” [Tim Carney, Washington Examiner, earlier]
- Thumbing nose at Hill, Interior Dept. moves to tribalize native Hawaiians by decree [Ilya Shapiro, NACRP, related PDF, Hawaii Free Press, also, background]
- Cellphone 911: “Safety Mandates That May Reduce Safety” [Coyote]
- Liability-expanding California decision: knowing breach of a material contractual provision may trigger state False Claims Act [Sidley] Plus Chamber’s ILR on state False Claims Acts and more;
- Feds to GM: write smoking-gun memos for trial lawyers’ benefit, or else [Daniel Fisher; more on $35 million NHTSA fine at WSJ, National Law Journal, background on Toyota]
- Child-grabbing in safety’s name: “CPS and Free-Range Parents” [David Pimentel 2012 via Free-Range Kids]
- Maryland Court of Appeals affirms denial of class certification over $29.64 wage garnishment [decision in Marshall v. Safeway, PDF via Michael Schearer]
Lenore Skenazy’s incredibly funny talk last Thursday, with me commenting and moderating (and even at one point giving my impression of a 3-year-old losing a cookie), is now online. Several people have told me this was one of the most entertaining and illuminating Cato talks they’ve seen.
Lenore’s blog is Free-Range Kids and you can buy her book of the same name here. Some links on topics that came up in my remarks: Harvard researchers call for yanking obese kids out of their homes; authorities in Queensland, Australia, plan use of satellite data to spy out noncompliance with pool safety rules; courts reward helicopter parents in custody battles; charges dropped against mom who left toddler sleeping in car while she dropped coins in Salvation Army bucket; proposals to cut kids’ food into small bits and discontinue things like peanuts and marshmallows entirely; authorities snatch kids from homes after parents busted with small quantities of pot.
P.S. Direct video link here (h/t comments).
“In [a New Jersey] appeals court decision last week, three judges ruled that a mother who left her toddler sleeping in his car seat while she went into a store for five to 10 minutes was indeed guilty of abuse or neglect for taking insufficient care to protect him from harm.” The child was unharmed. [Lenore Skenazy, New York Post and Free-Range Kids] Author Lenore Skenazy, who has written about hundreds of instances of questionable legal protectiveness or overprotectiveness at her Free-Range Kids blog, will be speaking at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, with me commenting; the event is free and open to the public, but you need to register here. (Update: postponed due to weather)
And: Scott Greenfield has more thoughts on the impulse to bring brief episodes of unattended back-seat child solitude into the criminal, therapeutic or supervisory orbit. Like so many others of my generation, I was left in the car during brief shopping errands by my own decidedly conscientious and non-abusive mother.