Maryland Parents Being Investigated for Neglect After Letting Their Kids Walk Home from Playground Alone

Maryland Parents Being Investigated for Neglect After Letting Their Kids Walk Home from Playground Alone

Michael Krieger | Posted Thursday Jan 15, 2015 at 1:01 pm

It’s one thing for an 80 year old to nostalgically lament that things aren’t as they used to be. The problem is, I’m only 36 years old and this country already barely resembles the place I grew up in.

I’ve mentioned in the past how I used to ride the New York City public bus to and from school by myself starting when I was around 9 or 10 years old. Many of my peers started taking the then dreaded subway by themselves around the same time. Bear in mind, this was NYC in the 1980’s, a far different place than the Disneyland for Wall Street it has become since. I can’t recall a single child abduction happening to anyone at my school, but what I can remember was a teacher being fired for molesting young boys. Makes you wonder about where the real danger lurks, doesn’t it?

This transformation into a nanny-state, snitching culture has severe negative long-term repercussions for U.S. society, as well as the economy, if the trend isn’t reversed. I have written about this dangerous change many times in the past, and links to prior articles will be attached at the end of this post.

First, let’s take a look at the ridiculous circumstances now faced by these Maryland parents for simply allowing their children a rite of passage that kids from time immemorial have enjoyed. From the Washington Post:

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world.

The fact that parents who want to allow their children to engage in normal behavior have to resort to terms like “free-range” parenting, which makes you think of livestock, tells you all you need to know.

“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”

On Dec. 20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora, walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well.

The children made it about halfway

Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them.

The Meitivs say their son told police that he and his sister were not doing anything illegal and are allowed to walk. Usually, their mother said, the children carry a laminated card with parent contact information that says: “I am not lost. I am a free-range kid.” The kids didn’t have the card that day.

Can you believe that such a card is even necessary? What planet am I living on.

She added: “Abductions are extremely rare. Car accidents are not. The number one cause of death for children of their age is a car accident.”

Danielle is a climate-science consultant, and Alexander is a physicist at the National Institutes of Health.

Alexander said he had a tense time with police on Dec. 20 when officers returned his children, asked for his identification and told him about the dangers of the world.

The more lasting issue has been with Montgomery County Child Protective Services, he said, which showed up a couple of hours after the police left.

Mary Anderson, a spokeswoman for CPS, said she could not comment on cases but that neglect investigations typically focus on questions of whether there has been a failure to provide proper care and supervision.

The Meitivs say that on Dec. 20, a CPS worker required Alexander to sign a safety plan pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised until the following Monday, when CPS would follow up. At first he refused, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer, his wife said, but changed his mind when he was told his children would be removed if he did not comply.

Following the holidays, the family said, CPS called again, saying the agency needed to inquire further and visit the family’s home. Danielle said she resisted.

“It seemed such a huge violation of privacy to examine my house because my kids were walking home,” she said.

This week, a CPS social worker showed up at her door, she said. She did not let him in. She said she was stunned to later learn from the principal that her children were interviewed at school.

Think about how terrifying this is for a second. Two clearly loving, intelligent and thoughtful parents where threatened with the removal of their children for allowing them to do something that should be seen as completely normal by all but the most scared, pathetic and uncourageous amongst us. To make matters worse, the whole thing started because a neighbor ratted them out.

This is not what freedom looks like.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

Leave a Reply