Forbidden Parenting

The government sometimes arrests parents for giving kids responsibility. In South Carolina, mom Deborah Harrell was jailed for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park for the day.

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Local media outlets breathlessly reported that Harrell left her daughter at the park “for hours at a time,” and that she “confessed” to that.

A police interrogator lectured Harrell: “You can’t leave a child who is nine years old in the park by herself. What would you do if some sex offender came by?”

Yet despite media scare stories, kidnappings are extremely rare and are way down.

“I felt like she’d be safer in the park than she would at home,” Harrell told Stossel. Plus, her daughter Regina enjoyed playing at the park.

“When I’m at the park, I’m around other kids my age… and I could just have fun… I felt safe because I was with my friends and their parents and it was a lot of us,” Regina told Stossel.

But the state wasn’t okay with Deborah’s parenting. Not only was she arrested, but Regina was taken away from her for weeks

Deborah was charged with “willful abandonment of a child,” which carries up to a 10-year jail sentence.

Fortunately, attorney Robert Phillips heard about her case and found it so outrageous he took it for free.

“The way you want to raise your child should be left up to you,” he told Stossel. “We should not have unreasonable intrusions by the government telling us every little detail how to raise our children.”

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