Some of my best summer memories are of me hanging out in the local park, playing with the kids in the neighborhood, and participating in the summer parks and recs programs for kids. Baton twirling, crafts, dancing, and just playing outside were all part of the program, paid for by the city so bored kids could have some different options for summer.
Back then, most moms didn't have jobs, so they were at their homes near the park. I don't have too many memories of any of them actually being present there. But my mom did have a job, so I packed up my lunch and headed up the road five or so blocks to the park for the day.
It never occurred to anyone that this was somehow a bad thing. But some parents in a South Carolina town were so concerned about one child playing in the park while her mother worked down the street at a nearby McDonald's that they
stepped up to help keep an eye on her called the cops because they were "concerned."
Public Safety investigators say 46-year-old Debra Harrell confessed to leaving her nine-year-old daughter alone in the park for several house while she went to work.
"I understand the mom may have been in a difficult situation, not having someone to watch the child, but at the same time, you've got to find somebody," said Lesa Lamback, who enjoys the park with her family.
Police say Harrell's daughter told a witness that her mother would drop her off all the time to play at the park while Harrell was at work.
According to the incident report, the 9-year-old little girl says she would come to the McDonald's inside a Walmart for lunch, which is about a mile and a half walk from the park where she was found.
"Some people may look at it as a babysitter," said Tonya Cullum.
Cullum works at Sara's Childcare and Preschool.
She says they found that during the summer months, their attendance numbers go down.
Cullum said, "the parents can't afford to keep them in there. They have to keep in during school time because we pick them up at school, make sure they got a safe place, but during the summertime, it's like find some family, grandparents or even let them stay home by themselves."
Harrell's daughter is okay, but some say things could have been worse.
Cullum said, "what if a man would have came and just snatched her because you have all kinds of trucks that come up in here so you really don't know."
Lamback said, "you cannot just leave your child alone at a public place, especially. This day and time, you never know who's around. Good, bad, it's just not safe."
Hey gals! You were there at the park, no? Why not be helpful and keep an eye on the child instead of calling the cops on her? I suppose you're the type that turns your nose up at minimum wage increases while concern trolling about little kids in the park and their black mamas working for squat at the local McDs, too.
Now Harrell will be available to watch her daughter during the day, since Mickey D's canned her ass. Oh, except Child Protective Services took her daughter into 'protective custody.'
Maybe I'm taking this too personally, but those snarky little quotes made me want to slap both of those women and take them in for child endangerment. If they were so damned concerned about that child, why not just band together and watch over her?
That would be too much like compassion, I suppose. Family values. Yay.
Note: Video of the report is here (not embeddable). Having watched these two 'concerned parents', I'm angrier now.
Balloon Juice covered this last week, but I missed it. Some good commentary there.
(Editor's note: Money is being raised for Harrell's legal defense and to get her child out of protective custody. You can donate here.)