NORTH AUGUSTA, SC — A mother has been arrested and thrown in jail on charges of child neglect because her 9-year-old daughter was found playing at a park by herself.
It might sound like a reasonable, normal place for an American kid to spend a summer day. That is, until busybody neighbors and overzealous government agents arbitrarily decided that it is abusive.
Debra Lynn Harrell, 46, was arrested by the North Augusta “Department of Public Safety” — charged with unlawful neglect toward a child, according to WFXG, when someone reported that the girl had been hanging out there playing by herself for a few hours.
Ms. Harrell later confessed that she does give her daughter the freedom to play at the neighborhood park while she works at a McDonald’s restaurant to support her family. For her efforts, Ms. Harrell was locked in a cage and her daughter was taken into the custody of the Department of Social Services.
The unsupervised play took place at a location specifically designed for children and for safety, and yet it still turned into an incident that may ruin a woman’s life and break apart a family.
Perhaps the busybodies would prefer it if the mother unnecessarily lodged her 9-year-old into a daycare center that would absorb most or all of the wages she would earn during the course of a day at work. Or, better yet, quit working and just collect welfare checks.
Instead of reporting the family to the government, a truly compassionate neighbor might step up and volunteer to help watch the girl, as her mom with limited resources does what is necessary to pay the bills.
The meddlesome, control-freak mentality that plagues so many citizens makes it easy to see why America is shaping up to be a place where “land of the free” is an ironic statement.