A little girl was left playing alone in the park during the holidays and her mother went to work. Now her mother is losing custody of her after being charged for “unlawful conduct towards a child”.
Debra Harrell, a mum in North Augusta, South Carolina, had left her girl at the park to play on multiple occasions while she went to work in a nearby MacDonald Restaurant. All was good until a concern adult actually asked the girl where her mother was and the response prompted her to called the police.
For most of the summer, Harrell’s daughter stayed in the restaurant, playing on a laptop that they had saved up for but unfortunately they were robbed, and the laptop was stolen.
Her daughter had made the request to play at the nearby park instead of staying at home for the whole day. Harrell reluctantly agreed to the request and gave her a mobile phone so that she remained contactable. Her daughter would walk back to the restaurant for lunch.
Many different people shared their views on how dangerous it was to leave a child unattended in public places as anything could happen – kidnap and accidents. But there is also a growing support for Harrell on how she does not deserve a jail term or had her child taken away from her given her circumstances. She should have been given a mere warning and have more state support for her situation.
Though the choice made by Harrell was not an ideal one and some of us would even think it was a form of neglect. But knowing that she was practically left with no other choices as she could not afford any form of child care service and her extended family could not help to look after her daughter. Many of us would also sympathize with her as it seems to be the raising phenomenon in Today’s society where both parents have to work to support the family’s needs, what more, a single mum raising a child on her own?
This is a really sad news. Under South Carolina law, children cannot be left unattended before they are eight years old. Harrell is now in jail while her daughter is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
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What’s your take on this issue? Will you leave your child to play in the park or playground by themselves?
By Crystal Tan