Video: Parents declared neglectful for letting kids go to suburban park unaccompanied

Alternate headline: Blogger’s parents should have done life in prison. Ostensibly, this ABC News story from earlier in the week dealt with “free-range parents” and the legal risk they run, but this isn’t the same as allowing a 9-year-old to ride New York City subways unaccompanied. In this case, parents let their two kids, ages 6 and 10, walk a mile to a park in an upscale Maryland suburb during the daytime all by themselves. Jazz noted in January that police had begun an investigation into the parenting style of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, and now they’ve been “found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect,” and are at risk of having their children taken away from them:

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Maryland couple who was being investigated for allowing their two children to walk home alone from a neighborhood park have been “found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect” by the state’s Child Protective Services. …

The Meitivs told “Nightline” in an interview that aired in January that they trust their children and want to give them the freedom to make mistakes, away from the parental safety net.

“I’m just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented,” Danielle told “Nightline” at the time.

But that all changed after the Montgomery County Police stopped the kids in December as they were walking home from a park without an adult and gave them a stern warning.

Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect.

Under 18? Do parents in Silver Spring, MD routinely walk their 16-year-olds to the park? Are 14-year-olds required to have a minder to get on a city bus? That’s an absurd standard.

Whenever anyone starts an argument with “when I was a child,” people either roll their eyes or rebut with “the world is different now.” Well, I grew up in Southern California when it was plagued with notorious serial killers like the Hillside Strangler, the Freeway Killer, the Skid Row Slasher, as well as fun-loving innocent groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Manson Family. Yet I learned early on how to get around in my neighborhood by myself, often riding my bike to the local store to pick up a few items for Mom and Dad, starting not long after Charlie Manson and the gang got rounded up. In elementary school my mother drove us each day, but by junior high school I was going back and forth three miles on the bike (and occasionally on foot, depending on mechanical issues). Not only was that not exceptional for our little corner of Los Angeles County, the suggestion that it constituted neglect would have been met with loud guffaws, followed by a demand not to darken the doorstep in the future.

This isn’t about protecting children. It’s about hijacking the power of the state to punish those whose parenting styles conflict with the elite worldview. Instead of minding their own business, these busybodies want to seize children who might grow up with a measure of independence from a loving home and stick them in foster care — to cure “neglect.” Only in a nanny state could that not be considered the height of irony.

Authorities in Silver Springs and Montgomery County should keep their noses out of others’ business, and the voters in those jurisdictions should find better candidates for the public trust.

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David Strom 9:21 PM on March 24, 2023