While it is good that neighbors look out for each other, especially for their children who could be snatched or harmed by strangers, some people are taking their hyper-vigilance a bit too far. A couple in Maryland is being investigated for child neglect after allowing their six-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son to walk to a local park by themselves.
When someone noticed the kids walking alone, they contacted the Montgomery County police, who went to investigate the complaint. They found the children only a half-block from their house heading to a park located about a mile away and they determined that was too far for the kids to walk by themselves.
According to Yahoo!, the Meitiv house was soon surrounded by police cars and Montgomery County Child Protective Services was brought in to investigate Danielle and Alexander Meitiv for child neglect. Their mom explained why she sees nothing wrong with allowing her children to walk the mile to and from their neighborhood park.
“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood. I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”
The Meitiv’s are not the type of people that seem like they would neglect their children. They both are well educated and work outside of the home. Danielle is a climate-science consultant and a fiction writer, and her husband is a physicist for the National Institutes of Health. This incident has both “frightened and confused them,” according to Danielle.
“We are good parents, educated professionals, and our children are happy, healthy, well-adjusted, and academically successful. As difficult as it is for us to believe, all of these events occurred as the result of allowing our children to walk along public streets in the middle of the afternoon without our supervision. My husband grew up in the former Soviet Union. Now he wonders if we have to just go along with whatever the authorities want us to do. I keep reminding him that we have RIGHTS in this country and that neither the police nor the bureaucrats can arbitrarily dismiss them.”
As reported in the Washington Post, CPS threatened to remove the children if Alexander did not sign a copy of their action plan that called for their children to not be unsupervised until the following Monday, when the department would follow up with the family. They also received a call after the holidays, informing them that CPS would pay a visit to their home. The children were also questioned at school by CPS without the parents’ knowledge.
There have been several recent cases in which local and state agencies may have overstepped their authority to remove healthy, happy children from their homes over disagreements about parenting decisions, including medical decisions for children.
As the Inquisitr reported last November, a woman in Florida had her infant son removed from her home because she refused to take him to the hospital for weight treatment. Her son, who was only a few days old at the time, had lost some weight and was mildly dehydrated. The mother, who is vegan and a Seventh-Day Adventist, finally regained custody of her son after five months.
The Meitivs are still being investigated by CPS, who say they started their investigation because they are legally bound to follow up on any complaints they receive. However, the couple, who want their kids to be independent and allowed to be “free range,” feel as if authorities are going too far with the case.
“I think what CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing. We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with.”
What do you think, is the government going to far or are they justified in investigating the Meitivs for child neglect? Tell us your opinion in the comments section.
[Image via WUSA9]