May 27, 2022

From the Files of “Something Might Have Happened!”

(Melissa Henderson)

A single mom was arrested in front of her children because she left her kids in the care of her oldest child, and the youngest boy wandered over to his neighbor’s house for a few minutes.

When COVID-19 shut down her children’s daycare in May of 2020, and Melissa Henderson had to go to work, she asked her 14-year-old daughter, Linley, to babysit the four younger siblings. Linley was engaged in remote learning when her youngest brother, four-year-old Thaddeus, spied his friend outside and went over to play with him. It was about 10 or 15 minutes before Linley realized he was missing. She guessed that he must be at his friend’s house, and went to fetch him.

In the meantime, the friend’s mom had called the police.

Mom Handcuffed, Jailed for Letting 14-Year-Old Babysit Kids During COVID-19

My initial reaction is that I’m guessing that there has been a problem with this friend’s mom before because I don’t understand calling the police instead of escorting the child home or calling the mother. Maybe this isn’t the first time.

And it’s not like the babysitter is not qualified:

[The District Attorney] added the officers informed him that 14-year-old Linley had “some measure of learning disability,” making her an unreliable sitter.

Henderson told me that her daughter was previously diagnosed with ADHD. She has a GPA of 4.45, is vice president of the 4-H Club, broke school records in varsity track, completed the Red Cross Childcare program, and is certified in CPR.

No, it all comes back to the possible harm.

The arresting officer, Deputy Sheriff Marc Pilote, wrote in his report that anything terrible could have happened to Thaddeus, including being kidnapped, run over, or “bitten by a venomous snake.” (When Henderson protested that the kid was only gone a few minutes, Pilote responded that a few minutes was all the time a venomous snake needed.)

Now, I don’t know that we as a culture/society can or should get back to the days of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and I agree that the sister should have been told where the young boy was going, but the current culture needs to change.

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