Free-Range Kids

Mom Jailed for Letting Her Kid Play Unsupervised Also Fired From Job

No justice for this mother-yet.


Wikimedia Commons

Here is an update on the case of Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mom jailed for letting her 9-year-old play in a popular park unsupervised (you read it here first), while she worked at McDonald's.

Harrell was jailed for one night. Her daughter was kept in state custody for a whopping 17 days.

That's right: Seventeen days in custody, all because her mother wanted to let her play outside rather than sit inside a stuffy restaurant all day.


Harrell has also lost her McDonald's job. Wonkette managed to reach McDonald's, which told her that responding to any inquiries about this situation would be "inappropriate."

Robert Phillips, a trial lawyer, has taken Harrell's case a pro bono. And someone (not me) set up a "Support Debra Harrell" fund that currently has about $30,000 in it. Here it is.

At the moment, her case is pending. In other words, no justice for this mother—yet.

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  1. McDonald’s can go to hell. I’m a regular customer and think they’re awesome (for what they are), but this sucks.

    1. Okay, do you prefer McDonald’s beef products over Burger King? If so, why?

    2. McDonald’s is the worst for what they are. They fat content on their meat is too low, which makes their burgers taste like rubber and their fries have become bland beyond belief.

      1. What happened to salting fries? Even potato chips these days. I buy the salt and vinegar chips just because they have some salt on them.

        1. The Party health commissars have decreed that salt must be banned. even more restrictions are coming from the FDA and other nanny state scumocrats.

    3. McDonald’s food all tastes the same – kind of like cardboard. . . considering the amount of indigestible cellulose in the food, it’s no wonder.

      I know a guy who burnt out his taste buds due to alcoholism. . . sounds like you have the same condition.

  2. Justice for the mother? What about justice for her kid? Forced to play outdoors in a public park with marauding pedophiles and other urchins… abominable!

    1. Excellent sarcasm!

      Real justice for the child? Put the DFS cretins who imprisoned her for 17 days in jail.

  3. Criminalizing the poor. Welcome to Police State America.

  4. Stupid cops., must be a shortage of REAL crime to deal with.

    1. So close to The Singularity we are. SO close, Pedo Bot…

  5. Well, this completes The Circle of FUCK YOU THAT’S WHY!

    Nice, McDonalds – nice. PERFECT, in fact.

    I wish this woman were in my town – I’d give her a job, and one of my kids could baby sit for her while she worked.

    Fuck McDonalds, but mostly fuck the cops, “Child Protective Service” workers and other govtards involved in this case.

    1. Last night, Boston’s WBZ 1030 guest host, Todd Feinberg covered this topic during the 8-9 hour.

      There was a call from a 13 year old kid. He opined that we are all suffering from, his words, “government overreach” and “creepy do gooders”.

      There is hope after all.

      1. That makes my cold heart just a little less cold 🙂

      2. 13? Doesn’t that make him a millennial?

        1. I think that actually makes him too young to be a millenial. He’ll be a part of the post-millenial, Obama-killed-my-trust-in-government generation.

          Those dudes will be awesome but fuck if I’ll ever be able to get a word in edgewise in PM Links Afternoon Circle-Jerk

          1. So The Lynx turned you on tonight.


            1. BTW, that 13 year old kid’s delivery was mellifluous, with nary a syllable of filler. He also made his point without sounding like a pre-pubescent raving lunatic (something with which I constantly struggle).

              1. Wait, you struggle with pre-pubescent raving lunatics? Or do you struggle with sounding like one? I’m confused yet intrigued.

        2. He’s the Generation X Echo.

    2. Govtards? That’s a keeper and I’m stealing it.

      As a former resident of the state, I honestly can’t believe that that’s happening in South Carolina.

      1. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. Those cops down there have *way* too much fucking time on their hands.

        1. An imdication there needs to be a RIF.

          Idle hands are the devil’s playgrpund.

  6. Wonkette still exists?

  7. The vindictiveness that radiates from stories like this amazes me. No one can possibly believe that throwing this kid into custody for 17 days and the mom in jail for 1 day was for the kid’s benefit. No one. But…it just happens anyway. Because the sadistic fucks who inevitably end up running government shit like this enjoy it. That’s all it is. And people tolerate it.

    1. Because the sadistic fucks who inevitably end up running government shit like this enjoy it. That’s all it is. And people tolerate it.

      I can’t even believe they enjoy it. There’s no scenario I can imagine where you can tell yourself “Well, it sucks, but I’m doing it for the greater good,” and actually believe it. There’s no sane person that could sell that to eirself.

      1. There’s no sane person that could sell that to eirself.

        Are you under the impression that government; at any level; is run by SaNe persons?

      2. That’s why the only plausible explanation is that they enjoy it.

  8. responding to any inquiries about this situation would be “inappropriate.”

    Ah, but “Fuck you!” is not an inquiry.

  9. Wonkette managed to reach McDonald’s, which told her that responding to any inquiries about this situation would be “inappropriate.

    Ugh, I like this about as much as the blanket “we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation at this time” evasions.

    Might as well say “It would be inappropriate to admit we’re assholes.”

    1. In fairness, if anyone contacts our business about anything, we tell them the same thing. SOP – esp if you have legit “bad news” like this. You STFU, and DO NOT talk to the media.

      Everyone’s disappoint? Don’t care.

    2. Procedures were followed.

    3. Since they may end up getting sued over this in some kind of wrongful termination matter, they are right to STFU.

      You tread into bad territory discussing reasons for dismissal with the public.

      1. South Carolina is at will employment.

        1. Don’t matter none – STILL STFU and don’t talk to the press. Cause courts don’t give a shit about “at will”. “right to work” or anything else. And courts and juries can and will find against employers and former employers for all manner of shit, whether found in the law or not.

          Cause EVUL KOCHPORASHUNSZ!!1!ZOMFG@1!pjweofqho

  10. *Seventeen days in custody, all because her mother wanted to let her play outside *

    Hey, Lenore, this sounds like you’re angling for a job with the New York Times. By that I mean, this sentence is an utter lie.

    The kid was taken away because she was abandoned for hours and hours and hours out of doors. Period. The end.

    1. I mean, let’s use some REASON here instead of defaulting to the standard cop-hate/gov-hate. She could have got a babysitter, day care, relative, etc. etc. to watch that kid for hours and hours. Hell, why couldn’t the kid just stay at HOME, locked in? Why did the kid need to be locked OUT?

      1. If she had left the kid home she would have been arrested for child endangerment and abandonment so I’m not seeing that as a viable alternative.

        Sometimes you don’t have an available babysitter or relative or the ability to pay for a cheap daycare (that will take your kid as a drop in). Especially for a 9 y/o.

        Fuck when I was 9 my friends and I ran around the neighborhood during the summer just having fun. Were we abandoned too?

        1. Forget it, DesigJake. It’s Nannytown.

        2. So the mother is going to go to her minimum wage McDonald’s job. . . and pay a babysitter minimum wage to watch her daughter. . .

          So expecteth teh busybodies. . .

      2. Like, why don’t poor people just get their nannies to watch the kids?

      3. jmomis:

        She could have got a babysitter, day care, relative, etc. etc. to watch that kid for hours and hours.

        Just because someone could work with a law, doesn’t mean it’s an awesome law.

        Why don’t we just mandate 2 babysitters per kid left without parents? Or, hell, make it 3? I’m sure she could have gotten 3 babysitters, day cares personnel, relatives. etc.

        Therefore, throwing her ass in jail is awesome.

        Hell, driving and making left turns are more dangerous than right turns. Why don’t we just fine people for making left turns? After all, it’s not like they can’t get to where they’re going making only right turns, probably, right? Therefore, that law’s awesome.

        Let’s just go crazy with good ideas like that, and call it effective government.


      4. She worked at McDonalds. You think she could afford a government-approved babysitter? Compliance costs for daycares have driven the prices up to absurd. And if you need to capitalize certain words to try to make your insipid point, you probably need to work on the reasoning more.

      5. Babysitters, Daycare, even Relatives cost money etc.etc. This woman works at Mc-E Dees. She obviously cant afford that or a legal defense. Come to think of prosecutors should forfeit all her earnings and assets to make damn sure she stays at her po-duck level.

      6. By the time I was nine (1970) it was out the door in the morning, home for lunch at the noon whistle, out again ’til supper, then back out until the streetlights went on. Everyday.

        1. Same for me – in 1974 I was nine and was out the door in the morning, and back home for dinner, every Saturday and every day during summer.

    2. Oh look, another helicopter parent douchebag who thinks kids can’t even be allowed to play outside. You’re the fucking problem, asshole.

    3. I guarantee this mother has utilied this strategy multiple times without incident.

      My guess is that Jmomis is tired of seeing all these well-behaved kids who can sustain themselves and live independent lives for hours at a time without a parent in sight. It fills her with envious rage when she looks at her little brat who is an absolute terror even though mommy is right there!

      Not an ounce of consideration is given to the thought that acting as a 24/7 backstop to your child’s consequences and squelching the fires of lessons learned before they even know what’s happening is the cause of why your brat cant seem to grow into a mature, young adult.

      So you call CPS at the drop of a hat because why should these parents not be living in hell either? Why do they get to have responsible, mature kids and not you, right?

    4. The kid was taken away because she was abandoned for hours and hours and hours out of doors. Period. The end.

      You mean, what every kid in my neighborhood did every non-school day? “Get out of the house, quit watching TV, and don’t come back until sundown except to eat.”

    5. Comments like this really confirm our worst fears that state education actually destroys the brains of its victims.

  11. her 9-year-old daughter…

    I had to click the first link to get that fact. Now the I’ve recovered…

    ‘her 2-year-old daughter’ would be case of reckless abandonment. ‘her 16-year-old daughter’ would be a case of government overreach. A 9-year-old is a wobbler. At 9, and normal, the daughter could goddamn work at MacDonald s herself while her mom raised another baby. That doesn’t sound right either with my 20th century sensibilities. It would be perfectly OK in the 19th century though. But this is the 21st century, so fuck if I know.

    1. At 9, my dad was out to sea (WestPac Sailor) and my mom worked 12 hour shifts as a nurse. I only saw the woman 2 hours a day in the evening. She left for work before I got up for school, and came back after I’d made dinner for my 6 year old little brother. Everything in between, getting up, getting my brother and me ready for school, walking to and from school was on me. And this was in Stockton. It’s no wonder that so many millenials are incompetent. They’ve never had to take care of anything themselves.

      1. At 9, we got ourselves up, got dressed, made breakfast, caught the bus, went to school, came home, played outside until it got dark, then came home to dinner, which was the first time we saw our mom all day, generally, since she got home from work after we got home from school. Then at 10 we moved out of the suburbs to the country, and everything pretty much stayed the same except we could go out in the backyard and fish or ride our four wheeler down the road a little ways and dove hunt.

    2. We all tell stories, passed down from our elders, of how tough it was in the past to get by.

      Here is a test question that you have to answer today to not live on a farm in China, like your elders did.

      You have 20 seconds.…..on-21.html

      1. Meh. Unless that guy in the comments was serious about the “official” answer, it was pretty easy.

        1. “pretty easy”

          You got the answer within 20 seconds or you didn’t. I didn’t, it took me about 80 seconds.

        2. Agreed – pretty easy. I originally thought the question was to answer the riddle:

          What takes an elementary school student just seconds to do; takes a high school student several minutes; takes a college student half and hour and up; and takes a Ph.D a lifetime?

          1. “The President of Russia has a short one, Madonna doesn’t have one, and the Pope has one but he doesn’t use it.”

      2. 87 and the dude is parked poorly on an angle. “I’m a toys r us kid”

  12. I was on my own from whatever time it was I left home in the morning until my parents came home from work, starting in the 2nd grade.
    I still remember the string I used to wear around my neck that held my keys. And this was in Brooklyn through blizzards, heat waves, Son of Sam, whatever.
    Not get off my lawn.

  13. What the actual fuck???? A woman neglects her daughter and you GIVE HER 35,000 DOLLARS!!!!!! What the fuck is this world coming to???? I think I’m gonna go drop my 4 year old off at the unfenced in park down the road that has busy traffic on both sides for a few hours while I run to Macy’s, I could use some free money!!!

    No matter how people want to sugar coat it she was still abandoning her very young daughter for HOURS in a rather BAD looking neighborhood, seriously when every person you interview has rotting teeth there’s a problem. If you guys are stupid enough to think kids don’t get kidnapped anymore please go find a missing child board at Walmart……

    And besides that there’s the sheer PHYSICAL danger issue, if that girl fell and broke her arm or was running and twisted her ankle she would have been screwed!!! No one there to take her to the ER!! Onlookers would have called 911 and now her mom has an astronomical ambulance bill to pay……. Buy the kid a fucking coloring book and put her safety and well being before your own convenience…..

    Stop paying parents to abuse their kids. This is so disgusting!

    1. Go hang yourself, loser.

    2. The kid wasn’t 4, she was 9. Didn’t you play outside by yourself at 9 years old? Because if not, you missed out on some real learning experiences. I’d guess you didn’t based on your response.

      And kids are not kidnapped at any higher rates than when we were young (I was 9 years old in 1975). So you may want to turn Nancy Grace off your TV.

      Back in the old days, when you fell and broke your arm, you ran to an adult, who promptly called 911. That’s what happened with all the other kids I grew up with.

      Leaving your kid in a park for a few hours is not abuse. Please, do the world a favor, and stop reproducing. We have enough mindless, emotional drones walking around without you adding to the problem.

      1. +100

    3. You are not amused, nor capable of critical thinking, apparently if you are seriously comparing a nine-year old to a four-year old.

      At nine, I was out in our neighborhood pretty much anytime the weather permitted and I wasn’t in school – with my 7-, 8-, and 9-year-old friends. Without parental supervision.

      At nine, my father actively participated in running the family farm – without parental supervision.

      “Helicopter parents” and govtards such as yourself are the primary reason that kids are reaching the age of majority incapable of supporting themselves.

  14. I would suggest tar and feathers, but government officials have further insulated themselves from the wrath of citizens by making there mere suggestion of such to be a “terrorist thread”. So I will just meekly sit here in the corner and exercise what I have left of my freedom of speech. Soon merely shaming officials will also be a crime, too!

    In other news in the Land of the Free…

  15. As a former 9-year-old White kid who played outside alone many times, I suspect the original problem is that a 9-year-old Black kid is not welcome in a park in a predominately White neighborhood. McDonalds and authorities in North Augusta SC deserve to be crucified by racially-conscious elements in the national media. Does anybody have contacts to bring them in?

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