Free-Range Kids

Mom Asks Cops to Help Persuade Her 12-Year-Old to Go to School. They Arrest Her.

Surprise, surprise

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Rain
Tamara Bauer / Dreamstime

A Connecticut mom who was having trouble convincing her 12-year-old to go to school left her home at 9:30 a.m. after locking the boy out. She called the cops to ask them to come persuade him, while she headed off to an appointment.

Inviting the cops into your family life? Huge mistake. I'm sure you can guess what happened next.

The mom was arrested and charged with "risk of injury to a child." According to the Middletown Patch, she was released on bond and has an October 3 court date.

I'm sure that will make the family so much more functional. Now the mom, Tamika Jackson, needs a lawyer and has a fine or possibly jail time staring down at her. And I really doubt this is making her son a whole lot easier to deal with.

The reason the cops gave for the arrest was this:

"Jackson did not seem to understand that she could not simply leave her child outside and call the police to deal with him," police wrote in the report.

The officer told Jackson that she can't lock her 12-year-old son out of the house on a rainy day without adequate shelter.

"He had no access to a restroom and no access to food or water," the officer wrote in the report. "The victim had no telephone and his closest family resides in New Haven. Jackson stated that she was not concerned because he could have knocked on the neighbor's door if he needed anything."

I am sick of police acting as if parents are the only people in the world who can help a child. Neighbors are real. They exist. So does knocking. To act as if this child was abandoned in the middle of the rain forest ignores reality: He's not going to melt. He can knock on a door. He is 12, not 2.

What's more, do you see a "risk of injury" here? Either the boy goes to school or he doesn't. He is standing outside his home. If that is so risky, then anytime he leaves his apartment he must be in grave danger. Should we arrest all moms who don't live in the world's nicest neighborhoods?

I can only imagine Jackson's stress level before this happened, and now it must be off the charts. If the cops truly want to help a mom who is at her wit's end, rather than beat her down, help her! Put her in touch with a before-school program her son might want to go to. Give the mom a phone number for a parenting center that teaches strategies for parents of teens. Talk to the boy and tell him to listen to his mom and go to school. That's all the mom wanted—a little back up.

Of course, she never should have called the cops for parenting help—that's not their job. But that was her mistake—calling the cops—not endangering her child. He's perfectly safe on his own porch.

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  1. Honestly tho, what do parents expect will happen? Cops only rule by force and fear.

    1. If we’re going to blame the cops for behaving unreasonably, then I don’t think we should blame parents for expecting the police to behave reasonably.

      Although, when people call the cops on their kids and then leave the kids alone, they put the cops in an excellent position to behave unreasonably.

      Cops need to resolve the call, and you’d think that the cops prime directive when they need to resolve a call and find kids alone is a) call CPS and b) find a reason to justify it.

      “Either the boy goes to school or he doesn’t.”

      Not that this kid was left alone if he could walk to school. At school, the kid had shelter, restrooms, the whole nine yards.

      1. Not sure your age, Ken. But do you remember that TV show, Adam-12, with the two nice friendly cops? Well, that’s how most cops actually were back then. And, those days are long gone. Maybe some people haven’t realized that yet, although they’ve had a decade or two to do so.

        1. Yeah, I remember Adam-12.

          It was on right after Emergency!.

          The cops were never like that. It’s just that people didn’t talk about it as much.

          We used to run from the cops–for good reason!

          They weren’t like the cops on Dragnet either. Those were scripts. That was acting.

          1. “We used to run from the cops–for good reason!”

            And you didn’t get shot!? No, of course you didn’t. But you would now.

        2. Ah yes! Adam-12! My favorite episode was where they busted the guy drying his pot in a pillowcase in the dryer. Classic police work.

        3. I used to get paddled in school.

          Not spanked–paddled.

          That was in the 1980s.

          Society still treated kids like they were being toughened up for the battlefield.

          I’d love to see Skenazy tackle that theory. Maybe the reason kids were okay to be left alone back in the day was because every generation was expected to be drafted for war–once they turned18 years old. Back then, the vice principal would resolve fist fights by taking the two of us out behind the bleachers to let us finish the fight. Hazing wasn’t just tolerated–it was encouraged.

          I’m not saying that this was a conscious process where administrators, cops, and parents all got together and decided to toughen up kids for war. It was a subconscious thing in the back of their heads.

          Cops had it out for hardcore kids, subconsciously or otherwise, thinking, “How’s are the kids gonna do in the Army if we let ’em walk around like that”?

          We don’t raise cannon fodder anymore.

          1. “I used to get paddled in school.

            Not spanked–paddled.”

            Lol, me too! In the 60s.

          2. Of course, getting paddled by the teacher is your kink.

        4. You lived somewhere outside reality.

          I grew up in a small rural town — septic tanks, fuel oil heat, few sidewalks. I remember the first traffic light, and a new sidewalk in front of a school.

          We lived ten minutes from the library. This was around 1960. I was 10, my brother 5, I guess. We had just passed a sheriff’s substation, which was only used to file reports or something, never fully staffed, when a deputy’s car pulled up and two cops got out. Being ten years old, I naturally turned around, stuck my thumbs in my ears, wiggled my fingers, and stuck out my tongue. The natural reaction should have been to laugh or do the same.

          Instead we got a lecture on how hard and dangerous their job was, how they deserved respect, yada yada yada. In 1960, in a small rural whit town, where the typical crime was probably high school seniors dragging a keg across the school lawn.

          Yeah tell me how cops have always been polite and friendly.

          1. And today, they would have beaten the shit out of you, maybe tazed or even shot you. When I was a kid, and I’m talking 60s and 70s, no one was afraid of the cops. You never heard of a cop beating up old ladies or shooting dogs, ever. There were cops sometimes walking in my neighborhood and all the kids talked to them, they were all friendly. And when I was a teen, if you got pulled over drunk, they would call your parents to come get you, that’s it.

            No, the cops absolutely were NOT always like they are now.

            1. I was not refuting your anecdote, I was showing that your anecdote was not universal.

  2. Or the kid could have… y’know… just gone to school.

  3. Well, they didn’t shoot him. I guess that’s an improvement over what I would have expected.

    1. The cops may have let it go, but they didn’t have a dog either! What sort of monsters don’t have a dog for our heroes to use for target practice?

    2. I was half-expecting it was the kid who got arrested.

  4. “Huge mistake. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.” Is it just me or has Lenore gotten a little bit more fiery and anti-government over time. it used to be just the benefits of raising a well adjust child by free range.. and now it is all don’t fucking talk to the police.. I approve..

    1. She’s certainly picked up the knee-jerk anti-cop lunacy from her colleagues.

      1. In a story about cops acting like mafia goons?

        The fuck?

        1. The proper response is “Fuck off, Tulpa”

        2. How about them Vikings. 4-0 baby. *Ignores the smell of troll*

        3. It’s a troll, Dunphy-class.

          1. Dunphy’s not a troll, just a cop-fellator and general authoritah worshipper. Tulpa, in any of his sock puppet forms, is a troll.

    2. I think that she has fully internalized, “never call the cops unless you want something bad to happen to somebody.”

  5. The officer told Jackson that she can’t lock her 12-year-old son out of the house on a rainy day without adequate shelter.

    “He had no access to a restroom and no access to food or water,” the officer wrote in the report.

    School had those things.

    1. no access to …water

      The shit was falling out of the sky, bro!!

  6. She was charged with the correct crime. She’s actually should have been charged with two counts of “risk of injury to a child”. She should be charged with the first count for trying to force her child to attend public school, and the second count for calling the police to assist her in forcing her child to go to school. Only a SHIT mother would try to use the police to scare their children into complying with their demands. I know from experience.

  7. So let me get this straight. Terrible parent treats the police as taxpayer-funded babysitting service, and Reason comes down on the police, without even a word about how awful the parent is?

    1. Yeah, that was kinda my reaction. You want the police to help you raise your kid but you want to get all bent out of shape because you don’t approve of their parenting methods? How willfully ignorant do you have to be to not know cops have a very different opinion as to what constitutes appropriate disciplinary action?

      1. Well, I felt the same way, but then thought how many times parents try and handle the situation and OTHER people call the cops (neighbors, the school, social services) so if that’s how it works, why not cut out the middle man?

    2. Of course, she never should have called the cops for parenting help?that’s not their job. But that was her mistake?calling the cops

      Yeah, not a SINGLE WORD about that. Fucking douchebag. Go suck some cop dick, would you?

    3. Of course, she never should have called the cops for parenting help?that’s not their job.

      Fuck off, Tulpa.

    4. You may want to rethink your handle douchebag.

  8. I would say this mom was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t. I do not know the rules in her locality, but many places are jailing parents over their children’s truancy. Sounds like she may have gotten arrested for trying to avoid getting arrested. But that is the society we live in today. It is easier to criminalize every undesirable act, than to actually reach out and help those in need.

  9. When will the people in this country learn that cops are the problem not the solution. You take a person with a with a lower than average who wants a job that pays a lower than average salary and is willing to enforce laws that commonsense tells you that are just plain wrong, then give a gun and full authority of the state to do what they please and you have a recipe for disaster. Only once have I ever heard of a cop stopping a rape, murder or robbery. The once was a cop stopping a rape in progress. The bad guy it turned out was another cop. They rape, steal, use drugs, commit murder, are pedophiles and as a group are probably not much better than any other two bit gang. Stop being badge bunnies and wakeup

  10. You really cannot exaggerate how low information and downright dumber than a box of shit your average American citizen is.

    You ask for this, soccer moms, you got it!

  11. “”He had no access to a restroom and no access to food or water,” the officer wrote in the report. “The victim had no telephone”

    The victim!

    Oh mah gawds! No child has ever survived for more than 10 minutes without those things! What sort of barbaric world are we living in!?

  12. By calling the cops, she DID endanger her child. Lucky he didn’t end up dead in fact.

    1. You know who else wanted kids to go to school?

      1. Nemo?

      2. Their
        ::dons sunglasses::
        Nannys?

    2. “By calling the cops, she DID endanger her child.”

      And anyone else at the house, including pets, and probably anyone else within gun fire range in the neighborhood.

  13. If the cops truly want to help…

    *snort*

    I’m glad I wasn’t sipping a cup when I read that. I’d have liquid coming out my nose. Cops don’t help people. Their only job is to make people obey with whatever they say. Only they call it “compliance.” They also have a zero-tolerance policy for noncompliance. Their job is to show up, tell people what to do, and harm anyone who disagrees.

  14. Have the media made this about race yet?

    1. “Tamika Jackson”

      The only race is question is that of the cop.

      1. And the ‘victim’. Funny how there wasn’t a victim until the cops showed up. Unless you want to say that the kid was victim of stupid parent, which is not a totally unfounded call.

      2. If you google images Tamika Jackson Connecticut, you do you one white pic showing up.

        An adorable white puppy.

    2. You know who else made everything about race?

  15. In a neighborhood near me, a kid is so traumatized by gravestone-like monuments near his bus stop that his mother claims she is forced to drive him to and from school. A generation of precious snowflakes will eventually be running this country.

    1. I don’t think ‘running’ is the right term here… let’s see… ‘ruining’?

    2. That one I blame on a gullible mother spoiling a child.
      “Mom the bus ride is long and sucks, please drive me so I can sleep in a bit more, and be generally lazy”
      “too bad.”
      “I’m scared of graves stones.”
      “TO THE MINIVAN!”

      1. I know it’s the old “uphill both ways” but when I was in junior high I had to walk two miles in pretty much all weather, unless it was well below zero. A foot of snow? Walked. Thunderstorm? Walked. Really cold, but higher than -10*F? Walked. I remember walking in hail a little smaller then golf balls (there WAS an open garage that I ducked into for about 45 seconds until the worst of it was over).

        Then, when I was a few short years out of college, circa 1992, a co-worker drove her young kid to school (about five blocks) and I remember chuckling at the lunacy. The laugh is on me. And it’s by far not the first and destined to not be the last.

  16. But I do have to wonder why the kid wasn’t arrested on a truancy charge and the mother also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for not making sure the kid went to school. Probably could have nailed the kid on a vagrancy charge as well. Cops were really slacking off that morning.

    1. There has to be some way to get that kid on a list that will totally ruin the rest of his life. We’re living in the wild wild west here, it’s almost Somalia except for these damn roads.

      1. They were hoping he was going to have to go pee in the back yard, so they could put him on the sex offender list. Sadly, he was dehydrated due to lack of access to the stuff falling out of the sky.

  17. The kid didn’t want to go to the government indoctrination camp. Then the government came and gave the whole family an education on the ways of the state.

  18. This kid was not in danger. He IS the danger. He IS the one who knocks.

  19. C’mon people, haven’t you learned the lesson by now?

    NEVER, EVER, EVER CALL THE COPS! Nothing good will come of it.

  20. She called the cops to ask them to come persuade him, while she headed off to an appointment.

    It appears it’s mom that needs arresting.

    1. Oh shit, I misread it… they did arrest her.

    2. “Jackson did not seem to understand that she could not simply leave her child outside and call the police to deal with him,” police wrote in the report.

      This is true.

      The officer told Jackson that she can’t lock her 12-year-old son out of the house on a rainy day without adequate shelter.

      Not sure if this is true. Is there a statute on this?

      “He had no access to a restroom and no access to food or water,” the officer wrote in the report. “The victim had no telephone and his closest family resides in New Haven. Jackson stated that she was not concerned because he could have knocked on the neighbor’s door if he needed anything.”

      I got locked out of the house all the time as a kid. The access to food concept is contextual.

      1. Plus, the whole outdoors is your bathroom.

        Hell, if he was really mad at his mom he could have taken a shit in her garden.

  21. …Should we arrest all moms who don’t live in the world’s nicest neighborhoods

    Well, you can’t spell incest without nicest, so there’s that to consider…..

  22. The mom was arrested and charged with “risk of injury to a child.”

    As well she should be, given that she pulled a loaded cop on a 12-year old for such a petty thing. The first rule of cop safety is you never point a cop at anything you don’t want to destroy. The child could have easily been killed.

  23. I agree with nearly all the Reason stories about absurd overreaction to parents letting their children out of their sight for short amounts of time, but not this time. Locking the boy out of the house and then disappearing is neglect – period. If the mother is charged with endangerment of a child, that is clearly overcharging, but this should not be considered to be the same as letting a child walk unsupervised around the corner to a park or store. This is qualitatively different.

    1. Presumably, she locks her son out of the house every school day.

      1. Presumably the child is in the care of the school at that time.

        1. Unless the kid has some serious developmental issues, 12 is definitely old enough to be expected to walk to/from school on his own. So if the school is within walking distance, this isn’t qualitatively different than letting a child walk unsupervised around the corner to a park or a store.

  24. Both parent and child walked away without being shot. Sounds like a good day.

  25. what was falling out of the sky that the kid had no access to water?

  26. The cops are wrong. The child had access to food, shelter, and restrooms ?. at SCHOOL, where the child refused to go. Isn’t the child breaking the law by not attending school? Is the mother supposed to abet truancy? I’m just sayin’ ?

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