Mom Arrested & Sent to Jail for Letting Her Kids Play Outside

balloonsThis case flat out blows me away. It's such an extreme example of overreaction, overprotection of our kids, and over-the-top ridiculousness, I have a hard time believing it happened. But it did -- to Tammy Cooper, a stay-at-home mom who lives in La Porte, Texas.

According to Cooper she was sitting outside of her home in a lawn chair watching her children, ages 6 and 9, ride their motorized scooters in their cul-de-sac. The next she knew, police were there, handcuffing her, and taking her jail where she was forced to spend the night. Why? Because she was apparently endangering her children.

She told Click2Houston she was out there watching them  the entire time, but police didn't want to hear it. Apparently they had received a call from a neighbor that the kids were out there unsupervised, and it was an orange jumpsuit for her.

The thing that kills me is that even if she was inside, there shouldn't have been a problem. These kids are 6 and 9, and they were in a cul de sac in front of their home. All children may not be old enough to handle such a situation, but some definitely are, and it should be a parent's right to decide if they are. My neighborhood is filled with children who do the exact same thing alone regularly.

And why take a neighbor's word over a mother's? Who knows what the neighbor's motives were. It's great when others look out for children, but parents shouldn't automatically be presumed guilty.

Eventually the charges against Cooper were dropped, thank goodness, but she says that's not good enough to make up for the humiliating and terrifying ordeal. She told the station, "My daughter had him (the police officer) around the leg saying, 'Please, please don't take my mom to jail. Please, she didn't do anything wrong.'" So she's suing the police department, and I hope she gets some justice.

I tend to be on the cautious side rather free-range side with my kids, but cases like this still make my blood boil. It's such a sad testament to how different our children's childhoods are from the carefree ones without strict boundaries and ever-fearful parents that most of us experienced.

Do you let your children play outside alone? How young is too young?


Image via alibree/Flickr

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Sleep... SleepingBeautee

Personally six is too young to be outside without an adult. The nine year old is not old enough imo to be in charge of the younger sibling.


Now I will say... they have no evidence the children were outside alone. I would be livid if I was the mother arrested. I cannot believe that they arrested her... even though she was sitting outside when they showed up. CRAZY!

nonmember avatar blh

I played outside alone or with other children all the time when I was that young, and at 9 i'd look out for my younger cousins. We lived in a decent area, and I had to stay on our street. Kids today are way too coddled.

Rebec... Rebecca7708

Hmm. I would be willing to bet there is a little more to the story than what we see here.

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

Stories like these seriously get under my skin! People now days really need to get off their high effing horse's and STOP calling the police/CPS for every little thing! Yes there are situations in which police/CPS need to get involved but sadly they are too busy out arresting parents that did NOTHING WRONG, meanwhile children that DO need help are left to suffer. I love my children more than anything in this world, I am a great mother and would do anything for my kids, it is incredibly sad that I have to worry about every little thing with them because heaven forbid they PLAY OUTSIDE, or fall and scrape their knee for fear someone is going to make ASSumptions and call the police! I hope that women does sue and get compensation for the humiliation and stress her and her children were put under.  

mande... manderspanders

I wish we lived in 1958. Kids were *EXPECTED* to play outside.

And we wonder why the world has gone to hell and the next generation can't help themselves, expect instant gratification... Common sense and resourcefulness are gone.

work4... work4mickey

I still think she shouln't have been arrested, but could the "endangering her children" have something to do with the motorized scooters they were riding?

momto... momtolittleg

Wow.  When I was that age, I could likely be found halfway across the neighborhood, completely unsupervised, riding my bike.  Or playing in the creek.

I currently allow my 4 year old to play in our backyard unsupervised, if you count watching her every few minutes through the windows as unsupervised.  Please nobody call the cops!

Unless there's more to this story, I hope the women wins her case.

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

Wow.....if we were in a culdesac i wouldnt even think twice letting my 7 and 4 year old outside often with the neighbor 6 and 5 year olds. We live on a slow street and they r often outside with thru the window supervision. My kids run in and out constantly. If i didnt hear from them id check on them. They r pretty good about staying close and not crossing the street. This is rediculous. And id be pissed too! Those kids werent in danger.

navyw... navywife0204

sounds like she has a pissy neighbor...

count... countrygirl670

Unbelievable.  At 9 years old, I was riding my bike to the other side of town.  Going door to door offering to rake leaves and shovel snow.  Delivering newspapers at 6 AM.  At 9 years old I had two jobs, for goodness sake!  Now 9 year olds aren't supposed to be outside alone? I might be suing the police department and the neighbor who lied on me, too (if I could find out who it was).

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