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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tuffy... tuffymama

It's only going to get worse. The federal government has been giving local cops all across the nation military equipment. DHS, and every other government agency, including the damn SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, have been buying up millions of rounds of ammo and weaponry. Why? To stockpile and use against citizens. Have you seen tanks in your neighborhood yet? If not, you won't have long to wait. Will you defend your own rights? Or will you be led like a lamb to slaughter?

I have never seen a Kevlar mask. Now you know why my dad taught us to aim for the face.

jeann... jeannie39

 This story is just totally crazy, I hope this ladysues that police department and wins. Most parents can judge the maturity of their kids enough to know if they can play outside alone. It sounds like this lady was outside with her kids, anyways. I think the neighbor that called to police should be held responsible also. I am 40 yrs. old and when I was little my brother andI I played outside all day, every day unless the weather was to bad. I also have two grown children and they stayed outside most of the time and I have a 21 month old daughter and when she wants to play in the yard in a few years, she will. Most parents teach their kids at an early age the dangers of outside play and in most cases its completely normal and healthy for a child to have some responsibility for themselves. It seems like CPS and the police want people to keep kids locked inside all the time because society does not want to deal with other peoples "problems". Where I come from, everyone watches out for everyones kids because you want yours watched after, too. I was taught that it takes a village to raise a child and I think this ladies neighbor could learn a little something from that. If  "she" thought those kids were in danger, why didn't she go out and watch then or walk over to their house and talk to their mom? I guess its just easier to pick up the phone to call the cop instead of be a good neighbor.


GlowW... GlowWorm889

When I was that age (9), I spent all day outside with my siblings and friends. My 4-year-old sister was outside with us big kids, also unsupervised. I was expected to make sure she didn't wander away or got hurt. And she didn't. We were fine. All the neighborhood kids played this way. The big kids watched out for the little ones and we enjoyed being away from the adults. Nobody in my neighborhood ever got seriously hurt, molested, or kidnapped. My goodness people. This is why we have teenagers who are so co-dependent on their parents. Cut the apron strings!

nonmember avatar kaerae

As usual, a half-story. She was arrested on a prior warrant, not for the incident the cops were called out for.

MNMOr... MNMOrange

I was totally shocked by this as well until I read the article. Apparently this woman has 3 prior drug/alcohol related offenses so I'm sure that's more of what concerned the neighbor. I hope her kids get the help they need.

Nellie Athome

kaerare - you are full of it. She was not arrested on a prior warrant. The full story is here including the name of the neighbor who reported the mother and even went so far as to claim she, the neighbor, had hit one of the children with her car.

nonmember avatar TheCommenter

First off, tuffymamma - what???

Secondly, I'd bet it was a crankypants neighbor, probably old as dirt, who didn't like the noise of the little putt putt scooters and kids actually bring *gasp* outside so they made a whiny call.

femal... femaleMIKE

@Kaerae, what was the prior charge?

Zamaria Zamaria

Depends on the kid. My oldest was fine playing outside alone at age 6. My middle son probably won't be. But either way, she shouldn't have been arrested. That's just crazy.

nonmember avatar natasha

i live in a cul-de-sac and i see kids do this ALL day durring the summer... i hope this lady sues the hell out of the police dept, thats BS.

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