Cops Who Harassed 5-Year-Old Over Library Books Went After Wrong Person

childrens library booksMy initial reaction, as a mom, to the story about a Massachusetts library sending uniformed police officers after 5-year-old Hailey Benoit to "investigate" two overdue library books was, predictably, indignation. Outrage! Cops going after a little kid? For library books, of all things?? Honey, if having overdue library books was a criminal offense, I'd be serving a life sentence with no parole.

But then it occurred to me -- actually, it was pointed out to me -- that while yes, the library and the police department both went way over-the-top here, my finger should really be pointing elsewhere. No, not at little Hailey, whose only crime was ... wait, she didn't commit any!

No, I'm talking about the person who let the police officers at her door scare her daughter and make her cry (poor thing thought she was going to be arrested).


Hailey wouldn't have been so terrified if her mom, Shannon Benoit, didn't allow the police officers to speak to her daughter in the first place. Hailey wouldn't be in the spotlight right now if her mom wasn't talking to the press, allowing them to film and photograph her daughter.

Granted, I don't know exactly how the whole thing went down -- maybe the cops forced their way into the Benoit residence and interrogated Hailey before her mom even knew what was happening (I highly doubt it).

But I know this much: If uniformed officers showed up at my front door and asked to speak to one of my kids, my answer would be "No." Maybe it would be "No, and what do you want with my child," maybe it would be "Hell no, come back with a warrant and maybe we'll talk!"

The point is, whether I would react calmly and rationally or flip my mommy lid, I can't predict with any certainty. Whether I would hand my 5-year-old over to the cops, however, I definitely can.

Of course I have to question the judgment of everybody involved in this story (except Hailey, of course). Still, why is no one else doing the same of Shannon Benoit?

What would you do if the police showed up at your door and asked for your 5-year-old?


Image via Trevor Manteranch/Flickr

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