The message from the state is clear, either you keep your kids locked up in the house or you very well may be the one locked up. “You just don’t let them play outside.”
Austin, Texas – Children’s book author, Kari Anne Roy, received an unexpected visit from Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Austin Police Department recently. She was being investigated for allowing her son Isaac, 6, to play outside unsupervised.
Isaac and his eight-year-old sister had been playing outside at a park bench about 150 yards from their house, which is visible from their home’s front porch. When the sister came in the house the boy continued to play.
The child had been outside for all of 10 minutes when there she heard her doorbell ring. When she opened the door, expecting her son, there was a woman standing there that Roy didn’t know.
According to what Roy wrote on her blog, HaikuMama, the stranger asked,
“Is this your son?”
I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.
“He said this was his house. I brought him home.” She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn’t see her eyes, couldn’t gauge her expression.
“Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult.” She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they’d gone on.
“You brought him home… from playing outside?” I continued to be baffled.
And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.
Of course everyone knows there are many busybodies in the world, perhaps the rare sight of a child actually playing outside startled the woman, as it’s getting to be an uncommon occurrence for children to actually play outside in this day and age.
Roy, although slightly annoyed, most likely wouldn’t have given the busybody a second though, but shortly afterward her doorbell rang again.
“She wanted to know if my son had been lost and how long he’d been gone,” Roy said in an interview with Reason. The officer also wanted the names of her kids and her I.D.
Roy’s kids were upset and worried that their mom had been questioned by police. Roy went on to explain that later that night her son Isaac cried when not able to get to sleep once in bed. “He thought someone was going to call the police because it was past bedtime and he was still awake.”
For a child to have to see their parent questioned by police for the innocent act of allowing a child to play outside without a security detail in tow is preposterous.
About a week later a CPS agent showed up at the Roy residence and proceeded to interrogate each of her three children separately without either parent present, asking if they had seen pornographic movies, ever been given drugs or alcohol, how often they bathed, and if there is fighting in the home.
Because the kid’s story matched their mothers as well as the officer’s account, the case was closed and marked a non-event. But Roy was warned that the neighbor can call CPS as many times as she wants and there is basically no recourse.
Roy blogged that,
“It makes me feel like we are prisoners in our own home. It makes me feel helpless and at the mercy of someone I don’t even know.” She went on to say, “How do we make sense of the dichotomy that our country is safer than it’s ever been and yet small town police departments have tanks and automatic weapons? How do we teach our children that it’s OK to play outside and to learn on their own, to enjoy a taste of freedom – but to be very, very careful when wearing a hoodie especially if they have dark skin?”
In Roy’s final conversation with the CPS investigator, she asked, “What do I do now?”
The reply from the investigator, “You just don’t let them play outside.”
The message from the state is clear, either you keep your kids locked up in the house or you very well may be the one locked up.
Roy has chosen to not let the state dictate her parenting, as she told Breitbart,
“When I wrote the post I was upset and was very keen on not letting my children back outside to play. But now, they’re back out on their bikes. And if we have to deal with the neighbor calling the police, we’ll deal with it. I do not want to help propagate this feeling that children are unsafe unless they are tucked under the wings of their parents. I want children to play, to learn, to explore. And I think pretty much everyone else does, too. So that’s my advice – let your children play without you. Maybe we can change the culture.”
This situation is a testament to where we are at as a society and as a nanny state. Common sense completely disappears and the government wastes precious resources on investigating innocent people. The intrusion of a state agency into parental decision-making is sickening. Thankfully Roy is choosing to not let the oppression of the state change how she raises her children.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis and on Facebook at Sir Metropolis.