A six-year-old girl and her ten-year-old brother were taken into custody by police on Sunday after a neighborhood resident called the Montgomery County 911 dispatch in Silver Spring, Maryland. The reason? They had walked to and from a park nearly a mile from home unsupervised.
However, the lack of supervision was all according to the plan of their parents who believe that allowing their children a bit of independence is actually a good thing. They’re not alone, a number of parents have begun to practice what’s being referred to as “free range” parenting where kids are encouraged to slowly build a sense of independence.
The parents of the two young children disagree with how the police handled the matter, alleging that authorities deceived the kids by saying they were taking them home when in reality they took them into custody and held them in a patrol car for “nearly three hours” while keeping them from their parents for six hours total before returning them home at nearly midnight. The children were picked up only blocks from home.
Their parents say that they’re just trying to give their children the childhood they had where they were allowed to play in the neighborhood and walk around with other kids. The children’s father had the following to say about the matter, “We must ask ourselves how we reached the point where a parent’s biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods.”
Police have picked up the Meitiv children for walking alone once before as well. In both cases, police action was spurred by concerned individuals in the community calling 911. In the latest call which can be heard here, the caller describes the children as seeming “dirty.”