Outrage of the Week:Mom Sentenced for Letting Her 4 y.o. Draw with Chalk

Well, readers, from what I can tell from the news reports I’ve just read and watched in utter disbelief, a 29-year-old mom in Richmond, Va., was found guilty of letting her 4-year-old daughter draw with chalk on some park rocks. For this the mom received 50 hours of community service to be spent weeding the area around 200 boundary posts like the one you see below, then scraping the peeling paint off them, then re-painting them. The operative word for me being “paint.” If the county is so concerned about her daughter’s crime, shouldn’t she just have to chalk them? After all, the cop and judge acted as if the girl had permanently damaged the rocks, with her mother goosing her on.

The mom was convicted two years earlier of actually painting on the rocks. In the TV report below, it says that this time when the mom was confronted by the (same!) cop, she said, “You must hate your f***ing job.”

How about hating a f***ed up system that is allowed to treat childhood like a crime? – L

Children’s Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Outlawed

Hi Readers! Get a load of this — little kids in Australia have been found guilty of violating graffiti laws with their chalk drawings on a sidewalk outside a cafe. This might not be such a Free-Range issue except for this:

Mayor Ben Stennett visited the cafe yesterday as anger mounted. Almost 200 people have signed a petition to support the drawings, which [cafe owner] Ms White is happy to erase each day.

“The mayor said they would like to issue us a permit but can’t because it raises health and safety issues, in case somebody fell over a child on the footpath or into the street,” she said.

Can we PLEASE stop catastrophizing this way in every situation? If the kids are an accident waiting to happen while they draw on the sidewalk, aren’t they an accident waiting to happen while they just stand on the sidewalk, too? After all, someone could bump into them! A car could jump the curb! A dog could chase them into the street! And inside the cafe, a patron could spill boiling tea on them. Every situation can be dangerous if you think about it hard enough. Why use THAT as an excuse to curtail childhood? — L.

Mom Ordered to Clean Child’s Chalk Drawings off Ground :(

Hi Readers — Here’s a bit of a blog post by a mom from Ottawa. Read it and grrrr:

I’m still a bit mad about this so if I sound angry, just know I am. Yesterday my neighbours complained about my daughter’s chalk drawings on the ground. The agent from our condo’s property management company said she’d had a number of calls about it….They told me to clean it off.

I want [my daughter] to feel safe in a neighbourhood that is not known for its safety….Let her light up the street and show that there’s life here besides the litter and vomit that normally line our little yard. I angrily poured snow on it, and water, washing off the traces that a child lives here.  — Jamine

I don’t get why a happy chalk drawing would upset anyone, especially in a neighborhood that’s less than cheery to begin with. Not sure this is quite a Free-Range topic, but I’m on this mom’s side. And on the girl’s side, too. If you go to the post you’ll see her drawings, which look like they are on the sidewalk in front of  the building’s entrance. And which would be gone, in any case, with the next rain. Time for folks to lighten up! — Lenore