Parenting While Male

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I had a great day out running with the boy today…until a police officer showed up at the park to question me about an abandoned infant call they received.

Some nosy jackass called in a complaint, and of course I will never know exactly what he said to the police so I won’t know how he came to the conclusion that my toddler sleeping in the shade in his stroller while I wrote and juggled in plain view of the boy the entire time constitutes abandonment.

My suspicion is that whoever made the call saw me park the stroller then walk away with my notebook and juggling balls, made some assumptions about men and small children, then called the police without bothering to come for a closer look. Perhaps I am being too sensitive and this did not involve sexism, but it seems to me to be the parental equivalent of driving while black.

Now I was not right next to my son the whole time he slept, but if my mystery meddler had bothered to venture near my sleeping boy, he would have seen why my middle name is alacrity.

The police officer was not accusatory and was very friendly, but I still came away from the incident a bit shaken.

I’m reading a book written in 1998 called The War Against Parents for my history project, and it raised some issues with Child Protective Services/CAPTA. The authors state that only a third of the millions of charges filed annually are ever substantiated and that parents charged by CPS are not entitled to their regular constitutional rights such as protection from search and seizure, miranda warnings, access to information compiled, etc. due to CPS claiming that emergency circumstances exist. While agencies such as CPS doubtless help thousands of families and children in need of protection each year reports abound of bureaucratic whack-a-mole, legalistic overkill, and the counterproductive breaking apart of healthy families.

The next time you see a small child who may need help, please take the time to understand the situation prior to calling 911. My parental rights may depend on your decision.

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