Leah, the USA – Level 3

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MARY AND THE POLICE.

This happened on a beautiful summer day when my daughter Mary was seven years old.

“Mom, can I walk over to my friend’s house?”

“Which friend? Where does she live?”

“Jasmeet. She lives in our neighborhood, across the street from the park.”

“Did her mom say it was alright?”

“Yes, her mom said we could play. I will be home in two hours.”

“Alright. I need to walk over to my friend’s house to return her dish. If you need me, you know my phone number. You can call me.” We both set out to walk to our friends’ houses. She went west, and I went north. I was walking back from my neighbor’s house when I received a phone call.

“Hello?”

“This is Jason Jones. I’m a Small Town police officer. Do you know where your daughter is?”

“Yes, she’s walking to her friend’s house. Why? What’s wrong?”

“We had a call from a concerned citizen that there was a young girl out walking by herself. We have picked up your daughter, and we’re bringing her home. She gave us your number so we could call you.”

“Umm. Okay. Was anything wrong with her? Was she scared? I’m on my way back home now. I’ll be there very soon.”

“No, she was alright. We just didn’t like seeing her out walking by herself.” When I arrived home, Mary was very upset about being picked up by the police and not getting to play with her friend. I sent her inside while I talked a moment longer with the police. The officer said, “Small town is a very safe town full of law-abiding citizens, but there are still dangerous offenders who drive through on their way from one place to another. The witness who called and reported your daughter was very worried for her.”

“Alright. Thank you.” I was shocked. I was surprised that the police put her in their car rather than just following her home or to her friend’s house to make sure she arrived safely. I was upset that the police scared her. I was very glad that she was safe. It could have been a phone call from a kidnapper. Was I in the right?

I wondered if I made the right decision to let her walk to her friend’s house. She’s a very bright and independent child. She knew my phone number and where she was going. It was a beautiful day, not evening. I certainly wanted to stand my ground. Aren’t children supposed to play outside and ride/walk to their friends’ houses? They need vitamin D and exercise. What do you think?

author: Leah Clark