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Of course a 10 year old can take a 6 year old on a walk. The intervention was the result of a process that concluded that (i) a mile is too far, and (ii) Georgia Avenue is dangerous. It's pretty clear that CPS would not get involved if it were a walk of a few blocks within their neighborhood, because that would be safe. The problem is that those are all assumptions, not facts, and their accuracy is questionable.

by Crickey7 in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 5:13 pm • linkreport

@Steven H: Of course governments have done worse than this, but that is no reason not to call out CPS for clearly overstepping their authority. Although there was no fine levied, it sounds as if the family was subject to some fairly serious harassment by police and CPS workers. All for something that was not illegal. They should fight this, and their name should not be put on any list. This classification might be used against them the next time they allow their children to do something that is perfectly legal, but which an overzealous or uninformed police officer or county official decides does not conform to their personal views of how kids should be raised.

by Goldfish33 in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 5:05 pm • linkreport

PG2SE - I'm not sure about both of those two DCPS schools you mention, but I think one of them is Sharpe Health, which -- according to Brandenburg's data table -- has 51% at-risk kids and a proficiency rate of 82%. But it should be noted that Sharpe serves a population with pretty serious disabilities, and those students take a different test. It's not clear what counts as "proficient" on that test (Brandenburg says in one of his posts that the students there "who cannot feed or dress themselves or hold a pencil are somehow deemed ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ by methods I can only guess at.")

by Natalie in Kids living in the toughest circumstances are less likely to go to charter schools on Mar 3, 2015 4:59 pm • linkreport

I'd like to see someone from outside of government come into WMATA. Honestly, at this point a structural change is probably called for. I'm not sure what it is, everything from financial to organizational. Maybe some retired CEO looking to take on a challenge. At the least if they fail, it should shut up some of the "I hate gubment" types.

by BTA in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:57 pm • linkreport

Perhaps WMATA can hire someone from CTA. They seem to have their stuff in order, have a bus system that works (shows up on time or close enough in the bitter cold) and whips the fools into shape. Or at least wakes up the somnolent station "managers".

by TheManwithThePlan-DC in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:49 pm • linkreport

@Steven H: I think the question here is whether this gives rise to something that can be called "neglect". Pointing a child home and then waiting for him to arrive is hardly neglecting the child, the way leaving him in a car would be. And under the circumstances, does it not seem that this particular 10 year old is capable of supervising the 6 year old on a planned walk, at least as well as some 12 year olds?

If there was some additional evidence of actual neglect, like the parents forgetting about the children and they finally come home, then maybe that would make out a case for neglect.

Generally when a statute provides a list of things that are outlawed, activities that are quite different are not outlawed by implication. CPS is very capable of asking the Legislature to add "walking on a sidewalk" to the list of activities that are outlawed. But they aren't doing it. Instead, they are saying that because some activities are illegal, other activities are illegal as well--or at least legal activities for which they can take away your children.

If you think that there is a law stating that children must always be supervised, please let me know, My assumption here is that there is no such law.

by JimT in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:37 pm • linkreport

It would be great to know the names of those two DCPS schools with over 80% proficiency that serve a majority at-risk population.

by PG2SE in Kids living in the toughest circumstances are less likely to go to charter schools on Mar 3, 2015 4:34 pm • linkreport

re WMATA GM hiring: someone mentioned getting a candidate from outside the system, so to speak, or something like that. My question (seriously, I don't know the answer): can a person without a public transit/train/bus-specific background do that job? Does the GM's job require technical knowledge of that sort? (Because, let's hit 200.)

by RDHD in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:32 pm • linkreport

Because this thread is devolving and because several people have violated the comment policy, I am placing all comments on this thread on moderate.

That means that if you post a comment, it will not appear until one of our moderators approves it. And I am setting a higher bar than the comment policy.

If your comment does not substantially contribute to the dialogue, I will not approve it.

It pains me to do this, especially because I expect better from all of you.

Remember. Treat everyone with respect. That is the basic rule.

by Matt' Johnson in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:21 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by beetroot in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:18 pm • linkreport

@muskellungeI'm not willfully ignoring anything. I thought we agreed on something. My mistake.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:18 pm • linkreport

The post is late to the game on the Wilson School site. The arlington school board knows they're in a capacity crunch but their decision making is paralyzed because any suggestion they make is shouted down by someone who's unhappy with what they propose. The Wilson School site is but one example.

by drumz in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:17 pm • linkreport

It would be interesting to know what outreach the MySchool DC folks do to DC General and other homeless shelters, what transportation services are available (and publicized) so homeless families can get to charters and out-of-boundary schools.

Also, what CFSA policies are there regarding choosing a school for a child? If I'm a foster parent and I want my foster kid to go to a charter school, can I enter the lottery for her? Whose permission do I need to get (bio mom and/or dad, guardian ad litem, case worker, educational advocate, judge)? If the kid is reunified, are there services to keep her in the same school? If I get a placement two days after the lottery closes or in the middle of the year, are there any options other than the current school and the one I live in bounds for? I think looking into this might explain the chart shown above.

by sbc in Kids living in the toughest circumstances are less likely to go to charter schools on Mar 3, 2015 4:14 pm • linkreport

I'm sure you could just use one on any given weekend given how long the headways are.

by TheManwithThePlan-DC in In Chicago, you can charter your own L train on Mar 3, 2015 4:13 pm • linkreport

I actually don't think CPS over-reached, frankly... at least not in a big way. First off, it's my understanding that CPS is concerned about the 6-year-old, not the 10-year-old. A 10-year-old can walk home alone (in fact, an 8-year-old can walk home alone); CPS' argument is that the law doesn't allow a 10-year-old to supervise a 6-year-old--in public or at home--and that a 6-year-old walking home with a 10-year-old is--legally speaking--unsupervised.

Yes, the law in question specifies locked, enclosed places... probably because it was passed in response to some high-profile deaths of children locked up at home for hours on end... but it also defines what is and isn't an unsupervised child. (And it's my understanding that the courts have ruled that the law applies to unsupervised children in public spaces, so it's all water under the bridge as far as CPS is concerned).

I'm not shocked that the same society that believes it has a responsibility to build sidewalks to stave off childhood asthma might also feel a little bit responsible for a 6-year-old walking home in a public ROW. We satisfy that responsibility by building sidewalks and crosswalks, and by mandating just a little semi-adult supervision for our youngest citizens. Why are the first two provisions absolutely necessary, but the last a bridge too far?

I would be concerned if we were talking about a child who was removed from her home because she took the bus home alone because her single mother has to work three jobs to make ends meet. That would be unjust, but that's not the case here. We're talking about choices made by what sounds like well-healed suburbanites armed with yet another in a long line of first world child-rearing techniques. They aren't even being fined for this "unsubstantiated" neglect! Their name ends up on a list for five years, so that CPS remembers who they are if something more substantiated comes along. That's hardly comparable to locking up gay people and violence against black students trying to integrate their school!

Bottom line: eh, governments have done worse things than this.

by Steven H in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:12 pm • linkreport

@Crikey7 -- probably got another call, for a genuine crime.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:11 pm • linkreport

This thread could only happen in DC, because it's almost certainly has the highest concentration of people who *know* they're not wrong and must get the last word in on anything.

Anyone have any thoughts on the Wilson School site in Arlington?

by alexva in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:10 pm • linkreport

*popping the champange*

by alexva in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:08 pm • linkreport

@Tina -- there is a subtlety to my remarks that you seem to be willfully ignoring. CPS and the kids' parents are both right, and wrong. I leave it to you to figure it out.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:07 pm • linkreport

"The police received a report from a concerned citizen, that the children were unsupervised. They had to investigate."

Not sure about that. They deal with cranks all the time. They have discretion to decide if it sounds like there is an actual offense. In my youth, I once had the police called on my for, gasp, using profanity. They did not show up.

by Crickey7 in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:06 pm • linkreport

Nothing wrong with the police taking the kids home. The problem is the escalation that appears to have taken place at that point. The police could have simply dropped the kids off at their home. Demanding to see ID and sending backup to a house where you are dropping off some kids is over-the-top. But they let it go after that.

by JimT in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:05 pm • linkreport

@Muskellunge - @Tina -- I do not think they overreached.
Then you must have changed your mind since a few hours ago:

@Goldfish33 -- "CPS has overstepped their authority"

Yes they did. But there are no consequences, are there?

by muskellunge on Mar 3, 2015 12:25 pm

It's okay to have an evolving point of view based on new information. I thought we all agreed CPA overreached, including you based on what you wrote.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:03 pm • linkreport

@Tina -- "These kids weren't "wandering around". They had a destination..."

You should see how my daughter walks home from school. It is anything but a straight line, with a purposeful gate. (I am grateful she doesn't walk on Georgia Ave in Montgomery County.)

The police received a report from a concerned citizen, that the children were unsupervised. They had to investigate.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 4:01 pm • linkreport

There could be two sets of security: one that looks for people who commit violence screening people on the way in and another set who care about rare books and documents screening people on the way out!

There already are.

by Scoot in Terrorism fear takes over security at the Library of Congress on Mar 3, 2015 3:57 pm • linkreport

It does appear that the County police over-reacted initially, but fortunately they did not shoot anyone and simply turned it over to the State agency that handles these matters. But it's the Maryland Department of Human Resources that seems unable to let it go.

by JimT in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:57 pm • linkreport

"@sglover -- "Georgia Avenue isn't Berlin '45"
Godwin's rule."

Georgia Avenue is not the South Bronx, circa 1975.
Is that better?

by CrossingBrooklynFerry in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:51 pm • linkreport

These kids weren't "wandering around". They had a destination -they were on their way home, where their dad was expecting them and awaiting them. They weren't truant. So If picking up kids "wandering around" is the precedent it doesn't fit these circumstances.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:50 pm • linkreport

"couldn't" care less ^

by Tina in Terrorism fear takes over security at the Library of Congress on Mar 3, 2015 3:47 pm • linkreport

@Scoot -recruit librarians for security positions

I suggested recruiting English majors and self-described poets, not librarians. Hey at least a degree in Library Science has a job title attached to it "Librarian"!

(English majors and poets -just teasing you ala Garrison Keillor!)

Although i do think if theft of material is a concern and the current guards seem like they could care less, then getting people who care about the materials to prevent theft seems logical.

There could be two sets of security: one that looks for people who commit violence screening people on the way in and another set who care about rare books and documents screening people on the way out!

by Tina in Terrorism fear takes over security at the Library of Congress on Mar 3, 2015 3:43 pm • linkreport

@Tina -- I do not think they overreached. I think they properly applied the law as written and as it has been applied, many times in the past. See my comment above, where I question whether a legal precedent was set in this case. (There was none.) Kids are often picked up wandering around, and such cases are normal daily operations for CPS.

What is interesting is what @JimT dug up, suggesting that it was actually the police -- not CPS -- that overreacted. If that is really the truth of the matter, then picking a fight with CPS really is the wrong thing to do, as they are just investigating a complaint like they are supposed to do. Further, this makes it look like the parents are focusing their anger at the wrong agency.

The publicity in this case is meaningless if there have been no budgetary or policy changes, no personnel actions, or not any changes in the law that CPS is charged to enforce. Actually the coverage for CPS has been rather positive, showing that they have been doing their job. The publicity has shown that there *might* be a policy issue. But it has provoked a lot of clicks and hence improved the Post's profitability.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:40 pm • linkreport

@muskellunge @sglover -- "Georgia Avenue isn't Berlin '45"

Godwin's rule.

I strongly suspect you are misinterpreting @sglover's comment and it has nothing to do with Hitler or Nazis. Occupied Berlin was a nasty, brutal place.

by Birdie in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:34 pm • linkreport

@muskellunge - nearly everyone in this single comment section who commented on this story agrees that CPS over reached, including you. The fact that so many people, not just hear but in other venues, have agreed the CPS committed over reach is bad publicity for them.

The disagreement here has been what was the parents best strategy after the cops showed up, and to a lesser extend what motivated the parents to let their kids walk in the first place (I think it was about the parents deciding what was best for their kids health and well-being, a private parenting decision).

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:25 pm • linkreport

And obviously the children had to walk because the buses weren't coming frequently enough.

by Low Headways in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:21 pm • linkreport

Clearly, the answer is to allow younger children to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

by Crickey7 in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:19 pm • linkreport

lets get this to 150

by alexva in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:18 pm • linkreport

@Fall Church - I'm willing to bet my life's savings these parents did not want or plan for their kids to go through having their walk criminalized; to be picked up by police for walking home; to go through having 6 police cars come to their home and to see their dad get threatened with arrest b/c they walked home.

As soon as someone called the cops and the cops responded the parents desire to go on uneventfully (under the radar) allowing their kids to walk was taken from them, and it was not their decision.

An advocate is someone who sacrifices their own self-interest to some degree for the greater good.

No. An advocate believes in something and acts on his her/beliefs. This can and is a very private act millions of times a day. I'm an advocate for giving bike riders safe passage when i drive my car. I "walk the walk" in the way i drive around bikes. It's a private decision.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:16 pm • linkreport

@sglover -- "Georgia Avenue isn't Berlin '45"

Godwin's rule.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:16 pm • linkreport

There is plenty to support this. First, no CPS case worker ever goes to the press; the parents did. This indeed promotes them from mere "advocate" to "spokespersons," i.e., people seeking attention for their cause.

And by your logic, all parents everywhere who are tagged with the label "advocate" are necessarily putting their kids at risk -- and by implication behaving irresponsibly. Best they shut up, so that maybe they can secretly get away with exotic practices like letting their kids walk perfectly safe sidewalks on their own. This, to you, is the proper way to be a parent.

Now **there's** a wonderful lesson for the children!

This is nuts. Georgia Avenue isn't Berlin '45. Children have been navigating public streets for decades. Hell, there are 70 year old Little Rascals episodes urging the little ped-exers to look both ways before crossing. CPS is most definitely over-reaching, as was the little Stalinist who first called them, and in a very frightening manner: Parents might lose their children for daring to question authority?!?! Somebody needs to challenge this. Fortunately CPS tangled with folks who have some resources -- it's a safe bet that in less affluent communities, similar strongarm tactics go unchallenged.

File it under the "leaving the world a better place for my children" approach to being a parent.

by sglover in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:14 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by beetroot in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Tina -- "What we do know is that CPS has gotten negative publicity over their decision."

I haven't seen any negative publicity; all I have seen is that that they investigated a complaint, and ruled on it.

Can you please provide a cite that puts them in a negative light?

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:12 pm • linkreport

I agree that the family has followed the path of an advocate since the initial harrassment by employees of the Maryland Department of Human Resources based on Montgomery County.
I just don't think that their initial decision to let the kids walk home was a case of deliberately putting their kids at risk to make a political point.

Yeah, I could see that. That's in line with my thinking that they could have chosen to fly under the radar after the harassment but instead chose to try and get the policy changed by creating attention even though it may not be a "utility maximizing" move for them personally. It does however serve the greater good.

by Falls Church in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:09 pm • linkreport

nobody at CPS has lost anything over this.

You can't possibly know that. What we do know is that CPS has gotten negative publicity over their decision. That in itself is a consequence. Furthermore, the publicity has highlighted their dumb decision and/or policy, and their over reach, both of which now will be under scrutiny for possible change b.c of the negative publicity.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:08 pm • linkreport

What makes you think the parents are using their kids to make a political statement?

What I'm mainly saying is that if they weren't trying to make a political statement and get the policy changed -- that if all they were trying to do is have their kids walk home by themselves from the park, that the strategy of flying under the radar would be lower risk and probably as likely to succeed. Hence, the more logical course of action.

So, if I assume the parents are logical/rational, then I'd think the choices they are making stem in part from their desire to be advocates. Plus, the Post said they were advocates.

An advocate is someone who sacrifices their own self-interest to some degree for the greater good. Assuming they are advocating here, then their kids are part of this advocacy, and I guess that involving their kids in the greater good could be considered "using them".

by Falls Church in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:05 pm • linkreport

@Tina, having an internal discussion about something does not amount to "consequences". That is just them doing their job.

I stand by that -- nobody at CPS has lost anything over this. They are insulated from any political backlash over any given case, by design.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 3:04 pm • linkreport

Has any worker lost pay? hours? been demoted? been fired? (no, no, no, and no). Has the director been called to defend its actions? no.

You really don't know the answers to these questions.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:59 pm • linkreport

@Musk, For gosh sakes, this whole thing has unfolded over the past three months. No, there have been no consequences yet, but that doesn't mean there won't be down the line. These things take time.

by Goldfish33 in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:59 pm • linkreport

@muskellunge -unless you work there you are not likely to see the consequences. I am certain there is heated discussion going on inside the agency about the negative publicity and that changes in future actions will be affected by it.

by Tina in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:58 pm • linkreport

These comments would be a lot easier to follow if they were threaded.

by Chester B. in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:58 pm • linkreport

@Tina "Of course there are consequences to a public agency when there is public scrutiny and negative criticism!"

What consequences? There are none that I can detect.

Has any worker lost pay? hours? been demoted? been fired? (no, no, no, and no). Has the director been called to defend its actions? no.

There are NO consequences.

by muskellunge in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:53 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church. I agree that the family has followed the path of an advocate since the initial harrassment by employees of the Maryland Department of Human Resources based on Montgomery County.

I just don't think that their initial decision to let the kids walk home was a case of deliberately putting their kids at risk to make a political point.

By analogy, I do not ride my bike in the middle of the lane to make a political statement, but if someone ran me off the road for doing so and the police would not issue him a ticket, I might file a complaint against the driver and try to use the case to draw attention to the rules of the road.

by JimT in Breakfast links: Here we go again on Mar 3, 2015 2:46 pm • linkreport

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