With all of the political noise in the media this week, I learned that Utah passed a law that is being called the "Free Range Parenting" law and it is the first legislation of its kind in the United States.
At its heart, the law specifies that "it is not a crime for parents to allow kids who display maturity and good judgement to do things like walk to school alone or play outside without supervision." Maturity would be worked out on a case-by-case basis by police and prosecutors, assuming an issue arose with the child.
The law basically protects the parents if they allow their children more freedom. An article about the new law cited the following as reasons why it was necessary:
- A Maryland couple made headlines in 2015 after they were accused of neglect for letting their two children, ages 10 and 6, walk home without adult supervision.
- In 2014, a Florida mom was arrested on a felony charge for allowing her 7-year-old son to walk to a nearby park alone. (That charge was eventually dismissed.)
Another state, Arkansas, tried to pass a similar law but the bill failed.
Certainly, every child is different, every neighborhood is different and every parenting style is different. Do you think we, as Illinoisans, are too hard on parents who don't closely supervise their children? Do you think a law like this makes sense in Illinois? Is it necessary? I'd love to know what you think. Comment below or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).