Free-range parents are going to need lawyers. May 4, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 32 • By ABBY W. SCHACHTER
"You know, I’d really had a nightmare about this, but I didn’t realize they would do it. I didn’t think they would. The kids must be terrified.” So exclaimed Danielle Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, to free-range-parenting godmother Lenore Skenazy. The “they” in this case are the authorities—police officers and child protective services workers—who, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped the Meitiv children on their way home from the park on a clear Sunday afternoon in April.
The police picked up the kids, assuring them they’d be driven home. The children were two and a half blocks from their house and knew exactly where they were and how to get home. Instead, police kept them in the back seat of the cruiser for several hours, without allowing the kids to call home or themselves calling the parents to alert them. The children were transferred to the nearest Child Protective Services Crisis Center, and after another couple of hours the parents were finally notified. The Meitivs rushed over to the center at 11 p.m. and were reunited with their son and daughter.
Mrs. Meitiv was especially scared because this was not the first time her children had been picked up by police. When it happened last December, they were brought home, but subsequently the parents were charged by Child Protective Services, the children were interviewed without their parents, and mom and dad were found responsible for “unsubstantiated child neglect.” Considering the dozens of parents across the nation who have had much worse brought upon them for allowing their children to be outside unattended—arrests, foster care, probation, huge legal bills—the Meitivs’ sentence was on the light side.
Earlier, the Meitivs were defiant, publicly declaring they would not stop permitting their kids a measure of independence. “Allowing kids to be Free-Range is critical for their development. In spite of this ruling, we will continue to let our kids roam (they’re at the park right now!),” Mrs. Meitiv declared in March. “The best way to make sure it doesn’t happen is to make Free-Ranging as common as it was when we were kids,” she told Reason magazine. When their kids were kidnapped in April, the Meitivs realized that changing the culture isn’t nearly as urgent as changing the law.
Skenazy, the author of Free-Range Kids, agrees. “I think we all are beginning to understand just how insane, paranoid, and vindictive the state can be when it comes to respecting human rights—in this case, the right of parents who love their kids to raise them the way they see fit.” After working for years to change the overly anxious parenting culture, Skenazy has now written a free-range parents’ bill of rights. She wants every state to revisit its child protection laws. “Children have the right to some unsupervised time, and parents have the right to give it to them without getting arrested,” her bill of rights reads in part.
These activists may be in for a long struggle. Not many years ago, another group of parents was horribly treated by the state—criminalized, in fact—and had to spend copious amounts of time and money to fight the law and reestablish their parental authority. It took years, but the good news is that they won big. They were the pioneers of home-schooling, and as a result of their work, what was once a fringe effort involving a handful of families is now legal in all 50 states, and the number of children schooled at home has risen from 10,000 in the early 1980s to possibly as high as 2.5 million today.
Stephen Arons’s description from his 1981 report “Public Orthodoxy, Public Dissent: The Culture of American Schooling” sounds eerily familiar to those caught in the current free-range fight:
His latest Facebook post looks like a campaign video.5:14 PM, Mar 20, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Is former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley moving closer to running for president? A short video on the Democrat's Facebook page looks like the beginning of a campaign ad.
"This bizarre sort of trickle-down experiment we've had where we think that by keeping wages down and concentrating wealth at the very top, we're somehow creating a better future for our kids," says O'Malley in the 15-second clip. "It doesn't work. It never has."
11:18 AM, Dec 31, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Outgoing Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is commuting the sentences of the state's four remaining inmates on death row. In 2012, Maryland abolished the death penalty, but the law did not apply to those already sentenced for execution. O'Malley, a Democrat, said in an official statement that executions of convicted murderers "make every citizen a party to a legalized killing as punishment."
Here's an excerpt from his statement:
Green in exchange for green.Dec 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 14 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
Speaking truth to power is easy—or easier, anyway, than speaking truth to money. We might resist a sovereign who commands us to preach his favored doctrines. But a sovereign who slips us a little cash on the side, just for a sermon or two on something we maybe don’t really disagree with all that much? Harder. Much, much harder. It was true back in 1717, for example, when Benjamin Hoadly preached a famous Anglican sermon in front of a receptive King George I—a sermon that called for church government to be taken away from the bishops and given directly to the king.
Matt Labash, election observerNov 17, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 10 • By MATT LABASH
Of all the rituals I count on to give my life shape, there is none so sacred as witnessing my former brother-in-law, Mike Benton, stand for local office in our pleasant burg of Calvert County, Maryland. Though my wife’s sister wound down with Mike two decades ago, he and I have a same-time-next-cycle arrangement, in which we use each quadrennial Election Day to catch up on the families, celebrate public service, and drink until we can’t feel our legs.
12:15 AM, Nov 5, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Larry Hogan, a Republican businessman, has won his race for governor in Maryland against Democratic lieutenant governor Anthony Brown. The Associated Press projects:
4:15 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The camera caught many empty seats at a rally Hillary Clinton is headlining in College Park, Maryland:
Hillary Clinton, a possible candidate for president of the United States, had not come out to speak yet, but was expected to take the stage shortly.
The rally is for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is running to become the next governor of Maryland.
Upset?11:18 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That's a 17-point swing from the campaign's internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.
7:52 PM, Oct 19, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, President Obama urged the crowd to make sure "cousin Pookie" voted in November's election.
Chris Christie to Maryland as governor's race shows signs of tightening.1:01 PM, Oct 15, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Every election year, it seems, there’s a race that catches the political set in Washington by surprise. It’s possible that we’ve already seen the 2014 version of this with the defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor, a result few anticipated and fewer still predicted.
'Children' being 'fed, clothed, cared for, taught' until 20s on taxpayers' dime.
3:36 PM, Jul 16, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
CNN reported last night that while Maryland governor Martin O'Malley doesn't want unaccompanied minors to be deported, he doesn't want them in certain parts of Maryland either.
Cash wasted on this clunker.10:45 AM, Mar 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The state of Maryland has encountered many setbacks in its attempt to get a health care website up and running smoothly. (Sound familiar?) And now, it has run up the white flag.
Coming to Maryland.9:01 AM, Mar 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The state agency in charge of Maryland's beleaguered Obamacare Marketplace, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), is looking to establish a standing advisory committee to provide the board of the MHBE advice and input on a "broad range of policy issues." The MHBE sent out a letter to "stakeholders" this week who might have an interest in serving on the committee.
3:20 PM, Feb 21, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The movies folks responsible for the making of House of Cards seem to have been reading their own reviews or taking a page out of their own (ludicrous) scripts. Or something. As Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post reports: