7-year-old 'rides bike alone,' prompting cops to be called

 April 7, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A Georgia family has been profiled in Reason for a series of incidents in which bystanders called police because their 7-year-old was riding a bike "alone."

Or worse, in a grocery to fetch a free cookie being offered by the store.

The upshot is that the family now has moved out of the city of Canton, described as a middle-class suburb of Atlanta, and they have met with the governor urging the state to adopt a law allowing for 7-year-olds to have a level of independence.

The report explains the saga started in 2018,

"The Widner kids—then ages 13, 11, nine, and seven—were members of a swim team at their local YMCA, which was about two blocks from their house. One day, after swim practice, the 7-year-old, Jackson, lagged while the rest of his siblings walked home, and stopped by the grocery for a free cookie," the report said.

A store worker demanded he stay until police arrived, and called them.

That pattern then was repeated several times over, as Jackson repeatedly acted like a responsible child in riding his new bike alone or stopping by the nearby store for a cookie.

Officers, aggravating the fact that they even were called to intervene, then triggered two investigations by Child Protective Services, the report said.

The report said the family "recently had the opportunity to share these experiences with the governor's office. (The meeting was arranged by the Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason, and Let Grow...)"

The goal? A "Reasonable Childhood Independence" law in the state.

Already, eight states have such provisions, and three more are working on their own plans.

But Reason explained that Jackson had "refused to tell the authorities where he lived—having been taught not to give such information to strangers."

The cops then "were very cross with Jackson and informed him that being out and about without his parents was a serious infraction. He responded that he would promptly go home 'if you would just leave me alone,' his mother recalled later."

The father, Glenn, also was scolded by police, and when a caseworker from Georgia's Division of Family and Child Services arrived, the report said, she closed the investigation, admitting, "her own kids could learn a bit more independence from the Widners," the mom, Beth, in said the report.

The conflict reached one point at which police accused Glenn of "breaking the law" by letting Jackson go out alone, but when he asked what law, they told him to "Google it."

As the confrontations reached a peak, a caseworker claimed the family would be required to follow a "parenting plan," and they refused.

The Widners then adopted a plan to leave the city, the report said.

Latest News

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts