A couple of months after Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were found responsible for “unsubstantiated neglect” for letting Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, walk home from a park close to where they live in downtown Silver Spring, they gave the children permission to do it again.An interesting twist to this story is that when the police stopped the children and took them into custody, they told them they were going to take them home. Apparently, they didn't mention that they were going to hold them for hours, deny them food and water and use of the bathroom. Way to go, cops, you just created two more citizens who will never trust the police again.
Responding to a call from a citizen, police collected the children and took them to CPS in Montgomery where, 5 1/2 anxious hours later, they were reunited with their parents.
Danielle Meitiv said they were panicked when they didn’t hear anything from the children, who were expected home at 6 p.m., until CPS called at 8. The children were released to their parents at 10:30 pm after the parents signed papers agreeing not to leave the children unattended.One wonders, if at this point, the Silver Springs police department has entered into a campaign to beat the Meitivs into submission by using every opportunity to harass the family for not conforming to approved parenting styles. I wonder how often these rules are enforced in the rougher areas of the county and state?
“They were both scared they would never see us again. They were scared they were being taken away from us. I was scared of that, too,” Danielle said in an interview with a Washington Post reporter. “This is surreal. I can’t believe that anyone who claims to care about children would put children through this.”
According to the Montgomery police report, police received an anonymous call about unattended children and found them in a parking garage on Fenton Street where a “homeless subject” was “eyeing the children.”Ah yes, the old "anonymous tip" dodge.
Post columnist Petula Dvorak get worked up over this.:
In the bizarre nationwide culture war over how much freedom children should have to play outside alone, the youngest combatants — Rafi and Dvora Meitiv — are the ones being damaged the most.
This is getting pretty ridiculous. Somehow we’ve morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state,
. . .
Imagine the message our society is sending the Meitiv kids by holding them in the back of a squad car and in a crisis center for nearly six hours because they were playing alone outside. And if what Danielle said is true — that police initially told the kids they were going to just drive them home — how is this not a kidnapping?
It’s outrageous, really.
If that adult who called police was worried about the kids, why not talk to them? Ask them where their parents were? Walk them home?
Or maybe it was someone who recognized the Meitiv kids, hated their parents’ very public “free-range” advocacy campaign — multiple television appearances included — and decided to get back at them.
If this is how we respond to children playing alone, my kids and I would’ve been locked up multiple times. Walking the dog around the block? Call the Capitol Police! Getting a Popsicle at the corner store? Alert the social workers! Getting me the cheese I ran out of while making dinner? Book ’em!
We need to get a grip. I get that it’s a scary thing to let kids go. But it is absolutely necessary for them to become normal, functioning adults.