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Crime or parenting? Cops called for kids playing alone in park

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Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Children play in a neighborhood park in Alameda, Calif. Parenting styles vary widely, from the helicopter variety to the free range. But a neighbor took the issue into her own hands recently, calling the cops on a dad who left his kids playing alone in a park near his house in Pittsburgh.

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Readers! As we approach our third annual, “Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day” (Saturday, May 19), this story is outrageous:

Apparently a dad let his two kids, ages 6 and 9, play in a local suburban Pittsburgh park on Saturday morning (April 7) for not quite two hours while he did some shopping and took a shower. That is, while he went about the tasks of everyday life.

Meantime, a woman noticed this unusual thing: Kids playing without an adult around!

That this fact was “disturbing” to an onlooker is what is so disturbing about our culture. For millennia, kids kept themselves occupied while their parents were otherwise engaged. A 9-year-old watching a 6-year-old was normal, not a reason to call the cops.

But call the cops she did.

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