A mother was arrested and charged Sunday for letting her 10-year-old son shop alone at a toy store.
Jia Fan was charged with child endangerment for leaving her son alone at the Lego Store in the Eastview Mall in Victor, N.Y., AP reported. She went off to shop and came back to be arrested by Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies.
Child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor in New York State. Persons charged with it can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, up to three years of probation and a fine of up to $1,000.
Free-Range Kids advocate Lenore Skenazy wrote about the incident at Reason.com.
“Ah yes, that poor, endangered kid, surrounded by small pieces of plastic,” she wrote.
But it’s not the first controversial arrest, Skenazy added.
In 2015, an 11-year-old boy was arrested for actually shopping at the Lego Store in the Chinook Mall in Calgary, she wrote.
The boy’s father, Doug Dunlop, wrote the company:
Today, our son went to the Lego store in Chinook Mall, Calgary, Alberta. He had over $200 and was intending to purchase some Lego with it….
Imagine my surprise when I entered the store and found that the manager had called a security guard to detain my son….
I spoke to the security guard who told me that the Lego store required a parent to be with any child 12 or under. He stated that it was Lego store policy and that he was just enforcing it.
I then followed the guard to the manager, and asked him why he would call security on my son. He stated that for safety reasons, no child under 12 could be left unattended in the store.”
Readers who commented at Reason were split on the news stories, believing that private stores have the right to limit the age of kids who can be left alone but wondering why police should be involved.
“Don’t blame LEGO,” one person wrote. “This is almost certainly to protect themselves against liability. Somewhere along the line, there are an attorney’s fingerprints on this.”
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