"How Dare She Run In for Muffins?" is a tale of what happens when helicopter parenting becomes the law of the land. It's in The Washington Post and it's by Let Grow President Lenore Skenazy and Diane Redleaf, a family defense attorney and author of "They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Family At Risk," who advises Let Grow on legal issues. It begins:
The family’s nightmare began with a stop for muffins in their hometown of Elizabethtown, Ky., on March 30, 2017. Holly Curry was on her way to her 5-year-old’s morning karate practice. It was 67 degrees and partly cloudy. She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café. Police officers frequent the area because it’s near the courts — about the last place any kidnapper would nab a child, let alone six of them. Into the cafe Curry went.
When she came out less than 10 minutes later, two officers rebuked Curry for leaving her kids in the car. They told her she wasn’t being arrested, just “detained.” She started to cry and asked permission to call her husband, Josiah, but that request was denied. No one asked to see the kids, still sitting in the car.
The officers told Curry that while they were not charging her with any crime, they were going to file a “JC3 form” — a hotline-type alert to the Kentucky child protection system.
The next day a child protective services investigator showed up, eventually with a sheriff's deputy. They insisted on entering Holly's home. Then the woman from CPS:
...questioned Curry about her home life. Curry answered fully, the lawsuit said, worried that any refusal would add to her peril. The investigator insisted on taking the youngest child from Curry’s lap and, without permission, began to undress her. In the presence of the male deputy, the investigator proceeded to undress each child, male and female, down to the genitals (removing the diapers of the two youngest). Curry tried to object, but she knew she was powerless to stop the investigator from doing full-body inspections.
The last to be undressed was her 4-year-old son, taught by his pediatrician that he should never let a stranger take his clothes off without his mom’s okay. But when the boy tried to make eye contact with Curry, the investigator stood directly in his line of sight, leaving him helpless. Then the investigator pointed to the deputy and said, “Show that cop your muscles!” The little boy removed his shirt and flexed his biceps as ordered. The investigator and deputy began laughing while the investigator started to pull down his pants. When the little boy finally was able to look back at his mother, she was holding back tears. The little boy’s face registered shame and fear.
About two weeks later, Holly was found not guilty of child neglect. But why did a muffin stop end up with a strip search at all? How dare the authorities not only second-guess a mom's very safe decision, but take their investigation so far beyond the bounds of common sense -- and decency? That's what motivated the Currys to file a a federal civil rights lawsuit to challenge the entry into their home under coercion, the seizure of the children inside the home, and the strip-searches.
Local Kentucky lawyers and the national Home School Legal Defense Association are counsel in the case.
In short: Parents deserve the right to make seat-of-the-pants decisions that do not put their kids in any real, obvious and statistically like danger. Waiting 10 minutes for muffins falls into that no-real-danger category.