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Lego mom arrest overblown
by Lenore Skenazy
Jul 07, 2017 | 890 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print

An upstate New York mom has been arrested for an unspeakable crime. She allowed her 10-year-old child to shop alone at the Lego Store in the local mall while she shopped in a different store.

The horror.

Rochester station WHEC-TV reports: "The Ontario County Sheriff's Office says a Pittsford mother is accused of leaving her ten-year-old child alone in the Lego Store at Eastview Mall for approximately two hours while she shopped.

"Deputies say that 44-year-old Jia Fan was arrested at about 5:37 p.m. Sunday evening. She is charged with endangering the welfare of a child."

Ah, yes, that poor endangered kid, surrounded by small pieces of plastic.

Now, some of you may recall that in 2014, a mom on Long Island was arrested for leaving her 7-year-old at a Lego Store for one hour and 20 minutes while she shopped elsewhere in the mall. And in 2015, a Lego Store in Canada detained an 11-year-old for being "too young" to shop alone. That child's father, Doug Dunlop, wrote a letter to the company:

"Dear Lego: 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."

A question: Is a child of double digits "unattended" or simply "on his own" if he is out in public without an adult chaperone? One label implies negligence on the part of the parent; the other label implies a parent who has raised a competent young adult.

Another question: Did Lego call the cops on the latest kid, or did the cops stumble upon the kid on their own?

The Lego corporate press office has still not responded to my request for comment. The manager of the Eastview Mall Lego Store, Dan Prouty, told me that he could not comment on whether someone at his store called the cops. But Prouty did acknowledge that there's a sign in his store's window that says, in his words, "children under the age of 12 are not allowed to be unattended in the store."

Official Lego policy does seem to be obsessed with age liability. Consider these admission rules at the Legoland in Toronto:

"Special Note: Adults (18+) must be accompanied by a child (age 17 or younger) to visit the Discovery Centre. Children will not be admitted without an adult."

As for the mom in upstate New York, WHEC-TV says she was "given an appearance ticket, and is expected to answer the charge in Victor Town Court on a future date."

Lenore Skenazy is the founder of Free-Range Kids, a contributor to Reason.com and the author of "Has the World Gone Skenazy?"

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