Joanne Jacobs has a post about a Montana mom who was charged with endangerment after dropping 5 kids off at the mall. Two were 12 and supposed to be responsible for the three younger ones. Full story is here, Endangered at the Mall.
There used to be a time when this would not have been unusual. There are many cultures where this would not be viewed as unusual. Where 12 year olds were seen as sufficiently responsible and mature to look after younger children. Where unaccompanied children were welcomed as part of the community. Not here in North America apparently.
So if not here, could it be that despite all our chatter we really don't value children as we should? After all, if children were really as precious as we pretend, wouldn't we build communities that didn't exclude them? That didn't view a group of teenagers with hositlity or didn't make us fear for the safety of a lone 6 year old biking to a local store?
Maybe the Montana mom exposed the fact that for all our bluster about child safety we have no real intention of making out world a safe and welcome place for children to live in. We'd much rather pin responsibility on a scapegoat.