Mother may be jailed for dropping son off at park

Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2004 9:56 AM | Contributed by Gemini

Charlotte Nadine Chavez reported her 11-year-old son missing after he didn't show up at Six Flags Elitch Gardens where she dropped him off earlier in the day. She faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for violating a municipal code.

Read more from KMGH/Denver.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:26 AM
While I am not dsputing the issue of the lady just dumping her kid at the park, shouldn't the kid, his friend, or his friend's grandmother had enough common sense to CALL his mother when he was going to sleep at the friend's house?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 11:37 AM
On one hand, I think it's a stupid law. The kid was never in any danger as far as I can tell. On the other hand, anything that deters the Six Flags babysitting service is a good thing.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 12:40 PM
The way I read it, she didn't physically pass responsibility over to her son's friends grandmother. She just dropped him at the gate. That's child endangerment.I agree that the failure of the adult to notify the childs mother was not intelligent either.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:27 PM
How was the child in danger? What constitutes acceptable risk? When I walk down the street I could be hit by a bus, but that doesn't mean I'm in danger.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 1:43 PM
I personally feel an 11 year old should not be left without some sort of supervision. I doubt that anyone here would argue that it is OK to leave a 5 year old unsupervised. I also doubt anyone would object to leaving a 16 year old unsupervised. So I guess to me the big question is what age is it acceptable to leave a child unsupervised ?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:12 PM
11-year old...that would make him a 5th grader correct? At that age, my parents were accompanying me and my friends during park visits.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:23 PM
Anyone who abandons their child in a place where he is not supervised by a personally approved adult, does not deserve to have custody of the child. Was the child in danger? How many child molesters are in Denver?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:28 PM
here's the problem Six Flags Worlds of Childcare.
last year, at 6 flags worlds (ohio). they had a near drowning in the logoon area. the kid was ten or elevin or so...
the paged all over the PA for anyone with a kid that fit his descript... no one came...
i heard the paramedics, (and here's the rub). when it comes to minors, a school system can't even send a kid for medical treatment w/out a release. imagine some unknown kid w/no id, friends or even dogtags...
I'm not sure how they handled it, but it didn't hit the news... they were frustrated, and had good reason to be that way...
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:44 PM
So let me get this straight, all of you Six Flags bashers. No 11 year old as ever been left on his/her own at Cedar Point ?
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 2:49 PM
Great points flyingscooter. Without a parent, whom is responsible to make decisions if medical treatment is needed? Are you going to rely on the park? 11 is definitely too young to be there unsupervised. My parents would never have dropped me off at an amusement park or any other place by myself unless it was at a friends' or relatives' house.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 3:33 PM
Give it a rest Parkman... no one brought CP into this but you.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 3:52 PM
i wasn't bashing 6-flags... i had season passes every year it was Worlds... my point is this. what would you, could you, do with an injured kid when you have not the authority to do anything? personally, it would not surprise me if parks start to post signs regarding parents ditching their kids at parks. I don;t care if you're a major park chain or a ma-and-pa batting cage: feeling powerless and being worried about being sued is not fun...
Here's a case in point: in Ohio, you cannot leave an 11 yr old alone in a car while the engines running, even if you're only hitting the gas station for smokes... i've seen kids hauled to county shelters for that in Cleveland...
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 4:20 PM
Hmm, I have to say that I think this case falls into one of those gray areas. The mother was obviously not planning to abandon her son, but having an eleven year old running around in a public place like this without supervision is kind of questionable these days.

When I was that young, I know that I left my parents behind on our annual Cedar Point trips (yes, this does happen at Cedar Point too Parkman.) They were in the park, but I wasn't with them. Most of the time, I was with my older brother and sister, but that wasn't even always the case. I don't think that my parents were doing anything wrong in those instances.

Another thing to consider is if it is okay to have your eleven year old ride his bike through your home town on a nice summer day, or walk over to a friends house. I personally think that kids need those freedoms as long as the kid shows the responsibility to handle it.

I guess that I think, in this case, that the fault lies with the child and the friend's grandmother. Both should have known that they need the okay from mom before going on a sleep over.

Finally, I think that Flying Scooter does have a valid point with kids in medical need with no guardian around. I don't think that it would have been a huge issue when I was a kid and people weren't so lawsuit happy, but now I can see where parks might need to have a policy that no children under a certain age, be in the park without approved adult supervision.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 4:49 PM
There are ten year old kids running around my neighborhood unsupervised as we speak. Are they in more danger than they would be in an amusement park? I just don't understand how this is really any different.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 5:07 PM
I had an 11 year old babysit (now 13) my 2 kids, and never had a problem, and I actually never questioned if she was even old enough, yet she was certainly mature enough.

When I would go to CP, PKI, or BGW with my parents, they would always let me and a friend go off in the park on our own for hours at a time, is that abandonment? I would not consider her dropping her kid off at ANY park abandonment, unless she did not come back when she said said she was going to be there.

The story does not mention if the mother had a cell # to be reached at if there would be a problem.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 5:39 PM
Jeff, I know what you're saying, but according to the law here in San Diego, that constitutes child endangerment, and apparently also in Denver. I've personally witnessed minors detained where I formerly worked because there was no adult guardian on property.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004 10:42 PM
this sure sounds like the actions of a mother who was dumb enough to get pregnant at the age of 17.
Thursday, July 22, 2004 12:05 AM
Whoa... what is up with you guys? I don't understand where all of these ridiculous judgments are coming from. I agree that even my 11-year old cousin has baby-sat other cousins for a couple of hours. Why is it a problem for them to be unsupervised at an amusement park?

During the desegregation days in Cleveland, I walked 3/4 of a mile in inner-city Cleveland to my bus stop at age 7 and waited, sometimes an hour, for the bus. Tens of thousands of kids like me did the same thing, and somehow we all survived, unsupervised. I think a little common sense is in order.

Thursday, July 22, 2004 12:28 AM

What are you? The moral authority around here? Don't judge a parent's ability to raise their kid because they had a kid at a young age. That is nothing but old-fashioned b.s.

Jeff. Our generation was able to do the things that you just described when we were growing up with little to no worries. I personally pass that trust off to my 9-year old daughter who I allow to wander in places with me out of site. I am not going to sit around and worry every second of what could happen.

The way some of you reacted to this woman's actions, any of us who are parents should just lock our kids in closets until they reach 18.


You have to give your kid some freedom at a certain age and trust that they are mature enough to know their surroundings. It's part of growing up.

I will check back with some of you in 5 years when my daughter is 14 and enjoying her time at SFGAm with her friends and not having daddy following 2 steps behind her. :)


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