Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Mother who is being investigated by child services for letting her 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter walk home alone defends herself on TV
Cripes! I walked to and from school by myself for my entire childhood. It even involved crossing a main road. So what harm did I come to? None
A mother under investigation for letting her two young children walk a mile home from the park by themselves has spoken out to publicly defend 'free-range parenting'.
Danielle Meitiv appeared on the Today show Monday morning with her children Rafi, 10, and Dvora, six. Just before Christmas, the two children were walking about a mile home from a park near their Maryland home when police officers stopped them and asked why they were alone.
The officers escorted the Meitiv children home, launching a Child Protective Services investigation into Danielle and her husband Alexander's competence as parents.
But Mrs Meitiv doesn't think she they did anything wrong in giving her children a little independence.
'We're just doing what our parents did. It was considered perfectly normal just one generation ago,' she said on Today.
Mrs Meitiv admits that the walk back from the park was longer than her two kids had taken before, but says she wasn't worried because they have been on several shorter walks together with no issues.
'Well I've walked home from school before. Not with my sister, but I've done it alone,' 10-year-old Rafi said. 'We walked around the block a lot and we walk home from another park which is just around the block.
The Meitivs describe themselves as 'free-range parents' who encourage their two children to take journeys without supervision in order to build confidence and teach them about the outside world.
Usually they have the kids carry around a card that reads 'I'm not lost. I'm a free range kid' but they left them behind that day when they went to the park that was a bit further away from their house.
Someone saw the two kids walking alone and called 911, and about three police officers stopped the children as they were about halfway home.
While Mrs Meitiv says her children assured the officers that they knew where they were going, the police escorted them home to talk to her husband, Alexander Meitiv.
Mrs Meitiv wasn't home at the time, but says the officers were aggressive to her husband, and that her son called her crying, fearing that he would be arrested.
'He was shocked. He sees three police officers with our kids. And they didn't really explain what was going on so it was kind of uncomfortable. They asked for ID. He said he felt they were really aggressive,' she said.
When Child Protective Services later showed up at the house, she says they threatened her husband if he didn't sign a form, promising to supervise his children at all times until a follow up appointment.
'He said I don't want to sign this without talking to a lawyer or talking to my wife. And she said if you don't sign this we're going to take the children right now and she called the police,' she said.
The Meitivs are still under investigation by CPS. Mrs Meitiv says she understands why other parents wouldn't let their children walk alone, but doesn't believe her decision to give her children more freedom makes her a bad mother. 'I think what's really unfortunate is we're really overestimating the danger and underestimating our children.
'And in fact what's really sad is that by driving our kids instead of letting them walk, we're actually endangering them more because the number one cause of death for children this age are actually car accidents. 'So letting children walk is not only good for their health, it's actually safer than driving.'
Alex and Danielle have yet to learn whether any further action will be taken against them, but say whatever happens next, the experience has left them furious.
Mrs Meitiv previously told the Washington Post: 'I think what CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing.
'We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with.'
A CPS spokeswoman told the Post that they couldn't comment on individual cases, but pointed to state law which says children under eight must be left with a responsible person aged at least 13.
Police said they could not find information on the case, but a spokeswoman said that when concerns are reported, 'we have a responsibility as part of our duty to check on people’s welfare.'
Sexism row as star female lawn bowls player is banned from competing for her local team because she is a woman
A female lawn bowls player has been banned from competing for her local team, because the league claims women are 'not as good as men'.
Claire Williams, 51, helped get Burway Bowling Club in Ludlow, Shropshire into the top lawn bowls division in the county last year.
However, the Shropshire Premier Bowling League (SPBL) has a strict male-only policy and its president has today pledged to 'fight vehemently' to keep her and other women players out.
Ms Williams' club are appealing to overturn the 21-year-old rule after branding the league regulations old-fashioned and outdated.
But Mike Hinton, 73, president of the SPBL, has said there is 'no way' the league will allow a change in the rules and allow women to play.
'The plain fact is we don't think they are good enough,' Mr Hinton said, adding that Burway Bowling Club made a similar - unsuccessful - appeal for change last year. 'I would put my house and £1,000 on it not being passed again this year.
'I will be fighting vehemently to make sure women are not allowed to join our league.
'One of the middle leagues changed the rules and they started putting women's names down on the team sheet before men, I couldn't believe it.
'I have been president for 13 years and I am standing down tomorrow, but there is no way we will let this rule change pass.
'The simple reason is because men are generally better players than women.'
Ms Williams, who works for the Ministry of Defence, led her side to the top of the Flowfit Ludlow & District Bowls League last year, allowing the team to play in the top county league.
However, this achievement also meant that Ms Williams had to be dropped from the team because of the men-only rule.
When the issue was raised at the Shropshire Premier Bowling League annual meeting last year, many teams had not held their annual general meetings to discuss the matter, so it was voted down.
Yesterday Duncan Pressley, captain of the Burway Bowling Club, said it was time the sport caught up with the times. He said: 'We put a letter in last year asking why women couldn't be included in teams in the league.
'Obviously it was in our interest to have Claire as part of our team. 'She was one of the best players we had and not just of the ladies - she's better than a lot of the men. 'Claire doesn't play for us anymore, but it wasn't just about her.
'Somebody has got to be the first one to put up their hands and say in this day and age should we still be doing this?
'It's probably the only league in the county which doesn't allow women to play. Ludlow and District has been a mixed league for 15 to 20 years.
'Most sports that aren't intensely physical these days are coming round to the idea that women can be allowed to compete alongside men. 'Look at golf, where women are now allowed in the club house at St..Andrews.
'There are ladies' leagues, obviously, but just within localised areas as far as I know.
'I know of several clubs that wouldn't have a problem with this, we have women that are good enough players just stood on the side watching. 'I think these things need to be looked at in today's world.'
Suspended and sent for 'equality training' - Christian magistrate who said: 'Adopted child needs mum and dad - not gay parents'
A Christian magistrate has been disciplined by a Tory Cabinet Minister for expressing the belief that children should be raised by both a mother and a father.
Richard Page told colleagues behind closed doors during an adoption case that he thought it would be better for a child to be brought up in a traditional family rather than by a gay couple.
He was shocked a week later when he found he had been reported to the judges’ watchdog for alleged prejudice, and was suspended from sitting on family court cases.
Mr Page, an experienced NHS manager, has now been found guilty of serious misconduct by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling – who previously spoke in support of a Christian couple who turned away a gay couple from their B&B.
He has also been ordered to go on an equality course before he is allowed back in the courtroom.
The married 68-year-old was told he had broken the oath sworn by all Justices of the Peace (JPs) as well as Labour’s controversial Equality Act, by being guided by his religious views and discriminating against the same-sex adoptive parents.
Last night, critics said the case was another example of how people who hold traditional Christian views feel they have no freedom of speech and find it difficult to hold public office in modern Britain.
Mr Page told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is tremendous pressure to keep quiet and go along with what is seen to be politically correct. 'Everyone else seems to be allowed to stand up for their beliefs except for Christians.’
Mr Page was called on to consider an adoption order at a family court last July. As a lay judge he is not required to be legally qualified and is meant to ‘bring a broad experience of life to the bench’ in making decisions. Because of the controversial secretive nature of such hearings, The Mail on Sunday cannot publish details of the case.
But as is standard in such cases, social workers presented their report on the adoption case in the courtroom then Mr Page went into a separate meeting room with fellow magistrates to discuss whether or not to approve the placement order with the prospective parents.
It was at that point, behind closed doors, that Mr Page said he raised several questions about whether or not the adoption was appropriate, and also mentioned his view as a Christian that it would be better for the child to be raised by a mother and a father rather than the prospective parents who were two men.
‘I think there is something about a man, a woman and a baby, that it’s natural and therefore the others are not. That is the comment that I made,’ he said. ‘Therefore, since my task as a magistrate is to do the best for the child, my feeling was, quite reasonably, that a man and a woman would be better.’
A strict law means the detail of the disciplinary complaint against Mr Page must remain confidential.
Mr Page has been a magistrate for 15 years, with an unblemished record, and his views as an evangelical Christian had never caused problems before, either on the bench or in his former job as a manager at an NHS mental health trust. He and his wife, who have three grown-up children, had been foster parents themselves and he hoped this background would prove useful when he became a JP.
So he was ‘gobsmacked’ when he discover a week later that a formal complaint had been made about his allegedly prejudicial comments in the private meeting, which was not attended by the same-sex adopters.
Mr Page said: ‘What I was staggered by was that they were saying I was a Christian and therefore I was prejudiced. They were far more prejudiced in their complaint than I was in what I said.’
Mr Page said he had thought the discussion was just like any other that happens between magistrates when they disagree on a case and have to use their judgment to make a decision.
‘Why do you have magistrates if there isn’t a different view that they can have? We all have views and that’s what you have to bring to decision-making, and mine are Christian views.’
He accepted his decision was coloured by his religious philosophy but insisted: ‘That’s allowed because that’s what we’re here for.
‘Our job is to do what’s best for that child and that must be something to do with the magistrate’s views rather than just ticking the box.’
Mr Page was brought before a local conduct panel, where he was told he had broken the judicial oath, which requires magistrates to ‘do right to all manner of people’, ‘without fear or favour, affection or ill will’.
But he pointed out the oath also includes the words ‘so help me God’, and therefore he was abiding by the oath as he was doing the best for the child with the help of God.
Andrea Williams, head of the pressure group Christian Concern that has advised Mr Page, added: ‘There’s no understanding that he could be acting out of compassion for a child. They just think that he’s prejudiced and that people who hold this view should not be in public office.
‘We need more people like Mr Page in public life. Why should he, after all these years of service, suddenly have some kind of mark on his record for believing a child should live with a mother and father?
‘Christians have to decide if they want to stay silent, say nothing, because if they reveal what they think and say supposedly controversial things such as children need a mum and a dad, at that point they can find themselves in trouble with their employers and professional bodies.’
Officials tried to stop The Mail on Sunday investigating the story of the JP being disciplined for expressing his Christian views.
After this newspaper was alerted to the very brief official summary of the case against Richard Page, we tried to speak to people who knew more about it.
But a senior court official, Malcolm Dodds, the clerk to the justices for Kent, warned that journalists could not even ask questions about what had happened – and would be breaking the law if they revealed what had gone on in the disciplinary hearing.
Mr Dodds left a message on a journalist’s mobile phone stating: ‘It’s confidential under Section 139 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.’
But open justice campaigner John Hemming MP said last night: ‘The whole process needs more transparency. They should explain what’s going on.’ Why can't the voice of Christians be heard?
The highest law officers of the land have not only issued a reprimand to Mr Page but require him to receive remedial training. This smacks to me of the ‘re-education’ camps so beloved of totalitarian Marxist states.
Is this the way to promote liberty or is freedom of speech and belief only for a liberal elite with politically correct views?
Don't like the PC mob? Well now that makes YOU a terror threat
By Peter Hitchens
Using the excuse of terrorism – whose main victim is considered thought – Theresa May’s Home Office is making a law which attacks free expression in this country as it has never been attacked before.
We already have some dangerous laws on the books. The Civil Contingencies Act can be used to turn Britain into a dictatorship overnight, if politicians can find an excuse to activate it.
But the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, now slipping quietly and quickly through Parliament, is in a way even worse. It tells us what opinions we should have, or should not have.
As ever, terrorism is the pretext. Yet there is no evidence to suggest that the criminal drifters, school drop-outs and drug-addled losers who do much terrorist dirty work (and whose connections with vast worldwide conspiracies are sketchy to say the least) will be even slightly affected by it.
In a consultation paper attached to the Bill, all kinds of institutions, from nursery schools (yes really, see paragraph 107) to universities, are warned that they must be on the lookout for ‘extremists’.
But universities are told they have a ‘responsibility to exclude those promoting extremist views that support or are conducive to terrorism’.
Those words ‘conducive to’ are so vague that they could include almost anybody with views outside the mainstream.
What follows might have come from the laws of the Chinese People’s Republic or Mr Putin’s Russia. Two weeks’ advance notice of meetings must be given so that speakers can be checked up on, and the meeting cancelled if necessary.
Warning must also be given of the topic, ‘sight of any presentations, footage to be broadcast, etc’. A ‘risk assessment’ must be made on whether the meeting should be cancelled altogether, compelled to include an opposing speaker or (even more creepy) ‘someone in the audience to monitor the event’.
Institutions will be obliged to promote ‘British values’. These are defined as ‘democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs’. ‘Vocal and active opposition’ to any of these is now officially described as ‘extremism’.
Given authority’s general scorn for conservative Christianity, and its quivering, obsequious fear of Islam, it is easy to see how the second half will be applied in practice. As for ‘democracy’, plenty of people (me included) are not at all sure we have it, and wouldn’t be that keen on it if we did.
Am I then an ‘extremist’ who should be kept from speaking at colleges? Quite possibly. But the same paragraph (89, as it happens) goes further. ‘We expect institutions to encourage students to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010’.
These ‘protected characteristics’, about which we must be careful not to be ‘extremist’, are in fact the pillars of political correctness – including disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation.
The Bill is terrible in many other ways. And there is no reason to believe that any of these measures would have prevented any of the terrorist murders here or abroad, or will do so in future.
They have been lifted out of the box marked ‘try this on the Home Secretary during a national panic’, by officials who long to turn our free society into a despotism.
Once, there would have been enough wise, educated, grown-up people in both Houses of Parliament to stand up against this sort of spasm. Now most legislators go weak at the knees like simpering teenage groupies whenever anyone from the ‘Security’ or ‘Intelligence’ services demands more power and more money.
So far there has been nothing but a tiny mouse-squeak of protest against this dangerous, anti-British, concrete-headed twaddle. It will go through. And in ten years’ time we’ll wonder why we’re locking people up for thinking. We’ll ask: ‘How did that happen?’ This is how it happens.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.