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When I was in second grade, I walked or rode my bike by myself frequently. The school I attended wasn't far, the neighborhood was a nice, working-class area and I enjoyed my autonomy. I think a lot of us had similar experiences as kids. It helps us gain confidence. It's part of growing up.

Now imagine your child walks half a mile home, on a sunny day, through your nice, Texas neighborhood. You get arrested, jailed, lose your job, are forced to do community service, and have to take drug tests while someone watches you urinate.

That's exactly what happened to one Waco, Texas mom.

Heather Wallace's oldest son, 8-year-old Aiden, was driving his two brothers crazy in the car as they all returned from karate one afternoon in October 2021. Wallace asked Aiden to walk the rest of the way home—half a mile in quiet, suburban Waco, Texas—so that he could calm down.

Aiden had walked home many times, it wasn't a punishment so much as an alternative. If you don't want to calm down in the car, you can work some energy off walking home. It seems completely reasonable to me.

But one of Heather's neighbors called the police, who picked the boy up in their patrol car and arrested Heather in front of all of her children. Her husband had to post bond for her. She was charged with felony child endangerment which caused her to lose her job- and half the family's income.

Heather had to do community service, ironically in a child care center, but only when the center was closed so she couldn't "hurt" any more kids. Also ironically, she has had to leave her kids alone to take drug tests because she can no longer afford a babysitter.

After hearing Heather's story, I think of all the children who are in dangerous situations of actual abuse and neglect, and how frequently they get overlooked. And this poor woman's life was ruined over nothing. It's heartbreaking.

Heather has a GoFundMe to help get her family out of the debt this incident has caused. 

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