McDonald's Fires Mom Who Let 9-Year-Old Play Alone
But Debra Harrell now has custody of daughter again
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2014 3:10 AM CDT
Updated Jul 23, 2014 8:04 AM CDT
Debra Harrell has now been reunited with her daughter.   (YouCaring/Debra Harrell)

(Newser) – The South Carolina single mom arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in a park while she worked at McDonald's has been given her daughter back—but has lost her job. The lawyer representing Debra Harrell pro bono says McDonald's has let her go, but he isn't sure why, reports ThinkProgress. A McDonald's spokeswoman declined to comment. Harrell has been charged with unlawful neglect of a child, and her lawyer says that although she has been reunited with her daughter, the Department of Social Services probe is ongoing.

According to the blog Reason, Harrell had been bringing her daughter to work and letting her play on a laptop, but she started dropping her off at a nearby park while she worked after their home was broken into and the laptop was stolen. The lawyer tells CNN he thinks it's "absurd" to say the girl was "abandoned" at the park a few minutes' walk from her house. "Because if this woman gets convicted, guess what? ... From now on, do officers now have an obligation every time they see a 9-and-a-half-year-old not in the presence of their parents, do the parents get arrested?" he says. "It truly is the classic slippery slope." Amid public outcry over the case, a fundraising page set up to help Harrell has received more than $31,000 in donations.

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Showing 3 of 214 comments
Sweet Mango
Jul 28, 2014 9:30 AM CDT
I hope she get's hired by a better employer than McDonalds. Something is wrong with a law making it illegal to arrest parents of unsupervised 9y.o. kids. Most of us adults played unsupervised when we were younger than 9.
SPQR
Jul 25, 2014 1:28 AM CDT
This is the worst excuse for firing a person. As far as the violation of a law being committed. Sorry folks, I just don't buy it. I think the Coppers, overstepped their duties or maybe, they are being a tad racist. But in this case, Good Old McDonald's has outdone itself again. I have a suggestion to the Corporate Money Grubbers at McDonalds. How about paying your employees, so that they can afford child care.
Jaye
Jul 24, 2014 4:02 PM CDT
Funny, we can let 4 y.o,'s wald across our borders alone and their parents are brave freedom fighters, let an kid play at an enclosed play ground and busted. liberal logic.