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Say Whaaat? Georgia Mom Facing Prison for Letting 14-Year-Old Babysit Siblings During Pandemic.

Clearly times have changed since the days of 80's latch-key kids and 10-year-olds watching their siblings while their mom went shopping or to work.

A Georgia single mom is facing possible prison time after she allowed her 14-year-old daughter to babysit her younger children when the pandemic hit.

According to reports, Melissa Henderson, of Blairsville, has been charged with criminal reckless conduct after she left her four youngest children with her oldest child, 14-year-old Linley, in May 2020 after the COVID pandemic forced the children’s daycare to shut down.

Here's how Henderson got "busted". Henderson had to go to work so she asked her 14-year-old daughter, Linley, to babysit the four younger siblings. Linley was engaged in remote learning when her youngest brother, four-year-old Thaddeus, spied his friend outside and went over to play with him. It was about 10 or 15 minutes before Linley realized he was missing. She guessed that he must be at his friend's house, and went to fetch him.

In the meantime, the friend's mom had called the police.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and fine of $1,000. The arresting officer, Deputy Sheriff Marc Pilote, wrote in his report that anything terrible could have happened to Thaddeus, including being kidnapped, run over, or "bitten by a venomous snake." (When Henderson protested that the kid was only gone a few minutes, Pilote responded that a few minutes was all the time a venomous snake needed.)

This is absolutely ridiculous. YES, we know that the child could have been seriously hurt but, throwing his mother in prison for trying to earn a living is even more ridiculous.

There are several of us on The Chatty Passenger staff who were home alone as kids or in charge of younger siblings at a much younger age than 14. What was this mother supposed to do? There was no childcare. There was no help for her. Maybe her neighbor should have offered assistance instead of calling the cops on her. Do you think this was handled correctly or, could there have been another way?


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