Texas Mom Thrown In Jail For Letting Kids Play Outside (Video)

A mom arrested for letting her two children play outside? Isn’t that what kids are supposed to do?

Yes. you read that right. Tammy Cooper was arrested last week and thrown into jail because her two kids, ages 6 and 9, were playing outside. The youngsters weren’t vandalizing, or causing any kind of trouble. They were riding their scooters around the neighborhood. Bad idea.

It’s not the first time. Earlier this year, a community in Florida decided to prohibit anyone under age 18 from going outside unsupervised by an adult. If you’re a kid at Ole Village in Lely Resort, Collier County, Florida, that means no bike riding, no walking to the bus stop, no being outside at all, without an adult.

As the author of a book on the importance of kids getting out, I am outraged, as all moms should be. I speak to so many parents who remember the days when they could play outside, maybe leaving home on a summer morning and not returning except for meals until bedtime. And they wish their kids could enjoy the same freedom.

Ironically, Tammy Cooper is a stay-at-home mom who moved to her Texas home precisely because she thought the cul-de-sac provided a safe neighborhood for her children to play in.

But Cooper’s next-door neighbor in LaPorte, Texas, saw two kids playing on the front lawn and decided to call the cops because she thought the kids shouldn’t be playing outside unsupervised. In fact, mom was sitting outside in a lawn chair but when the police arrived they didn’t believe her story. For whatever reason, they believed the neighbor instead, and they hauled Tammy Cooper into the police car and into a jail cell where she spent 18 hours overnight.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Orange jump suit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours,” Cooper told KPRC-TV.

Cooper was arrested for child endangerment and she is disputing the charges.

According to Yahoo News:
Cooper is suing the La Porte Police Department, the officer, and the neighbor who made the call. In a statement, the police department said it was “confident of the known actions of the officers on the scene that evening.” The neighbor had no comment.

When one in three children in this country is overweight or obese, and the average child spends almost nine hours a day staring at electronic devices, isn’t it more dangerous to stay inside than to step outside?

Today’s child is “The Hurried Child,” as David Elkind famously wrote: burdened with after-school classes, soccer practice, special tutors and no time to just be a kid.

Tammy Cooper was being a “hummingbird” parent: watching her kids, but not so closely as to stifle them. Kids need some protection and they need some independence. That’s what being a good parent is all about.

What do you think? Should the cop have used some common sense and not arrested the mom despite the neighbor’s call? And what about that neighbor?

You can watch Tammy Cooper here:

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Photo Credit: screenshot from KPRC-TV


Catherine Noles
Catherine Noles4 years ago

Why the neighbor didn't go outside to SEE what was going on is beyond me! If she had simply gone out, she would have known that the mother was there. And heaven forbid that the cops should actually ASK the kids where mom was......it's not like they were *little* little ones. Ages 6 and 9 for crying out loud! I'm soooooo glad my kids are grown, and......when my grandkids come to visit, I know that they will be safe in our neighborhood. Oh yeah....I live in a cul-de-sac too!

The whole thing is stupid...just STUPID!!!

Gina Wallace
Gina Wallace4 years ago

First off, I think it's ridiculous for a place to even have a law about 18 and under without supervision. That's just crazy. No, I don't think she should have been arrested and I hope she wins the lawsuit. And after that, I hope she moves! I couldn't imagine having to follow my kids around when they want to ride their bike or walk the dog or whatever. Yes, 3 & 6 are too young to be roaming the neighborhood unattended, I do agree with that. BUT to put these restrictions on every child in that community is crazy!!

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Carl, not sure who you are addressing your comment TO, but I think most people here feel the cops over-reacted and sure should NOT have arrested this woman based SOLELY on what one neighbor said, especially when they never saw the kids outside without supervision, THEMSELVES and the Mom clearly stated she had been watching them the entire time.

I've had "fender bender" accidents where I would not move my car until the cops got there, wanting to make sure the Police Report accurately stated where my car was in relation to the other car and that no injuries, whatever. I've had cops arrvive and tell me and the other guy to get our vehicles out of the road and exchange "info" and then they just left. They even said once when I got rear-ended on the freeway (obvious because the spoiler on the trunk of my car got knocked off and flew over 3 lanes of traffic!)..........no ticket issued because they didn't see any traffic infraction themselves!

Carl Nielsen
Carl Nielsen5 years ago

Are you asking whether the police should refuse to enforce laws they find silly or disagree with?

Danielle I.
Danielle I5 years ago

Too unbelievable for words! I am so glad I live in a country where our children (and parents) are encouraged to get children out of the house and into fresh air, playing and getting exercise, as children should. I feel for this poor Mum, who was doing the very best by her children! Perhaps the neighbour should have gone and checked to see if the Mother was in fact outside as well!! Shame on both the neighbour and the police

Darla Taylor
Past Member 5 years ago

How horrible. The police should not have arrested this woman. Kids should be allowed to play outside with the kind of supervision this mom was giving. Mary B, the article said scooters not motorized vehicles of any kind. Scooters are a 2 wheeled contraption propelled by one's feet. {Sorry if this doesn't make sense I have a medical problem and finding the correct words is often hard for me.} Anyway, you push the scooter around with your feet, no motors anywhere to make noise. I hope the lawsuit goes in favor of this mom who did absolutely nothing wrong. After all, as a nation we want our kids playing outside more just like we all used to.

Dawn C.

Remember the final Seinfeld episode?

Dawn C.

Police problems like that are suffered here too. It is very wrong.

Noray J.
Noray Jimenez5 years ago

I am so outraged at the fact that the neighbor went forth and called the police. Isn't the nation complaining that our children are sitting in front of the television or their game systems too much and that they need to get out and exercise? What I would like to know is if this woman's neighbor even attempted to see if the children mother was outdoors with them.