how many times before you'd call the police? little league - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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how many times would you allow a parent to essentially abandon their child at the baseball field before you would call the police?

my younger brother coaches his son in little league. nephew is on the 7, 8 & 9 year olds team.

there is a child (he is 8) who is on their team this year who has parents who pull up to the field, child gets out of the car, and they drive off. he is always there at a minimum of 15 minutes late for the start of the game - meaning he's actually 30 minutes late b/c they are supposed to be there early for some practice time. then, the parents leave him there for the entire game by himself and don't show back up until well after the game has ended.

the first time it happened the parents didn't get back until 45 minutes after the game ended. they never got out of the car, just drove up, honked the horn loudly and obnoxiously and the kid ran over and got in the car.

the second time it happened, my brother asked the kid to stay with him until his dad came and got him b/c it wasn't safe for him to run across the parking lot - all the while planning on speaking to the dad, and this was the only way he could think of to get the dad out of the car in the moment. he didn't want to walk the kid to the car and try to talk to the dad and have the dad just drive off.

the dad was all pissed off at the kid for not coming to get in the car immediately (lots of honking and window rolled down to yell at him to "get moving!"

dad and my brother had words. my brother told him that he wasn't running a daycare and that the dad needed to stay so that the kid wasn't by himself. the dad told him that he had other things to do and didn't have time to sit there. made lots of excuses about how he works all week and he has to get his oil changed, etc, etc. my brother told him that he needs to come back and get his kid and not leave him and that he's not going to keep waiting around for the guy to get back.

well, yesterday, it was happening again. my brother was angry and said he was giving them 10 minutes before he called the police. he also said maybe he'd take the kid in his car to the police station and let them know what was happening.

i said i thought it was a bad idea to put the kid in his car for all sorts of reasons, but that i thought calling the police was a good idea. the parents have had several chances to not do this as well as being spoken to already.

we had to leave, so i'm not sure if he called them or not, but i hope he did. i reminded him that most daycares wouldn't hesitate to call the police and report the child as abandoned if the parents did that at a daycare.

have any of you run in to this sort of thing before? what helped? and, if you did call the police, what happened?

mom to Andrew   born Feb 6th, already a mom to child with fur; and still missing and still wondering about the lost possibilities Mar 17, 2009
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#2 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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I wouldn't call the police. This isn't illegal.

The child is 8. In my state, the parents are allowed to leave him unsupervised for "reasonable" periods of time. Leaving him alone for 45 minutes after the end of the Little League game wouldn't trip any triggers for child neglect here.

I wouldn't have a problem asking the parents not to do it, though, if it bothered me. I would tell the parents that you don't want to leave the child alone after the end of the game and that if they can't be back before the end of the game to pick him up, the child can't participate.
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#3 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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but, if my brother just left him there by himself until the parents got back he'd probably be arrested and one can only imagine the coverage on the news.

why should he allow the parents to essentially hold him hostage until it's convenient for them to come back? he's got a life too and can't wait around for them.

are you suggesting he just leave the kid there to fend for humself?

mom to Andrew   born Feb 6th, already a mom to child with fur; and still missing and still wondering about the lost possibilities Mar 17, 2009
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#4 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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My instinct in most things is to leave the cops out of it, but in this case, I do think I'd call if only to let them know whats going on. It may not be illegal for them to leave their kid byhimself... but I don't think its legal for your bro to just leave him by himself. If dad/mom can't drop him off/pick up at the correct times then he can't participate. Simple really.
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#5 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Having had this problem in the past, the best I can offer is what worked for me.

Once late, understandable. Twice late, okay, could be extenuating circumstances. Third time, your using me as a free babysitter and that does not fly. Unless there are extended extenuating circumstances but that's not what's going on here.

I typed up a very nicely worded letter stating very clearly when practice was over, that I had other obligations after practice and all children must be picked up within 10 minutes of practice being let out. (Depending on where you live traffic can be an issue). If a parent or someone a parent had authorized has not picked up the child by then I had no choice but to contact the authorities as I would not leave a child alone after being in my care.

Caused a tiny bit of grumbling from a select few, but it worked. HTH's
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#6 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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I think getting the police involved is extreme. But I also don't have another solution that doesn't punish the kid instead of the parent.

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#7 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:43 PM
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I agree with the earlier poster who said it's perfectly legal for the parents to leave the child at the park for 45 minutes, but not for the coach to do so.

I wouldn't call the police, but I would let the parents know that if they or another responsible adult could not be present during games and practices, their child will not be able to participate. Crafting a policy regarding this behavior that penalizes exactly and only the right person is beyond the scope of a Little League coach. The coach's priority should be to limit liability and ensure kids are safe. So even if it does penalize the child, these parents should not be allowed to simply drop their kid off and leave for hours.
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#8 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:49 PM
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I agree w pps. This behavoir is really crappy. These parents will regret their behavior when they realize how valuable their son is...which I hope happens reeeaally soon. Poor kid.
But I don't think it's illegal. Even if the behavior is negletful in some ways and hurtful to the little guy, calling the police could make it worse.
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#9 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Maybe your brother could ask one of the the other families to call the parents and offer to drive the kid home?

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#10 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I'm assuming this is a league and there are administrators? They must have a policy about this and I would find out what it is before doing anything. That said, I would have removed the child from the team before calling the police. (and yes, that's sad, but not as sad as being investigated and possibly removed from your home).
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#11 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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I wouldn't call the police. It's not illegal.

If your brother truly cannot stay after the game's over, then he should contact the person in charge of the Little League program in your area and explain the situation. He can say that he cannot stay and ask that someone from the recreation department be there to stay with the child or whether he can leave the child with a referee or other official adult.

Your brother cannot simply tell the child he cannot come anymore. Your brother's not in charge of the league, and that's not his call.

Before I did anything, however, I would make an effort to contact the father when he's not honking his horn for his son to come to the car. Perhaps he doesn't know what time the games get over; even if he does, a reminder may be helpful. My husband coaches our son's team, and he sends out weekly email reminders to all of the parents about game time, snack parents, etc. You said he was 45 minutes late the first time, but is he that late all the time? The first line for me is to assume he doesn't know the correct time and let him know. Then, if he continues to be that late, at least you know he's doing it with full knowledge.

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#12 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I feel bad for the kid if his parents aren't staying for the games but, I woudln't involve the police.

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#13 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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Your brother cannot simply tell the child he cannot come anymore. Your brother's not in charge of the league, and that's not his call.
This is not the case around here. Coaches are in charge of their team and have that authority.
OP - Again I would suggest making sure your brother checks the league rules for his particular organization.
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#14 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 03:22 PM
 
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If this child has parents who can't be bothered to spend the time watching a game their son / daughter is in, then I would let this go. This child will remember how the coach went the extra mile and made him/ her feel welcome and part of a team. I know it's not your brothers job to babysit but if were he and could do it then I would.
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#15 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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I think the parents will pull the kid from the team,or physically punish him if the parents actions result in police being called.

The parents are very unlikely to change.This kid sounds like he could use a break from his family.I would pick him up and drop him off myself.I could understand being mad if it was 5-10 kids,but it is just one boy needing a little extra from any adult who will give him some time.Consider helping him out.Season won't last long,but doing this will be something the boy remembers.
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#16 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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This is not the case around here. Coaches are in charge of their team and have that authority.
OP - Again I would suggest making sure your brother checks the league rules for his particular organization.
I must say I've never heard of that being the rule, and I've been around tons of kids' activities. Even on select teams my family members have participated in, the coaches cannot just say "you paid your fees, but your parents are late. Tough, you're off the team." They may choose (in some cases) to sit the child out, but they cannot just kick them off the team (and really you're hurting the child more if you'd kick a 7YO off a team because his parents are late). Little League, especially for 7-9 year olds just typically doesn't work that way.

There's a girl I'd love to be off our soccer team because we could fill the spot with someone who would show up consistently, but it's not that easy. I wish it were, but we try to remind ourselves that it's her parents' fault for not bringing her because she's only 6.

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#17 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 04:34 PM
 
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If this child has parents who can't be bothered to spend the time watching a game their son / daughter is in,
Ya know, I don't think parents should be expected to watch every single game that their child participates in. It's nice to go to some, but I think every single game is one of those ridiculous modern expectations. Maybe if the parent loves the sport, but still!

To the op, I wonder if your brother could get a note in writing from the parent saying that the child is authorized to stay at the park alone?

There are a number of 1st graders in my dd's class who play at the local park for 30 minutes to 1 hour after school until their parents get them. I actually think that's a preferable solution to the after-school program, which has the surliest teenagers I've ever seen supervising the kids, and seems to involve mainly cartoons and sugary snacks.

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#18 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I must say I've never heard of that being the rule, and I've been around tons of kids' activities. Even on select teams my family members have participated in, the coaches cannot just say "you paid your fees, but your parents are late. Tough, you're off the team." They may choose (in some cases) to sit the child out, but they cannot just kick them off the team (and really you're hurting the child more if you'd kick a 7YO off a team because his parents are late). Little League, especially for 7-9 year olds just typically doesn't work that way.

There's a girl I'd love to be off our soccer team because we could fill the spot with someone who would show up consistently, but it's not that easy. I wish it were, but we try to remind ourselves that it's her parents' fault for not bringing her because she's only 6.
I'm sure every area is different, which is why I suggest that the brother talk to the organization head. That said, I didn't complete my thought process in my previous post - I would only take the child off the team as a last resort. If I've spoken to the parents, and maybe wrote something to the parents, and I'm still sitting with the child 45 minutes *after* games or practice. Then it would be something I'd seriously consider. I wouldn't, in any event, call the police.
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#19 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I agree with a pp who said writing a politely worded letter to the parents reminding them of the time and warning them of possible police/authority involvement if this behaviour continues might be helpful. Some people need to have the fear or conseuqences put into them to prevent them from taking advantage of others.

Involving the police in reality may have worse consequences for the poor kid.
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#20 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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First, the coach needs to find out if there is a specific league requirement for a parent/adult to remain at the games. I would guess that there isn't and it is hard for me to imagine expecting a parent to stay for every single game. Some families with multiple kids spend their game days just getting kids to/from different fields at different times for different games. Not every parent is going to stay at every game. When DS played little league, we stayed for many but certainly not all of his games, and I certainly don't think of myself as a deadbeat parent. Its just not possible to give up that much time to watch one child's sporting events!

Next, is there a rule about what the coach is supposed to do with kids who aren't picked up on time? If so, he needs to follow that. If not, he should ask the league officers what to do before he does anything -- definitely a big "CYA" sort of situation.

Our Brownie troop has a rule, explained to all of the parents at the beginning of the year, that a child left longer than 15 minutes past the stated end time of the meeting will be transported to the leader's house. At least that way the coach isn't stuck at the field forever. If he does that, then I would definitely make it an entire-team announcement and maybe even have the parent's sign a permission slip for transportation.

Coach should have the parent's cell phone or emergency contact number in case of injury. If the parent isn't there are the end of the game, he should call and say "we are finished here, I expect you to pick up little Johnny within the next 15 minutes."

But the police definitely sounds like overkill -- its not illegal for the child to be at the ballpark alone and unsupervised, any more than it is illegal for the child to ride his bike around the neighborhood alone.
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#21 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 05:12 PM
 
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All of the daycares my dd has been at give fifteen minutes to half an hour after close and then they call the police to come get the abandoned kid. Some will also call or drop a kid from the program if it is an ongoing problem. I think it would be a good idea for him to talk to the coordinator about dropping the kid from the program or putting some other penalty on the late parents. I think that it is completely reasonable for a parent to drop a kid off for a game or practice where the activity is specifically for the child, but leaving them there for 45 minutes after the game is abandonment and should be treated as such. They also require a certain amount of payment per minute after closing time.
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#22 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 05:13 PM
 
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I think getting the police involved is extreme. But I also don't have another solution that doesn't punish the kid instead of the parent.
That. I would hate to call the police but I don't know of any alternatives.
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#23 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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Ya know, I don't think parents should be expected to watch every single game that their child participates in. It's nice to go to some, but I think every single game is one of those ridiculous modern expectations. Maybe if the parent loves the sport, but still!

.
I dont think thats the issue at heart. The parents are continuously dropping their child off late and not picking up on time. Thats the issue. In our area most league coaches are volunteers and have FT jobs and family the last thing they want to do is wait around an extra 45 min because a parent cant be bothered to pick their child up on time. And really that seems to be the case here, I think most people would react differently if it were say due to a car breaking down or an accident.

To the OP, surely there is an organization head. I would ask your brother to speak to them about the occurences and see if they can contact the father and let them know if the behavior continued that the child can not participate. It isnt fair to the team to have late memebers arriving and certainly not fair to the people who have to stick around until the child is picked up. I think it can be a liability issue for the organization if the coach left the child unsupervised.
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#24 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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...I would let the parents know that if they or another responsible adult could not be present during games and practices, their child will not be able to participate...
My DD is 7 and plays softball and soccer (we coach soccer). It's not unusual for parents to drop off for practice. Many stay, but many do not. As far as games, most players have at least one parent/guardian staying to watch. I think not sitting through practices is typical at this age.

As far as the being late thing goes, that's not acceptable and I think you can say if someone doesn't show up within 10 minutes of the end of practice multiple times, that child won't be allowed on the team...
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#25 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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I would've called already.

Either that or send home a notice that you'll be charging $15/hour for all babysitting and that the babysitting clock starts 10 minutes after each game or practice.
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#26 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 06:46 PM
 
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You'd have to clear it with the league, but a policy that charges the parents a few dollars per min. they are late after 10 or 15min after the end of practice was very effective when I coached. ie Practice ends at 2pm you have till 2:10 to pick your kid up after that it's a dollar a min for child care. The money can be put towards team snacks or into the league fund or something.

In fact it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a league wide policy on pick up and late parents. That's something I think your brother should bring to the league's attention.

I don't have a problem with parents dropping kids off for games or practice.

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#27 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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If this child has parents who can't be bothered to spend the time watching a game their son / daughter is in, then I would let this go. This child will remember how the coach went the extra mile and made him/ her feel welcome and part of a team. I know it's not your brothers job to babysit but if were he and could do it then I would.
But the danger here is that the kids parents will have an expectation of free baby-sitting. What if the coach has a doctor's appointment or some other obligation that can't be re-scheduled...or worse, a family emergency that he absolutely NEEDS to attend too? Considering that in this case the coach can be put under investigation or prosecuted for leaving the child alone after practice I would make it very clear to the parents that this is unacceptable. I would definitely have the director of the league contact the parents if you can. Sometimes a "higher" authority helps a lot and it will also ensure that whatever your brother does, it is in line with league rules and he won't be putting himself in any danger of accusations or disciplinary actions against him.

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#28 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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I don't see why an 8yo can't go to little league without mom or dad there. Yes, it would be great if a parent came, as it would show support and interest in the child. But I would not consider it necessary.

However, parents repeatedly not returning in good time to pick up their child shows complete lack of respect for everyone else. Your brother is kindly coaching this team. He is not a baby sitting service; he has his own life and responsibilities after the game.

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Having had this problem in the past, the best I can offer is what worked for me.

Once late, understandable. Twice late, okay, could be extenuating circumstances. Third time, your using me as a free babysitter and that does not fly. Unless there are extended extenuating circumstances but that's not what's going on here.

I typed up a very nicely worded letter stating very clearly when practice was over, that I had other obligations after practice and all children must be picked up within 10 minutes of practice being let out. (Depending on where you live traffic can be an issue). If a parent or someone a parent had authorized has not picked up the child by then I had no choice but to contact the authorities as I would not leave a child alone after being in my care.

Caused a tiny bit of grumbling from a select few, but it worked. HTH's
Bravo! This would be a great plan.

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I think the parents will pull the kid from the team,or physically punish him if the parents actions result in police being called.

The parents are very unlikely to change.This kid sounds like he could use a break from his family.I would pick him up and drop him off myself.I could understand being mad if it was 5-10 kids,but it is just one boy needing a little extra from any adult who will give him some time.Consider helping him out.Season won't last long,but doing this will be something the boy remembers.
Also agreed. His parents are not likely to change. They may end up angry though, and that anger will be displaced to their son or your brother. It won't be anger or disappointment in themselves. This child may already have very narrow, limited options because of his parents.
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#29 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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If this child has parents who can't be bothered to spend the time watching a game their son / daughter is in, then I would let this go. This child will remember how the coach went the extra mile and made him/ her feel welcome and part of a team. I know it's not your brothers job to babysit but if were he and could do it then I would.

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#30 of 163 Old 05-10-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Having had this problem in the past, the best I can offer is what worked for me.

Once late, understandable. Twice late, okay, could be extenuating circumstances. Third time, your using me as a free babysitter and that does not fly. Unless there are extended extenuating circumstances but that's not what's going on here.

I typed up a very nicely worded letter stating very clearly when practice was over, that I had other obligations after practice and all children must be picked up within 10 minutes of practice being let out. (Depending on where you live traffic can be an issue). If a parent or someone a parent had authorized has not picked up the child by then I had no choice but to contact the authorities as I would not leave a child alone after being in my care.

Caused a tiny bit of grumbling from a select few, but it worked. HTH's
This is definitely the way to go.

ETA: does the local LL organization have an official policy on this?
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