When I was young, my neighborhood friends and I walked to and from school every day, even in the snow. It was seen as no big deal. We were trusted to make good life choices between school and home, and fortunately, all of us are still alive today. Even me.
But one father in California is catching some heat for making his son walk an entire mile by himself.
Mike Tang became frustrated when he learned his 8-year-old son, Isaac, had been cheating on his homework. Tang reasoned that slacking off at school could mean not having a good job and a home someday, so he made his son walk home to experience a taste of that life.
Tang dropped Isaac off in a parking lot a mile away and told him to walk home. He knew the route home and was familiar with the terrain.
After 15 minutes, Tang asked his dad to go pick Isaac up and drive him the rest of the way home, but the boy had already been picked up by the police. They had been called by someone alarmed that a human child was alone and without supervision.
Tang was arrested and spent the night in jail, but that’s not where it ended. A jury would later convict him of child endangerment. The judge sentenced him to parenting classes and a 56-day work release program picking up trash and doing other menial work.
Tang failed to comply, refusing to serve out his sentence. When served with an arrest warrant for failing to comply, he wrote on it:
“F–k you all! Walking on a public sidewalk at 7:34 pm is not child endangerment. You are the ones violating my rights and rigged my trial by suppressing my evidence. I will doing everything in my power to defy you.”
If it were me, I probably would not have made my child walk as a punishment simply because walking isn’t a punishment. There are better ways to get an important lesson through to your child.
But the idea that Isaac was in any kind of danger is absolutely ridiculous. Controversial? Certainly. But dangerous? No.
Tang says he’s received support from across the internet. He continues to refuse to hire a lawyer or pay the fine given to him. He continues to argue that he did not endanger his child’s life.
“Simply because some rare and unpredictable tragedy COULD happen literally anytime, any place, that doesn’t mean a parent is wrong to trust the overwhelming odds that everything will be okay,” said Tang.