Robert Demond picked up his eight year old son from school and attempted to discuss a matter with his son. The son didn’t respond correctly and Demond made the boy walk home to think about his actions.
When De Mond arrived with his 3-year-old son at Kilauea Elementary School to pick up his two older boys, ages 6 and 8, from an A-Plus Program one day in late August or early September, he noticed his eldest had been placed in time-out.
“I asked him, ‘Why were you in time-out at A-Plus?’” De Mond said. “He told me, ‘I don’t know.’ I asked him again and he said, ‘I don’t know.’”
He told his son: “I don’t know is not an answer. You need to take responsibility for your actions. There has to be a reason that you were placed in time-out.”
A mile from their house, he dropped his son off and asked him to “please walk home. When you walk home, you will have an answer better than ‘I don’t know.’ And when you do come home you’ll have an answer,” he said.
De Mond said the stretch of the two-lane roadway — Kuhio Highway — is in a safe, rural area with acre-size agricultural lots, and a wide shoulder, 10 to 25 feet wide, where it’s not uncommon to see people walking or riding their bikes.
This is the road he walked on.
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A judge called his actions “old school” and not appropriate.
Demond was sentenced to a one-year probation, a $200 fine and to a child parenting class for a misdemeanor charge of second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.
Demond told the judge that it was a common form of punishment when he was a kid and that he didn’t see it as morally wrong or criminal.
“How far did you make him walk?” asked Judge Kathleen Watanabe.
“About a mile,” Demond said.
These are different times, Watanabe said. It is understandable that you became upset with your son, but it is dangerous for children to walk along the highway, and there are predators out there, she said. The age of the child was not revealed in the course of the hearing and the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney would not divulge further information.
These are different times. We have Amber Alerts via cell phone messages, communications technology that allows law enforcement to act quickly and safe traffic laws with more responsive vehicles.
It’s safer for children to walk home today than it was 30 or even 50 years ago. Parents, however, have to worry about being thrown in jail for not keeping your child on a leash and hovering over them 24/7.
The problem is that when that one child does go missing or has something bad happen to them, they get wall-to-wall coverage, making the situation appear worse than it really is.
The only lesson learned here is the child knows his father cannot properly discipline him for his actions. Will the court be as lenient when he grow up and appears in juvenile court for his behavior?
The state recommended a child parenting course and supports the defendant’s motion for a deferred acceptance of his no contest plea. It allows him to motion the court to expunge the charge from his record after completing his probation.
Watanabe granted the motion.
Demond does not need parenting classes. He was already doing it right. Maybe when he’s finished taking parenting classes he can teach his son how life isn’t fair, even when you do the right thing.
For the record, in New York State, schools are not legally required to provide busing for children who live less than two miles from the school up to eighth grade and three miles for those in high school. There are thousands of children every day who walk to school every day, crossing highways and busy roads. They aren’t snatched up by pedophiles or hit by cars because their parents and the schools teach them how to be responsible when walking home.
According to Hawaii law, or specifically the regulations that allow children to be bused to school, any child K-5 can only ride the bus if they live more than 1 mile from the school and for kids in 6th grade and higher the distance has to be 1.5 miles.
So it’s perfectly fine to walk a mile if you are going to/from school, but it’s not okay if you are being disciplined for something.
This ruling is as ignorant as the mother who was arrested for letting her children play outside.