A woman was arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play alone in the park while she was busy working shifts at McDonald’s. To make matters worse, her lawyer has now confirmed that McDonald’s has fired her.
Debra Harrell’s daughter was on her summer vacation. According to reports, the young girl had spent her days playing on a laptop at McDonald’s while her mother worked.
However, when their home was robbed and the laptop stolen, Harrell’s daughter asked if she could go play in the park instead.
Harrell, of North Augusta, S.C., reportedly allowed her daughter to do so twice. Each time she had a cell phone with her in case of emergency.
After adults at the park called the police, Harrell was arrested and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. Her attorney, Robert Phillips, said that she was released from jail the day after she was arrested on bond.
He also, however, confirmed bad news: Harrell had been let go from her job. He did not have any further details as to why she had been fired.
Harrell has been reunited with her daughter, and the case from the Department of Social Services (DSS) is still ongoing.
Phillips noted that DSS was “just doing what the law requires them to do.”
“Whenever there’s an allegation of a crime, and in this case the child is considered the victim even though she wasn’t harmed … allegedly perpetrated by a family member, DSS has a mandate to come in and remove the child from immediate harm,” Phillips explained.
A McDonald’s spokesperson declined to comment, but said that the company is cooperating with local police in their investigation of the situation.
As ThinkProgress reports, Harrell may have had few childcare options, given the high cost of day camp and that McDonald’s employees report their average wage to be under $8 an hour.
As of July 22, a crowd-funding website had raised nearly $24,000 to help Harrell.