Woman Faces Charges for Making Children Walk to School


A Tennessee woman is facing child neglect charges after deputies found her driving ahead of her daughters while making them walk to school.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett says the mother told deputies her daughters were being punished for missing the bus, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (bit.ly/1UHXZH6).

Lisa Marie Palmer is scheduled for an initial court appearance April 18 on charges of child neglect and driving without a license.

No phone number was listed on a deputy’s report to reach Palmer for comment, and court officials said she doesn’t have an attorney yet.

A deputy says he saw Palmer and the children about 50 yards apart with Palmer in the car ahead of them.



This is pathetic, what she did was supervised and causes no harm.

I remember walking over 1mi to grade school in the winter (by myself), when I missed the bus. I didn’t make it a habit.


Wow. Just going off these details, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done it myself. Child neglect? Was this a bad part of town or something?


My Parents were fantastic parents. Personally, I would put them in the top 2% of parents.

If I was a child today, my parents would have been guilty of child neglect well over 1000 times.

This generation of kids are going to be unable to cope with reality. America is doomed.


People, read the story. The children were being made to walk the FOG LINE IN THE ROAD! The mother - who didn’t have a driver’s license - was driving ahead of them and occasionally pausing to let them catch up. Traffic was picking up and weather was cold. As so often happens, the OP’s headline is misleading and only tells part of the story.


I don’t know what this means. Can you enlighten us?


I had to look up “fog line” I understood it to mean the shoulder of the road.

Apparently they were walking along the side of a highway.

Another article:

A 32-year-old Marion County, Tenn., mother faces an April court date on child neglect charges after deputies found her driving ahead of her young daughters as she made them walk miles to school on Valley View Highway.

The charges are linked to an investigation launched March 1 after Marion County sheriff’s deputy Chris Ladd and another deputy responded to a call about the situation and spotted two girls with a dog “walking the fog line just south of Ketner Mill Road and a gold Cadillac parked on the shoulder, engine running, just north of Ketner Mill Road,” Ladd’s report states.


The two girls were younger than 10. Thank God they weren’t struck by a car going at highway speed. This mother risked their lives and not to mention the grief of a driver who hit a child, because pedestrians don’t belong on the side of a highway.


If she was requiring her children to walk on a freeway where pedestrians aren’t allowed, then she ought to be charged with child endangerment!


I still think we should have more details before passing judgement.
Is this a limited access highway?


Not a freeway, a highway. Two or four lanes, they allow pedestrians. Many, especially in more rural areas don’t have shoulders, just the fog line (white line) and a few more inches of asphalt before a small gravel shoulder and a ditch. Of course, she should be charged with the driving without a license, but child neglect? (and she should have been either walking with them or following behind them with her flashers on, but it hardly constitutes child neglect).

One of my brothers had left his books at school one too many times, (I think he was int he 2nd grade), and she made him walk back to school (3+ miles), while she followed behind him in the van. He always remembered his books after that. :shrug:


Oh for crying out loud! I did the same thing with my now forty year old daughter.She was probably about eight years old,chronically late for the bus. This is ridiculous:eek: Disclaimer,I only made my daughter walk on a regular residential street…:wink:


This story makes my head spin around on my neck. My kids have always been free range - just as I was. Now, as teens, they are responsible, independent, confident and well-behaved. It boggles my mind how nuts we have become about this sort of thing.

That said, TN is extra nuts when it comes to arresting and prosecuting people for any darned thing…sigh!


I don’t see where the story clarifies which this was. A highway doesn’t have to be an interstate to be a freeway. In a city or suburban area, even a major road can be a freeway. That’s why I said, “if”. If this lady is making her kids illegally walk in the space between a cement divider and 50+ mph traffic, it’s not neglect, it’s endangerment!


It doesn’t sound like they were “free ranging” to me. The mom was with them and making them walk as punishment, which would be fine, provided they were walking on a roadway where it was safe and legal for them to be walking.


FWIW, I looked up Valley View Highway and Ketner Mill Road, Whitwell TN, on satellite and street view images, and Valley View Highway is just a regular, rural, two lane road with a grass shoulder, level and pretty straight, that goes to Whitwell Elementary school.


I used Google Maps to look up the street view of this area – looks rural, and the “highway” is a two-lane road with a shoulder and no sidewalk.

I can see that her stopping on the road every 50 yards might be a bit dangerous without a passing lane.

Reading the two articles makes me wonder who called the police in the first place. :shrug: Did the person who called see the car and wonder if someone was stalking the children? Did that person maybe see two crying children walking down the road? (I used to always cry when I got in trouble as a child. Sometimes I still do cry when I get in trouble at work :p)

I wish they wouldn’t publish stories like this. It just adds even MORE worry to the job of parenting.

God bless you all on this feast of Divine Mercy!! :heart:

edit addition: I don’t know if links work to Google Maps, but here’s a view of where the girls were reported to be walking.


I really feel for future generations. They will not have parents or grandparents who can talk about having to walk to school in the snow up hill both ways. Or in the summer having to ride a bike with square wheels.

My dad complained 20 years ago about how wussy we were becoming. I am so glad he is not alive to see this.


What’s strange about this is that there are many places in the US where children regularly walk a mile (or more) to school each day. Here in Albuquerque, unless a student is in Special Education or in an after-school program at an elementary school, there is no bus service at all if a student lives a mile or less from school (if in elementary school) or 1 1/2 miles or less from school (if in middle school). It might even go up to 2 miles away from school at the high school level, but I’m not sure. Many of these kids walk to school (some - usually in lower elementary school - with their parents, some without their parents). Others are dropped off, but some elementary schools here don’t even have parking lots!

On the other hand, when I was going to school in rural Michigan, I always rode the bus. School was 7+ miles away, and walking would have taken hours. As this case seems to have taken place in a rural area, it’s probably more a question of distance the mother was asking her children to walk. Lots of children probably walk to school in that district every day, but not the ones a certain distance away. There’s probably a lot about this case that hasn’t been released (how was the weather? how far were the kids walking? did the children have adequate hydration? how busy was the road? etc.)


Looking at that road, the fact that they were walking hardly seems a problem. A bit lame that the mother drove. I’d say the mother should have been driving behind them not in front for safety reasons but I’d hardly say that it is endangerment to go in front. Just not as logical.

I wonder how far they had to walk. At that age I walked a little over 1 mile to and from school but I think anything further is really a bit much.


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