PARENTS

An Important Conversation About The Mom Arrested For Leaving Her Kid At A Park

07/16/2014 05:33 pm ET | Updated Jul 16, 2014

On July 1, Debra Harrell had a choice: She could either bring her 9-year-old daughter to work at McDonald's with her, or she could bring her to a nearby park. The single mom decided to drop her daughter off at a busy park with a cell phone in case anything went wrong.

A few hours later, Harrell was in handcuffs for unlawful conduct towards a child after parents at the park alerted police.

Harrell is still in jail, and her daughter is about to enter South Carolina's foster care system.

New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait joined HuffPost Live host Nancy Redd on Wednesday to talk about the arrest, and how it illustrates some of the problems single parents face today. Chait wrote a piece Tuesday about the poor framing of local news coverage around Harrell's arrest. He notes how rare child abductions really are, pointing out how TV reports indicate otherwise.

"The fact that the mother is a black woman with probably a low-income job at McDonald's probably made her and her child less sympathetic and less familiar, less understandable to the middle class and more white community around them," Chait said. "Which presented them as being criminals as opposed to a working family trying to make its way through a tough situation."

Catch the rest of the clip above, and watch the rest of the HuffPost Live conversation here.

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