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Mom Arrested At School For Trying To Pick Up Her Children While Intoxicated

Photo: sinenkiy / Canva Pro
little girl at school pick up

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 7.5 million children, 17 and under, live with at least one parent who has an alcohol use disorder. It's a staggering statistic that impacts children across all walks of life.

In this case, a mother, in the affluent town of Westfield, New Jersey, was attempting to pick up her daughters at school when administrators noticed her acting erratically and called the police to step in. 

Bodycam footage showed police officers interacting with the mom while waiting for the nanny to pick up the children.

Around 4 p.m., police were called to a NJ school after an unidentified mom was suspected of being under the influence at pickup. 

Once police arrived, they not only smelled alcohol on the woman but indicated that she seemed intoxicated. The children's father was contacted and he reached out to the family's nanny to safely pick up the girls.

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While the woman stood outside the front entrance to the school building and the kids were waiting in the cop car, the mother started to cry about the safety of her children. Obviously in distress, the police reassured her that her children were safe and that she would not be embarrassed in front of them.

“I don't want to do anything in front of the kids,” the officer said. “I don’t want to take possession of your kids.”

Once the nanny showed up the mother hugged and kissed her daughters goodbye and the police then attempted a field sobriety test.

The mother was arrested after failing the field sobriety test.

Although the mother was in emotional distress, the police calmly administered the test and ultimately arrested her.

She was taken to the police station for a breathalyzer test and it was later indicated that she had a blood alcohol level of 0.17, which was more than double the legal limit.

Although the video was distressing to watch, it was encouraging to see local police not only contain the situation and ensure the safety of the children, but also offer empathy and kindness to the mom. It's something many commenters weren't as keen to do.

Many argued she was selfish to arrive at the school in her impaired state and others simply had no patience for her behavior. And while it's easy to stand in judgment of what seemed to be a negligent mom, the police handled the situation as they should have. 

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Alcoholism is a disease. This mom was not able to understand the consequences of her decisions or her level of inebriation in that moment.

No one would argue that this woman was without fault in this sad incident, but it's important to acknowledge that she is also clearly distressed and in need of help.

   

   

Addiction treatment is complex and oftentimes expensive, but as SAMSHA notes, it is essential to the health and safety of a family structure. Not only that, but the children will need to be actively involved in recovery, as well.

There may be a glimmer of hope from this arrest, however. It may just be the catalyst for change in this family. Whether that's the entire family getting involved in mom's treatment or the father and his children creating boundaries for her return home, it just might be the first step towards a brighter future for them all.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Reach out 24/7 to SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.

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Lauren Reams is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news.