Neighbors in a West Omaha suburb were concerned this weekend when they saw children outside without adult supervision.
“I was visiting a friend and heard a ruckus so I went outside to investigate. There were these kids, just babies, outside all alone," said a concerned neighbor, Sandy Miller. "I looked around for a parent, but there wasn’t one to be found, so I went up to those kids and asked if they wanted some cookies. I mean, they had been out there for at least an hour and were probably starving. They all just looked at me and then ran in the house. I wasn’t surprised they didn’t have any manners. What kind of monster lets her children be outside alone?”
When questioned, the mother, Jennifer Smith, 39, admitted that she had let her three children, ages 11, 8, and 5 play outside unsupervised.
“I mean, yeah, I let them play outside. It was a beautiful day. I encourage them to play outside as much as possible," said Smith.
When asked if she felt any concern for letting her children play alone, Jennifer replied, “Not at all. Except they came in the house scared because a stranger was offering them cookies and I’ve taught them to find me if confronted by a stranger."
Another neighbor on the street, Roger Williams, also expressed concern over the children’s welfare. “I know when we were kids, we played outside alone, but that was many, many years ago. Times are different now. We used to ride in cars without seatbelts, too. Now there is technology. Kids today can play electronics, use computers, use those cellular phones. There is no reason to be traipsing around outdoors alone.”
Authorities were contacted and are looking into the alleged incident. Police spokesperson, Amanda Nola, could not comment on the ongoing investigation. “Of course, the children’s safety is our primary concern,” she said.
Jennifer continues to maintain that she did nothing wrong letting her children be outdoors unsupervised. “I don't see what the big deal is, or, frankly, why it is anyone else’s business. My children were playing in our yard. Except for the time that the 5 year old peed on the tree, they were all clothed and safe. I was just in the house cleaning and could see them from the window."
Others aren't convinced that the children were safe.
“I would never allow my children to be outside that long. There are so many dangers lurking out there. They could run in the street and be hit by a car, they could fall, there is dirt and grass and bugs! The sun could touch their skin. It is windy! Leaves are falling. They could get hit in the eye with a falling leaf. Nope, way too dangerous," said Williams. "I hope the children can be kept safe in the house from now on. I will pray for those children and I just hope their mother can sleep at night."
Jennifer stands by her choice. “It is good for my kids to play outdoors. It is good for them to get fresh air. It is good for me to get a break from them. It is imperative that they get a break from me. Like, really necessary. For all of us.”