A mother, whose story captured the nation’s attention in February, has been found not guilty of two counts of child endangering.
During a pretrial hearing in Girard, Ohio on Wednesday, the judge dismissed the charges against Shaina Bell and apologized to her for how she had been treated.
In February, Bell, 24, was arrested when officers discovered her two young children, ages 10 and 2, in a motel room by themselves. At the time Bell was at work.
She was arrested and charged with two counts of child endangering.
“My kids bring me joy. They make me laugh. They’re my world. I would never do anything to harm my kids. My kids are everything to me,” she told WKBN. “That’s all I do is go to work and take care of my kids. That’s all I do.”
As Bell’s story began to gain national attention, she received support from not only family and friends, but from strangers in the form of more than $160,000, but also Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona.
Bell was able to use the money that had been raised through a GoFundMe to purchase a house.
But for months she still had to deal with two counts of child endangering and the struggle between whether her choosing to leave her children alone while she went to work in order to provide for her children was the best decision.
Finally, on Wednesday a judge dismissed the charges against her and apologized for what happened.
Parents, especially single parents, have it so difficult when they are forced to choose between childcare and work. We must find a better way to help parents rather than punish them for making this hard decisions.
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