It takes a village, and McDonald’s, to fire single mom

Photo: Support Debra Harrell Facebook page.

McDonald’s, showing a rather odd mastery of the art of public relations, has fired the South Carolina single mother who was sent to jail because she let her daughter play in a nearby park while she worked at the fast-food restaurant.

Debra Harrell is out of jail now, and people have rallied around her in the wake of her arrest for dropping her 9-year-old at the park.

She didn’t have much of a choice, Salon argues.

While many have rightfully argued that Harrell’s decision to allow her daughter to play outside was not negligent, the other reality is that Harrell’s other options were very likely limited at the time she made that call. As Covert points out, the average wage at McDonald’s is under $8 an hour, and cost for a week of day camp runs around $300.

At the same time, state assistance for families who need child-care has declined by more than 30 percent in South Carolina, mirroring a national trend that leaves fewer children with reliable care.

It’s heartening news that Harrell is out of jail and back with her daughter, but nothing has changed about her fundamental predicament. She continues to face the same problems she was facing before — only now without a job.

A crowdfunding site has raised more than $27,000 to help her out, which will go a long way to help her while she figures out her next step. Similar to the outpouring of support for Harrell, people in Arizona and across the country put together a fund of more than $100,000 for Shanesha Taylor, a mother who was arrested and charged with felony child abuse after leaving her children in a car for 45 minutes while she went on a job interview.

(Taylor is now out of jail and has struck a plea bargain in her case, but she has not yet been reunited with her children and is being forced to take state-mandated parenting classes as a requirement of the deal.)

McDonald’s isn’t commenting.