Curfew-Breaking Teen Sentenced to Hard Time - Babysitting for Free
What we had here was a failure to communicate.
Kristin Rausch should have known better. You do not want to break the law in Texas, a state known for its strict treatment of criminals.
So when the 16-year-old violated curfew, the hammer came down and her parents sentenced her to hard labor.
Make that really hard labor: She has to take care of small children.
Rausch might have been better off with bread and water in solitary confinement, but no, the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth reports, she must donate 30 hours of free babysitting.
Her father and stepmother took out an ad in the Southlake Journal, complete with Rauch's photo, offering her services.
This is Rausch's first experience doing hard time, according to the Star-Telegram. She belongs to the National Honor Society at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, a suburban community just 10 miles west of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Yet, curfew is a big deal in the Rausch home, and violating it brings swift and certain retribution.
The Star-Telegram reports Rausch actually got off light. Originally, her parents were going to offer her services to a community service project. But when that fell through, they went with babysitting.
Even so, the newspaper reports, she lucked out, and ended up watching children ages 6 to 10 instead of rowdier babies and toddlers.
The humiliation factor of seeing the ad may have been the worst part of the punishment.
"I was embarrassed," Rausch tells the Star-Telegram. "I had no idea they had done that."
The ad is worded to sound as if Rausch wrote it herself. "My pain is your gain," it states.
"We wanted her to make it up with community service," her stepmother Wendy Rausch tells the Star-Telegram. "My husband got the idea from a situation he encountered at work that people like free labor."
Of course, taking out an ad with a picture of a pretty teenage girl who is available to go to people's homes could be dangerous. The Rausches know that, the Star-Telegram reports, which is why they carefully screened all babysitting requests.
By last weekend, the newspaper reports, Rausch had completed nearly half of her sentence.
Joanne Reding, a neighbor of the Rausch family, tells the Star-Telegram Rausch's pain was definitely her gain. Reding says she was able to attend a weekend meeting that she probably would have missed with no one to watch her 11-year-old son.
"I think this is a great idea," Reding tells the paper. "What she did was very serious, and I admire her parents for calling her on it."
Related: Grounded Teen Uses Facebook to Protest Punishment
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.