A Philadelphia mom is peeved that police gave her a $50 ticket after her 2-year-old son peed against a street light post.
“I’m absolutely going to fight it,” Caroline Robboy told NBC News on Thursday. “It was a potty-training accident.”
Robboy’s legal hassle began Sunday night, she said, when she was out with her elderly in-laws and her three children, ages 9, 6 and 2. Her husband, an ob-gyn, was on the job, delivering babies.
After eating at a Johnny Rockets diner five blocks from their home in a high-rise, the family went across the street to a clothing store.
Robboy said two of her children told her they needed to go to the bathroom, but the store operators wouldn’t let them use their restroom. They headed back to the diner, but the 2-year-old couldn’t hold it.
“I told him to go over to a grassy patch and make pee,” Robboy told NBCPhiladelphia.com. “Next thing you know I have an officer giving me a police ticket for public urination!”
“Every once in a while a 2-year-old catches you off guard,” she said.
“If this were my 9-year-old or 6-year-old I would have been mortified and would have had a much more adult conversation with him,” said Robboy, a licensed social worker and sex education counselor also trained in early childhood education issues.
Robboy said she's been surprised by the strong criticism painting her as "some negligent parent" that readers posted on a story about the incident that appeared on NBCPhiladelphia.com.
“These people must not be parents – or maybe they are suburban parents,” she said. “We live with homeless people sleeping in our park across the street,” she said. “People defecate in the park, they don’t get tickets.”
A police spokesperson told NBCPhiladelphia.com they allow officers to use their own judgment and discretion in issuing tickets. They're currently trying to contact the officer who issued the ticket to get his side of the story before taking any action.