Childrearing

Despicable Discipline: Girl, 9, Dies After Being Forced To Run For Three Hours

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savannah hardinAs punishment for eating a candy bar and lying about it, a 9-year-old’s grandmother and stepmother forced her to run for three hours straight. The little girl, Savannah Hardin, became severely dehydrated, had a seizure and died three days later.

Now her grandmother and stepmother are facing murder charges – as they  should. Because I don’t care what the circumstance: no child should be disciplined in such a cruel manner. This is child abuse no matter how you slice it, and it is just heart-wrenching to know that a little girl has died so needlessly.

One witness, a neighbor named Roger Simpson, said he saw a little girl running at around 4 p.m. but didn’t see anybody chasing or coercing her, and so he didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. At 6:45 p.m., Savannah’s stepmother, 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, called police to say Savannah was having a seizure. She died in hospital days later.

In an unusual twist, Jessica – the stepmom – gave birth to a baby just hours after she was arrested. According to reports, the Alabama Department of Human Resources has been called in to create a safety plan for Jessica’s newborn, as well as her 3-year-old son. The boy has been placed with a relative, and the plan is for the newborn to be given to the same relative when it leaves the hospital.

Savannah’s father, Robert Hardin, works as a contractor with the U.S. State Department. He immediately flew home to Alabama when he heard that his daughter was in hospital, and ultimately made the difficult decision to pull her off life support.

This tale is just tragic on so many levels, the biggest one being that such a ridiculous punishment is what led to Savannah’s death. The grandmother, by the way, is 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard – and she is Robert Hardin’s mother. Can you imagine what Robert must be feeling? The whole thing is sickening, and I hope these women get what they deserve.