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Mother fighting neglect charges for having son walk to school



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SOUTH JORDAN -- A South Jordan mom cited for child neglect after letting her 5-year-old son walk to school alone plans to fight the charge. We first brought you the story Wednesday, and the response from people who support and disagree with the woman has been overwhelming.

Rosella Talbot said she couldn't talk to us Thursday on the advice of her attorney, but she maintains she did nothing wrong by letting her son walk the nine-tenths of a mile from her home to Monte Vista Elementary School.

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"I'm not a neglectful parent, and that is why I have raised my voice," she said.

The telling her story has struck a nerve with KSL viewers. Some of Talbot's neighbors are coming to her defense, saying she's a good mother, but one neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, says Talbot wasn't acting responsibly when she let her 5-and-a-half-year-old son Noah walk to school alone last Friday.

"My biggest thing is that it was rainy, he was cold and he was upset. It was during school hours so there were no other kids around and there was so much traffic," that neighbor said.

At that time, Noah was going home after getting into a fight with his older brother at school. His mother sent him back.

According the police report, that's when a South Jordan police officer saw the boy walking along 2700 West and noticed a van following him.

"The driver was concerned the child was alone in inclement weather and possibly lost," the officer wrote.

The officer drove the boy home and, after talking with Talbot, cited her with child neglect.

In an interview with KSL Wednesday, Talbot voiced frustration about a dilemma she's been dealing with since the budget shortfall forced the district to eliminate its hazardous bus routes. Until this year, her children rode a bus to school.

Talbot says, she's gone out of her way to make sure her kids could get to school safely. Noah goes to school with his older brother has to walk home alone because he attends for just a half day.

"They have to wear an orange vest when they walk to school every day, to and from. It's part of their clothing," Talbot said.

That neighbor says she and other parents have offered to drive Noah home after school but Talbot has declined.

Thursday, Talbot told KSL she could pick up her child but prefers he gets exercise.

Her neighbor says safety should come first. "Noah, I feel like she's putting him in jeopardy to make a statement, and that in itself is neglectful," she said.

Talbot said that was not true and referred KSL to her attorney. She said all she wants is for the child neglect charge to be dropped. Her attorney says she'll enter a not guilty plea at her arraignment on January 5th.

E-mail: syi@ksl.com

Sandra Yi

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