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Preparing for the walkout: Is it illegal to leave children home alone?

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TULSA, Okla. – With the teacher walkout just days away, many working parents are wondering exactly what they will do for childcare during the duration of the walkout.

The Oklahoma Education Association has called for a statewide teacher walkout to begin on April 2 if lawmakers don’t restore education funding and provide a raise for teachers.

As a result, many school districts across the state say they will be forced to close during the walkout.

While many parents say teachers deserve a raise, they are concerned about where their children will be while schools are closed.

Cpl. Mark Kraft, with the Tulsa Police Department, says parents should begin planning for childcare needs now in the event of a teacher walkout.

Kraft says that there isn’t a law in Oklahoma requiring a child to be a certain age to stay home alone. Child crisis detectives recommend that parents avoid leaving children under the age of 12 or 13 at home alone.

“It’s terrifying. Certainly, first graders don’t need to be left home alone regardless of their maturity level,” Cpl. Kraft said.

However, he warns that charges could be filed if something happens.

He told FOX 23 that if a young child is left home alone and a safety hazard occurs, the parents could potentially face felony child endangerment or neglect charges.

If a child is too young to be left alone and churches or daycare programs are full, parents may need to consider taking off of work.

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