Update: McDonald’s and Lawyer of Mom Who Left Child in Park Differ Over Firing

Debra Harrell 
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Updated Thursday, July 24, 12 p.m. EDT: The Root reached out to McDonald’s seeking further details on its tweet that “the owner/operator has not fired” Debra Harrell. When asked if there had been any lapse in Harrell’s employment or any misunderstanding about her job status, McDonald’s Director of Media Relations Lisa McComb responded in an email: “It would not be appropriate to discuss an employment matter in the media, but on behalf of the Owner/Operator Christine Crawford, I can confirm that this employee has not been terminated. We don’t have any knowledge of why this is being misreported.”

Updated Wednesday, July 23, 5 p.m. EDT: According to a tweet from the McDonald’s Twitter account in response to this article, “the owner/operator has not fired the employee.” The Root has reached out to Debra Harrell’s lawyer, Robert Phillips, for further clarification. 



Single mom Debra Harrell unfortunately isn’t going to be catching a break anytime soon, it seems.

The South Carolina mom, who was arrested earlier this month for allowing her 9-year-old to play unattended in a park near her job at McDonald’s, has now been fired, according to ThinkProgress.

Robert Phillips, a lawyer representing Harrell pro bono, told the website that while Harrell had been released on bond, she had also been fired, and to Phillips, at least, there was no indication as to why.


On the bright side, ThinkProgress reports that mother and child are back together, although the South Carolina Department of Social Services is still looking into the case.

“Whenever there’s an allegation of a crime, and in this case the child is considered the victim even though she wasn’t harmed … allegedly perpetrated by a family member, DSS has a mandate to come in and remove the child from immediate harm,” Phillips told ThinkProgress. “They were just doing what the law requires them to do.”


Harrell was arrested July 1 and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child after she left her 9-year-old to play in a park while she worked. The child had instructions to eat lunch at the McDonald’s and had a cellphone on her. A stranger approached the girl and, upon learning that Harrell was at work, called the authorities.

Since the incident, a YouCaring.com fund has been set up for the mom; so far it has raised more than $25,000.


Read more at ThinkProgress.

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