TODAY

TODAY   |  April 18, 2014

Many support mom who left kids in car alone

Shanesha Taylor was arrested and charged with two counts of child abuse after leaving her two children in a car unattended; however, an online petition for the charges to be dropped has been launched. Taylor says that she was attending a job interview at the time and had no other safe option for the children. NBC’s Kate Snow reports.

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>>> meantime, of course, we all know it is never a good idea to leave kids alone in a car, but is there ever an exception to that rule, or at least an excuse that people can understand? that's the question at the center of a case that nbc's national correspondent kate snow is following. kate, good morning to you.

>> good morning to you, savannah. that question sparking discussions across the country because of an arizona mom who left her two kids in the car while going on a job interview , saying she had no other option. it's a response shanesha taylor never expected. thousands of people in a huge outpouring of support now that her story has gone viral. shanesha was taken into custody after scottsdale police found her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons left in a car unattended. according to the police report , the windows were rolled down about an inch. both children were sweating profusely and appeared to be in distress. the report estimates the temperature in the car was over 100 degrees. shanesha was charged with two counts of child abuse . she pleaded not guilty. her lawyer says she's the victim.

>> of a system, an economic system which has affected her and affected her children.

>> reporter: when police found the children, shanesha, an unemployed mother, was at a job interview in the building next door. the story of a poor mother looking for work with no safe place to leave her children really hit a nerve. more than 25,000 people have signed an online petition asking if county attorney to drop the charges and a fundraising drive for shanesha started bay new jersey woman has already brought in more than $110,000.

>> it's just a matter of what is more wrong here, the fact that she did this, or the fact that there are so many people out there who are being put in a position to make this decision.

>> reporter: but officials say leaving hot children unattended in a hot car is never the right answer.

>> this cannot be allowed, even for a moment.

>> reporter: the county attorney stands by the charges.

>> the motivation for it is not relevant at this point in time. it's whether or not the conduct occurred.

>> reporter: but her supporters say this is not a crime of child abuse . it's a crime of desperation.

>> she's remorseful for what happened. but she's a single mom seeking employment, seeking a better life for her family, her kids. and she's not a criminal. she made a mistake. but she is not a criminal.

>> not reunited with her children just yet. doctors determined that they were uninjured and now they're staying in what her lawyer describes as a safe location. one last note. shanesha taylor and her lawyer benjamin taylor are not related. savannah?

>> such a sad story. kate, thank you.

>> i'm sure a lot of people are weighing in on this in the orange room . what do you have over there, tamron?

>> a lot of people have something to say about this story. first up, selena gray says unless you have walked in her shoes, then don't judge her. maybe what she did was wrong, but she was trying to make a better life for her kids by getting a job. we have another opinion from tiffmy remy who says you can't find a babysitter, you reschedule. nothing is worth risking the safety of your children. mimi writes desperation can drive people to do things they know are wrong. she made a mistake, a big one, a dangerous one. this does not make her a bad person. of course, this has generated a lot of discussion. go to our website. let us know what you think and join the conversation. there are no winners in this and we know that.

>> it's an interesting discussion to have. tamron, thank you very