One minute, Susan Mortensen is watching her 4-year-old daughter make lovely chalk drawings on rocks in a park. The next, she is in court getting sentenced to 50 hours of community service for vandalism. Oh the joys of parenting.
She had no idea her pint-size Picasso was committing a crime when Officer Stacy Rogers came over to confront them. Now the Richmond, Virginia mom must paint about 200 outdoor posts as her debt to society.
Now generally, I think parents are partly responsible for their children's bad behavior. Constant hitting, fighting, cursing, stealing, and things of that nature are often signs something is going on at home. But this situation is ridiculous. Chalk drawings SHOULD NOT be a crime. I would have let my child do it too. It's not spray paint. It's not even crayon. It will easily wash away.
However, according to Officer Rogers the little girl was "destroying" property. Apparently any drawing is considered graffiti, whether it's a gang sign or sunflowers. "It is all the same thing," said Ralph White, a park manager. "A couple of weeks ago, I was covering over pornographic drawings done in chalk. It doesn't matter what the medium is. It's offensive." Is it really? That logic sounds completely asinine to me.
I should mention that the cop complained that during the reprimand, Mortensen responded with "attitude and curse words." I can't blame this mom for her reaction, though. I would have been pissed off too. Don't they have real crimes to fight? I am sure there are plenty of other parents out there who need to be punished -- like the child batterers or those who use their kids to shoplift. Now those are crimes. These cops must be incredibly bored to go after a mom for her toddler’s chalk drawings. Talk about a waste of the court’s time and the taxpayers' dime.
Do you think this mom deserved to be punished?
Images via Horia Varlan/Flickr