One day last week at school Jessie Sansone's 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a man with a gun. The teacher didn't like it, so she called Family and Social Services. If you think that's an outrageous overreaction, just wait.
According to the Calgary Herald, when Jessie went to pick up his daughter and his other children at the end of the day, he was handcuffed, arrested, and strip searched, as they looked for this gun. They did actually find one after they went and searched the family's home in Ontario ... only it turned out to be a toy. Yes, the only gun in the entire house was a toy gun.
It's outrageous on so many fronts, the first of which is that it was a complete violation of civil liberties even if the gun had been real. It's not illegal to have a gun in one's home. Maybe her dad is a hunter; maybe it's for protection and licensed. She didn't draw anyone shooting someone dead or committing another crime; she just drew a man with a gun. According to the Toronto Sun, the girl even told authorities it depicted her dad "getting the bad guys and monsters."
As I read various reports about the incident, I kept waiting for there to be more to this story, but nope -- it was all about this one drawing. For that, this man was treated like a criminal, and his pregnant wife and four children were dragged into the whole mess as well, as they had to go to the station for questioning. How incredibly confusing for those children.
It's outrageous that the school and social workers were so quick to involve police. How about calling in the parents, voicing concern, and hearing what they had to say first? My son has drawn a lot of crazy things in his school days, and we certainly don't have rocket launchers or nunchucks lying about anywhere but his imagination. If parents can arrested for what their children draw, we all should be scared.
And what a way to encourage creativity and a passion for self expression in preschoolers: arrest their parents if you don't like what they draw. The 4-year-old's words to her father after he was released were heartbreaking, "Daddy, are you mad at me?"
Yes, protecting our children must be our first priority, but this is just an abuse of power. It serves as a frightening example of over-protection that certainly did much more harm than good.
Do you find this father's arrest outrageous? What things have your children drawn that authorities might question?
Image via albastrica mititica/Flickr