4-Year-Old's Drawing Leads to Dad's Arrest

OMG 560

crazyonsOne 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.

Unbelievable.

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

in the news, toddler development, nursery school, learning

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nonmember avatar Georgia

Sheesh my nephew is in kindergarten and draws the guy from scream on a daily basis at school (don't ask me why his mom lets him watch that stuff) and loves to draw knives. Once he drew a picture of his mom crying and his grandma and grandpa in a circle next to her, he said she was crying becausethy were dead and in a coffin-they are very much alive :/ if he went to this school his mom would probably be in big trouble. But he's just a little boy who's seen too much and knows too much. Not a killer. What an insane overreaction!

momto... momtolittleg

Wow.  Talk about overreaction!  My second graders are obsessed with zombies, guns and video games, and their drawings reflect that.  While I might *like* to have some parents arrested for letting their 7 year old play "Call of Duty" and other teen/adult violent games, it never occured to me to report them.  As long as the kids aren't acting out the violence, it isn't any of my business.


I'm all for "better safe than sorry" but this story seems excessive.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

Well, this incident occured in Canada where we have very different laws in regards to guns. For the most part people don't just have a gun in one's home, and with the exception of a few, you can't carry concealed weapons. I feel it was absolutely right for social services to be called, but from there it took a wrong turn. Talk to the child. Talk to the parents. Have the police go to the home to have a conversation with the family and figure out what's going on.

nonmember avatar Kelli

Sure it's outrageous and would clearly be an illegal search and seizure if it happened in this country. I'm certainly not an expert on Canadian law, but I am pretty certain that the U.S. Bill of Rights doesn't apply there. So, it might not actually be a violation of his civil liberties. Free health care, but if your kid draws a picture of a gun, you could be subject to some pretty annoying police action.

i.hea... i.heart.nerds

It is legal to have a licensed gun in Canada. This is a complete and utter over reaction. Ridiculous in the extreme.

Aundria Cooper Premo

I would sue! That is STUPID! There was NO justification in called social services! If you think there WAS, then you're part of what's wrong with the world today. A call to the dad would've cleared stuff up. I tell you right now, everyone involved in that whole situation, from social services, the police, to the school, should be sued or fired or both. INSANITY!

jessi... jessicasmom1

Wow , I never knew that it was such a trouble . I understand different county's different laws but children have imaginations

Maevelyn Maevelyn

Kids just draw crazy stuff. (My cousin put a big bearded fat guy in the middle of a nativity, it was "round John Virgin) This seems like an over reaction but idk if gun laws are different in Canada or if there were other issues with the little girl. 

nonmember avatar Angela

This makes me so nervous. My son is off to kindergarten next year and I really don't want to end up in jail for something he draws! Yikes!

Bugsm... Bugsmom0307

I have family from all over Canada and actually pretty much everyone has guns (for the person who says many don't have guns in their homes.) It is very common for people to have guns but most are used for hunting and collections and not for protection like here. As far as the article is concerend, I do believe the teacher's heart was in the right place but the whole situation was blown WAY out of proportion and I feel so bad for that family. If that had happened in the United States it would have been handled differently. However, there are things that we take too lightly in the United States that we should be paying more attention to.

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