Pepper-spraying has hit an all-time low. This week when students protested a tuition hike at Santa Monica College, police tried to control the crowd with pepper spray -- and according to reports, they could have sprayed a toddler! Student Priscillia Omon says that there was a family in the crowd that included a 4-year-old child.
Shouldn't police make sure there aren't any children around before they pull out the pepper spray? Even if they didn't spray directly in the child's face, it's still dangerous for a child to be anywhere near that stuff! And for that matter, is it ever safe to bring your kids with you to a protest?
I used to think it depended on the kind of protest. Years ago, when my own son was just a baby, I brought him to a parents' march across the Brooklyn Bridge -- it had something to do with public education. I can't even remember. But since there were lots of parents and kids there, it was extremely mellow and the only danger was losing another baby shoe somewhere on the bridge.
Fast forward to 2011-2012, the age of Occupy Wall Street, the age of pepper-spraying. Parents want to be heard, and some have even brought their kids to OWS protests. Is it safer when you're with a group of other parents with kids? I hope so. Personally, I'd never bring my child to an OWS protest after seeing how the police often respond.
Meanwhile, you'd think 100 people could gather at a freakin' community college to protest a tuition hike (not Capitalism, or The Man, or bankers, or anything like that) and it would be a relatively safe place to bring your kid. Wrong! Apparently that's too dangerous, too. But maybe the family should have known better? I'm starting to think unless it's an event specifically planned for families, protests these days are simply too dangerous for children. Apparently police are not being very cautious before deploying the pepper spray.
Have you ever brought a child to a protest? Do you think it's too dangerous?
Image via madcowk's/Flickr