Can My Child’s Artwork Get Me Arrested?

For the most part, my goal with this blog is to write about the things that amuse me about fatherhood. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t get the urge to write about other things that catch me offguard.

That urge struck me yesterday when reading this article in the online news version of The Record.

The story is about a father (Jessie Sansone) who was arrested while picking up his 4 year old daughter from school because she drew a picture of a man holding a gun. When asked about the photo, the girl replied “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”

Sansone was strip searched at the police station and three of his children were taken to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed.

Several hours after being humiliated in front of the entire school, a detective apologized and said Sansone was being released with no charges. Sansone was also asked to sign a paper authorizing a search of his home, where police found no real guns but did find this plastic gun.

I understand the school’s need to deal with this information in a very serious manner. With all of the craziness going on in schools today, I would be outraged if something like this went without being brought up. My problem is with the way the situation was handled.

Sansone recounts that he was not even warned at the school, he simply showed up to get his daughter and they cuffed him, strip searched him and embarassed him in front of his whole community. “My family has been tarnished. My name has been tarnished,” Sansone said.

I can only picture this happening to me and it makes me wonder why they didn’t just call the police and set up a meeting with Sansone to discuss it privately and then decide if action was required?

Imagine going to pick up your 4 year old kid from kindergarten and getting ambushed out of nowhere and rushed into a police car in handcuffs. How would that make you feel? How would it look to all the other parents, kids and community members who witnessed it? How would you ever fix your reputation at that point?

You know how it goes, once your accused of something, you’ll always be the guy that was involved in that scandal, regardless of the outcome. It’s unfortunate but true.

Really, what this story did, is make me rethink my whole parenting philosophy. We play with super soakers in the summertime and the whole neighbourhood joins in. We’ve had some really fun house to house battles but is it really worth it? Does this same fate await me or one of my neighbours? What other things do I do as a parent without realizing the consequences? It’s a scary thought.

What are your thoughts about the way this went down? Do you think the school and police were right in the way they handled the situation or do you think there may have been a more discreet way to deal with it? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!
Cheers!

14 replies
  1. mamawee (ashley picco)
    mamawee (ashley picco) says:

    I think it is awesome that the school took notice of it – BUT I also think it could have been handled better. Police involvement is fine to me, but they went beyond what they needed to do. Questioning him (to me) would probably have brought enough light to the truth without a strip search and his children being taken to protective services…

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I agree. Even if they decided that the questioning warranted a chat with children’s aid, it could have been done without the public embarassment.

      Reply
  2. Amy Clark
    Amy Clark says:

    I can’t believe this story! They were so over the top it’s unbelievable. I agree with the school questioning the parent but no further action should have been done. If that were me I’d be suing and I’m pretty damn sure I’d win!

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      As far as I’ve read, the police are justifying their decision on their course of action. I think that’s what has me the most worried. There’s no accountability or even room for admitting they could have been a little more delicate with it. Scary stuff.

      Reply
  3. Kristine Read
    Kristine Read says:

    Not only that, but a four year old definately did not need to go through this….do you think she is giong to express herself very much after seeing her Father publicly humilated and her brought in for questioning. The school definately needs to stay on guard for these issues and I am thankful for this but a little tact and a little acknowledgement….remember innocent till proven guilty..they treated this man like a criminal. Even though he was released and cleared..this will remain on his records that CAS was involved. There had to have been a better way to go about this ……

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I wish innocent until proven guilty worked in the real world. People seem to only know what they hear first and never hear the end result.

      Reply
  4. Madi
    Madi says:

    Since when based on a 4 years old you arrest an adult?
    My son is 4 and loves guns…I think this went too far!!!
    I understand to put under investigation and based on those to trace conclusions, but this?
    I
    Cannot imagine the trauma I would feel and the efforts in trying to recover…

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I can barely understand anything my son says most of the time, they’re just developing imaginations right now so you have to take everything with a grain of salt, imo.

      Reply
  5. A.M. Floyd
    A.M. Floyd says:

    The law leaves school personnel no choice but to report to Child Protective Services anything that could be construed as dangerous to a child. The school personnel must not make any type of judgement call about how to handle any investigation, the law takes it completely out of their hands. Too many cases of real abuse and danger to children were not acted upon in the days when individual school principals or teachers could decide themselves because they ‘knew’ the parents involved. The father involved had a police record. The CPS has procedures they must by law follow. Despite these procedures, the media tells of us the children who are abused, neglected and killed in Canada. I’m happy to hear that our system is working. Children need to be protected.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      That’s a very fair point. You can’t be too careful with your kids safety so I completely understand why the school went about things the way they did. I guess I just would have hoped for a little more respect for a man who seems to be clearly turning his life around for the better and who even works for the school.

      Reply
  6. Carole Ranger Spencer
    Carole Ranger Spencer says:

    Here in New York a person with the proper permit can have a gun. I think the police could have handled it better. They could have questioned him at his home in a more discreet manner. There was no need to take him “downtown” and strip search him. The police were way out of line on this one. I wonder if they kept the plastic gun.

    Reply

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