“After Jesse Sansone’s 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun, cops handcuffed the clueless father and dragged him off to jail. It was there that the dad was stripped of his clothes and searched by the authorities. Sansone was never charged with a crime.
Sansone wasn’t expecting to be greeted by police when he went to pick up his three children from school last week. Faculty there had become concerned, however, after the man’s 4-year-old daughter drew an image last Wednesday that they thought warranted investigation. It was a picture of a man holding a gun, and when teachers asked the girl to explain it, she said it was a depiction of her father.
“He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters,” teachers say the girl explained.
The father says he doesn’t own a gun. Nor does he kill monsters.
“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Sansone, 26, tells The Record out of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
“I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school,” he says.
After seeing the image in question, the school’s staff became shocked as well. So much so, in fact, that they rang up child welfare officials and local law enforcement and arranged for them to meet the girl’s father at the end of the school day. By that evening, Sansone had been handcuffed, whisked away to jail and forced to remove his clothes so he could be subjected to a strip search.
Authorities took all three of Sansone’s children and dragged them to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed. His wife, Stephanie Squires, tells The Record that authorities never explained themselves.
“He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them. ‘You’re making a mistake,’ ” she says.”
Few people working in the system know the rules, limitations or best practices.
Many decisions are not made by “law” but are reducible to the subjective judgments of a series of individuals lightly prepared to make such judgments. This might include the police; social work is not their primary concern nor is it their primary area of training.
The decisions tend to be made by social workers often with a minimum of education (AA or BA). The training can be more politically slanted than we might imagine instilling a certain fear of “religious” people or “homeschooled” as worthy of higher scrutiny.
The government regulations have created a culture of fear and suspicion with the tendency to presume that parents are a threat until they prove otherwise and there is no clearly defined way for the parent to prove otherwise. The threatening parent is often the one that harmlessly comes up on the radar of the child protection machinery through which tens of thousands of people make their living.
The impetus to find something wrong with with a parent in order to validate philosophies, gain advancement, increase income and prolong government funding is acute. We’ve created a system in which finding something wrong with the people they serve is what makes the job important, so they measure you, measure your children, look for flaws, errors, mistakes, and then act when they find them. It’s a bit orwellian and should be reasonably scary.
The entire project of the governmental institutionalization of childhood is at risk if the system doesn’t find something wrong with someone. This is different from it existing just in case there is something wrong to be found. It’s different because this active searching system requires billions of dollars in funding, training, staff, pensions, buildings, officers and intra-governmental cooperation, whereas a passive or reactive systems requires only the knowledge that something is wrong according to the pre-established laws.
Home schoolers are perceived as a threat for no other reason than that they are not under constant state scrutiny. Whether they are actually doing something wrong isn’t really the problem; the problem is that the state doesn’t have access to seeing on an ongoing basis if they are doing something wrong. Notice that the American legal system was not designed for this kind of methodology. It was made for citizens to be presumed innocent of any offense and so their privacy protected until the state had some overt reason to think otherwise.
This has been sold as the very reason that this system should exist, because some child, some where might be being abused, and so all citizens should subject their families to state over-site and surveillance for the common good, but this isn’t as good an argument as it seems on the emotional level.
First, the Constitutional right to raise one’s own family without governmental interference and the right to privacy are voided by the methodology. This kind of a shift in civil rights should require a constitutional amendment. The mere creation of legislation or governmental regulations are insufficient to justify many of the practices currently in place.
Second, there are already laws against abuse that can be enforced without foregoing the constitutional protections of the family. If there aren’t then we should create them. If there are but they are not enforced then we should enforce them.
Third, the statistical data tends to show that for all of the increases in arbitrary governmental power advanced in the institutionalization of childhood there has not been a corresponding increase in the protection of children or a decrease in child abuse.
Fourth, that we should hand our children over to the state (which is the same as handing them over to other persons, since “the state” is just other people, perhaps with different ideas, values, commitments and ideologies) because some child, some where might be being abused does entail:
1. that we should sacrifice the well-being of our children for the hypothetical well being of an imaginary child
And 2, that there is more good in the incredible and widespread human suffering being created through state schooling, state over site and state regulation than that which would be created without it.
Most children that are bullied, are bullied in state schools. Most children that are attacked, are attacked in state schools. Most children that are abused, are abused in state schools. Most children that take drugs, take them in state schools. Attending a state school dramatically increases the child’s risk for rape, murder, pregnancy, drop-out of education, battery, assault, depression, anxiety, and almost every other risk factor we can imagine; it soon becomes apparent for the even the moderately interested party that the state answer should be presupposed to be the largest part of the problem.
Educational decisions are best left exclusively to the family.
The systemic interactions of the educational system with the quasi-governmental CPS and law enforcement is a dangerous but powerful system with light accountability and few standards for redress.