Who owns your children? You, the parent? The government? The local school board?
This question lies at the heart of a February incident in Kitchner, Ontario. Apparently four year old Nevaeh Sansone was doodling her fantasies of her father fighting off monsters on a white board at a Waterloo school. Nevaeh’s teacher though she saw a gun in the artwork, and questioned the young artist. The teacher then called social services, who called the police.
Social services and the police, to put it delicately, over-reacted. Social workers collected three Sansone children and took them across town for questioning. The police awaited Sansone when he arrived at school to collect his children. They arrested him on charges of possession of a gun, strip searched him, and put him into a holding cell for hours. Meanwhile, other police took his pregnant wife, Stephanie, downtown for questioning.
With no warrant, the police searched the home all that afternoon. They found no monsters. The closest thing to a gun they found was a $17 spring operated toy readily available from Canadian Tire, Canada’s answer to Walmart.
Canada doesn’t usually “do” outrage. But this incident has sparked protest all across the country. People are writing the Sansones offering to contribute to law suits. Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Education Critic Lisa MacLeod called the government’s response a “vast over-reaction”. Every parent in Ontario, she said, is now wondering just what her child is drawing in school.
The police released all of the Sansones, dropped all charges and started an internal investigation into the incident.
The social workers have hemmed and hawed over whether they will offer an apology. “I do not see any need for our agency to apologize for fulfilling our mandated responsibility”, sniffed Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Child Services for the Waterloo Region. Translation: “We were only following orders.”
Meanwhile they are blackmailing their victims by keeping the case open until the Sansones sign an agreement that the non-existent gun is “out of harm’s reach” of the children. The Sansones refuse.
The school board refused to make an apology, stating that “[W]e do work hand-in-hand with these families because we co-parent,…” Hand-in-hand? Co-parent? As John Robson, Parliamentary Bureau reporter for QMI, put it, “Neither Sansone nor anyone else ever went on one knee to his beloved then invited the school board into the marriage as co-parent.” Exactly. And this is not a one off, an accident. It is the policy of progressive educators. As Robson points out:
This is not co-parenting. It is taking over. And progressive educators used to be quite open about it. While [Ontario Premier] Dalton McGuinty and his education minister backed the strip-search school board in typically weasely language, John Dewey’s 1916 Democracy and Education frankly hoped “we may produce in schools a projection of the type of the society we should like to realize, and by forming minds in accord with it gradually modify the larger and more recalcitrant features of adult society.”
I started this by asking who owns your children, and gave some answers. It was a trick question: my answer is “Any human being owns himself”. Parents, not school boards and not legislators, have the primary responsibility for children until they can handle that responsibility themselves. And until school boards and legislators learn this, incidents like this will happen and they will escalate.