What does the state have against normal families?
This June I interviewed Jessie Sansone on my Sun News TV show – the name of the man may not resister with most readers, but how about The Crayon Dad? This is the 26-year-old man who, earlier this year in Kitchener, Ont., was handcuffed, arrested, and strip-searched by the police, and whose three children were removed by the Children’s Aid Society, all because his four-year-old daughter had drawn a picture at school that a teacher considered worrying.
This is an object lesson for the pro-life movement, for those who believe in the autonomy of family, for those who are concerned about the power of the state, and for those who worry that Christian people – Jessie and his family are devout believers – are becoming targets for officials who detest virtue above all things.
“I didn’t even know why I was being arrested for a long time” this disarmingly gentle, rather innocent man explained. “I went to pick up my daughter from school, and the police were waiting for me. I was handcuffed, put in the back of the cruiser, with children from my daughter’s school looking in. When I asked the police why they were doing this, they advised me not to say anything.” The charge was, it turned out, the possession of a hidden firearm.
After several months the police issued a rather perfunctory apology, not for arresting and humiliating him, but for the strip search. “It doesn’t seem enough” he said. “I believe I deserve something more. Nobody has ever seen the picture, as it was rubbed off the board. They say it was of me shooting monsters. But so what?” The teacher who made the complaint apparently thought the alleged picture drawn by a four-year-old of daddy fighting monsters merited calling the Children’s Aid Society and the police, and Jessie and his wife’s horror began. They have been sweethearts since they were teenagers; they are happily married, law-abiding people. Good folks. “At no time did anybody actually call me, and ask me anything”, he said, a little nervous and clearly still stunned by the whole thing. “I mean, the school had offered me a job not long before, and the principal knew me. He later called to apologize, said he knew nothing about it, which I find difficult to believe.”
His children have had to move to another school of course, after the ritual humiliation and traumatisation. His daughter thought she has hurt daddy. And his reputation was hardly improved by the number of cops and social workers getting involved. Yet at no time was there any evidence of any wrong-doing or any gun. When the school authorities were asked about the appalling case, a pompous twit at the board explained that they “co-parented” with parents. The audacity and arrogance is breath-taking. Those who work at the school itself have said very little, and the panicked teacher has not shown any contrition or, as far as we know, been penalized or suspended.
The police, who according to Sansone misled him and gave him no chance to explain, built a blue wall around those officers and their superiors who thought this was civilized behaviour in a free society. As for the social workers, they of course have escaped consequences, because social workers almost always do. Jessie would like a genuine apology, and while he is not asking for it, surely deserves compensation. If he was an Islamic terrorist, there would be lawyers all over him. Alas, he’s a simple, working-class guy living an ordinary life, and those people apparently don’t matter very much in modern Canada any more.
There’s more however. Jessie and his wife have known each other for a long time, she became pregnant before they were married. Even though there was pressure to have an abortion, the couple knew that it would be wrong, had their baby, got married, have had more children, and are an example of what can be achieved with effort, love, sacrifice, and commitment. They’re not wealthy, they don’t enjoy expensive vacations and material riches, but my goodness they have gold and diamonds in other ways.
There are some people, it seems, who don’t like such sparkling qualities, and we’ve all encountered them before and will do so again. They cause harm and pain, but they’ll lose in the end. We know that, because the story has already been written, and it has a very happy ending.
Michael Coren’s new book is Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity. He can be booked for speeches at www.michaelcoren.com.