In Acworth, Ga., Chuntera Napier (pictured with son) is in hot water for reportedly allowing her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo in honor of his 12-year-old brother, who was struck by a car, according to Channel 2 Action News.
According to Napier, it was her son Gaquan‘s idea to get the tattoo:
My son came to me and said, ‘Mama, I want to get a tattoo with Malik on it, rest in peace,’ Napier said. It made me feel good to know to know that he wanted his brother on him.
In Georgia, it is illegal for a child under the age of 18 to receive a tattoo. While Napier says she was unaware of the law, she was charged with misdemeanor child cruelty, after someone at Gaquan’s school saw the tattoo and reported her to the authorities. Napier was arrested on Tuesday and wasn’t released until Wednesday morning. Of her decision to get the tattoo for her son, she says:
I always thought if a parent gives consent, then it’s fine, Napier said. How can somebody else say it’s not OK? He’s my child, and I have a right to say what I want for my child.
Either way, Ackworth police aren’t trying to hear it. Police Chief Mike Wilkie says:
We hope they can find something that can sustain them through that loss, but this is not the way, and it is illegal, and it was something we were bound by the law to investigate and to prosecute.
Napier isn’t the only parent to get arrested for tattooing her child. Also in Georgia, Patty Marsh and Jacob Bartels were busted for giving their children, ranging in age from 10 to 17, homemade tattoos. Then three years ago, Enrique Gonzalez was threatened with a lifetime sentence for “aggravated mayhem and street terrorism,” after etching a “quarter-sized tattoo” on his 6-year-old’s hip.
While one can sympathize with Napier for losing a son, it seems irresponsible that she allowed her 10-year-old to receive a tattoo. Echoing Police Chief Wilkes’ sentiments, it seems that a role of a parent should be to encourage a child to express his or herself in a more age-appropriate way.
Part of being a parent is making sure to provide one’s child with different ways to navigate life’s many hardships. If we can’t help them make appropriate decisions, then who will?