This past March, when a 12-year-old girl attended a school dance at Arnco-Sargent Elementary School in Newnan, Georgia, one of her teachers noticed something odd: There was a tattoo on her shoulder saying “Jesus Loves.”
Not a temporary tattoo. A legitimate, permanent tattoo.
The phrase itself is irrelevant. So is the fact that the student said she really wanted it.
The real questions were: How did her parents let that happen, and what tattoo artist thought this would be okay?!
We don’t have the answer to those questions yet. But the girl’s mother and the tattoo artist were arrested this week.
According to [Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jason] Fetner, investigators were able to confirm that an aspiring tattoo artist, identified as Brenda Gaddy, gave tattoos to several people, including “a number of minors” at that [Super Bowl] party. Gaddy was videotaped tattooing one of those minors as more than a dozen people watched, Fetner said.
After initially denying the charges, the tattoo artist admitted to giving the child the tattoo, but said that her mother gave permission to do so. She also admitted to tattooing at least two other minors, Fetner said.
For now, the daughter is staying with relatives. Even if the mother and tattoo artist are found guilty, this is at worst a misdemeanor. Which means they would face a relatively small fine and possibly a bit of jail time, if that.
We don’t have more details on the case, but I wonder if this was some sort of religious peer pressure with adult approval. Were the kids trying to prove their devotion? And it should go without saying why a 12-year-old shouldn’t get a tattoo, even if it were legal. You should be an adult before making a decision you’ll have to live with the rest of your life. There are adults who regret their tattoos. You can bet the problem would be even worse if kids could get them. No matter how religious the girl may be now, there’s no telling what she’ll believe a couple of years.
In essence, her mother let her get branded for life with a message she may grow out of within a few years. What awful parenting.
(Thanks to Erin for the link)