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Should parents have the right to tattoo their own children?

Posted by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:42 AM
  • 48 Replies

This woman got into some deep water for tattooing her kids with a homemade tattoo gun...

Do you think parents should or shouldn't have the right to tattoo their kids?

CHATTOOGA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- The mother accused of tattooing her own children invited Eyewitness News inside her home today to set the record straight.

"We were making it look like it was a cross," said Jo-Jo Marsh, "so the kids could have something they could say it was."

Jo-Jo Marsh shows Eyewitness News the tattoo on her son's hand. The mark is a cross-like symbol left by a home-made tattoo gun with a guitar string as a needle.

"We didn't even break the skin barely," said Marsh, "they are very tiny, just through a few layers, on the top, they will fade away, that's how minuscule this is."

Marsh and her husband, Jacob Bartels, face child cruelty charges after detectives found the same mark on six of the couple's seven children. One of the children is just 10 years-old.

"There was a seven year-old child that they determined was too young for the tattoo at this time," said Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett.

The couple's 17 year-old has a larger tattoo on the arm. Marsh admits her husband used the gun to draw it too, but insists she tested it first to make sure her children were not harmed.

"These tattoos are so minuscule, they will fade away," said Marsh.

We asked Marsh if she knew it was illegal to tattoo children in the state of Georgia.

"Oh God no," she responded, "that's why I was tripping so hard, that's why I was so upset."

Marsh defends her actions saying the kids were begging for tattoos like hers.

She told us multiple times during our interview that she changed the needle each time.

Marsh believes as the children's guardian, she should have the right to tattoo them if she chooses.

"Shouldn't I have say so over what goes on in my child's life," said Marsh, "I have custody of my child, I'm not going to hurt my child."

The Department of Family and Children's Services has stepped in to investigate the tattooing that Sheriff deputies estimate to have happened around Thanksgiving.

The children were removed from the home temporarily, but Marsh says her children were released back to her under a parent plan until case heads to court.

A court date has not been set for Bartels or Marsh.



by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:42 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:52 AM

Ummm, risk of infection much? A guitar string? No, I don't think that parents should be able to tattoo thier children. You would have jackasses putting all kinds of crap on them that they will hate later. If the parents like tattoos, they should get them. 

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:57 AM

Absolutely not! They aren't property! If they want a project, they should refinish a table or something!

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:59 AM

Nope I do not thing that they are old enough to make that kind of decision. That is why mine will have to wait till they are adults if they want one.. Its permanent.. What they like when they are 7 might not be the same as when they are adults!

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:00 AM


Proud mom of a hero battling cancer. Also a proud mom of my older kids that have been so tolerant of this life changing experience. Yesterday is history, tommorow is a mystery, today is a gift that is why we call it the present. 

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:08 AM

 Welll....I mean, of course your initial reaction is going to SCREAM "No!", but then, is it really all that different from a minor being allowed to get a tattoo with parental consent? How is that different? What if the parent is a professional tattoo artist? Would that make a difference? I don't know. Parents can pierce their children's ears, we make any and all medical decisions, we decide what they wear, and technically we can allow them to have tattoo's under the age of 18 as well.

I think what this woman did was stupid. She sounds like a moron. But....I really don't see it as being all that different from allowing parents to take their kids to the tattoo parlour.

by Gold Member on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:20 AM

Playing devil's advocate here, and kind of going along with the previous reply... how does tattooing your child differ from circumcising or ear piercing?

Remember... devil's advocate, lol.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:26 AM

Age has a lot to do with it.  A 10 yr old with a tattoo?  That is a little ridiculous.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:34 AM

I do not believe in inflicting any unnecessary medical procedure on my children. I not pierce my girls ears because who am I to tell them that they need an extra set of holes in their body.  If when they are old enough to do it without my consent then so be it. If I had a boy I would have to be convinced that cir was medically needed. I have only girls so I have not done the research.

Tattoo's are very personal and I think that a person has to be of an age that one would hope that they had a maturity to choose the subject to be tattooed.

That being said I wonder how this would apply to a culture that had tattoos as a religious or cultural tradition. Would they be arrested too?


by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 3:54 AM

She is an idiot.

by on Jan. 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

Wrong, wrong, wrong...

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