What would you do if your child got a splinter at school? Would you sue?
What would you do if your child sat on a wooden bench at school and got a splinter in his or her behind? If you're like most parents, you'd probably get out the tweezers, go to work, and give your child a lollipop for being such a good patient.
Not every parent shares this philosophy.
After a 7-year-old boy, who's now 11, got a splinter in his bum from a bench at school, his parents sued. As in, they took legal action over a splinter. A court in Croyden, England, where the "incident" took place, awarded the boy almost $5,000 after they were told that the injury was going to leave a permanent scar.
Other parents at the school are, understandably, flabbergasted at the family's decision to sue. "All of the mums have been laughing about it. It is such a joke. How can they say it is the school’s fault and sue them because he got a splinter on his bum?" one mother said. A single father added, "If my son got a splinter in his backside, I would just laugh it off and get the tweezers."
Now, clearly, it was the parents' idea to sue the school and not their 7-year-old son's. And that makes me a little sad. What are these parents teaching their child about the world and how to deal with it? I don't consider myself a member of the "kids need to toughen up" society, and I'm sure I'd coddle my child were they to come home with a splinter in their butt. But suing? That's sending a really warped message. It's sending a message of "nothing is your fault in this world, and money solves everything."
Splinters are a part of growing up. They're not fun, but they're a rite of passage. When I was about 4 or 5, I fell at a neighbor's house, getting about nine splinters in my hand. My parents and the neighbors took me to the doctor to get them removed. Know what I remember most about the day? The bright light that was shone on my hand when I was on the doctor's table and going out for ice cream after. Know what I learned? To be more careful. And that mint-chip is awesome.
Sadly, it's the culture we live in, but if parents up and sue every time something minuscule happens to their children, their children aren't learning much and are getting a distorted version of what the real world is. This boy's parents all but outright said to their son, "When unpleasant things happen, simply hire someone to place the blame on someone else and hope to get a monetary reward."
We may live in a sue-happy culture, but that's certainly not how the majority of us live. And if it ever becomes that way because of parents like this, god help us all.
What would you do if your child got a splinter at school? What do you think of these parents' reaction?