A 10-year-old boy was removed from his grandparents' home after officials, responding to an earlier complaint, discovered the boy had his very own, very real, tattoo. His grandfather has told the media that he doesn't see the problem and that it's a family tradition to get inked.
"He got his initials out there on the right leg at the very bottom," Jerry Gibson told First Coast News. "I didn't see why a tattoo was such a big issue to begin with, and I didn't see where none of this was right," he added.
Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF) visited Gibson's home after receiving notification of another problem. Upon arriving at the home, and seeing the boy's tattoo, they removed him and placed him in foster care.
"My little son called me and said, 'Dad, I'm so scared. I want to come home so bad.' When you have your youngin' call and tell you he's scared, I want to go put my arms around him and say, 'Son, it's alright. It's really alright.' But no, I can't," Gibson said.
John Harrell, a spokesman for DCF told First Coast News that the tattoo was not the only reason behind removing the boy from his grandparents' custody. "When you get into cases like this, is the child being abused? Is the child at risk? Are the actions of the parents putting the child at risk?" Harrell asked.
Those questions led to the boy's removal, and the separation is unbearable, says Gibson. "I ain't never been in pain like this. It's the worst pain I have ever felt in my life…in my whole entire life."
According to Florida law, the legal age to get a tattoo is 16, but one must have parental consent. Even then, the tattoo artist may choose not to ink a minor. Yet once one turns 18, parental consent no long applies and the person is free to do whatever he or she wants.
So far, no charges have been filed against Gibson, and he has already begun fighting to regain custody of his grandson.