Would you let your 10-year-old get a tattoo?

Jan 20, 2012 at 5:11 p.m. ET

A Georgia mother was put behind bars because she allowed her 10-year-old son to get a tattoo. Was this simply a bad parenting choice or a crime she should be punished for? Learn more and decide for yourself.

Tattoo on 10 year old

Chuntera Napier's 10-year-old boy asked her if he could get a memorial tattoo for his older brother who died after being struck by a car. Unbeknownst to her, Georgia has laws strictly prohibiting a minor from getting tattooed. After spotting the tattoo on the boy, school officials promptly reported the situation and Chuntera was arrested on the charges of misdemeanor cruelty and being a party to a crime.

Parental consent not enough

Chuntera was allegedly unaware of a Georgia state law that specifically prohibits tattooing a minor, and thought her consent was good enough. "How can somebody else say that it's not okay?" she wondered. "He's my child, and I have the right to say what I want for my child. I can't go tell anybody else what I want for their child."

She has, so far, refused to name the tattoo artist, who could be under legal scrutiny as well.

Seeing her side

A memorial tattoo for a beloved sibling can be thought of as admirable, and unlikely to be a tattoo the boy would regret getting as he grows up. Brooke, mom of one, said, "I'm not sure I am angry at a grief-stricken mother for a misguided parenting choice (though a bad parenting choice it was)."

Brittany from Ohio feels the same. "If there was a law in place against tattooing minors, then consent was not hers to give," she said. "So I fail to see why she was arrested rather than the person that gave the kid the tattoo. She isn't the one that committed a crime. A bad parenting choice? Yes. A crime? I don't really think so."

The law is the law

Bethany from Connecticut said that the blame can be placed on both parties. "She feels that, as his parent, she is entitled to do whatever she feels is right for her son," she explained. "In reality, that's not entirely true, and there are laws that are put in place to protect children from colossally poor parenting choices."

Shelly, mom of two, agreed. "She's supposed to be the responsible adult," she said. "If they wanted a memorial to his brother, she could have gotten him a nice chain and pendant with his football number on it. Not a tattoo."

Megan, who has worked in the industry, was also not on the mom's side. "I've worked in shops for almost 15 years, and I can't tell you how many times parents have gotten a huge attitude when we've refused to tattoo or pierce their underage children!" she shared.

What's next for mom?

Chuntera bonded out of jail but still faces a court hearing in March. Shelly had a fitting suggestion for her punishment. "As far as the mother in question goes, her sentence should be something along the lines of parenting classes and random check-ins," she stated. "Is there such thing as a program to teach common sense?"

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