A Florida grandfather who allowed his 10-year-old grandson to get a tattoo lost custody of the child because of it, according to reports over the weekend.
Jerry Garrison, of Jacksonville, Florida, who originally told his story to the local NBC station, did not respond to repeated attempts at contact by Yahoo! Shine; however, as reported by NBC/WTLV, he explained that having the family initials tattooed is a tradition in the Garrison family. So when his 10-year-old grandson wanted the procedure done, Garrison allowed it. He has a similar tattoo himself.
"He got his initials out there on the right leg at the very bottom," Garrison explains, in video footage. "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."
"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," he said.
Garrison claims that the tattoo played a role in the Florida Department of Children and Families removing his grandkids. The DCF visited his residence on an unrelated matter and department spokesman John Harrell told WTLV that other allegations, not the tattoo, were the reasons for the loss of custody.
Garrison's family tradition came in conflict with a recent Florida law passed this year that prohibits the tattooing of children under the age of 16, with the exception of cases of medical or dental necessity. Previously, children under the age of 16 could be tattooed with a parent's consent.
There's a silver lining, however, in the case of Garrison's grandson's early tattoo: If the 10-year-old regrets his tattoo in later years, erasing the ink will be a piece of cake. "Older tattoos are easier to remove," said Dr. Morris Westfried MD PC, a New York dermatologist specializing in tattoo removal contacted by Yahoo! Shine.