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KATE: Are we finally protecting our kids?

This is John. And this is John’s Lego. (Screenshot from CTV News)

By KATE HUNTER

Has the world gone mad or are we finally getting serious about protecting our kids?

Earlier this month, Canadian John St-Onge was refused entry into a Legoland exhibition because he had no child with him – he was there with his adult daughter, Nicole. They were turned away to, ‘protect the safety of families and children.’

Despite their protests, management stuck to its guns, saying the only-people-accomanied-by-kids admission policy  wasn’t  a comment on Mr St-Onge’s character – the policy is written in the terms and conditions and applies to everyone. Mr St-Onge went home feeling he’d been discriminated against, that he’d been assumed to be a pervert when all he wanted to see was the Lego. He’d been a collector all his life.

But of course, the Legoland management weren’t to know that. They’re all about maintaining a safe place for kids to build spaceships and dinosaurs. Odds are Mr St-Onge is fine man, but who wants to take a chance in this day and age? Perhaps his hurt feelings are a small price to pay for child safety.

Is it better to be safe than sorry?

That seemed a bit over the top to me, but when I was talking about it with my friend Ellen, she said, ‘Yeah but remember when the kids were little and we’d take them to the swimming centre and those guys were always hanging around the toddlers pool? They had no kids with them.We complained.’

She was right, we did.

Two men – one in his fifties by the looks of him, and another, about twenty, would spend hours by the toddlers’ pool. They were there every day, and never had kids with them.

They never talked to anyone or took photos or DID anything dodgy, but we found their presence disturbing, so I complained to the manager.

‘Darl,’ she sighed. ‘Those fellas are the bane of our life. They aren’t breaking the law, so the police can’t do anything. We’re a public pool, so they have every right to be there.’

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‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘But they have NO KIDS WITH THEM and they’re hanging around the toddlers’ pool.’

Exhausted, the manager held up her hand. She’d heard it all before.

Legoland California.

Was this the same as the Legoland issue? I don’t think so.

This dilemma brings out the Libran in me. I can see both sides. But I do think the Legoland situation is different to the creepy guys at the swimming pool episode. Mainly because – lots of adults love Lego.

It’s completely reasonable to think a man (or woman) of 63 would enjoy a visit to Legoland.

Those little bricks have been around more than 100 years.

I reckon most adults would PREFER to visit Legoland if kids weren’t allowed in at all. Even I’d be keen to go then.

Those guys at the pool had no reason to be where they were except to watch little kids. They weren’t swimming or sunning themselves. They weren’t reading or even talking to each other. There were three other pools they could sat beside.

They were creeps, and in the end I stopped taking my kids to that particular pool. How unfair is that? Their right to be there outweighed my right to feel my kids were safe.

I feel sorry for Mr St-Onge, and for all the other decent men made to feel their interest in childish things is the same as being sexually interested in children.

What do you think? Should adults without kids be allowed into children’s playgrounds, exhibitions and attractions?

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