Parents of a 5-year-old boy are being taken to task after their son allegedly knocked over an art sculpture on display in the lobby of a local Kansas community center.
Although surveillance footage clearly shows the boy approaching and reaching up for the sculpture — called "Aphrodite di Kansas City" — before it toppled over, the punishment was swift and possibly a bit too severe: not only were the parents called "negligent," but they were also charged $132,000 in damages.
"You're responsible for the supervision of a minor child," stated a letter sent from the city of Overland Park's insurance company, which added that the piece was damaged beyond repair. "Your failure to monitor could be considered negligent."
"I was surprised, absolutely, more so offended to be called negligent."
According to ABC News, the sculpture's artist, Bill Lyons, examined the piece — which took him two years to create and was currently listed for sale — and determined it was "beyond my capabilities and desires to rebuild it." City officials noted that the piece was not, in fact, "permanently attached" but instead secured to the pedestal with clips. Nonetheless, they made clear that such an incident has never happened before to warrant such sturdy placement.
Sarah Goodman, the boy's mom, was shocked by the insurance claim, but that wasn't the most upsetting part of the ordeal. "I was surprised, absolutely, more so offended to be called negligent," she said. "They were treating this like a crime scene."
In fact, it was the scene of a wedding reception, and the reason the parents were just out of frame in the surveillance footage is because they were saying goodbyes to family and friends as they were leaving the event.
"No one would ever expect that to come into a place that kids are invited and have to worry about a $132,000 piece of art falling on their child," she added. "Because he didn't maliciously break that. It fell on him. It was not secure, it was not safe — at all."