One mother of a four-year-old girl is outraged today after her daughter was “shamed” by the staff of a public swimming pool for not wearing a top.
After the lifeguards fought with mother Sarah Parada over the unwritten clothing rule, she said she had no other choice but to leave the Franklin, Tennessee pool with her child.
“It was really poorly handled,” she said. “She left feeling really ashamed of herself.”
She was swimming at Longview Recreation Center’s indoor pool on Friday and wore only bottoms. Her mother did not know about the park’s clothing code.
As her daughter swam in the pool, a lifeguard came up to her and pulled her out of the water. They then told her and Parada that they were violating pool regulations.
Though the rule is not displayed anywhere on the park or listed in the Pool Policies section of the website, park director Doug Hood said it does not need to be written down to be enforced.
“The rule requires tops and bottoms for girls,” Hood said. “It’s never, ever been questioned in my 34 years...it’s just common sense.”
He said the main reason for implementing such a rule is to protect the children against sexual predators.
“I wish I could tell people that everyone coming in there is someone you’d want to have over for Sunday dinner,” he said. “But they’re not.”
Chief Clinical Officer at Youth Villages, Tim Goldsmith, said the department made the right decision by enforcing the rule.
“Unfortunately, with all the adult sex offender laws out there, this is the reason why,” he said. “If there is going to be a place that will draw people who look at children as an object, [a swimming pool] is where they will go.”
Parada does not agree, however, and said the pool’s workers traumatized her child.
“My daughter was treated like there’s something sexual about her she needs to hide,” she said. “There’s nothing she has to hide now.”
On her Facebook, she wrote that her daughter was “confused and ashamed of her body for the first time in her life.”
She said she has never encountered such a rule, and has lived in California and Hawaii before moving to Tennessee.
“It’s not common everywhere,” she said.
Though she doesn’t agree with it, she is planning on putting a top on her daughter from now on.
“From now on I’m definitely putting a top on her, I don’t see the need to traumatize her.”