Playing with fire was given a whole other meaning by Chartelle Geanette St. Laurent, a mom from Sebring, Florida. Having grown up around all sort of animals, both domestic and wild, Chartelle said she is a firm believer of “a lesson best learned is a lesson learned through personal experience”.
Following through, Chartelle claimed her interaction with reptiles while young has taught her plenty about the dangers posed by the creatures, and so she wanted to pass on her acquired knowledge to her children.
In a video posted on Facebook, Chartelle places a red rat snake in front of her 1-year-old daughter. Curious about the slinky creature hissing in her face, the 1-year-old reaches towards the snake – and is bitten almost instantly. Chartelle is then overheard giggling carelessly while her daughter burst into tears.
“People are too sensitive. They just think that I hurt my child intentionally. The people that know me know that I would never hurt my children,” said the mother at an exclusive interview for ABC Action News.
The video has since been removed from Facebook, but Chartelle is far from forgotten by the media or the judicial system. She has been charged with potential child abuse, which was sent to the State Attorney’s Office, after coming under fire for the video.
“His teeth are too small to actually puncture the skin. So he’s very harmless. […] It had bitten me and my son and didn’t leave a mark, several times,” she said. “So, I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce her without actually getting hurt.”
The story has gone viral on social media, with many Twitter users expressing their rage through the platform, claiming Chartelle’s form of mothering takes the “once bitten, twice shy” idiom too literally – “How about someone put her in an enclosure with a pride of lions to teach her about wildlife? She’s not fit to have children” fret a user named Lisa.
The Highlands County Sheriff has submitted a charging affidavit for one count of cruelty toward a child to the State Attorney’s Office, who will decide whether or not St. Laurent will be charged. Scott Dressel, with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, told WFTS that “There’s always ways to teach your children lessons and this just did not seem like a good way to teach your child.”