Childrearing

French Mayor Has Brilliant Idea To Conscript Artists As Unwilling Daycare Providers

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Family playing piano.If there is anybody I want watching my small children, it is a disinterested 20-something with no training and a room full of sharp objects and toxic chemicals. That does not exactly sound like an ideal childcare situation, but one French mayor is trying to make it a reality by forcing his city’s artists to work as unpaid child minders.

(Related: The Daycare That Allowed Children To Sustain Severe Sunburns Should Be Shut Down)

According to The Local, this ridiculous plan comes from David Rachline, the mayor of Fréjus in the south of France. Rachline is a member of France’s far-right National Front party, and he does not like the way Fréjus rents studios to a number of working artists at discounted rates. In an attempt to support the arts, the city previously allowed artists to rent studio space in the old city at a discounted rate of about  €2.50 per square meter. Now Rachline apparently sees all those artists at work in their studios, and like the lady who sees the work-from-home mom and assumes she has nothing to do, he’s decided to fill the studios with children.

“The Town Hall has decided to make us work for free, it wants us to take care of kids for free!” said photographer Olivier Isselin. “We have no training in taking care of kids that small. And how will it work considering we often have to go away for exhibitions to do our real work?”

Undeer Rachline’s plan, the artists will be “volunteer” childcare providers for preschool- and primary school-aged children, so they will receive no money for their child-minding. The fact that the artists have art to do and have no desire or training does not seem to bother him.

“The town finances a large part of the rents of a certain number of these ladies and gentlemen,” Rachline allegedly said. “There will be no more debate: either this project works out and everyone agrees to take part [in the child-minding activities], or I’ll put an end to artists not paying the same as everyone else.”

Artists’ studios tend to be full of expensive and/or kid-unfriendly equipment. I can only assume Rachline thinks all artists’ studios are just full of Tempera paints and macaroni, because a real studio is probably not a safe place to drop off a big group of unattended children. And I’m sure the parents of Fréjus are just lining up to leave their preschoolers with a bunch of people who have no training and no desire to be watching children.

(Photo: iStockPhoto/Getty Images)