Skateboard dad: 'It was bonehead decision'

By Marques White, Weekend morning anchor, reporter, mwhite@wjxt.com
Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Published On: May 19 2014 10:48:05 AM EDT
Updated On: May 19 2014 06:40:00 PM EDT

A local licensed psychologist weighs in on the Jacksonville man seen pushing his son off a skate park ramp.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A father seen on video kicking his son down a 13-foot-tall ramp at Kona Skate Park in Arlington last month appeared on NBC's "The Today Show" on Monday morning.

Marcus Crossland said what he did "was my poor attempt at trying to help him overcome his fear. It was a bonehead decision."

Crossland's son, nicknamed "Dino the Dinosaur," is 6 years old. Those at the skate park said the boy wasn't injured on the ramp known as Big Brown.

"It was an effort to help him, but it didn't come out that way," Crossland said. "I'm sorry that I made that decision to use that tactic as opposed to another. I'm sorry for the outcome. Because of a decision I made, my wife and my children and everybody has got to deal with it."

The video was posted on an Instagram group known as IgersJax.

When asked about the case last week, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Melissa Bujeda wrote in an email to Channel 4: "The case facts were presented to the State Attorney's Office and prosecution of the individual involved was deferred. The State would need to comment on the specifics."

Caroline Davidson, of the State Attorney's Office, said the case is still being reviewed.

The Florida Department of Children and Families was involved in the investigating.

DCF spokesman John Harrell said he can't comment on the investigation, but he said making statements publicly can have an affect on an investigation.

"Typically what we would do in investigations is, if someone made public statements, we would consider those as part of those investigations," Harrell said.

Harrell said investigators generally speak to the child, the parents and others who know the child.

Some at the skate park Monday talked about Crossland's comments on national TV.

"I'd say he's pretty right about it being a bonehead decision," said Spencer Steelman, who's been skateboarding for seven years. "That's pretty much the stupidest thing you can do in terms of getting someone to drop a ramp that big. You don't just push them."

Steelman and Jay McFall said they see younger people skateboarding and looking up to older skateboarders with more experience. They said the best way to get kids used to bigger ramps is to ease them into it, first starting off with the smaller ramps.

"No one needs to get hurt," McFall said. "You can end your life doing this stuff."

David Chesire, a licensed psychologist at UF Health, said family counseling might be necessary.

"The fact that this happened at all means something went off the tracks here and we need to get it back on, whether that’s anger management, frustration tolerance or more effective discipline," Chesire said. "This isn’t normal and the fact that we are talking about this means that this doesn’t happen routinely."
 
Chesire said Crossland and his family should consider counseling as they attempt to move beyond this bad moment in parenting.
 
"Kids are funny sometimes; they bounce right back and hopefully that’s what happens; hopefully, he’s not afraid to go back up there and try this again," Chesire said. "Severe discipline is associated with low self-esteem, not developing good coping strategies on your own, low frustration tolerance. We would not want the child to do this to one of his friends."

Because of the video, Crossland told NBC that he and his family will move.

Harrell said because a family moves doesn't mean the investigation will stop. He said DCF typically has 60 days to complete an investigation.

Crossland's phone number has been disconnected.

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