Should Clowns Be Licensed by the State?

From TheStar.com comes the story of activist Linda Beaudoin, who is tirelessly campaigning to get clowns and their ilk — magicians, Santas, Lady Gaga impersonators, or whoever else you've been roped into hiring for your kid's birthday party — licensed and given criminal background checks.

"Exotic dancers need a permit; so do massage therapists," pointed out Beaudoin in an interview. "So why not children's entertainers?"

Beaudoin was a victim of childhood abuse, and later became a professional party clown. It was then that she realized for the first time that there existed no Department of Clown Services to monitor child entertainers for potential predatory behavior. And hence a crusade was born.

Child welfare professionals appreciate Beaudoin's efforts, but point out that clowns always work in the presence of adult guardians. It's therefore the parents' responsibility to monitor their children's welfare, thereby avoiding any nightmarish scenarios in which a well-meaning but misguided criminal investigator asks them to "point out on the balloon animal where the bad clown touched you." [The Star via Fark, photo via Shutterstock]