Free-Range Kids

Dad Banned from Son's Preschool Graduation, and the Really Weird Reason Is…

Only sex predators go looking for missing dogs in white vans.



Last fall, a man who was driving his van around Susquehanna University looking for his lost dog was mistaken for a predator.

Now he can't even attend his own son's preschool graduation, because the ceremony takes place at SU.

The man put up "lost dog" signs and even had his wife and teenage nephew with him when he went looking for the dog (who was sadly found dead). But he was still somehow taken for a predator—female students complained that they didn't like the way he was talking to them—and prohibited from setting foot on campus.

As Hilda Kate Lysiak—the nine-year-old wonderkid behind the Orange Street News—reported:

Susquehanna University has banned a Selinsgrove father from his own son's preschool graduation after mistakenly accusing him of being a creeper after he was spotted driving around campus in a van while looking for his lost dog.

"We are not going to stand for this. We are very upset," Candice Peterson told the Orange Street News. 

The trouble began last September after Peterson and her family lost their beloved family dog. The family drove all around Selinsgrove in their van in search of their beloved family pet, including the University where they believed their dog may have wandered.

But when students saw the van instead of helping the family find the missing canine they instead became upset and reported Peterson to the campus police, who put out an alert. Soon everyone was looking for the van, including police and many local news outlets ran with the story.

Last week, Candice Peterson—the man's wife—learned the eviction covers their kid's preschool graduation:

Candice Peterson was hoping it would all blow over, until last week when she found her son's pre-school graduation is going to be held at the University and that her husband still isn't allowed back.

I followed up on Lysiak's story to see if the Petersons had made any headway, and the email answer from Candice began with a recap of what had happened in the fall:

"We called the director of public saftey David Gardner at SU [Susquehanna University] ….We told him that we felt terrible about this misunderstanding hoping that he would retract the alert. Instead he… said for my husband to stay away from the school and he would be contacting us again. So we went to the Selinsgrove PD Chief Garlok who said he would talk to him. A few days passed and we went back to speak to the chief (chief Garlok) who handed us a " no trespass order."

She added that Garlok indicated the problem would eventually just blow over. But when she found out her son's graduation was to be held on campus, she spoke to Gardner again. And as she wrote in a note to me:

He said "we have sufficient evidence against your husband and he's not allowed on this campus as per our attorneys." I was in shock. I said wait, he was never questioned by police, or charged with anything. You never investigated anything you just wrote the no trespass order.

That's exactly where things stood until yesterday when I wrote to Gardner myself, explaining I write for Reason and And suddenly Angela Burrows, the Susquehanna University communications director, wrote back:

"The University strives to keep its private campus safe for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.  While privacy considerations dictate that we cannot share more information at this time, the University stands by its decision to issue a no-trespass order to Mr. Petersen.  We will provide a one-time exception for Mr. Petersen to come to campus for preschool graduation.  The no trespass order will otherwise remain in effect."

Woo-hoo! For one single day, the menacing dog-searcher himself will be allowed to set foot on campus. But after that, for reasons that are still mystifying, Peterson will be considered a trespasser.

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    1. HEY! This guy’s a liar!

      1. It’s probably the dad in the white van. Hey, we’ve all got a day job!

  2. Show of hands: who was more upset about the dog?

    Obviously this dude got screwed and something something wood chipper but the dog part got me.

    1. Seriously. I bet he was going to Rape the shit out of that dog if he ever found it. Smdh

      1. Who’s to say he didn’t do that anyway. I have as much evidence of him doing that as the fuzz do of him being a creeper.

    2. Hand up.

  3. Wait, the dog was found dead? What happened?

    1. 9/10 injuries sustained in vehicle collision.


    2. Probably shot by the cops who were called by the scared college kids.

      Wait, that’s not funny.

      Now I feel bad.

  4. I’m not sure what I’m more offended by?his being banned from the campus, or that PRESCHOOL GRADUATION CEREMONIES ACTUALLY EXIST.

    1. For some students that’s going to be their highest level of intellectual attainment. Mant of those will go on to do “studies” degrees.

      1. Underwater Gender Basket Triggering, Magna Cum Laude, Oberlin Class of ’34

    2. Beat me to it

    3. My kid’s preschool had one. Complete with caps and gowns.

      It’s to con the parents (and grandparents, mostly) into spending a bunch of money on pictures and an “awwwww” moment.

      1. Our kids preschool not only had a graduation ceremony, it beat any high school ceremony – hands down. Not just caps and gowns and marching across a stage; there were multiple choral performances, spoken word performances by all the students, musical slide shows of the kids’ year, it was really over the top. It comes with a DVD of the event and a photo book. This year I heard they just tacked on a mandatory $50 “graduation fee” to cover all that.

        1. You have your daycare service contract?

      2. My little brother had one, caps and gowns included, back in the mid 60s(!) so I can’t blame this on modern sensibilities. However, it was at the kindergarten itself — traipsing to a University for it seems a bit overblown.

      3. Well, duh, of course, but how can you call even the most obviously manufactured aww moment a “con”? Next you’ll be saying Santa Claus….

    4. Yup. They do.

      When I made it past kindergarten I was kicked in the ass and told, ‘Congrats. You’re not retarded. Off you go.”

    5. I had one, which means they’ve been around since at least 1987. They exist to give parents an excuse to take a day off work and to give them a nice moment as a reward for all that money they blew on daycare.

  5. We will provide a one-time exception for Mr. Petersen to come to campus for preschool graduation.

    That’s gonna be fun. Who doesn’t want a unfriendly police escort to and from their child’s ceremony?

    1. So many great memories.

      “…and that’s when your dad was banned from Chuck e Cheese…. And that’s your dad being escorted to a ‘viewing room’ to watch a video of your school play… And here’s dad maintaining a 300yd distance from…”

  6. These poor, micro-aggressed, liberal arts students are merely projecting. They’re learning this behavior:…..se_un.html

    1. I’m not sure I see the relevance, but ookay

      “”The students at Susquehanna University are being terrorized and harassed by the public safety officers here, however, their authority and blatant disregard for the rules leaves the SU student community with limited options, and fearful that they will be targeted if they do speak up.”””

      it seems a bit like progressive comeuppance, a la “be careful what you wish for = you might get it””

      Constantly demand ‘safety’, don’t be surprised when authority takes you at you word

      1. I was being sarcastic…but yeah, that progressive comeuppance thing sounds pretty good.
        Gilmore, you are appreciated.

    2. “There’s no reason that I should live with this type of harassment where they have unreasonable access to my residence.”

      I wonder if they’d apply the same logic when, say, applied to illegal searches by top men and DEA raids.

      “I take this situation very, very seriously,” she said. She cannot say at this time if the allegations have credibility, she said.”

      As opposed to ‘very seriously’ or just seriously. Extra exclamation point!

      Anyway. How dare you comment after looking at pictures I uploaded of myself in a mini-skirt on Facebook! Rape! Invasion of privacy!

      From Comments:

      “bydlo 2 days ago

      This is very wrong, and should be stopped immediately. If someone looked in my window I would throw a chair through it and scream like crazy…”

      M’kay, psycho.

    3. The petition alleges officers of barricading doors at parties so no can leave, pulling fire alarms as excuses to conduct unwarranted searches and stopping students on the street to insist they open their bags.

      To me the most disturbing aspect is the literacy of this reporter.

      1. I think they were admiring the (unwitting?) alliteration.

    4. “There’s no reason that I should live with this type of harassment where they have unreasonable access to my residence.”

      Gotta make sure the campus is gun-free like you wanted!

  7. WTF, just WTF.

  8. Fuck the college administrators. Fuck the police, both for actually giving into the demands of the cowards at the university and just generally. And fuck those pathetic college students afraid of their own shadow.

  9. I think the detail being glossed over here… Is =

    Pre-school *graduation* ceremony?


    Snookums passed all their naptime exams, then? They fullfilled their block-stacking requirements? Perhaps got extra credit for their thesis proposing that the wheels of the bus *not only go up and down* but also angle to each side by necessity while engaged in turns?

    My niece had a ‘graduation’ from sixth grade I missed recently. She plotzed about it. I told her to call me back when she accomplished some challenge with less than a 99% success rate. Attendance prizes are bullshit.

    1. You see, by holding the “graduation” at a University, it enhances the feelz.

      1. I presume they do the invocation with puppets

    2. You people are reading way too much into this. It just gives the tykes a taste of what they can expect in real school going forward – when you’re done matriculating at a school you get a ceremony. Strangers get to brag to each other about how awesome their kids are, they all get free coffee and cake, everyone takes pictures, and the adults get to take the afternoon off without their bosses bitching about it. Why is this a bad thing?

      1. “”Why is this a bad thing?””

        False sense of accomplishment? needless glorification of the mundane? Ego-boosting horseshit? Needing to take “time off” for something so pointless and trivial?

        I think High-School & College Graduations are themselves excessive, mostly-stupid-but tolerable rituals which no one should ever feel bad for ‘opting-out’ of, which *maybe* make sense because 4-year blocks of time establish some watershed moments for kids to feel like they’re being officially weaned from parental control.

        But fucking pre-schoolers? 4yr olds? Its idiotic and so is anyone who defends the idea. its not even ‘school’ = its bloody daycare. as already noted = Participation-trophies are bullshit. It devalues actual accomplishment and makes a mockery of meritocracy.

        1. well said

        2. You’re taking it way too seriously. It’s really not much different than a birthday party. Parents and kids just get together and have some fun. I’ll get off your lawn now.

          1. You’re taking it way too seriously. .

            Au contraire = its people dragging their 4yr old kids to a university-setting to play Big School pantomime that are taking shit way too seriously.

            if it were no different from a @*()# birthday party, i’m curious why “campus & local police” seem necessary to ensure the event is Rapist Free

            1. I’m going to go ahead and agree that doing it on a university campus is ridiculous unless that’s where the school is located. But this all harmless fun with no far-reaching implications; the kids themselves will completely forget about it within a week. It’s a goodbye party before they head off to regular school, nothing to get bent out of shape over.

              1. the kids themselves will completely forget about it within a week


                Well except the one with the Rapist dad.

              2. Honestly, I think the “no big deal” defense is one of the worst arguments on earth.

                If its really such a non-event, why fucking do it at all?

                As already noted = my niece has had like 3 of these ‘graduation’ things happen to her since she was 5. as an uncle, i like to play my due part, but on occasions i’ve been like, “WTF is it *now*?” Kids these days are being given awards and parties on a near-constant basis *just for showing up*, and its a bullshit trend which i find to have a horrible spoiling impact on the 10yr old i know and love. They expect a fucking parade if they so much as complete a routine task adequately.

                The idea that people deserve celebrating for merely meeting bare-minimum requirements is absurd. If you think this concept has not already had farther-reaching implications with younger people, you haven’t been paying attention. Do whatever you want with your own progency; but don’t pretend everyone else has to think its ‘normal’ or non-completely-retarded.

                1. As already noted = my niece has had like 3 of these ‘graduation’ things happen to her since she was 5. as an uncle, i like to play my due part, but on occasions i’ve been like, “WTF is it *now*?” Kids these days are being given awards and parties on a near-constant basis *just for showing up*, and its a bullshit trend which i find to have a horrible spoiling impact on the 10yr old i know and love. They expect a fucking parade if they so much as complete a routine task adequately.

                  The Great Giltini

            2. if it were no different from a @*()# birthday party, i’m curious why “campus & local police” seem necessary to ensure the event is Rapist Free

              If you get banned from the Chuck-E-Cheese and come back anyways, the police will show up there too. That doesn’t mean those birthday parties aren’t actually birthday parties.

        3. Maybe we need to create a mockitocracy!

        4. False sense? Our forebears would’ve considered it a non-trivial accomplishment to even survive to that age.

    3. Snookums passed all their naptime exams, then? They fullfilled their block-stacking requirements

      That’s the remedial pre-schools.

  10. I hope he drives the van to the ceremony.

    1. And puts a sign on the door =

      “After-graduation magic-show inside!”

  11. Well perhaps he shouldn’t have asked the coeds – “Hey, sweet cheeks, have you seen my hot dog?” and “If I can’t find my dog, can I play with your poodle?”

    1. He shouldn’t have named the dog Balls, really.

  12. So… innocent until proven guilty no long applies? I’ll bet he had a mustache, right? Gotta be the stash! There’s all the proof you need.

    1. Well, it was a university…

    2. He was probably wearing rapist glasses:

  13. I have no doubt that they (the snowflakes he talked to, the school, and the police) are severely overreacting, seeing as they’re morons, but I’d be curious to know what he actually said to them.

    I’m sure it was something along the lines of “have you seen my dog?”

    And the response was “Eeeeewwww you pervert, no we haven’t seen your fucking dog. Dog is a euphemism for penis you cisgendered shitlord. I’m calling the cops because you wanted to show me your penis!”


    1. That he spoke to them at all could have been perceived as snowflake-threatening.

  14. Susquehanna University’s actions are based on a fear that its students are so stupid they can be fooled by strange men looking for help finding non-existent puppies. And maybe they are.

    1. Didn’t some guy do a video where he demonstrated how he could lure kids to his car by promising them they he could see his puppy, while the parents watched, horrified as little Jimmy toodled off?

      That must be what happened here. Clearly, these snowflakes were just moments away from being conned into petting his “puppy.”

    2. I know exactly one person who attended Susquehanna University in the early 90s, my dad’s niece from his second marriage. I can vouch for the stupidity of its students — she was so fucking dumb that she could not even manage to graduate that august institution.

  15. “female students complained that they didn’t like the way he was talking to them”

    So, as usual, this is the source of the trouble on campus.

    1. Womyns FEELZ now have the force of law. Everyone knows this.

    2. Yeah, women tend to fuck shit up, it is like the are completly oblivious to their privilege.

  16. OMWC hit hardest

    1. They Ran him over with the Van? Why isn’t that the headline?

      1. Oh, I forgot:

        /end deliberate obtuseness

  17. Careful Lenore, you are starting to sound dangerously like a men’s rights activist.

  18. female students complained that they didn’t like the way he was talking to them?and prohibited from setting foot on campus

    “Could you please point me to the ladies room?”

    1. You had to go there, didn’t you

      1. He couldn’t hold it any longer.

        1. Please, “Xe”

  19. There is one part of this story which is 100% appropriate.

    That the preschool graduation ceremony is being held at a university campus.

    Those tots may be the most mature kids on campus for the day…

    1. (Drops mic)

  20. OT and not sure if covered elsewhere but, not only the cake was a hoax.

    1. I don’t get why anyone’s still trying to pull this shit after so many cases of fake “hate crimes” backfiring on the wannabe victims.


    2. The cake was a lie?

      (I finally Googled that to find out where the saying came from)

      1. I actually assumed his reference was to the recent “Fag Cake” episode. It works both ways, i guess

        For convenient reference, the Federalist provided a list of other recent False-Flag SJW Hoaxes gone-wrong in their own coverage of that event

        Also handy, the “Fake Hate Crime Database

        1. The Fake Hate Crime Database needs cleaned up? 214 and 219 refer to the same story.

          And hate is spelled H-A-T-E, not H-A-T.

          Unless the Feds have established hat crime laws.

  21. Proof that misandry is alive and well folks.

  22. It’s a private school. This is stupid, but they can be as stupid as they want to be and ban anybody they want

    1. And use the local police to enforce their arbitrary bans?

      1. Yes. If I decide to ban you from my yard because I find your unibrow disconcerting and you come back to my yard anyways, I’m allowed to use the local police to enforce my arbitrary ban.

        1. I wonder why anyone bothers with their own security

          1. So rather than having him arrested if he shows up on campus without permission, you’d prefer they shoot him?

            1. Clearly that’s exactly what i just said.

              (mutes stormy again)

              1. “Being responsible for your own security” is usually used around here as a euphemism for concealed carry, so if that’s not what you meant, perhaps you should have been more explicit about what you had in mind.

    2. Serious question: When a private institution accepts federal/state money (various student loan programs), are they allowed to toss due process out on a whim? This seems very stupid and it’d be nice to see the guy have some avenue for recourse.

      1. You can ban someone from your property for any stupid reason you like, I’d suppose. He could try and sue them, but I doubt it would go very far.

        It’s a pretty slippery slope if you want to start limiting the rights of property owners just because they accept federal dollars. I’m specifically thinking of agriculture.

        1. That being said, I’d think it would be a bigger issue that the police are now involved. What burden of proof is required for them to enforce this type of thing? I’d look into it, but the university seems to be well within their rights and this whole thing seems pretty stupid.

          1. The same burden of proof as always. It’s not like trespassing laws are a new thing.

  23. If the campus is funded by public money then where does the school get off banning people. It seems Universities believe they are their own little countries. I believe all Unversities that have free speech zones should be stripped of public funding.

  24. Everyone knows that a college is a proof-free zone. You don’t need to ‘prove’ he did anything, all you do is issue summery judgments based on emotion and the heat of the moment. If it’s later pointed out that your previous judgment was in error, double down and escalate the situation to 11.


  25. Could you provide us with the email address and home and office phone numbers of Angela Burrows, the Susquehanna University communications director. A friend of mine would like to have a frank and free exchange of views with her.

    1. Every “communications director” in every organization I’m familiar with (including me, back in the day when I worked similar jobs) is limited to writing coherent press releases/responses based on decisions made higher up the food chain.

      Not saying Burrows is innocent, just that your “friend” probably won’t be frankly and freely exchanging views with anyone that set, or can change, the policy.

      1. Its a bit like beating up the waiter for how poorly cooked your meal was.

  26. Libertarians – “Innocent until proven guilty!”
    Conservatives – “Innocent if the police say so!”
    Liberals – “Guilty until hauled before a tribunal!”
    Progressives – “Guilty if white hetero cis-male!”

    University Administrators – “J’Accuse!”

  27. Way to hit the perfecta, Ms. Skenazy: a story like this & it’s by that child reporter!

    1. I’m starting to love that kid. Can’t wait to see what she’s doing in 10 years.

      1. Uh, but not in an OMWC way! I mean, I don’t even own a white van! I mean in an “admiring her work ethic and reporting skills” way! No! Don’t ban me, Susquehanna University!

        1. She’s been chasing a story about vandalism in her community for weeks. At first, the police kept brushing her off, but she’s just kept plugging away at it. Now an SU student has been charged and she’s naming and shaming him!

          Grove Vandal Could Pay Large Fine

          “Goodwin is a finance major at Susquehanna University and had worked as an intern at Sony Music in New York City before coming to Selinsgrove to allegedly menace our community, according to his LinkedIn page. It also says he studied Business Ethics, but didn’t say if the alleged destructive menace got a passing grade.”

          This girl is fantastic.

  28. Is this panic via clich?? Because it was a white van? Like when a digital clock is suspected to be a bomb, as if a time bomb would actually give a readout?

  29. Lawyer up and sue them into the ground, plow the ground with the jawbones of those in charge, and salt the ground with their tears.

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