While our Justice Department is enthusiastically countering laws banning female genital mutilation, wife beating, etc. (covered here), the local police in Colorado are going after a real criminal mastermind:
ARVADA, Colo. -- An 11-year-old Arvada boy was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs for drawing stick figures in school, something his therapist told him to do.
His parents say they understand what he did was inappropriate, but are outraged by the way Arvada Police handled the case. The parents do not want their real names used.
They say “Tim” is being treated for ADD and his therapist told him to draw pictures when got upset, rather than disrupt the class. So that’s what he did. Last October, he drew stick figures of himself with a gun, pointed at four other stick figures with the words “teacher must die.”
He felt calmer and was throwing the picture away when the teacher saw it and sent him to the principal’s office.
The school was aware that the boy was in treatment, determined he was not a threat, notified his parents and sent him back to class. His mother, “Jane” was shocked when Arvada Police showed up at their home later that night.
She says she told her son to cooperate and tell the truth, but was horrified when they told her they were arresting him and then handcuffed him and hauled him away in a patrol car. His mother says she begged police to let her drive her son to the police department and to let her stay with him through the booking process but they refused.
They put him in a cell, took his mug shot and fingerprinted him. He says he thought he was going to jail and would never be able to go home again.
According to the police report, “Tim” explained he made the drawing to release anger and would never hurt teachers or anyone. At first the school did not want to press charges, but changed their mind when police called them later that night. A juvenile assessment report shows he’s never been in legal trouble before and is at low risk to reoffend.
He’s charged with a third degree misdemeanor, interfering with staff and students at an educational facility. The system says it’s doing what’s in the best interest of the child. But Tim’s therapist says handcuffing an 11 year old and putting him in a cell over something like this is “quite an overreaction” and does much more harm than good.
Arvada Police say because today is a holiday, they are not able to get hold of all the personnel and reports to make a response, but will be able to respond tomorrow. Tim is on probation and if he completes that successfully, the criminal charges will be dropped. But his parents say it has cost them thousands of dollars so far.
And if they had known that their son’s cooperation would be used as evidence against him, they would have hired a lawyer at the beginning and exercised their right to remain silent.
Actually, the last group I blame in this are the police, they've a tough job and I always give cops the benefit of the doubt. Even the flaming assholes that might use their badge to inflate their ego. I wouldn't want that particularly thankless job, it's unbelievably tough and appallingly under appreciated. In this particular case they're basically cornered into following the wishes of the school district. Thats where several decades of Monday-morning-quarterbacking of the police in this nation has brought us. Just my opinion.
But whoever in the school administration green lighted pressing charges should be fired PDQ. You would think someone who deals with children would have a better understanding of how to handle things.
Here was a kid, venting his frustrations in the exact way prescribed by a therapist employed by the school district! These things are done so the kid DOESN'T internalize his anger and have it come boiling out in an inappropriate manner. Having employed such techniques myself, I can honestly state they DO work!
Would anyone care to guess how many times my classmates and I dreamed of assassinating the nuns who taught us back at Our Lady of Perpetual Payments Elementary School? I'll only say that in my preadolescent mind they each died in a slow, agonizing manner several times. Had I put it down on paper and "Sister" caught it you can bet my ears would still be ringing from the walloping received. My parents might even have been called and THEY would have cheerfully participated in the butt whipping. But calling the cops? You're kidding, right?
Calling the cops and pressing charges against any 11 year old, especially a special needs kid, for drawing a picture is absolutely bizarre. What about asking the therapist (the professional most able to render judgment on this) for a threat assessment of the child? What about the administration meeting with the parents if that assessment is alarming enough? What about alternative schooling (something routinely used for special needs kids who are uncontrollably disruptive and aggressive)?
WHAT ABOUT SOME STINKING COMMON SENSE, COMPASSION AND ABOVE ALL, PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT BY THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION?
I tried locating the applicable school district's website in hope of contacting them and giving my opinion. I feel this is appropriate because you can bet they receive federal funding in some fashion, so as a taxpayer I certainly DO have an interest in this. There are three districts listed for the Arvada area, so that wasn't possible.
But don't worry, now that the local bureaucratic nannystaters are involved we can expect the local Child Protective Agency (CPS) to jump into the fray, crawl up the parents' asses with a microscope and make that family's life absolutely miserable for years to come.