Bill Johnson has more today, Saturday, October 27, on how our public school system is using the courts to turn children acting childish into criminals.
Link: It's a Crime What Courts Do to Kids Just Being Kids | Bill Johnson/Rocky Mountain News
You want your jaw to drop into your lap, your eyes to well up? You should take a peek at my e-mail inbox or listen to the voice mail that arrived on Friday.
There was Sheldon Page, who hadn't slept the night before and picked up the paper the moment they threw it on his doorstep. He read in this space on Friday of the elementary school boy now facing criminal charges for allegedly slapping a female classmate on the buttocks. He called.
His 14-year-old grandson was due in court Friday afternoon for sentencing. His anguish had kept him awake. A 13-year-old girl had told her mother the boy touched her bottom during a game of tag in May.
The boy ultimately pleaded guilty to sexual assault and was placed in a juvenile facility Tuesday.
"It is the most outrageous thing I've ever heard of," Sheldon Page, 51, said. "He is a kid, a teenager playing a kid's game, and now they've made him a criminal." ... MORE
Commentary: People without school-age children in Colorado might be surprised that there is a permanent police presence in most middle and high schools. At least that has been my observation of the schools in north Jefferson County where I have had contact with public education.
When you read the article by Bill Johnson in today's Rocky Mountain News, you begin to understand how silly juvenile behavior so easily gets criminalized -- the police are there, their presence has to be justified to the taxpayer -- so, kids are put into the criminal justice system for what is basically bad teenage behavior. Shifting certain children into the legal system also makes those kids somebody else's problem instead of the school's problem.
There was a time when teachers, principals and administrators treated children as children. But the enduring paranoia of 'Columbine' has taken childishness away from children ... now every doodle, every journal entry, every prank, every game is seen as a potential psychological portent of a psychotic student.
In truth, the story below as conveyed by Johnson, is yet another example of a failing public education system -- they cannot handle the task the taxpayers have given them: to educate our children. So political and so afraid is the educational establishment that all they can do is test to the point that testing IS the teaching -- and suspension, expulsion and arrest is their 21st century 'modern' way of disciplining.
FAILURE ... that's what it is.
Smaller schools, less testing, local control, ending state and federal curriculum mandates, fewer administrators, police out of the buildings ... these are just a few of the things that could be done to restore schools as places of learning.
But as long as people keep voting taxes to keep the current system in place, nothing will change.
He is 13 years old.
And today, he is smack in the middle of the criminal justice system. My guess is that the system will now try to hang a sexual assault label on him, dooming him to a lifetime of misery.
What did he do a deserve this? Happened a couple of weeks ago. I thought you might ask.
He is an eighth-grader at Park Hill Elementary School and, by accounts, a good kid, a decent student and a very good athlete.
From accounts, too - information comes at a trickle when it involves an alleged juvenile crime - the kids at Park Hill for some time have been engaged in a game of their own invention.
It involves, it seems, a weird version of tag: The girls would slap the boys in the, well, privates. The boys, in response, would then slap the girls on the buttocks.
The boy in this story, whose first name I will not use here, apparently was struck while he stood with a girl at the blackboard during the last class of the day.
According to the boy's mother, Molley Warren, it appears that no one ever actually saw her son slap the girl's backside in return. What was seen, she said, was a chalk handprint on the back of the girl's pants. ... Read More