We have yet another example of mindless school policies leading to an equally mindless arrest. An eleven-year-old Arvada Colorado boy was arrested for drawing an inappropriate stick figure — even though his therapist had told him to draw such pictures as a way to managing his emotions.
I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).
Tim was being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and was specifically instructed by his therapist to draw pictures when he got upset. That is what he did in this case — drawing figures of himself with a gun, pointed at four other stick figures with the words “teacher must die.” He was throwing away the paper when the teacher asked to see it and the police were called.
One would have hoped that the police would immediately suggest that his parents be called and note that this was not a police problem. Instead, they arrested an eleven-year-old boy for a stick figure.
The boy was booked, fingerprinted, forced to take a mugshot and then thrown into a cell. His parents state that officers told him that he would never be able to go home again.
All this occurred despite the fact that the police report acknowledged that “Tim” has never been in legal trouble. The report also states that Tim told them that he drew the picture at the suggestion of this therapist and “would never hurt teachers or anyone.” What is really astonishing is that the school officials initially did not want to press charges but, after thinking about it, decided later that day to criminally charge the boy.
He has been charged with a third degree misdemeanor, interfering with staff and students at an educational facility.
Once again, I fail to see why this country is not more upset over the steady criminalization of every aspect of our society, including making our children into criminal miscreants over matters that were once the subject of simple parent-teacher discussions. No one appears to want to exercise a modicum of judgment or sense in such matters. Even when charges are dropped, no one is ever disciplined for the such acts of blind, thoughtless conduct.
49 thoughts on “Colorado Boy Arrested For Inappropriate Stick Drawing”
Sad but all too true.
many times the only way you can get these so-called adults to apologize is to serve them with papers. I hope they don’t have to, but this kid could be damaged by the experience.
The 11 year old is the only mentally stable one in the group.
“And by the way, I strongly believe they should not sue as a first resort. The boy wasn’t physically injured; an apology from the grown-ups who wronged him will do him much more good emotionally than a lawsuit that might consume the rest of his childhood.”
Why yes it very well might in addition to being the right thing to do. Will they – the adults – do it is another matter altogether. However, the damage may be psychological and already done. Filing suit should always be the last resort, but should the psychological damage prove persistent then damages could at least help the family offset the costs of future treatment.
Except the truth you recognize is a lie.
RE: Buddha Is Laughing, February 23, 2011 at 12:06 am
Now tell us how the adversarial principle is responsible for child abuse again.
I tell those who have eyes to see and I tell those who have ears to hear, doing so simply through living my life in a world in which I have been treated with unspeakably dastardly abuse by people who I am coming to understand profoundly terribly share your view of reality and your form of hatred for such of truth as I am able to recognize.
The only effective response to outrages like this is for people to get into the streets and march on the police department, the mayor’s office and the school board. Politicians don’t much fear lawsuits; the judgments, if any, are usually paid with tax dollars. (Note the irony: when people sue the government, they’re kind of suing themselves – or their fellow citizens, most of whom did not perpetrate the outrage.)
Sadly, most people are too cowed or too busy just getting by to try to mobilize their friends and neighbors to take mass action. I hope this family is different.
And by the way, I strongly believe they should not sue as a first resort. The boy wasn’t physically injured; an apology from the grown-ups who wronged him will do him much more good emotionally than a lawsuit that might consume the rest of his childhood.
“The function of the Adversarial Principle is to generate adversarial phenomena, including beliefs adversarial to the truth of the nature of the Adversarial Principle itself.”
No. The function of the adversarial principle as it applies law is to moderate and adjudicate situations via an impartial party that uses rules and discovery of evidence to reach an equitable and just decision. Adversity in toto is a naturally occurring phenomena that arises as a natural consequence of human interaction and interaction with the environment. Someone makes a choice to do somebody wrong or is negligent in someway and that puts them consequently adverse to the party injured by their action or inaction.
Make up definitions all you like.
You’re still wrong and propagating a Big Lie, troll.
Come on. Now tell us how the adversarial principle is responsible for child abuse again. That never ceases to be funny.
RE: Buddha Is Laughing, February 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm
The Adversarial Principle is the alternative to tyranny.
Sorry, BiL, your implacable sincerity is your greatest liability, as best I can yet discern.
The Adversarial Principle is the only tyranny, and is such a tyranny as to adversarially deny its inextricable tyrannical deception as to its being tyrannical, apparently with such stunning effectiveness as to have totally fooled you about itself and your belief in it.
Self-reference may have seemingly paradoxical characteristics.
The function of the Adversarial Principle is to generate adversarial phenomena, including beliefs adversarial to the truth of the nature of the Adversarial Principle itself.
As I observe that one synonym for the “Adversarial Principle” is the “Boogeyman,” it appears to me that the children in Sturgeon Bay who told me that the “Boogeyman” would get me were wrong about me and right about you.
From what you write as I can fathom it, I guess the Boogeyman really got you but good (but good is a play on words as it really means, “terribly”).
Deception deceives those it deceives.
The Adversarial Principle is adverse to itself and all that it captures.
Your comments about my work really do inform me as to why James O. Ebbeson thought it was good to draft affidavits containing the most dastardly lies about me that ever came my way before you surpassed Ebbeson’s deceptive dishonesty accordingly as I find evidenced in your falsehood-grounded comments about my work.
Some people really do not grasp what the real nature of evil is, for evil can capture the best of people with perfect ease, else evil would not be evil.
“The difference this time is a process – due process – will be followed and proper discovery had which will be presented to an impartial judge to decide upon the merits and not upon knee-jerk instinct and narrow minded self-interest of the parties responsible for those unjustly punishing this boy.“
The Adversarial Principle is the alternative to tyranny. The tyranny of the school officials and cops would have been avoided if they had applied a bit of adversarial process to find out the facts first instead of reacting out of knee-jerk instinct. Now they are going to get a healthy dose of the adversarial process in the inevitable lawsuits the parents will file against both the school and the police for their gross overreaction, lack of critical examination of the facts before acting, and general bad judgment. The difference this time is a process – due process – will be followed and proper discovery had which will be presented to an impartial judge to decide upon the merits and not upon knee-jerk instinct.
Which is why I find the Adversarial Principle to be the deepest of all possible causes for what may usefully be thought of as “The Evil One.”
There is another issue here that no one has addressed. The stick figures and the phrase “teacher must die” are protected by the First Amendment. The only way that they would not be is if they constituted a threat, but they didn’t here, because the boy was throwing away the paper without having shown it to anybody. This is not to say that, if the boy had not been in therapy, the paper might not be considered a reason to get him therapy. But to punish him for the drawing or the words is to violate the highest law of the land — the Constitution. It is the adults who violated the law in this case. And, based on the facts given above, the charge of “interfering with staff and students at an educational facility” is a flat-out lie, so the adults are guilty of his false arrest and imprisonment.
Gyges and AY-
Interesting stuff from George Orwell. I particularly love the word, “KULTURBOLSCHEVISMUS”. I think we’re up to our necks in kulturbolschevismus today,not to mention politischebolschevismus.
And I use the two words in their bomb-throwing connotation.
Think U.S. House of Representatives and Governor of Wisconsin.
And teachers and cops who terrorize little boys.
nerdgirl brings up a valid point that too many people forget:
Respect is earned, not due.
This is ridiculous. They let way too much slide in school systems, but with this, they went way overboard. Kids today have little respect for adults. However, adults bring it on themself because they don’t handle the children correctly. Too many schools use fear/mind tactics.
Wow Gyges….. I think the man outta be a saint…..
The story says the following: This shit is fucked up….
Zero tolerance policies have been widely adopted because we no longer trust the ability of persons in authority to exercise reasonable discretion.
I agree with you that these parents should be going after the school and the police for this official “abuse” of their child.
Are you saying that without the intervention the kid was going to have a rather unflattering essay written about him by George Orwell?
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