Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things 13 year-olds should DEFINITELY be arrested for

Farting. Yep. A 13 year-old junior high student should absolutely be placed under arrest for passing gas and generally disrupting his classroom through non-violent means.

Here is the story of this kid who was charged with disruption of school function. This is what happens when we as a matter of course have "school resources officers" otherwise known as cops whose beats are public schools. We're reaching a point of turning any and every conflict or behavioral problem over to the cops. Here I wrote about a mentally ill client of mine who was referred to the cops by the very psychiatric ward who had taken responsibility for getting him through his violent, schizophrenic episode.

Calling the cops in a situation like this should be an absolute last resort. A child disrupting a classroom should be dealt with through discipline or be made to see a counselor or both. Parents should be called and made to be more involved in addressing the child's behavior. If parents can't or won't get involved, then maybe protective services should get involved. But arresting the kid and charging him with a crime just shouldn't factor into the equation. Not for behavior that didn't hurt anyone, didn't even threaten to hurt anyone. But because cops are always there at school nowadays, it's just become too easy to involve the school resource officer. Just let the cop deal with it.

Disciplining kids is hard work. Maintaining your cool as a kid does everything he can to push your buttons takes a lot of srength. But if you're a parent or a teacher or a school administrator, that's just part of your job. Part of running a school is teaching children acceptable behavior, respect for others (which would include not farting), and disciplining them when they mess up. Yes, public schools are underfunded and undestaffed and don't have time to deal with one or two trouble students. But tough. My office is underfunded and understaffed and we don't have time to deal with trouble clients, but I'd still get into ethical trouble if I just chose not to deal with one of my clients or decided not to pursue one of my cases. I just have to figure out how to make it all work. We aren't doing our kids any favors by telling them they're criminals for behaving like immature 13 year-old boys.


Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello Sarah,

Amen, amen, amen!

I've posted myself about how some people are all too quick to call the cops. Great job security for you and your colleagues (and for some cops, too, which might have something to do with some people's encouraging the practice). But it stinks for many of us.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Jeff Deutsch

PS: Hat-tip to Jamie Spencer for pointing me here.

S said...

Thanks for stopping by. I definitely owe thanks to Jamie for getting me traffic.

I read your linked blog post and, not surprisingly, I agree with you that that was a pretty silly thing to call the cops over.

I would much rather not have job security if it means that the mentally ill client I wrote about would get proper mental health care instead of 2 years in prison! And I would much rather not have 13 year-old boys be arrested for engaging in highly inappropriate but highly normal behavior for 13 year-old boys!

Jeff Deutsch said...

Good morning Sarah,

Thank you very much for your note. Good luck to your clients, especially those who need treatment instead of prison!

There's something else you posted about that's a bit more controversial and I was hoping we could talk about it one-to-one (instead of in the comments). I don't see an email address on your blog, so if you would be so good as to please email me at jeff_deutsch@hotmail.com that would be great.


Jeff Deutsch

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