Children in Trouble: Children Are Being Arrested in Schools for “Acting Out”


Remember this story and others: Children in Trouble: Children Are Being Arrested in Schools for "Acting Out" Published April 11, 2007 by: StarBourne They have been harassed ,handcuffed, fingerprinted and booked. Some of them even have a criminal record. Sadly though these "criminal" are all under the age of ten and barely out of elementary school. They are being institutionalized and brain washed at an alarming rate. Not surprisingly in all the cases I have researched, with the exception of two, the children were minorities. The law in most states now makes it acceptable for a child under 12 to be arrested by a cop as long as they have an okay from their supervisor. Take for instance, 6 yr. old, Desre’e Watson, kindergarten student at Avon Elementary in Highlands County. Allegedly, Desre’e had a violent run-in with her teacher and apparently the only way to control this 60 lb. child was to call local police. The child was supposedly so out of order that she had to be handcuffed and put in the police cruiser. She was then booked at Highland County Jail and charged with a felony and two misdemeanors, including: disruption of a school function , battery on school employees and resisting arrest. Resisting arrest? She is six years old. She now has a mug shot on file. When asked for a comment Desre’e recalled "I was scared" The girls’ mother, Lateshia Wilson says "…they violated my babys’ rights…" and she doesn’t believe the story. She has taken the steps necessary to have the NAACP investigate the case further. Chief Frank Mercurio, at Avon Police department says "When there is an outburst of violence, we have a duty to protect and make that school a safe environment for the students, staff and faculty. That’s why at this point, the person was arrested regardless what the age." Another well publicized case involving an African-American child would be the Gerard Mungo Jr. situation in East Baltimore. The year old was spotted on the sidewalk sitting on a dirt bike that his father had just purchased for him on his seventh birthday. He was arrested and fingerprinted as well. Police also confiscated his bike and he also had to take a mug shot. Lakisa Dinkins, mother, said her son was just sitting on the bike when he was snatched up by the officer . She told them to let her son go but to no avail the end result was the same as the others. When Lakisa called for a supervisor matters grew worse. They started yelling at him and asking him if he knows what he did wrong. "He was so scared he ran back in the house in tears." she stated. Officials say that it is illegal to ride dirt bikes in Baltimore because according to law they pose a serious threat to pedestrians and drivers. The Baltimore police department has a zero tolerance policy. The policy began under the citys’ former Mayor Martin O’Malley (who is now Marylands governor) and has since gotten a lot of complaints because arrest like Gerards occur more often in poor black neighborhoods. The community is outraged and regardless of the charges being dropped they plan to take legal actions as well. Now rewind all the way back to 1998 when a five year old kindergarten student, also in Florida Chaquita Doman, was accused of biting and scratching a teacher. Barbara Frye, spokewoman for Escambia County School district in Tallahassee explained " The child went into a rage. She was supposed to be in line for lunch and in doing so she began to throw furniture and turning some over as well." She faced charges of felony of battery of an educator or elected official. School officials and police felt no need to justify the arrest. Charges were eventually dropped and she was removed from the school by her parents. These are just a couple of cases out of the hundreds that are merely being overlooked. It is a known fact that 75% of our men in women, who are incarcerated, are repeat offenders. These children are being set- up for a life of crime and jail and its being justified. I, for one am completely disappointed in our system and have been for quite some time but to see that a child can be racially and economically profiled is just sickening. How long is it going to take to realize that these children are our future and as long as we keep ignoring what is being done to them , the cycle will not be broken. I refuse to stand back and volunteer my childs integrity to these incompetent fools who apparently have no sense of logic what-so-ever. There is no excuse for putting handcuffs on a child because of a tantrum. How pathetic are the adults who are in charge that one…they can’t control their pupils and two…they feel its called for to involve the authorities. Even if a child is having a fit, which I know can occur, jail is not the answer. Why are there not counselors or alternative methods to deal with a childs attitude? As a parent I have learned that patience and understanding goes a long way. These educators are being taught first and second grade math but it seems no one is being taught to actually deal with the child personally. Explains why national test scores are down but paychecks are up. That experience traumatizes an individual for life and almost always leads to "coming back" as they say in the prison. Its bad enough they are arresting these same childrens’ fathers and mothers for the pettiest of crimes and making it hard for anyone darker than a California tan to live the American Dream but now they want our babies. I urge all parents and just anyone with a heart to find out about their local policies on children and arrests and take a stand if something doesn’t seem right. Remember it could’ve been your child.

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