Today I heard about an eleven-year-old who last October was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs for drawing a stick figure in school. Ironically, this was exactly what his therapist had told him to do.
Draw Pictures When You Are Upset
The student, in Arvada, Colorado, is being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder, and his therapist told him to draw pictures when he got upset, rather then disrupt his class. So he followed directions.
From KWGN in Denver:
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.
Hauled Off To Jail, Photographed, Fingerprinted
After that, 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.
“Tim” is charged with a third degree misdemeanor, interfering with staff and students at an educational facility. The system says it’s acting in everyone’s best interests, but Tim’s therapist says handcuffing an 11-year-old and putting him in a cell is over-reacting and does more harm than good.
“Tim” was not posing a threat to anyone in the classroom, and the youngster seemed well able to take care of himself.
What’s Wrong With This System?
Furthermore, how did the police know about what this young man had drawn? Clearly, school officials decided to notify the police, and the system took over from there.
Let’s Help The Students In Need
Isn’t it about time that school officials learned the difference between students who are potentially violent and a threat to the student body, and those who just need some help and looking after?
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Brett L. via Creative Commons