What if their genitals are on fire?

When we launched the Festivus Caption Contest in 2003, we had no idea what kind of trouble we might be getting into:

OCALA, Florida (AP) — Two boys were arrested for making pencil-and-crayon stick figure drawings depicting a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said. The children, charged with a felony, were taken from school in handcuffs.

The 9- and 10-year-old boys were arrested Monday and charged with making a written threat to kill or harm another person. They were also suspended from school.

Arrested. Yes, arrested.

Thanks to Blair for the link.


Comments: 8


wull in MAH day they’d a larnt them thar kids a lessons wit’ a HICKORY STICK! fit t’ draw blood!

you should have seen some of the pictures i drew at 9 and 10 years old. thank god for the statute of limitations.


Wow, you are so lucky that you weren’t arrested for “Public Indecency Involving Stick Figures,” “Sexual Harassment of Stick Figures,” and “Contributing to the Delinqency of Stick Figures.”

(But if you had been, you could have implicated John Derbyshire, so it would have all been worth while.)


Sadly, this is a case where what may look like overreaction is the best policy. No doubt the school had no choice but to inform the police, which is preferable to letting some administrator decide to shrug it off. If they’re just suspended they’re back in class tomorrow until a hearing can be arranged. This way the parents had to deal with it immediately and they can get a psych evaluation. That headline is better than “School Ignored Warnings, Police Say”.

What’s crappy here is the “led away in handcuffs” bit. Yes they were cuffed. They were arrested. The media thumped the tub about school violence for two decades, but when it turned out to white suburban kids were a threat they went all civil libertarian.


Give me a break, Doghouse! This is not a race or urban/suburban issue. The same thing happened to a little girl — black — in Philadelphia who brought a pair of scissors to school, and as I recall the media were all over it.

This Zero Tolerance (= Zero Judgment) crap is an increasing problem. Bad enough that there’s no sense of proportion used, no sense of, maybe we should talk to these kids, find out what’s going on, then intervene — as a school — if necessary. Bringing in the police should be a last resort, but now too often it’s the first. And taking the kids off in handcuffs! What kind of danger did they pose to the arresting officers?

Goddammit, sometimes I really don’t like this world.


Ooh, tough one. I mean, it was specifically about a classmate, not about someone anonymous. It could easily have been seen as a threat.


My wife’s been a teacher for twenty years, so I’ve seen “zero tolerance” develop as a response to public and media pressure. My best guess would be that school officials did not have a choice whether to report this to the police. I’ll bet it was district policy, and you can’t have such a policy which allows every teacher to use his own discretion unless you want to be sued every time you do try to enforce it, and it would be irresponsible to exempt children under a certain age from compliance. The handcuffs–I’m gonna crawl out on a limb here–are probably manditory for anyone placed under arrest, and not a measure of the officers’ fear of two 80 lb. brigands.

Sure, most kids acting out are kids acting out, but if it’s my child they’re disembowelling on paper I have a right to expect the school to err on the side of making sure this isn’t one of those other cases, no matter how disinterested third parties feel about it.


So, what do you guys think? Life in prison? Maybe we can be a little lenient if it’s their first offense. How about 25 yrs? I don’t know–we have to protect the public, and there’s always the “tough on crime” thingy to remember. A little help here?


doghouse: “overreaction is the best policy”

Saner words never have been spoken. But … did the authorities truly over-reacted? Mind you, we are talking about a TERRORIST threat, hence, about terrorists! Wasn’t it reckless to send police to school, in an un-armored vehicle, armed with hand-guns only? What if the kids already prepared an IED to blow them up?

Wouldn’t be more prudent to let the kids leave the school and then liquidate with a missile carefully targetted from a helicopter? Perhaps not, seasoned terrorists would flee in the opposite direction at the first sound of the helicopters. Luckily, smart bombs dropped from high altitude are more difficult to evade.

If this were my child disembowelled on paper, I would understand the necessary collateral damage, even if it included her.


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