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Young Master Seke's avatar

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When a six-year-old boy kicked his school principal last week, the school called in police, not parents.

The student had already been suspended for kicking and biting another official, when he allegedly threatened a teacher and kicked Principal Pat Lumbley. This time, the child was placed in police custody and charged with battery and intimidation.

Police in a small Indiana town hauled a six-year-old from his elementary school and charged him with battery and intimidation after he kicked and threatened a principal, police said on Wednesday.

The incident followed one earlier in April where police handcuffed a 6-year-old girl who was screaming and crying and had injured a principal and damaged property at an elementary school in Milledgeville, Georgia. She was not charged.

The Indiana student, who had been suspended from school recently for biting and hitting a staff member, was arrested April 18 at Hendricks Elementary School in Shelbyville, which is about 30 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

"This was not an isolated incident," Shelbyville Police Lieutenant Michael Turner said.

School officials called police, reporting that the student, who was not identified, had kicked Principal Patrick Lumbley and told him and Assistant Principal Jessica Poe that he was going to kill them, a Shelbyville police report said.

The student was yelling and screaming and lying on the floor of Poe's office when police arrived, the report said.

Poe led the student to a police car where an officer placed him in the back seat, buckled him in and drove him to the police department, the report said. He was not handcuffed.

Turner said he hoped the filing of juvenile charges would help get the child needed help.

"Putting him into the system can open up avenues perhaps the parents don't have," Turner said.

"In the big picture ... I have to look at school safety and have to look at student safety," Lumbley, an Indiana elementary school administrator, told a local Fox affiliate. The county's police lieutenant defended the decision, adding "putting him into the system can open up avenues perhaps the parents don't have."

But can the penal system really help a troubled kindergartner?

Increasingly, precincts have become de facto detention centers. In Albuquerque alone 90,000 students, were arrested between 2009-2010. In Texas, an estimated 300,000 kids were give misdemeanors in 2010. That number includes children as young as 6.

"You've gradually seen this morphing from schools taking care of their own environments to the police and security personnel, and all of a sudden it just became more and more that we were relying on law enforcement to control everyday behavior," Austin-based juvenile court judge Jeanne Meurer told The Guardian in an investigative report on the policing of children in America. The British newspaper's in-depth article was published in January, four months before a Georgia 6-year-old was carted out of her kindergarten classroom in handcuffs after allegedly throwing a caustic tantrum.

Handcuffs, really? "There is no age discrimination on that rule," a Georgia police chief told local news. The child's parents have started a petition in an effort to change that.

Over the past year, kids under the age of 13 have been arrested, or threatened with arrest, for giving wedgies, having a food fight and spraying perfume. In more serious circumstances, children are facing real prison time over hockey game fouls and threatening classroom notes. One 6-year-old was accused of sexual assault by school officials during a recess game of tag. In order to have the sexual battery charge wiped from his school record, the child's parents had to hire a lawyer to prove that the charges had no legal basis.

Read more: Student hockey player may face criminal charges

"Everyone suffers when adults don't have the skills and support to manage unsafe or respectful behavior such as kicking and tantrums effectively," Irene van der Zande, executive director and founder of Kidpower, tells Shine. Her California-based non-profit program helps schools and parents teach kids safety, respect and tolerance independent of police intervention.

But many school officials feel law enforcement is the only place to turn for help. The rapid increase in school shootings since the Columbine tragedy has left administrators scrambling for better safety measures. Overcrowding, financial cutbacks and access to weapons in the information age are all conditions of new generation and a system struggling to adapt to it. As a result a higher percentage of students between the ages of 12 and 18, say they're more afraid of attack or harm at school than away from school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 2010, 85 percent of public schools cited incidents of violence, theft, and other criminal activity. That same year, 60 percent of schools called in police for backup.

Advocates of school policing believe crackdowns send a message to the student body, and help keep large underage populations in check and safe. Principal Lumbley feels he protected the rest of his elementary school's student body by having a 6-year-old student arrested. But critics say those punitive measures are really designed to protect teachers.

"Teachers rely on the police to enforce discipline," Kady Simpkins, a juvenile defense lawyer, told The Guardian. "Part of it is that they're not accountable. They're not going to get into trouble for it. The parent can't come in and yell at them. They say: it's not us, it's the police."

The hard-line approach isn't only happening in schools. Recently, TSA officials subjected a frightened, crying 4-year-old girl to a pat-down after she ran through Kansas airport security to hug her grandmother. While the family understood the reasoning behind tightened security measures, they didn't feel the understanding was reciprocated.

Read more: traveling with kids and the TSA

"There was no common sense and there was no compassion," the child's grandmother Lori Croft told the Associated Press. The little girl hadn't yet learned about terrorism, but had been briefed on the concept of "stranger danger."

"To her, someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way," Croft explained to the AP.

As for the Indiana 6-year-old student charged with battery and intimidation, it's hard to believe he's any wiser.

"I can't imagine the prosecution being able to sustain a battery charge against a six year old," a New York Family Law Attorney, who chose to remain anonymous, tells Shine. "There is a 'mens rea' or 'state of mind' element to all crimes and I can't imagine a prosecutor being able to successfully argue that a six-year-old could meet the state of mind requirement for battery or any crime for that matter."

That's not to say that kids with severe behavioral problems should be dealt with the same way as other students, but child advocates believe that criminalizing their actions doesn't solve any problems.

"Kids who have trouble behaving well in school can almost always be turned around with preparation, firm, respectful interventions, and a plan of action that gets school officials and parents working together as a team," Kidpower's van der Zande tells Shine. "When adults overreact, the harm done is not only to the child involved but also to other children who witness this."

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Tsuki_Kirkland's avatar

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How sad, the school went way too far by calling in the police for a matter that could of been solved wtih discipline.

They wasted the police’s time and charging him with battery is going too far. He’s just a kindergartner.
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If a child exhibits this sort of behavior, YOU LOOK INTO TO IT! You don't make arrests and charges. You look deeper into what could be causing such problems, and try to help deal with it!
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Captain Dory
If a child exhibits this sort of behavior, YOU LOOK INTO TO IT! You don't make arrests and charges. You look deeper into what could be causing such problems, and try to help deal with it!


Exactly, the school should be looking into why the child is exhibiting this sort of behavior, and what can be done to curb it and eventually stop it. Perhaps behavior modification would work, you don’t arrest a kingergarten age child and charge them.
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Tsuki_Kirkland
How sad, the school went way too far by calling in the police for a matter that could of been solved wtih discipline.

They wasted the police’s time and charging him with battery is going too far. He’s just a kindergartner.


agreed 3nodding
"Putting him into the system can open up avenues perhaps the parents don't have," Turner said.

He's six years old....don't think the system is the best place for a small child crying out for help.
Tsuki_Kirkland
Captain Dory
If a child exhibits this sort of behavior, YOU LOOK INTO TO IT! You don't make arrests and charges. You look deeper into what could be causing such problems, and try to help deal with it!


Exactly, the school should be looking into why the child is exhibiting this sort of behavior, and what can be done to curb it and eventually stop it. Perhaps behavior modification would work, you don’t arrest a kingergarten age child and charge them.

Depends. This individual had made numerous assaults to teachers and probably other students. I seriously doubt this was a one time thing. Suppose the school exausted every other option?
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Tsuki_Kirkland
Captain Dory
If a child exhibits this sort of behavior, YOU LOOK INTO TO IT! You don't make arrests and charges. You look deeper into what could be causing such problems, and try to help deal with it!


Exactly, the school should be looking into why the child is exhibiting this sort of behavior, and what can be done to curb it and eventually stop it. Perhaps behavior modification would work, you don’t arrest a kingergarten age child and charge them.

Depends. This individual had made numerous assaults to teachers and probably other students. I seriously doubt this was a one time thing. Suppose the school exausted every other option?

I'm sure that they tried every form of discipline with the child, but the question is how many times did they use that form of discipline. By repeating the punishment, the child is more likely to beging to realize, "Oh. I did something wrong."

On the other hand, they should have looked into the family behavior. There could be many things going wrong within the family to make a child act up. Child abuse, sexual harassment, drug/alcohol abue by family member(s), bullying (at school or by family member or by neighborhood kids, etc.), or even he could have seen someone older with this bad behavior and thought it was normal.
Many things could make a child act out, it usually is a call for help.
After having investigated all of those areas, and considering metal problems (bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia, etc.) Then they could try a better form of arrest and charge I believe.
But i dont think that enough was done to help these children.
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The kid doesnt need to be charged with battery. He needs a ******** spanking. And for behavior such as this, I suggest the belt.
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I say a firm spanking on the buttocks with a smooth paddle would have been better, along with an explanation to the child as to why he was being spanked.
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emotion_8c You'd think the cops would be mad at the school for wasting their time instead of trying to arrest and charge a six year old. Something's wrong with the cops, too.
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emotion_8c You'd think the cops would be mad at the school for wasting their time instead of trying to arrest and charge a six year old. Something's wrong with the cops, too.
Agreed
A spanking or behavioral phychologist would've been better
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Tsuki_Kirkland
Captain Dory
If a child exhibits this sort of behavior, YOU LOOK INTO TO IT! You don't make arrests and charges. You look deeper into what could be causing such problems, and try to help deal with it!


Exactly, the school should be looking into why the child is exhibiting this sort of behavior, and what can be done to curb it and eventually stop it. Perhaps behavior modification would work, you don’t arrest a kingergarten age child and charge them.

Depends. This individual had made numerous assaults to teachers and probably other students. I seriously doubt this was a one time thing. Suppose the school exausted every other option?

I'm sure that they tried every form of discipline with the child, but the question is how many times did they use that form of discipline. By repeating the punishment, the child is more likely to beging to realize, "Oh. I did something wrong."

On the other hand, they should have looked into the family behavior. There could be many things going wrong within the family to make a child act up. Child abuse, sexual harassment, drug/alcohol abue by family member(s), bullying (at school or by family member or by neighborhood kids, etc.), or even he could have seen someone older with this bad behavior and thought it was normal.
Many things could make a child act out, it usually is a call for help.
After having investigated all of those areas, and considering metal problems (bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia, etc.) Then they could try a better form of arrest and charge I believe.
But i dont think that enough was done to help these children.
Every???? HA most schools dont spank kids. Also I wouldn't be suprised if the Teacher did something to hurt the kid.
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As I read the article this:
"This was not an isolated incident," Shelbyville Police Lieutenant Michael Turner said...
and this:
Turner said he hoped the filing of juvenile charges would help get the child needed help.
"Putting him into the system can open up avenues perhaps the parents don't have," Turner said.

are what I was thinking was likely the case before I even got to those lines.

The attitude of many responding here is predictable. "OMG they arrested a six year old! Those heartless bastards!". Predictable but short sighted.

For years the laws have been increasingly tying the hands of schools in terms of what they can do for discipline. When I was a child corporal punishment (i.e. spanking) was still legal. You didn't act like a little s**t in school or you got a good swat with a wooden paddle, often in front of your peers. Could it be abused? Sure, but so can time outs and detention and any other form of punishment. In my experience it wasn't. I attended multiple schools that had it and in all my years I got a grand total of one swat in the 7th grade. In the school's view I deserved it because I was punching a kid in front of the office secretary. He started it but they didn't see that part so we both got one swat.

Then the bleeding hearts decided that was cruel and got it outlawed. And it didn't stop there. Many schools have polices you can't hug a child because it might be construed as sexual abuse. Teachers have had to basically distance themselves from students in terms of both punishment and encouragement. They are left with time outs, trips to the principal's office (pretty much just another time out) and suspensions (an even longer time out). Some kids just don't care and don't consider these things a punishment. Some kids have had the whole "speak out if you are abused" thing drilled into them so much they use it as a threat, "If you (insert punishment here) me I'm going to call CPS and tell them (insert child abuse or sexual abuse)!". And they know that even if the claims are bogus CPS still has to check it out, it causes grief for the parent or teacher and possible their jobs. I've actually heard kids do this.

Because of this crap teachers are often forced to involve other authorities in more severe cases because they are
1. Powerless to do much on their own and
2. Need to cover their asses legally by getting other entities involved and observing the behavior.

Also consider the six year old involved in this case is not a cutesy wootsy cuddly little bundle of joy. He's a little a*****e and a budding psychopath. My oldest grandkids are 4 & 8. They do not kick adults and they do not threaten to kill them. Young children do not come by this kind of behavior normally, they learn it. It strongly suggests the kid's home life is pretty F'd up and he is witnessing similar behavior from his parents or other 'role models'. That in turn strongly suggest the parents (who were certainly notified upon the previous offenses) are dysfunctional and/or uncooperative with the school in trying to resolve the issue.

To think the principal is just being mean and everything would have been okay if he had just bothered to have a good talk with junior psychopath is naive. It is also something they almost certainly tried (maybe numerous times) before calling the cops. Involving the police is almost certainly the school's way of forcing the parents to take more responsibility and get both the kid and the parents some counseling and/or parenting classes.

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