Precinct 333

Friday, January 28, 2005

Throw A Book, Go To Jail?

I didn't think we could get any more absurd than the kids arrested for drawing. I was wrong.

A 6-year-old boy was put in handcuffs and charged with felony battery after he hit his teacher and a police officer with books, authorities said. The 60-pound first grader appeared in court Thursday, a day after his arrest at Endeavour Elementary School.

The Rockledge boy told officers he was upset because ``someone's grandmother died,'' said Barbara Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Cocoa Police Department.

``He's a tiny, little kid, so when the two officers first went, they tried to give him benefit of the doubt,'' Matthews said. ``But he was also out of control. Once he struck the teacher, it became a battery.''

A police officer tried to talk with the child, but he was struck in the forehead with a book thrown from 8 feet away, Matthews said.

The boy, who was not named, was handcuffed after the teacher asked that he be prosecuted, Matthews said.

Wait a minute. You've got a kid who is upset and throwing things -- something that six-year-olds do with great frequency. There had been a death, and he wasn't dealing with it well. And for that, the cops arrested him and took him off in cuffs? More to the point, the teacher wanted the case prosecuted? Where was the common sense in this situation?

Fortunately, it looks like some sense may prevail in the case. The principal only suspended the boy for ten days, and the case is not being prosecuted at this time.

Prosecutors temporarily removed the boy's case from the court docket, said David Koenig, division chief of the state attorney's juvenile division.

``The focus now is to prevent him from self-destructing,'' Koenig said. ``We want to find a solution.''

Thank God for someone looking out for the needs of the kid -- maybe he won't be one that gets thrown away because of overly harsh, zero-tolerance policies that don't bother with the whole situation.


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