Friday, October 18, 2013

Wrong On A Number Of Levels

Of course the kid shouldn't have been streaking across the football field (but let he who is without sin cast the first stone).  And no, he shouldn't have killed himself.
But do their laws have to be so draconian?  And did school officials have to be such asses?  The answer to both of those is "no", too:
A week after he was arrested for running naked across the Sparkman High School football field during a September 27 game in a streaking gag, and just one day after school officials threatened criminal charges against him that could have resulted in an adult prosecution and conviction requiring lifelong registration as a sex offender, 15-year-old Christian Adamek from Huntsville, Alabama, hanged himself. He died from his injuries two days later.

Christian reportedly was expelled from school over the incident, but school officials were pressing for a hearing in the Madison County court system to determine if formal criminal charges would be filed.

"There's the legal complications," Sparkman High principal Michael Campbell told the news station WHNT on Tuesday, October 1. Streaking was not just a harmless prank, he said. "Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up." Christian hanged himself the next day.

A fifteen-year-old can be prosecuted as an adult for any offense in Alabama, which has some of the harshest and most extreme sex offense laws in the country, including lifelong registration on the sex offender registry and the imposition of registration and residency restrictions on people convicted of offenses involving nudity or sexual behavior not directed at particular victims. 
This story is just sad all around.

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

Zero tolerance policy, as I've stated before, exists not to protect the kids but to protect those employed by the public education system or elected to oversee the public education system. The illusion is that zero tolerance policies exist to protect kids but what really would protect kids is adults exercising judgment.

Sadly, there are risks in exercising judgments and, historically free of the need to perform their primary responsibility - the education of kids - it's just reflexive to avoid the other major responsibility of the public education system, keeping kids safe.

The true reason, as opposed to the state reason, for zero tolerance policy ought to evident in what are widely viewed as abuses - punishment for gnawing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, punishment for carrying prescribed medication and lots of other, similar abuses - but are in fact proper applications of the policy.

Like so much else that's wrong with public education zero tolerance policy springs from the structure of public education and will be difficult to moderate because it performs the useful service of protecting the employees and elective officials of the public education system.

"Useful" to the elective officials and employees. Not so much for the kids.