That Must Have Been Some Burp: 13-Year-Old Class Clown Strip-Searched And Jailed Over Fooling Around In Class
We were all children once; some of us remain so well into our 20s and 30s and beyond.
But for one humorless educator and her complicit school security officer, that child-like nature has no place–even in a middle school classroom.
A 13-year-old boy in New Mexico was sent to the office for clowning in class, allegedly burping so loudly as to disrupt the lesson. Somehow, in the midst of this rather routine situation among 7th graders, an assistant principal got it in to his head that the boy had somehow been involved in a marijuana transaction, and ordered the boy to be strip-searched.
He was told to take off his shoes and pants, and then was forced to flip over the waistband of the shorts he wore underneath, revealing nothing except the mortifying embarrassment of one kid.
Not content with suspending the boy–for the rest of the year, a seemingly absurd punishment already–the school decided to charge him criminally, under a provision that says that “…[n]o person shall willfully interfere with the educational process of any public or private school by committing, threatening to commit or inciting others to commit any act which would disrupt, impair, interfere with or obstruct the lawful mission, processes, procedures or functions of a public or private school.”
And now, to top off this idiotic sundae with a nice sloppy cherry of legal stupidity, the Tenth Circuit Court has upheld the jailing of this boy–all for burping in class.
The criminalization of children and childish behavior has been increasing in the news. From children being tackled and manhandled with police methods that would be right at home in a prison setting, to criminalizing speech in the form of punishing kids for comments on social media, some say this raises the question of the very legitimacy of some of our institutions.
These types of overreactions are seen by some as yet another symptom of a civilization in decline.
As Reason’s Nick Gillespie puts it, over-the-top punishments like this demonstrate that officials from judges on down to police to vice principals lack “…belief in themselves and the things they run. They are behaviors of a society in decline, to be honest, that no longer feels as if it can exercise power at any level except via banishment and extreme action.”
For a society that sends a child to jail at 13 years of age for what is inarguably normal childish behavior, thus branding him as a criminal for life, “decline” might be too kind a word.
Tenth Circuit Rules Officials Were Justified In Arresting and Criminally Charging 13-Year-Old For Burping In Class