NEW LAW WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT STEP IN PROTECTING JUVENILE RECORDS
A proposed new Florida law would cut down on juvenile arrests by expanding the “civil citation” program for non-serious and repeat juvenile arrestees. The bill, in its current form, would give police officers the choice of letting a juvenile go with just a warning, or issuing them a civil citation, instead of arresting them. The officer can make an arrest, but only when the juvenile’s actions or behavior threaten public safety.
Maybe this will mean the police won’t feel the need to arrest high school honor students for science experiments, for farting in class, for playing hookie, or for the thousands of stupid things kids do because they’re kids. God knows I did plenty of stupid stuff when I was a kid and a teenager. Here’s a sampling of some of the notable cases:
- I rolled my school superintendent’s house with toilet paper the nigh of high school graduation, and was caught in the act by the county Sheriff;
- My friends and I decided to dump large quantities of laundry detergent in several public fountains;
- I got caught playing “truck soccer” on private property late at night (it involves trucks hitting a soccer ball around with their tires);
- The list goes on…
We’ve become a society that overreacts when kids do kid things. If a kid is being disruptive in school put them in detention or send them to the principal’s office. Calling the cops to come arrest someone should be the last resort, not the first. By having a kid arrested for something stupid, like farting in class, we potentially put a black mark on their record for the rest of their lives.
Hopefully the Florida legislature passes this bill. Hopefully we start seeing a shift in how teachers and police approach kids.