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Column: Criminalizing Of a Child

Time has come to pay attention to an age of accountability. Adults must seriously realize that boys and girls of 10 are categorically and truly children. No matter race, creed, color or national origin or anything else, they are of tender age.

This is not a matter of merely following a pack of ravenous wolves that many public schools administrators seem to have become treating their children.

Case in point is the recent arrest of a 10-year-old boy at Alexandria’s Douglas MacArthur School.

The crime: having an obvious child’s toy plastic pistol in his backpack. He was taken into police custody, thankfully not handcuffed, finger-printed and held. He was suspended from school and transferred to another.

It took juvenile court judge Uley Norris Damiami to release the child. A criminal record no less for him.

This audacious case is a cause celebe. School administrators, teachers and school board members should now go either to the “woodshed” or back to school.

Melinda Douglas, Alexandria’s chief public defender, is “outraged” by the incident and has some stringent and pointed comments. Her office represents the child and described the matter as “totally and extremely outrageous and over-reactive.” She’s correct.

Douglas expects the prosecution to be dropped by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. She’s insisting the boy’s school crime record be expunged. It should be.

“There is no indication (in the facts) of anything other than a toy,” Douglas said. “The way it was handled is outrageous, totally outrageous, and shows the administration is worse than teachers and the juvenile system.”

Douglas has “grave concern” about the impact on the youngster.

A child is indeed a youngster and not a “kid” as society is want to describe them. In one of the more egregious actions in the city’s history, present-day school administrators appear to have forgotten how to treat a child.

Without debate, school safety is vital especially in these days when national attention is riveted on unimaginable school deaths not seen in the nation’s history. Rightly so. But, there is no reason for common sense to get out of hand. Police authorities know the difference between serious crimes and child’s play.