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Florida sheriff takes a stand.

April 25, 2018

There have been a rash of stories about kids nationwide being arrested for either actually threatening others or popping off about being the next school shooter.

In the wake of the Parkland shooting and President Trump rescinding the now-infamous 2014 Dear Colleague letter, many schools are now reporting behavior they feel is dangerous directly to police for action.

That brings us to Volusia County, Florida Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Make no mistake, this man is not Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Sheriff Chitwood is reported to have arrested and charged almost 30 students over a 60 day period for even “jokingly” voicing threats. The parents are billed for the approximate $1,000 cost of that action or more if additional action is taken..

Of course some people are  having the usual liberal fit over that, but the sheriff makes a very good point when he is quoted as saying “This is an expensive proposition to parents and it’s a shame we have to do it,” he said. “But they (parents-Ed.) need to play a role in the child’s life and take responsibility.”

According to the story, some students have been referred for in-patient mental health observation and counseling, indicating that some of these threats probably are not jokes.

The sheriff also makes the point that after the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings, law enforcement “lost their momentum” in trying to identify and defuse possible threats, something he is vowing not to let happen this time.

Some people are complaining that his no tolerance policy is “too hard” on kids.

These are probably the same people who happily defend expelling or suspending students for biting the shape of a gun into a piece of toast or who interrogate a pro-2nd Amendment student for going with his father to a legal gun range.

Although this story made the national news, this no tolerance policy is being seen in states across America.

Some of the more thoughtful critics note that these law enforcement actions may only result in driving the behavior underground again, as schools begin to worry that having too many arrests reflects badly on the schools and peers fail to make adults aware of their classmates’ threats for fear of being labeled as snitches.

That equates with not getting a vaccine, because maybe you’ll never be exposed to a disease.

If nothing else, perhaps it will teach kids who really are just mouthing off for the attention it gets them that some behaviors are not OK.

In a world where children are old enough at 15 and 16  to tell their elders how to vote, but too young to buy their own health insurance at 26, this is a refreshing dose of sanity.

From → op-ed

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