Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 24, 2011

“Don’t Forget Your Homework…or Your Miranda Card”

by Stephen Littau

I don’t know how much play if any this story has received in the national media but it has been a subject of local news and talk shows here in the Denver media market. Basically, an 11 year old boy drew a disturbing picture for his school counselor and later that evening, the boy was hauled off to jail in handcuffs and booked – fingerprints, mug shots, and all as if he were a hardened adult criminal. The video below goes into more detail.

 

Local Denver talk show host Peter Boyles, as a result of this case and others like this case, has concluded that perhaps it would be prudent for school students of all ages to bring some sort of “Miranda Card” like the one shown below to be presented to school administrators or even (especially) the police. Boyles said that until just a few years ago, he was of the opinion that kids should be taught to trust the police and answer any questions they might have – just as the parents of this young boy did. Now he says that perhaps we should teach our children the exact opposite.

Is this really what it’s coming to now – having to teach our elementary age children the “10 Rules for Dealing with Police” even before they are taught the facts of life?

Maybe so. But there is also another lesson that might be useful for children and hopefully this boy has learned this lesson: don’t be afraid to question authority figures. In the case of this boy, all the authority figures failed him. His counselor failed him by encouraging to draw the picture in the first place without offering any words of caution. The school administrators should have coordinated their approach with the counselor rather than involving the police. The boy’s parents encouraged him to speak openly with the police who then used unnecessary heavy handed tactics that undoubtedly traumatized the child. His trust was betrayed by them all.

Clearly, this is a troubled boy who needs help and was already receiving therapy before government intervention. Why not let those professionals who actually know what they are doing do their jobs?

Now as a parent, I am put in a difficult position. What am I supposed to tell my kids about how to deal with the police? I don’t want them to disrespect the police but at the same time, I don’t want them to grow up having the false notion that the police will always act in their best interests if only they “cooperate.”

It’s a very sad commentary to be sure.

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  • Aimee

    I think the only thing the councelor did wrong is let that boy leave with the picture. What was once something confidential quickly became the top story for local media. What is disturbing is that the Arvada police is standing by what they did in this situation. Sad, but not unbelievable. I have received verbal death threats on my voice mail, took police 6 hours to show up, take a half ass report, and do nothing. Yeah, they’ve got their priorities messed up for sure.

  • John Newman

    Why should anyone respect the police?

  • http://www.ink-wire.org Ken

    “It is a sophistry, fascist in essence, that a man
    should be restrained because he might be dangerous.
    Following this argument, a man should be restrained for any reason, on anybody’s judgment.
    This is simply placing unlimited power in the hands of the state. All that is not forbidden is compulsory. This is the ultimate conclusion of such a dogma.”
    -John Whiteside Parsons, from “Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword”

    Liberalism in the United States has, over the past forty years, been usurped by the socialist agenda. Our public schools are little more than indoctrination camps for the pacification of future generations.

    At the same time, conservatism in the United States has been usurped by war-hawks and fundamentalist christians. Our funding for education has been marginalized, contributing to the growth of the socialist mind-set among educators and educational administrators, as well as contributing to the general ignorance of the populace concerning historical precedent for current affairs, and critical analysis of future prospects for avoiding past mistakes.

    They simply do not have the funds to broaden educational horizons for students, and due to the changes in both liberalism and conservatism, have instead created lock-down facilities much like concentration camps which institutionally discourage free thought, free discourse and the development of critical thinking skills.

    The continuation of this trend will erode what little is left of truly American society, turning us into a nation of frightened chattel animals whose sole purpose will be to provide revenue and labor for a totalitarian state, and predatory industry owned by the wealthy few, whose political machinations are directly contributing to this end.

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  • http://www.simplifylunch.com Jeff Molby

    Now as a parent, I am put in a difficult position. What am I supposed to tell my kids about how to deal with the police?

    I haven’t had the conversation yet, but I’ve been thinking about this and I think I’ll explain to my son that if he initiates the interaction with the officer, he can generally trust the officer to act on his behalf.

    If, however, the officer initiates the interaction, the officer is probably acting on someone else’s behalf.

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