Civil Liberties

Snitches in Training


In Fayetteville, Ark., they're teaching the young 'uns to police the house for code violations :

Beware Fayetteville homeowners with trash or old tires in overgrown yards: Children might be watching.

An educational program to teach kids how to spot building and property code violations—complete with colorful characters such as "Willie Weeds" and "Trashy Tina"—will be in the hot little hands of local children soon, thanks to Fayetteville city officials.

The program is funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant and corporate sponsors.


Alan Wilbourn, director of school/community relations for Fayetteville Schools, said educating children to give information to parents can work.

"It sounds like a neat idea," Wilbourn said of the program. "The seat belt program nationwide got kick-started the same way."

Wilbourn said Fayetteville schools work closely with city departments to inform children about how to be model citizens.

"The DARE program has been in the schools for years," he said.

And we know how well that's worked out . The are apparently similar programs underway in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, Texas.

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  1. There were similiar programs in Germany circa 1930’s to 1940’s or so. We know how that worked out.

  2. This sounds so familiar…

    ‘Who denounced you?’ said Winston.

    ‘It was my little daughter,’ said Parsons with a sort of doleful pride. ‘She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh? I don’t bear her any grudge for it. In fact I’m proud of her. It shows I brought her up in the right spirit, anyway.’

  3. You know, that’s a great reason to keep the public schools going. Those private schools don’t care about turning kids into informants for the State.

  4. SWAT team shoots man over unmowed grass
    Six year old says, “When I turned Daddy in they didn’t say they were going to kill him.”

  5. Hey- here’s an idea! The schools can institute a program in which children are encouraged to list all the cool stuff their mommies and daddies have bought via the inter-tubes. This information can then be forwarded to the appropriate authorities, in order that personal-property taxes and use taxes can be accurately assessed. What a great plan- do you think I’ll get a percentage?

    And after that, the schools can use their little intelligence-gathering minions to determine who owns firearms and whether they are properly licensed.

    And then…

  6. Spies, secret police, neighborhood snitches, familial betrayal. Aren’t these things universally reviled? Who comes up with this shit? Oh, right, that’s who…

  7. Maybe Sexual Harassment Panda can find new work.

  8. This sort of reminds me of the program in my high school known as Silent Observer, in which there were posters all over school advertising an 800 number to anonymously call if you had any suspicions about fellow students possessing drugs, alcohol, guns, etc. If your tip resulted in an arrest, the state gave you 50 bucks. I was called down and searched at least a half a dozen times in the years I was there. One led to my getting arrested and suspended.

  9. Damnit. I’m going to have to homeschool my future children just to make sure they don’t squeal on me. Of course, by then homeschooling will be illegal, too.

  10. Great to know that the public schools must have solved that little problem they had about kids not being able to do math, reading, and science at a grade level 2 or 3 levels below their own, you know, since they seem to have plenty of time to try and turn the kids into Hitler youth.

  11. So we’ve gone through “for the children” as justification for a whole load of legislation. Now we have “by the children.” I look forward to our “of the children” phase, when we finally stop entrusting the government to adults who act like children, and finally put actual children in charge.

  12. Well, I.Self.Divine. (if that really is your name, what are you trying to hide, anyway?:)), I’m sure you had nothing to worry about if you hadn’t done anything wrong.

  13. finally put actual children in charge

    Which leads us nicely into the new Congress, in which Nancy Pelosi has yanked the Speaker’s gavel out of the hands of the special interests and passed it over to the children.

    Synchronicity or coinkidink? And on another note, this merely gives the curmudgeons among us another reason to take potshots at the little snivelers when they come sneakin’ around the back forty.

  14. finally put actual children in charge.

    It worked pretty well for Pol Pot. I say we give it a try.

    It’s year zero! No Blah Blah Blah!

  15. Isaac…I do believe this is where the old Libertarian dichotomy of “something worng” vs. “something illegal” comes into play. The arrest was for Use of MJ, something I was charged with based on stinky fingers and the presence of a tiny (think 1/4 inch) piece of a 6 month old stem they found in my man purse.

  16. I feel like I just watched a Leave it to Beaver rerun. The class had a contest to see who could turn in the most fire hazards and then learned a lesson about being over aggressive in the citation process. I just don’t see any “Gee chief, I guess I did get a little full of myself” lessons coming out of this.

  17. If the parents haven’t done anything wrong, they have nothing to worry about.

  18. I.Self.Divine.

    Oh, never mind me, I was just having an Ed Meese moment.

  19. Leave it to the Reasonoids to have a problem with this. I suppose you all wouldn’t want a kid to “snitch” if he/she saw a rape occurring either.

  20. I hope you’re being sarcastic.

    Because otherwise, you’re seriously equatating a highly damaging violation of a person’s body with some arbitrary government rule on how you can use your property?

  21. What about anthrax? Or a box truck full of ammonium nitrate? Wouldn’t you want the kiddies to snitch if their parents had this stuff? You can’t have it both ways, Reasonoids.

  22. “Give me the child until the age of seven, and I will give you the man.”

    (Ignatius Loyola)

    Welcome to the Snitch State.

  23. Hey, “Dan T” — what if you’re a fuckin’ asshole?

    Wanna play hypotheticals?

  24. I don’t get where the snich part comes in. The program appears to be one to educate, not solicitation of information to the authorities.

    Dan T. Your hypothoticals are aburd and fall into a completely different realm. The program seems to address environmental issues.

  25. From the link:

    More than 3,000 code violations were issued in Fayetteville last year, Fields said.

    “I think we’ll probably get close to 4,000 by the end of this year,” she added.

    She doesn’t say that the additional code violations will come from the educational program, but…

  26. Oh, sure. I see now, intervening to save innocent lives from rape, murder, or biological contaminent is definitely the equivilent of turning Dad in to the State because he put up a fence on his property without their permission or lets his lawn get a little shaggy.

    How could I ever have been so blind?

  27. Not the real Dan T above…sorry to disappoint.

  28. I think there was a slight misread of this article. “The other benefit, she added, is children can inform their parents.”

    Note that it says “inform their parents” on “inform on thier parents. I don’t think they’re trying to train the kids to snitch, so much as to actually know what the various rules surrounding code-enforcement are. Hell, the few times I’ve been cited for code violations, I didn’t know there were rules against the condition we had. And in fairness, they were a ‘correct this in two weeks or you may be subject to a fine’ not ‘suprise! you’re screwed!’.

    Now, I share the basic libertarian ‘castle doctrine’ so I’m not exactly extatic about this type of thing, but I’m mostly sanguine about it.

  29. As long as they don’t snitch on me for spelling ‘their’ in every possible permutation…

  30. Nice way to get around the Third Amendment. What’s next? FCC recruiting kids to snitch on their parents for watching “Nip/Tuck” and “The Shield” on FX?

  31. Wow. I saw this in the local paper the other day and wondered who I should forward it to. Looks like you beat me to it.

    I lived in Fayetteville until last year, and still live about 10 miles away. I can’t say I find this too surprising. Dan Coody was elected mayor on a new urbanist/smart growth platform, but once he was in office he focused mainly on aesthetic standards that promoted downtown gentrification and suited yuppie aesthetic sensibilities. All the wonkish stuff about eliminating the perverse economic incentives toward sprawl (like subsidized utilities for new housing additions, closing down old neighborhood schools to build new ones by the freeway, etc.) went right out the window. See, the poor folks downtown whose rents are being driven sky-high aren’t much of a threat to Coody’s tenure. It’s a lot safer to piss them off than the real estate developers.

    So what we’ve really got is a slightly more “progressive”(TM), greenwashed version of the same old government by real estate interests.

  32. Brett Gyllenskog, Smithfield, Utah

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