Are Teenagers Big Children—or Little Adults?

The police state's mission creep has spread to our primary schools.

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America can't make up its mind. This should not be surprising in a nation of 314 million people, half of whom can't make up their minds about what to have for dinner. But dinner is inconsequential. How we treat children is not. And when it comes to the treatment of children, society's approach is wildly incoherent.

Last week the Supreme Court ruled, correctly but far from unanimously, that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile killers are wrong. That ruling followed another two years ago saying the same thing about crimes other than homicide. Five years before that, the Supreme Court ruled against executing juveniles.

These wise rulings build on our growing understanding of the adolescent brain and how long it takes to reach full development. Advances in neuroscience show that in a host of areas from impulse control to thrill-seeking, humans do not reach full maturity until their early 20s. (Some never do.) So executing teenagers  for serious crimes is like spanking toddlers for wetting the bed. Yes, they should know better – but there is more to the question than that.

Meanwhile, more and more children are being arrested and charged with criminal offenses for behavior that used to earn them detention – or less. Twelve-year-old Sarah Bustamantes was arrested at Fulmore Middle School in Austin, Texas, a while back because she sprayed perfume on herself after being told, "you smell." According to a study of the Texas educational system, more than 1,000 pupils have been hauled into court for offenses as minor as "making an unreasonable noise." In one instance, a pupil was arrested for throwing a paper airplane.

You might think: Well, that's Texas for you; they're old-school down there. But it's the same story in many parts of the country. The Justice Department says roughly half of all public schools have police officers patrolling the halls. According to an ACLU study, law enforcement is replacing traditional school discipline in Massachusetts' three largest school districts – Boston, Springfield, and Worcester – where more arrests are being made for "misbehavior previously handled informally."

State officials don't have to agree with the Supreme Court's view of adolescence. But they ought to be able to agree with themselves. Yet in many cases, they do not. Take Texas. Not only does Texas slap kids with criminal charges for classroom antics, it also allows children as young as 14 to be charged as adults for certain felonies. On the other hand, Texas sets the age of consent for sexual activity at 17. This means that, in the Lone Star state's eyes, a 16-year-old is a fully culpable adult if he robs a gas station – but a defenseless child if he loses his virginity.

What's more, Texas also requires both parental notification and consent before a minor can have an abortion. So in the state's eyes, some 14-year-0lds who commit crimes have the maturity and judgment of fully grown adults, but no 17-year-old has the maturity and judgment to make a medical decision for herself. Those two positions cannot be reconciled.

Texas isn't alone. Virginia law takes the same two positions. In Mississippi, children as young as 13 can be tried as adults not only for violent felonies, but for any criminal offenses whatsoever – and they must be tried as adults for some felonies, including capital crimes. But both parents must agree before a Mississippi girl just shy of her 18th birthday can have an abortion. In Kansas, the discrepancy is even more stark: 17-year-olds must obtain consent from both parents for an abortion, and the age of sexual consent is 16 – but children can be charged as adults for any sort of crime starting at age 10.

Some of this incoherence is driven by ideology: Parental-consent laws are as much about hostility to abortion as they are about concern for young women. Some of it is driven by experience: Events such as the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School have encouraged a get-tough-on-crime approach in the schools.

And after several high-profile suicides such as those of Jamey Rodemeyer and Phoebe Prince, who were bullied until they couldn't take it any more, it has become apparent that childish behavior still can have horrific consequences. (Hence every state except Montana now has a state anti-bullying law.) The recent harassment of New York bus monitor Karen Klein and a general coarsening of adolescent culture also contribute to public support for tougher discipline. Many Americans clearly think the kids are not alright. Now if only they could decide who they think "the kids" are.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where this article originally appeared.

NEXT: What Frederick Douglass Teaches Us About American Exceptionalism and the Growth of Freedom

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  1. The correctional-industrial complex got a taste for young flesh and now craves it with the insatiability of PSU football.

    Get them early and turn them into lifelong customers.

  2. “Kids” up to 26 years old should never be charged as an adult. You know, to keep it consistent with Obamacare..

    1. Ohhhh! I can’t believe I didn’t come up with that.

    2. — and they shouldn’t be allowed to vote until they are 26 either !!

  3. Oh, and Happy 4th to the commentariate! Except Shrike, who’s an insufferable asshole.

    1. Every mob needs a scapegoat.
      NTTAWWT

    2. You forgot T o n y in your exceptions, Rob.

      1. Shrike and Tony are nothing compared to those fucking Knotheads. They are annoying little fuckers.

        1. Knotheads? Afraid I’m knot familiar with that one.

            1. I didn’t forget T I N Y, Rectal Stack, Urine, Derider, Alice Bowie, etc. I just started at the top of the food chain. Or in this case, the bottom.

    3. Except Shrike, who’s an insufferable asshole.

      Nah…he is only a mostly insufferable asshole. The rest of the time he is just an idiot.

  4. Virginia law takes the same two positions.

    Yes, it does. I have been fortunate enough to have children who are good smart enough to avoid the consequences of this.
    The school administration certain isn’t any help on the sanity front. There’s a grade school principal here who thinks because she likes a quiet lunch that all the children should too, then enforces it by making all the kids march around the bus loop, whether they were at the loud table or not.
    That same principal also tried to confiscate for the whole school supplies I provided to my child’s teacher for use in her class.

    1. The school administration certain isn’t any help on the sanity front.

      I think you understate this; if anything, the administration is a direct cause of insanity with its nonsensical zero tolerance rules that equate nail files to Uzis and Tylenol to meth. No damn wonder the kids are confused; they are being herded by adults who refuse to act the part.

      Kids recognize stupidity when it is foisted on them, as with the examples you provide. Then we get the collective vapors when children refuse to take authority seriously. Hell, often times authority won’t take itself seriously; why should children do so?

      1. As my wife says, when you make rules about everything, you diminish the importance of all.

        1. THEM…THEM…THEM all , dammit.

          1. I always say make enough rules and everyone becomes a criminal.
            Since all rules are treated with equal weight why obey any rules.

      2. Damn straight – and I’ve begun to see this idiocy implemented in the workplace too. Fortunately the top management is smarter, but on one job site the management was trying to treat 50-year-old men with over 20 years of experience in the field as if they were unruly students in nursery school. No wonder, then, that quite a few workers were quitting and going to work elsewhere.

        This way of thinking is just stupid, stupid, STUPID.

      3. The real irony is that school administrations tell kids, from kindergarten through high school, that they are incompetent to handle any responsibility, to the level that senior girls can’t carry advil when they have cramps.

        Then they wonder why the kids have “low self esteem.”

    2. That same principal also tried to confiscate for the whole school supplies I provided to my child’s teacher for use in her class.

      Clearly you aren’t cut out to be a “bleeding heart libertarian”.
      “From each according to their ability; to each according to their need” is their credo.

      The last time I looked at that site they were debating private property.
      One side said “no” while the other argued the collective utility of taxed, regulated,limited private property ownership outweighed its’ inherent evil.

      1. I think you exaggerate.

    3. That same principal also tried to confiscate for the whole school supplies I provided to my child’s teacher for use in her class.

      When I first read stuff like this, I thought it was some exaggeration or aberration at a few schools.

      Lo and behold, the power of Google taught me that MANY, MANY schools do this to students at elementary school level. Some are very specific with their requirements-things like “20 YELLOW #2 pencils (no other colors please-they are a distraction)”
      Other have inane or overblown things liks “no mechanical pencils-the clicking can be a distraction in class”
      “No trapper keepers”

      But, the dozens that I found all require that nothing be personalized because the supplies will be pooled and handed out as needed throughout the year.

      Naturally, my first thought was that if all students have to bring the same amount of supplies, what purpose does having the teacher dole them out serve? Either students are being denied yet another opportunity to learn how to manage their resources OR the teacher/school assumes some students won’t bring anything so they ask for extra to take care of them.

      I wonder what happens when a student chooses to use their own pencil or pen, or uses their own personalized folder for something.

  5. The ACLU has released an app called “Police Tape” that lets users secretly record police stops.
    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20…..ice-stops/

  6. In any school with a couple hundred kids there’s bound to be a parent or two who are libertarian. Time to speak up in P-T-A or wherever when this kind of nonsense comes to your kid’s school.

  7. That kid has it coming for wearing one of those insufferable “Jesus” shirts that ape cultural trends.

    1. Oh, is that what it is? I thought the text below JC read, “…I’m 10 and I have to put up with this shit?”

  8. “You might think: Well, that’s Texas for you; they’re old-school down there.”

    Naw, old school is beat the kid’s arse when he misbehaves. Its more “progressive” to throw them in jail for not obeying the “proper authorities”. After all, all of those rules are made for your safety and benefit.

    1. Interesting, isn’t it? We’ve eliminated the practice of allowing teachers wooden paddles with which they caould spank kids, since that only promotes the idea that violence is an appropriate response to misbehavior.

      And replaced them with cops carrying Tasers and pistols.

      Corporal punishment = barbarism.
      Deadly force = zero tolerance.

      1. Well said !!

      2. Well, they allow corporal punishment in Texas. The principal has the paddle and the teacher has to send the kids to the principal to get paddled rather than doing it his/herself, but they still have the paddle in Texas, at least they did eight years ago when I taught down there.

  9. We find ourselves in the bizarre position of having children giving informed consent for surgery on their babies, but requiring their parents to give informed consent for surgery on them. Except abortion, of course.

    One of those in intended consequences of

  10. Stupid IPad.

    Of Roe v Wade.

    1. Roe v. Wade is essentially lawless – and when state legislatures try to work out abortion restrictions which meet the decisions arbitrary guidelines, they meet with snark which ignores the context.

      Teenagers shouldn’t be going around having abortions, but the only way, consistently with Roe, to curb these abortions is with parental consent laws. If you want to make fun of this, at least look to the true culprit – the Roe decision.

      1. Why shouldn’t teenagers be going out and having abortions? Or making any other free choice about their reproductive health?

        1. That depends on how broadly you define “reproductive health.” Does it include killing your own biological offspring? If so, when does this stop being an exercise of reproductive health and become a crime? When brain-waves are noticeable? At birth? At toddlerhood?

          1. I’m leaning toward allowing parents to kill their biological offspring up to the age of twelve. As horrible as it is, I really don’t want that line to be continued.

            1. In my experience the temptation to snuff offspring is greatist between 13 and 15.

          2. A law against abortion before the fetus would be viable outside the womb is a law that requires a woman to carry a fetus to term, then to give birth.

            This makes a woman’s body the property of the state, which can dictate what she must do with it.

            Do you support making a woman the property of the state?

            That’s the real question, not whether abortion is neat-o.

            1. “before the fetus would be viable outside the womb”

              So it’s okay to make her carry it from 24 weeks of pregnancy until whenever she gives birth, but not for the first 24 weeks?

        2. So, you think 14 year old girls should be free to sleep with herpes-ridden 50 year old creeps? I mean, that’s a choice that affects that their reproductive health.

        3. Maybe start with letting them get tattoos, vote, and drink.

    2. Yes, it is a consequence of your stupid Ipad. 🙂

  11. most of us can understand the saying “kids will be kids.” Unfortunately, we have lost the corollary to that – adults acting like adults. Way too much of the “authority structure” is made up of former counter-culture morons who cut their teeth fighting the man.

    Now, they are the man and have no idea what to do with it. This is the same group that wants to be their children’s friends rather than parents. It’s easy to bitch about Gen-X or Y or Millenials or whatever; it’s a little tougher to say the kids came by their assholery honestly.

    1. Everything is smothered under rules today. Everything.

  12. I feel like there’s a guy like me in every generation who would’ve gotten crushed by the juvenile meat grinder if they had been born 10 years later.

    1. My whole generation would still be in jail. Everyone (boys anyway) had ninja stuff – throwing stars and nunchuks and whatnot. Not that we used it on each other, just was the cool thing to have.

      I thought it was just my school, but that episode of South Park made me realize it was probably much of the country.

      1. Don’t forget B.B. guns. Now illegal to shoot in your own suburban backyard even in the gun-supplying state of Virginia because they qualify as a “firearm.”

  13. but we DO NOT live in a police state. nope. nossirree. move along citizens.

    1. Kyle Brovslofksi: “Isn’t that Fascism?”

      Gerald Brofloski: “No, because we don’t call it Fascism.”

  14. It’s worth noting that a big part of the reason schools resort to the cops to handle minor misbehavior these days is that they get sued every time a teacher raises his voice to little baby junior sunuvabitch while he’s beating on the other kids or disrupting class. They have to shield themselves from that liability by making everything a criminal offense so that parents can take home 50 million bucks for the pain and suffering their little undisciplined twats experienced at the hands of an adult figure who had the unmitigated balls to tell them “no” for the first time in their lives.

    Also worth mentioning that age of consent mostly exists to prevent underage adolescents from being sexually exploited by adult predators. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a 15 year old kid who doesn’t fully comprehend the consequences of murder or other serious felonies. If there are really that many who are that severely underdeveloped, I think it would be wise to quit issuing them drivers licenses, to say nothing of the age of consent. Comparing adolescents who commit adult crimes to toddlers wetting the bed is so far beyond stupid it’s incomprehensible.

    1. *… so that parents can’t

    2. Yes, as to the reason for invoking 0 tolerance policies and calling in the cops – it shields you from liability for “OMG you violated due process by suspending/spanking my kid!” Now the school can answer, “if you think it violated due process, then you can raise it with the judge, since criminal charges were brought in court.”

      Reducing the differences between school discipline and court proceedings has probably prompted many schools to say, “if kids have court-like trial rights, and discipline cases are going to end up in court anyway, why not cut out the middleman and simply send the kid directly to court in the first place?”

    3. You are so right. If you ask any school employee (yes, even the cafeteria workers) they will tell you that the greatest trouble makers have parents that not only don’t care when notified of a problem, they blame and look to everyone else to “fix” their “problem” child. Sad thing is that half these “problem children” are trying to raise themselves because of parents who believe that child rearing is something the school takes over when they turn 5.

    4. That doesn’t explain 12-year-olds prosecuted for “raping” each other.

      The social conservative unease with sex has combined with social liberal love of victimhood to create some quite draconian laws.

      1. I’m not aware of a single case where that has actually happened. Generally the hullabaloo arises from cases where, say, a 17 year old has sex with a 16 year old in a state where the age of consent is 17, so the 17 year old is charged with statutory rape of the younger partner (if it’s a male – cases where girls are charged for statutory rape of boys a hair’s breadth from the age of consent are practically non-existent as far as I can tell). While that is, in the strict legal sense, a fair application of said law, that is not often the way it is actually applied or enforced.

        Generally the actual intention of the law is to ensure that 60 year old grandpa Creepy the pedophile can’t talk 13, 14, 15 year old kids into “consensual” sex, because that’s creepy and predatory, and we generally recognize that adolescents are stupid.

        1. Then again, it would hardly be unusual for the same libertarians who don’t think you should be tried as an adult for a crime until you’re in your mid 30’s to be perfectly comfortable with a sexual relationship between an adult and a young adolescent, so I’m probably barking up the wrong tree. Tiered adulthood in terms of consent for various different activities is one of the few areas where libertarianism can’t make up its mind and offers no ideological consistency.

    5. Thank you for that last paragraph.

  15. It msut totally suck to be a kid now days! Seriously. Cant have any fun at all.

    http://www.Hittin-Anon.tk

    1. Sounds like anonbot is really wanting his jarts “Project Thor”!

  16. Certainly, some juvenile criminality goes beyond school discipline. But if schools could simply hand out prompt suspensions with minimal judicial review, then there would be less pressure to send these cases into the criminal system.

    1. they have that ability here.

      they “emergency suspend/expel” kids all the friggin’ time

      1. First, I wasn’t talking only about emergencies.

        Second, some parents not only have a tendency to go to court, but they sometimes win. In some jurisdictions, for example, even when a student is legitimately expelled for the year for some violent act, they can sue for being denied “alternative education.” And even if the dot all their is, the parents can claim that there are other cases where students got treated differently.

        So not only is there is often some angle to sue the school unless they are very due-processy, even giving full due process doesn’t always protect you.

        And there’s a whole system which specializes in due process – the court system, where many of these cases end up anyway. Why not cut out the midddleman?

        1. due process for emergency expulsion/suspension isn’t and shouldn’t be the same as for convicting somebody of a crime, since jeopardy does not attach in the former case.

          the schools have a lower standard of evidence, do not have to worry about miranda and shit like that, etc.

          if a kid brings a pistol and bag of meth to school with him, – emergency expulsion. they do not need, nor should they the due process of a trial where it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, with assorted rules of evidence, miranda, etc. that the kid possessed the gun and meth on school grounds

          admin expulsion procedures are and should have different standards and process than criminal trials.

          it would be absurd to require the due process of a criminal trial before schools give admin punishments

          furthermore, schools can and should have admin policies that don’t even reference criminal behavior, such as dress code.

          1. I think we’re talking past each other – you’re discussing pistols and bags of meth, and I was thinking of the low-grade harassment which some students direct at each other and the staff – behavior which in no way involves firearms or hard drugs but which can in its own way interfere with education.

            Far from suggesting that due process and judicial review should be increased in such situations, I would suggest that it should be reduced – or to be more precise, any review of these cases should be by the school board (or principal in the case of a private or charter school), not by cops and judges.

            As for the reason school staff often wish to foist these cases onto the cops and courts, I give this random example of a case I discovered in a Google search:

            1. “Canandaigua, N.Y. ? A bus driver faces charges for allegedly putting hands on a student to quiet them down.

              “Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies say 47-year-old Susan Mantz, a bus driver for the Marcus Whitman School District, was parked outside of the high school on June 8 when one of the students on the bus became disruptive. To keep him quiet, Mantz allegedly put her hand over the student’s mouth.

              “The student wasn’t injured, but reported the incident to his mother when he got home. Mantz was charged with endangering the welfare of a child after the student’s mother complained.”

              http://www.13wham.com/news/loc…..mEJvA.cspx

              If she’d just called the police on the misbehavior students, she wouldn’t be in this situation.

              1. student

                1. There was a time when the *last* thing a student would do would be to tell his parents that school staff had to discipline him – his parents would add their own punishment to whatever the school imposed.

              2. i mention this below. schools often call with noncriminal matters they want to “make” a police matter. of course, :average” persons do that as well, not just schools, but SOME jurisdictions play into that bullshit

                like i said, around here many schools will treat even minor drug possession (MJ etc.) as NONpolice matters, and just deal with it administratively.

                i’ve had school security call me to witness their destroying mj seized from a student, and they just issue a 3 day suspension (first offense) and don’t get cops involved.

                that’s way better than imo putting a kid through criminal courts.

                i totally agree that many anti-bullying statutes go WAY too far and have incentivized unconstitutional speech restrictions.

                1. My point is about incentives – not all schools respond to incentives in the same way, but bottom line, the more the courts get into this briar patch, the more stuck they become, and they shouldn’t complain if schools go to the courts and say, “OK, you think you know better than us how to handle these situations – *you* deal with it!”

                  And of course parents who probably can’t deal with students sent home in the middle of a workday – *you*’re supposed to be warehousing Timmy right now, so don’t bother me – and who might literally make a federal case out of discipline meted out to their dear ones.

                  1. (“destroy” how? Doesn’t it end up getting destroyed anyway?)

                2. “that’s way better than imo putting a kid through criminal courts.”

                  Until the “kid” goes to Florida for a vaca, er, suspension, jumps some guy and gets shot dead, of course.

                  I don’t think pot should even be illegal, but I don’t think the article was talking about actual crimes, in the conventional sense, being referred to the juvenile justice system, by schools. Rather, it was talking about not-crimes being treated as crimes.

                  1. That seems to be the real problem: forcing children into a situation where disobedience, or being considered objectionable by someone, neither of which would even be violations outside of a school-pupil situation, are treated arbitrarily as crimes. AFAICT from searching for this story, that’s all the perfume incident was. There wasn’t a rule against using perfume, she was just an unpopular kid trying to be less unpopular, and when those who’d put her down to begin with “complained” about the smell of the perfume (just to insult her further) it became dis.con. or something like that.

    2. If the schools just stopped forcing children who didn’t want to attend to attend, that would be a huge positive step right there.

  17. Teenagers suck. Can’t we just lock them all up until they turn 21?

    I think I remember an Australian movie where they locked up all of the teenagers at a drive-in theater and gave them all the booze and drugs they wanted, and let them have all kinds of perverted, sloppy, nasty sex and whatnot, and then released them when they were 21, or something.

    1. Sounds familiar…

      1. I was close with the plot.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..ature=plcp

    2. No, that was just a documentary about Australia.

  18. ime, school admin’s vary widely (shocking, i know).

    some will call police for the most piddly of stuff, many times of which it is clearly NOT a police matter. i had an admin call once about a kid who turned on his (modified) lighter during an assembly (darkened, packed auditorium). the kid had modified the lighter (easy to do) to shoot about a 4 inch flame. he thought the kid should be charged with ARSON.

    i shit you not.

    needless to say, i didn’t charge the kid with jack and shit (and jack left town), but this vice principal thought it was arson

    lol

    many schools will handle even minor drug offenses administratively (at least the first offense), which is cool, so we don’t have to get involved, but some schools will call us when johnny is caught even with a few buds, which is silly imo

    1. That school adminstrator grew up with with Baby Mozart playing in the background.

    2. I accidentally lit a kid’s jacket on fire once with hairspray and a lighter. While he was wearing it.

      Coach made me run laps for like an hour.

  19. the situation here in my area is almost opposite of the article, as the article i posted a few weeks back cited – iow a juvenile has to get MULTIPLE arrests for burglary/auto theft and convictions before they can spend ANY jail time.

    up until last year, we could not even BOOK a juvenile for auto theft, reckless, eluding, etc.

    imagine if you KNEW you needed severeal convictions for auto theft before you could actually get sentenced to ANY jail time . the only advantage we had was that this wasn’t common knowledge… except to those that had already been convicted.

    the only crime juvies get a mandatory booking on is a DV crime of violence (assault IV etc.)

    1. here’s a typical example. the tuba man beating death was horrific, but look how light the sentence was

      A juvenile convicted last year in the slaying of Seattle’s “Tuba Man” was convicted of second-degree robbery Monday in King County Juvenile Court.

      The 16-year-old was accused of robbing another teen of a wallet and MP3 player in January in Seattle. He is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 30.

      Although the standard sentence range under state guidelines is 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile detention, the King County Prosecutor’s Office plans to seek an exceptional sentence of 52 to 65 weeks in detention.

      The teen was convicted of manslaughter last year after he and two other teens beat 53-year-old Edward McMichael, a street musician known for playing his tuba outside sports arenas.

      Police said McMichael was attacked shortly after midnight on Oct. 25, 2008, near Seattle Center.

      McMichael was briefly hospitalized and then allowed to return home, where he was found dead Nov. 3, 2008, of injuries related to the beating. The teen, who is not being named because he is being prosecuted as a juvenile, served 36 weeks in detention for the manslaughter conviction, a sentence that was determined by laws limiting how long juveniles can be incarcerated.

      After the boy served his time for the manslaughter conviction, he was released and a few months later participated in the robbery of a 17-year-old at the Garfield Teen Life Center in January.

      1. It would seem there’s some fault on the hospital’s part too!

      2. Ahh c’mon that doesn’t matter, did you read the article, he’s just misunderstood. I’m sure the tuba man misunderstood that he wasn’t supposed to die from the beating he took by these two brave courageous youths who should be free to live long fruitful lives of criminality, why maybe when they break into your house and rape your wife you can give them a high five, and say good job buster.

  20. OT, but I didn’t see it in AM links: Kim Dotcom thinks Joe Biden sicced the FBI on him at the behest of Chris Dodd

    If Joe was supervising the case directly, that would explain why it’s such a [ed: group love].

  21. These wise rulings build on our growing understanding of the adolescent brain and how long it takes to reach full development.

    Wisdom or the inability to grow into an understanding of blah, blah, blah is beyond our elected representatives. We are better guided by the robed priesthood.

    Sorry, but this is a very weak and BS-y attempt at hand waving.

    1. I have to agree. The article in general was decent, and certainly juveniles (and even young adults) don’t always need to have the book thrown at them – but the “adolescent brain” is a myth created to justify greater control of young people.

  22. ESPN is suggesting that Steve Nash is being traded to the LA Lakers.

  23. Texas isn’t alone. Virginia law takes the same two positions. In Mississippi, children as young as 13 can be tried as adults not only for violent felonies, but for any criminal offenses whatsoever ? and they must be tried as adults for some felonies, including capital crimes. But both parents must agree before a Mississippi girl just shy of her 18th birthday can have an abortion. In Kansas, the discrepancy is even more stark: 17-year-olds must http://www.lunettesporto.com/ obtain consent from both parents for an abortion, and the age of sexual consent is 16 ? but children can be charged as adults for any sort of crime starting at age 10.

    1. Can you explain to me why different ages for medical procedures and culpability for criminal acts is relevant?

      It seems to me that as long as parents have legal authority over their children and in the absence of evidence of abuse then the parents’ decisions on medical treatment should be controlling. This should apply to abortion or cosmetic surgery or whatever. It should also apply to non-medical procedures such as body piercing and tattoos.

      Age restrictions on those procedures should have exceptions for emancipated minors.

      I don’t see the variance in age thresholds as so much about “well, if I’m mature enough to be held responsible for a crime I’m mature enough to choose an abortion” as “as long as the parent is legally responsible for the support of the child, the parent makes the decisions about what actions are acceptable, not legislators.”

  24. These wise rulings build on our growing understanding of the adolescent brain and how long it takes to reach full development. Advances in neuroscience show that in a host of areas from impulse control to thrill-seeking, humans do not reach full maturity until their early 20s. (Some never do.)

    Beware the political uses and abuses of neuroscience. Wasn’t it once believed that the female brain (at any age) couldn’t handle too much book-learnin’?

    1. And don’t forget how the brain of the Negro just isn’t suited to higher learning.
      /sarcasm

      Seriously though, I think there’s two broad approaches to criminal justice. One is the cosmic/Solomonic viewpoint, and the other is the more focused/Jobian viewpoint. Hinkle apparently subscribes to the former, while I for one mainly hew to the latter.

      I see the purpose of the criminal justice system as keeping violent predators away from society. I don’t see it as a way of balancing injustices or righting wrongs. I don’t care how shitty John Doe’s childhood was or how his brain chemistry is 1.5 standard deviations from the norm. I only care that he shot a guy to take 40 bucks from the register of the Kwik E Mart, and thus he should be thrown in a hole for the rest of his life if there isn’t a suitable tree and rope available.

    2. Brian Sorgatz|7.4.12 @ 10:23PM|#
      …”Beware the political uses and abuses of neuroscience”…

      You’re too kind. Any time activities are undertaken in the furtherance of political aims, there is no way to presume the efforts have anything to do with what is termed ‘science’.
      Oh, and happy $th; hope most everyone has a great evening.
      (and, yes, it is kind of the qwerty keyboard to put the $ capped from the 4).

    3. These wise rulings build on our growing understanding of the adolescent brain and how long it takes to reach full development. Advances in neuroscience show that in a host of areas from impulse control to thrill-seeking, humans do not reach full maturity until their early 20s. (Some never do.)

      I remember when these studies came out a few years ago and NPR got all a-twitter about them.

      I could never figure out for the life of me, what this teenager whose brain scans as “slightly immature” compared to an adult has to do with murder?

      In other words, all of us had the same immature brain function as, well every other teenager on the damned planet, and some of us amazingly stumbled through our childhood without killing Tuba Man or becoming Kyle Huff.

      I think that we’re served just as well by pointing out the common sense angle in perverted school districts feeling up teenagers because she has an advil, than trying to pathologize teenage behavior en masse.

      Kids are immature. Film at 11.

      We can agreeably separate the philosophical problems of mandatory minimums and the like without having to slide dangerously close to, “It’s not their fault… because brain scans!”

  25. Not that this is all that new. I was in high school 89′-93′ and we already had some fully-armed uniformed cop roaming our hallways. And I went to a mostly-white, suburban school.

    1. Hmmm, I was in high school just a few years earlier (’86-’89) and we didn’t have any cops.

      As mentioned, this was during the ninja/martial arts craze too. Those few that didn’t have some sort of exotic weapon had a pocketknife.

      1. As mentioned, this was during the ninja/martial arts craze too. Those few that didn’t have some sort of exotic weapon had a pocketknife.

        We may have crossed paths. I was in high school from ’86 to ’89, and if I had been searched at any random moment during any random school day, I likely would’ve been found in possession of a throwing star, a butterfly knife, or both. Not as weapons, mind you, but because that sort of stuff was just “cool” at the time.

  26. I think Teenage are children we can not take them as adult until they turn 18.

  27. I have first hand experience with having a child arrested at school for misbehaving. My 11 year old is autistic and went to a “special school” that was suppose to be equipped/staffed to handle his behavioral issues. Long story short he was arrested for disorderly conduct after staff took his breakfast away from him and he responded by doing what autistic children in a situation like that which is freak out. Instead of isolating him to calm him down they had their campus cop arrest him.
    It turns out this school uses arrest as a form of discipline and the parole officer assigned to him told us that this school basically does this all the time. The courts tossed the case out but the charge will stay on his record.
    I called every kind of lawyer I could think of to try to take action against the school and none of them really knew what to do and I just kept getting referred to different attorneys until I basically just stopped trying.
    We removed him from school and now home school him because we don’t want him to have a criminal record a mile long before he is 16 years old.

    I still have the police report and I audio taped our meetings with the school over this. So if any one has any ideas of how to take action against the school I am open to suggestions. This happened 2 years ago so I doubt anything can be done now.
    We are just lucky enough that we are in a situation were we can home school.
    The school in Phoenix, AZ

  28. My wife and I are going to be parents very soon, and stories like this chill me to the bone. WTF kind of country are we going to be raising our child in? Certainly not the one I grew up in.

  29. I agree, who cares about the people they’ve murdered? They’re dead, and these poor kids shouldn’t be made to pay for that, why it was just youthful exuberance! They deserve medals frankly for taking the initiative to rape and murder…what are you thinking stupid Texas der? hahaha

  30. Are Adults Big Children?

    Better headline, given how the Teams view government treatment of grown, able-bodied/minded people over the age of consent.

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  32. My 13-year old son touched a classmate’s breast (outside of her shirt) in class. Girl’s ‘boyfriend’ got jealous and went home and told his dad, who told the girl’s dad, who went to the school to complain. My son was questioned, was apologetic and cooperative and admitted that, yes, he had similarly touched other girls as well during the school year (albeit consensually). The other girls were then questioned and he was promptly EXPELLED and we were advised that law enforcement had been notified as required by law. Three months later, the other shoe finally dropped and he was charged with 1 count sexual assault and three counts of assault and battery, despite the ‘victims’ having various degrees of complicity and the parents not wanting to pursue the matter. One police report even explicitly stated that the mother said that her daughter was not bothered by it and that they didn’t want to press charges. During the pretrial preparations, when our attorney suggested to the Commonwealth’s Attorney (this is in rural Virginia) that we would fight it and probably appeal, the CA countered by saying he would ask for jail time. All things considered, I guess in the end we negotiated a ‘good deal.’ Of course, six months of our lives we spent holding our breath, my son will have to repeat 8th grade, he has two years probation, the embarrassment, etc.

    1. I’m sorry you’re unwilling to admit your son is an asshole and to teach him not to feel up girls who haven’t actually ASKED to be felt up.

  33. ou might think: Well, that’s Texas for you; they’re old-school down there. But it’s the same story in many parts of the country. The Justice Department says roughly half of all public schools have police officers patrolling the halls. According to an ACLU study, law enforcement is replacing traditional school discipline in Massachusetts’ http://www.maillotfr.com/maill…..c-3_9.html three largest school districts ? Boston, Springfield, and Worcester ? where more arrests are being made for “misbehavior previously handled informally.”

  34. New Orleans claims that it http://www.2013nbajerseys.com/…..rseys.html has to match Gordon received any offer http://www.2013nbajerseys.com/nba-jerseys.html, but Gordon hope the Hornets do not match.

  35. “In Mississippi, children as young as 13?must be tried as adults for some felonies, including capital crimes. But both parents must agree before a Mississippi girl just shy of her 18th birthday can have an abortion.”

    Well let’s just solve the inconsistency by requiring teenagers to get parental consent before they commit any murder.

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