Public schools

Lawyers Defend Teen Whose Dinosaur-Hunting Story Got Him Arrested

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Dinosaur
Wikimedia Commons

Here's an update on the case of Alex Stone, the South Carolina 16-year-old who was arrested after penning an obviously fictional story about shooting a dinosaur as part of a class assignment. I spoke with Stone's lawyer, David Aylor, who told me the situation was handled "inappropriately from the beginning," by police and administrators at Summerville High School.

Stone's teacher read the story in the evening and then immediately emailed the principal. She was disturbed by a phrase in the story, "bought a gun to take care of business," even though the "business" was a dinosaur. The principal then notified the police.

The police report suggests that the entire incident was handled as if Stone was an active shooter, rather than a kid who had written an obviously fantastical story: "While administrators, Officer Floyd and I looked for the suspect all students were held in their homeroom classes, until the suspect was located, bookbag located, and locker was cleared with negative results for a weapon."

Stone was then brought to the principal's office, where police questioned him about the gun comment in the story. He "became very irate stating that it was just a joke," and then "continued to be disruptive and was placed in handcuffs, which were double locked and check for fit, and was advised he was being detained for Disturbing Schools."

According to Aylor, Stone was taken to the police station and booked like a common criminal. He was released after his mother arrived and signed a Custodial Promise form. The charge is "disorderly conduct based on the alleged interviews related to when they were discussing the writing," said Aylor.

Aylor also noted that Stone, who has a learning disability, was suspended from school.

At this point, Stone is in trouble, not because of the story itself, but because of his alleged bad behavior during an interrogation regarding the story. I have a hard time believing that Stone was justifiably arrested, however, given that it's pretty clear the police and administrators were the ones overreacting from the beginning.

Read Aylor's statement—in which he cites Orwell and Shakespeare—here.

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93 responses to “Lawyers Defend Teen Whose Dinosaur-Hunting Story Got Him Arrested

  1. I’d be fucking irritated too if I were assigned homework then questioned by the cops for doing it.

    1. One positive outcome is the likelihood of a new libertarian.

      1. And, like the rest of us here, he has a learning disability…

        NTTAWWT

        CB

    2. Hey there, Mister. Just because we’re bullies with badges acting like morons at you, that’s no excuse for you not to keep your calm with us. Just remember who gets to be the ‘roid raged pig in this situation, and you keep calm or I’ll flip the fuck out and beat you to death.

  2. “and was advised he was being detained for Disturbing Schools.”

    It sounds like quite a few people were guilty of “Disturbing Schools” that day. Alex Stone isn’t one of them.

  3. He failed to obey when the cops told him to simmer down. He’s lucky they didn’t kill him.

    1. Yeah, that’s usually good for a death sentence, or at least a good beat down.

    2. Good thing schools don’t generally allow students to bring dogs!

      1. Cop – “The officer was forced to shoot the vicious pit bull”

        Student – “Put bull?! He was my service dog, and he was a black Labrador Retriever!”

        Cop – “Simmer down, blind boy, or it’s the cuffs for you!”

  4. This reminds me of the Martha Stewart prosecution, where she was strung up for “obstructing justice” when it turned out there was no underlying charge.

    Sorry, but if there’s no primary offense (insider trading or bringing a gun to school), there should be no secondary offenses.

    If the cops hassle you for what turns out to be no reason, your refusal to cooperate is not a crime. Being right should never be against the law, and this kid was right.

    1. ^^ THIS x 1000.

      It pisses me off to this day if I see a reference to Martha Stewart going to jail for insider trading. Wrong.

      I have some hazy recollection that the FBI rigs the interrogation process ? They do not let the accused have a copy of the deposition, then any deviation from the official record becomes perjury.

      1. They have two agents, one taking written notes, the other doing the talking. No recording, either video or audio, and of course that applies to you too, bubba.

        Then they write up the official interview record. Maybe you sign it, dunno.

        And any later deviation from that is taken as lying to a federal agent, 5 years I think. But a felony in any case. It is taken for granted by judges and prosecutors that FBI agents never lie, always tell the truth, so you have no excuse for changing your story in even the slightest way. Was the car red and now you say maroon? 8:20 the, quarter after 8 now?

        And having got you on a five year charge, they have a real good chance at having you turn in your boss or friends or anybody they want. You will tell the most enormous fibs to avoid 5 years, won’t you, bubba?

        1. That’s why you never talk to a cop, unless it’s “Good morning” or “Thank you”

    2. Yep. It amounts to a kind of entrapment imo.

    3. Um…

      Why were the cops called? Was there a crime committed? Was there even suspicion a crime might be committed? Writing a story is NOT a criminal offense. I want the school brought up on charges, like they do to idiots who call 911 because McDonalds didn’t put pickles on their Quarter Pounder. I see ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE!

      What the fuck is wrong with people?

  5. He should have remained silent. Oh no, wait. That’s evidence of guilt, according to the Supreme Court.

    1. Listen, when you’re being interrogated by police your job is to confess to your crimes. Not doing so not only wastes the police officers’ valuable time, it also obstructs their investigation and is disruptive and disorderly. In this case there was no confusion, the principal and police clearly told him the crimes to which he was expected to confess, and he refused to do so.

    2. California Supreme Court, not US Supreme Court. This happened in South Carolina.

      1. US Supremes did it too.

        1. No they didn’t. All they said was that the cops don’t have to stop questioning you when you remain silent.

  6. I would have been put in solitary max based on my writings.

    Five bucks there are local moms who support this overreaction to nothing.

    1. I’m sure, Summerville is a pretty wealthy town outside Charleston (a hotbed of progressive South Carolinians). Lot’s of “soccer moms.”

    2. I would bet there are local dads who support it too. Idiocy knows no gender. Except your mom.

  7. She was disturbed by a phrase in the story, “bought a gun to take care of business,”

    Taking animism to another level. Related, why don’t we know the name of this brave public servant?

    1. Well I think it’s high time some enterprising tech-savvy libertarians doxxed her.

  8. What I don’t understand is if the flurry of concern occurred the evening before, and they obviously considered the kid to be dangerous, why did they let him enter the school, and then lock it down? Why didn’t they just go to his house that morning and sort it all out with his parents?

    1. Ha! Now this applies.

    2. Because they knew damn well he wasn’t really a problem. They just needed to make an example of someone for refusing to tow the lion regarding taboo words and badthink.

      1. At the very least, some school or police official should be taken through the ringer for wasting resources and disrupting school.

        The inherent lunacy of this case is that the kid was charged with disrupting the school and did nothing of the sort, while the administration and police staged a spectacle which did massively disrupt the school, and of course faced no consequences.

      2. Sorry, personal pet peeve. Tow the line is bad enough. Tow the lion while an interesting turn of phrase is even worse. It’s Toe the Line.

        1. You must be new here. It’s a joke about that specific misuse.

          1. New enough that I don’t get all the in jokes. Thanks for the civil explanation.

          2. Same for “through the ringer”?

      3. Exactly. It was never about ‘stopping the threat’

        An example (display of power in this case) needed to be shown to the rest of the students.

        Wait until art class. You will paint what you are told to paint.

  9. It’ll be the taxpayers who foot the bill, but there are people starting with the teacher who need to find work more fitted to their skills.
    I’ve got a ditch that needs digging.

    1. They don’t even have the requisite skills to fill the ditch.

    2. Her skills are perfectly suited to her work, which involves creating compliant conformists who do not dare question the State.

  10. She was disturbed by a phrase in the story, “bought a gun to take care of business,” even though the “business” was a dinosaur.

    This person is obviously too disturbed to be teaching our children.

    1. She didn’t want to be responsible for creating the next Steven Spielberg.

      1. +1 outrage.

  11. My boss’s wife had to make a trip to the hospital, and when she was admitted the nurses noticed that she had a pretty bad bruise (which she had received at work moving something heavy). When my boss arrived at the hospital, officers met him in the lobby to question him about the bruise and wouldn’t let him see his wife.

    Meanwhile, they sent officers to talk to his kids at school without his knowledge. So the cops were talking to his son and daughter without parental or adult advisement.

    1. When my boss arrived at the hospital, officers met him in the lobby to question him about the bruise and wouldn’t let him see his wife.

      I trust he then became agitated and was arrested.

      1. Actually no, although they did try to pull the good cop, bad cop thing on him.

        My boss gets mad quite a bit, but his reactive response is to appease, not fight back. That might have saved him.

    2. We really do live in a police state.

    3. We live in a golden age for busybodies and interfering scumbags, where they can call the cops on the slightest rumor/gossip/thought and fuck with people’s lives. They must be loving it.

    4. So when did he stop beating his wife?

    5. When my boss arrived at the hospital, officers met him in the lobby to question him about the bruise and wouldn’t let him see his wife.

      “Am I under arrest? No? Is my wife under arrest? No? Then I’m going to talk to my wife, right now. And there better not be any cops in the room when I do.”

      “Say, are you interrogating my kids? Because I specifically prohibit you from doing so outside of my presence. Now, are you?”

    6. ERs these days seem to believe that any injury a woman suffers is likely to be the result of domestic violence. It is really fucking irritating.

      1. Well, in their defence, they ask everyone about such things.

        Even me. At 6’5″ and 260 lbs, looking like (as my friend Larry puts it) a crazy murder hobo. “Do you feel safe at home?”

        Man, my wife would have to be a serious valkyrie… 😀

        1. Serious Valkyrie … great band name

        2. Pediatricians are the worst. Every ER trip includes an interrogation. Including the tick bite.

    7. 2 summers back my wife was out doing some gardening in the front garden next to the driveway. It’s South Texas…she let herself get dehydrated and then woke up on the driveway after bouncing her face off of her car and twisting her ankle badly on the way down.

      She called me at works after she got into the house and I insisted on coming home and taking her to the emergency room. We were separated and the looks and the questioning about how she ended up with a black eye and a sprained ankle were quite pointedly insinuating that I was the proximate cause of her injuries but at least the fucktards didn’t call the popo so I assume that they must have decided that my story checked out.

      I’ve often wondered if the roles had been reversed if they would have followed a similar procedure or if they would have simply taken things as presented and proceeded with treating me instead of interrogating my wife and I separately.

  12. Sue the living fuck out of everyone involved. And sue them in their individual capacities. And do not settle. Drag the case out as long as possible. It sucks to be sued. You don’t sue in this case for money. Hell the tax payers will pay any judgement. So these people won’t care. You sue to make them as miserable as possible and to hold them up to as must public ridicule as possible.

  13. Well, I can see why a schoolteacher might feel threatened by a story about shooting dinosaurs.

    1. *rimshot*

  14. Have you seen that movie Dazed and Confused ? For perspective on my age and experience, I consider that movie a documentary. I try to imagine 16 year old me in the 1970’s getting pulled into the principal’s office with some cops because of a homework assignment. I mean, how can anyone, of any age, take these people seriously. You called the cops over my english assignment ?! I think I would have laughed in their faces, rather than be irritated. That would be considered disorderly conduct right ? Mocking them.

    1. I do like how the one cop in that movie is the guy who didn’t make the football team and the kids make fun of him for it.

      1. Lots of things in that movie ring true, don’t they.

        1. The only thing about that movie i don’t like is the whole freshman hazing thing. That wouldn’t have flown. There are too many older brothers and crazy uncles in the world for them to have gotten away with that shit.

          Otherwise it is a good movie. How is the 911 coming? Out of paint? Took mine to the track last week. More fun than God intended man to have.

          1. The paint is done, glass is back in…going to the motor guy soon to re-install the drive train. I hope it’s back on the road before the snow flies.

            Just got back from Car Week in Monterey…is that still on your bucket list.

            Was your track day sponsored by a local club ? Did you have an instructor ?

            1. It was a Summit Point VA and I had an instructor. It was very affordable and great fun.

          2. This was a long time ritual in Texas and older brothers and crazy uncles would have gone through the same thing and would have told you stop being a pussy. I don’t think it’s practiced any longer (I was a freshman in 1971 so I may be out of touch) and now it’s just a given that everyone is a pussy. I mean precious snowflake.

  15. “. She was disturbed by a phrase in the story, “bought a gun to take care of business,”

    My God…

    Is this what schools have become?

    I am only 27 and I wrote about a hunting trip, gun and all, for my 5th grade standard “what you did this summer” report. Heck, my presentation had photos of the gun that I passed around venison jerky from the hunt.

    ” He ‘became very irate stating that it was just a joke,”
    I wonder what would happen if the Principal was stopped by cops on the street and qustioned for no crime.

    “”continued to be disruptive and was placed in handcuffs”

    In other words, he told the goon squad and the director of the indoctranation center to go screw themselves and stop detaining him on some bogus charges.

    They were offended by this prole so they arrested him being disruptive.

  16. I would suggest that the real problem was his ‘learning disability’. The school was just looking for an excuse to expel him.

    1. I think special needs kids are actually good for the budget.

      1. Schools get extra money for them. Whether it’s worth it or not, I’m still undecided.

  17. Is there anything that isn’t disorderly conduct ? I mean between that charge and “failure to obey a lawful order”, anyone can be arrested anytime.

    1. anyone can be arrested anytime.

      Yup. Welcome to the land of the free to ask permission and obey orders.

    2. Yup. The cops can just start hassling you for no reason at all. When you try to do anything about it, including just walking away, bam! obstruction, disorderly, you name it.

    3. /ObRandQuote

  18. When I was in high school we read a short story called “A Sound of Thunder,” by Ray Bradbury, about shooting dinosaurs. If that happened today, would the whole English class have been arrested, or just the teacher?

    1. I read In Cold Blood. I can’t imagine the pants wetting that would ensue over that today.

    2. We read The Sniper in eighth grade English. They’d probably send in a SWAT team to neutralize us.

    3. You know, they made an incrediblely bad movie of that.

    4. If only such measures had been adopted sooner, the dinos would not have been hunted to extinction.

  19. But how did he get in your pajamas?

  20. Christ, before you send your kids to school these days you have to lawyer them up just keep them safe from the educational system.

  21. The police report suggests that the entire incident was handled as if Stone was an active shooter, rather than a kid who had written an obviously fantastical story: “While administrators, Officer Floyd and I looked for the suspect all students were held in their homeroom classes, until the suspect was located, bookbag located, and locker was cleared with negative results for a weapon.”

    Why hasn’t a howling mob of parents burned down the principal’s house with him in it?

  22. I remember a headline from the Weekly World News: Scientists Discover What Happened To The Dinosaurs: Big Game Hunters From Mars

  23. A friend, a former FBI special agent, told me the proper response to any inquiry from a federal agent is “My lawyer will get back to you with an answer/comment.” Looks like the same response should apply to local LEOs too, maybe even one’s principal, teacher or any other
    government employee.

  24. He should have stated that he will not talk to anyone without his parents and/or an attorney present. Something to teach everyone.

  25. From Wikipedia: Old Yeller is a 1956 children’s novel written by Fred Gipson and illustrated by Carl Burger, which received a retroactive Newbery Honor in 1969.

    Burn that book immediately and arrest Gipson and Burger. For god’s sake, think of the children.

  26. Are the cops even allowed to interrogate a minor without the presence of a legal guardian?

  27. Abusing a kid with a disability. Charming.

  28. Two takeaways: This kid is getting soooo laid now.

    And: Finally, a real literary bad-boy to shake up the writing world a bit. About time.

  29. Or: the dumbest teacher alive took “trigger warning” literally.

  30. I’d rather read the story itself than the lawyer’s statement or third-party descriptions of it. How about a link?

    It’s interesting that this occurred in South Carolina, where there are more guns than people. You’d think that in this state even a high school teacher (and certainly a principal) would have less of a less hair-trigger reaction to the mere mention of a gun in a story.

  31. “Is this your homework Alex? Is this your homework Alex? Is this yours Alex? Is this your homework Alex? Alex, have you ever heard of Vietnam? You’re entering into a world of pain, son. We know that this is your homework. We know that you wrote that sentence.”

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