Public schools

Schools Treat Mild Misbehavior Like Capital Crime. It Has to Stop.

Won't someone please think of the children?



A new study from the Center for Public Integrity offers a sobering look at the War on Childhood that is currently underway in American public schools. Administrators routinely treat mild disobedience from students as a criminal matter requiring police intervention, resulting in life-wrecking felony charges for kids—many of them black and Latino.

Consider the story of 11-year-old Kayleb Moon-Robinson:

Diagnosed as autistic, Kayleb was being scolded for misbehavior one day and kicked a trash can at Linkhorne Middle School in Lynchburg, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A police officer assigned to the school witnessed the tantrum, and filed a disorderly conduct charge against the sixth grader in juvenile court.

Just weeks later, in November, Kayleb, who is African-American, disobeyed a new rule — this one just for him — that he wait while other kids left class. The principal sent the same school officer to get him.

"He grabbed me and tried to take me to the office," said Kayleb, a small, bespectacled boy who enjoys science. "I started pushing him away. He slammed me down, and then he handcuffed me."

In an incident report, a teacher confirmed that the officer spoke to Kayleb, then grabbed him around the chest, and that Kayleb cursed and struggled. School officials won't comment on this case, but say that police in schools are crucial to providing a safe atmosphere and protecting against outside threats. Stacey Doss, Kayleb's mother and the daughter of a police officer herself, was outraged.

Educators stood by, she said, while the cop took her son in handcuffs to juvenile court. The officer filed a second misdemeanor disorderly conduct complaint. And he also submitted another charge, a very grown-up charge for a very small boy: felony assault on a police officer. That charge was filed, Doss said the officer told her, because Kayleb "fought back."

"I thought in my mind — Kayleb is 11," Doss said. "He is autistic. He doesn't fully understand how to differentiate the roles of certain people."

Instead of teaching Kayleb to be respectful of authority figures and attentive to his surroundings, the public school system has merely added to his problems.

CPI's study contains many interesting details relating to trends in the various states on police presence in schools. Kayleb attended school in Virginia, which is apparently one of the worst states for funneling kids from the public school system straight into the criminal justice system.

Libertarians who oppose government-run schools are often criticized by liberals for failing to "think of the children." While I don't pretend to speak for all libertarians, let me assure my liberal friends that I am indeed considering what's best for the children, and this isn't it.

NEXT: Liberal Pundit Says America Should 'Ignore' the 'Antidemocratic' Supreme Court. Should America Start By Ignoring Roe v. Wade?

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  1. Look. If we let these kids run around acting like little boys they might grow up and act like men. You tool of the patriarchy.

  2. Hard to know who’s the bigger disgrace: the principal or the cop. But I’m going for the principal for abdicating their responsibility to manage small children to an armed bully

  3. If you can think of a better way to get these little people into the system early, I’d like to hear it.

    1. Microchip implants at birth.

      You’re welcome.

    2. Pre-Fuck Contract, signed by fucker and fuckee, promising to dedicate the fertilized egg to Full Compliance — if not aborted because genetic testing suggests heterosexuality.

  4. Administrators routinely treat mild disobedience from students as a criminal matter requiring police intervention

    This is outrageous! Obviously the solution is to require kids — indeed, most people — to wear shock collars.

    1. STOP RESISTING! bzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. My proposal for beginning to reclaim some sanity on the Public Schools;

    1) Recognize that Teachers’ Unions have proven themselves to be criminal enterprises for defrauding the public, and outlaw them.

    2) De-certify all Colleges of Education and similar programs; on their showing the qualifications they provide mean roughly nothing.

    3) March into every public school in the land, line up all the administration types against one wall of the gym, and stick a gladius into every tenth one.

    4) Tell the survivors that they are to make responsible and reasonable judgements base on existing Law and social custom, and that “No Tolerance” policies will no longer be tolerated.

    5) Place a bounty on the heads of all employees of the Department of Education, and give them a fifteen minute head start.

  6. Hitting close to home. I went to that school (or possibly a school of the same name, it’s been a long time) back in the 60s. At one point a bunch of us went on an adventure through a storm culvert and got lost in the sewer system. Came up a long way from home and had to find a cop to call my Mom. If things were like they are today when I was 11 I’d probably just now be getting out of prison at age 59.

  7. What kind of a sick and evil person would arrest a child unless the offense was so serious there was no other alternative? That cop ought to be locked up in a psych ward. There is something seriously wrong with someone who would arrest a kid for kicking a trash can.

  8. Even at 11, peasants should know their place.

    I read this story and immediately recalled playing this song in the high school parking lot. Not that any kid today could get away with playing this obviously anti-government tune.

    Government-funded schools and government-funded prisons, eventually Swiss and his ever-narrowing gaze will be the only way to tell them apart.

    1. Frat-boy pseudo-punk Musical Actors are your touchstone for liberty evocation?

      Aren’t you the Aging Hipster?

  9. I venture this hypothesis: Court decisions and legislation provide due-process protections to kids before they can be expelled, and anyway, school bureaucrats don’t want to deal with the hassle of punishing kids – so they fob off these responsibilities onto the criminal justice system.

  10. If police officers are necessary to manage “outside threats”, why is one being used to handle mundane internal discipline?

    You are getting scope creep because outside threats are actually pretty uncommon and these police do not have much work to do.

  11. This type of abuse while disgusting is nothing new.

    Look, institutional education is simply a way to warehouse children. The educational aspect has always been secondary. If you want your kid institutionalized send them to public (and/or private) school. The bureaucracy will use what ever tools available to force any malcontents either out or into compliance. It is what it is.

  12. Schools Treat Mild Misbehavior Like Capital Crime. It Has to Stop.

    Just what is it about Your Children Belong To Us don’t you understand?

    /Da State

  13. Clearly reprobates are now running schools in addition to occupying a large number of positions in law enforcement.

    How can we rationalize with such obviously irrational people? How can you teach ethics and morality to individuals who continually display an absence of conscience or even a fragment of benevolence?

    I honestly don’t know the cure for such wide spread, institutionalized, willful immorality outside of violating the Non-Aggression Axiom.

    At some point in the future I am concerned that a parent will snap, and the results will be unpleasant for everyone concerned.

  14. I must have been about 8 – the road the next block over wasn’t completed till just a couple years ago. Back then – just dirt. Rained like hell – some genius drove their car down the dirt dead and got stuck.

    Friend and I decided that, as further punishment for their stupidity, we would wipe the mud all over the car.

    Then the cop showed up – no doubt called by a concerned local who didn’t have the sense to just come yell at us (we’d have stopped and run away).

    I started crying, walking toward the cop with my arms extended, wrists pressed together…”Are you going to arrest me??” Remember it like yesterday. He laughed and said, “No, but you need to stop and go home. You’re messing up that person’s car. Go on home.”


    My takeaways:

    1) Even in 1970(ish), I feared cops
    2) Back then, Mid Mich Small Town was a lot like Mayberry….fer reelz
    3) Don’t get your car stuck in the mud near me and Tad – we’ll fuck it up MOAR…

    1. I grew up in a tourist trap of a town. There was a place there that sold little adhesive stickers of a screw. The stickers were the same size as the heart you see on so many bumper stickers.

      My buddies and I would buy the stickers and put the screw over the heart on the I {heart} Beagles (or whatever) bumper stickers we found parked along the beach.

      We never got caught, but had to run more than a few times. We thought it was hilarious messing with tourists cars.

  15. My little one goes to a private school so I hope I’ll never be faced with this kind of thing. It’s fantastically expensive (by midwest standards) but totally worth it.

    The thought that makes my stomach hurt is, What If. What if something like this or other similar horror stories we read about on these pages happened to her? If the cops show up and buffalo the school into a strip search or putting terrified kids in cuffs, how can I respond?

    In that circumstance I’m not going to satisfied with a lawsuit that the tax payers have to absorb while the FOP makes sure that the psychotic cop keeps their job and at most has to suffer thru the horror an “additional training”.

    I’m also nervous about flying with my little girl for a similar reason. Any TSA agent who decides my little bunny needs a “pat down” is in for a rough day. But then where are we?

    It’s insane that we have to be worried about protecting ourselves and families from those who are theoretically paid to be the protectors. Was there ever a time when these jobs attracted people who wanted to aid their fellow man, rather than get people to “show respect”, or is that just fantasy?

  16. So, if the article is about an African-American boy, why is the image of a blonde white boy? The original article has a picture of who I assume is Kayleb. Or at least use a stock image of a African-American kid.

    1. Melissa Harris-Perry, is that you?

    2. Dear drive-by troll,

      If you’ll direct your attention to the caption under the photograph, you’ll notice the term Dreamstime. Dreamstime is a royalty-free, stock photography agency. While commenters have the privilege of playing fast and loose with IP, actual employees of Reason have to be more cautious in questions of IP and Fair-Use doctrine.

      Thanks for coming by. Tell your friends about us (assuming you have any).

  17. So much of this stems from the teaching profession’s disinterest in dealing with boys. I’m in my early 40s so I grew up in the 70s and 80s. I distinctly recall teachers telling me I was “hyperactive” to the point that I said something about it to my Mother…at the next parent/teacher conference the teacher brought it up and it freaked my Mother out so we ran to the doctor to discuss her concerns. The doctor told my Mother this “He is a little boy…little boys have a lot of energy and are boisterous, what you have is a teacher that would rather drug him into sitting still than dealing with him”

    This lead to my Mother joining the PTA soon thereafter and becoming the President of our local district in short order. During her 3-4 years serving I heard numerous stories about those teachers who were drunks, who would pinch, slap and pull the hair of students and those who would scare parents into putting their kids on Ritalin. My mother would press the administrators to do something and they never would – citing that the union would protect them. It taught me how school administrators are cowards and that teachers unions have no interest in anything other than protecting their members no matter how incompetent or inappropriate their behavior may be. I cannot imagine it has gotten any better in the 30 years since my Mother left the PTA…

    1. Feminize the boys, you win.


  18. he also submitted another charge, a very grown-up charge for a very small boy: felony assault on a police officer.
    IN BLUE.

  19. I think we found something worse than resolving all problems, no matter how trivial, through lawyers: resolving all problems, no matter how trivial, through police.

    1. I’ve always thought social media experts, trust fund babies, and economists should be the holy triumvirate for problem-solving.

  20. “…many of them black and latino’

    And this matters……why?

    The recent federal demand that black and latino kids who misbehave not be punished because of disparate impact is already taking it’s toll on kids who can now be terrorized with impunity.

    Want numbers of punished kids to go down? Stop punishing the victims along with the perpetrators.

    If you want cops out of schools, say so, don’t make it about race.

  21. Liberals and progressives don’t understand autism, even when one of their own Special Snowflakes receives a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.

    What matters to the lib/prog is conformity with power (the State) — unless that power is shaped like or symbolized by an elephant. But the elephantine icon is just a driver of replacement urges, where the elephant is supplanted by a donkey. The State is not the problem. The State is your test-tube parent, maternal by instinct even if the in-vitro-fertilized critter’s parents are both men.

    1. nothing in the preceding comment made the slightest bit of sense. are you “automatic writing” oobins?

  22. We should think of children as our future generation. Yes, I agree that we should teach them how to behave in society but, frankly speaking, every children misbehave sometimes and they shouldn’t be punished for it sitting in a police jail. It isn’t the solution of it. I fully disagree with this method of bringing up. I have checked that paper work created by My Custom Writing Essay on cruel intentions of children among them. And I’ve understood that it is we who teach them it or give them examples of it. That is not the way it should be. They deserve only the best.

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