You don’t need to do a whole ton of legislative history research to know that times have changed, but you might be surprised at how much. Kids nowadays are getting arrested for the same innocent shenanigans everyone used to do, if you can believe it.
Let’s do a little legislative research and see what kinds of legal statutes are punishing kids with more than time-outs.
During her Spanish class, Alexa Gonzalez decided to commit the friendliest act of graffiti and scribbled “I love my friends Abby and Faith” and “Lex was here. 2/1/10” in a green, washable marker. Instead of being told to wash the marks off, as most other children are, Alexa was arrested, put into an interrogation room, and sentenced to clean up graffiti for eight hours that was probably a whole lot more mean.
Back before there was texting, students were forced to pass notes to each other like clandestine spies if they wanted to talk during class. Back in those days, you’d either have to stay after class or — at worst — read it aloud in class. Nowadays, kids who text can get arrested. Just ask the Wisconsin 14 year old who was cited for disorderly conduct after she refused to stop texting.
What kind of legal statute would ban playing outside? You’ll have to check with Tammy Cooper, whose neighbors called the police on her for child abandonment — even though she was right there in the yard where her kids were playing. Luckily, she was only in jail for 18 hours, where, ironically, she did have to abandon her kids.
The legislative intent behind many of these legal statutes was likely to punish much harsher crimes, but sometimes freak incidents like these happen, and the legal statutes get used wrongly. If you know of the strange misuse of any other legal statutes, feel free to share in the comments. More like this blog.