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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Arrested For Writing

Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with disorderly conduct for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location.

The youth's father said his son was not suspended or expelled but was forced to attend classes elsewhere for now.

Today, Cary-Grove students rallied behind the arrested teen by organizing a petition drive to let him back in their school. They posted on walls quotes from the English teacher in which she had encouraged students to express their emotions through writing.

"I'm not going to lie. I signed the petition," said senior James Gitzinger. "But I can understand where the administration is coming from. I think I would react the same way if I was a teacher."

Cary Police Chief Ron Delelio said the charge was appropriate even though the essay was not published or posted for public viewing.
-- Student writes essay, arrested by police [Chicago Tribune]

I heard about this on NPR on the way in. Incredibly scary that a kid could get 30 days in the slammer for simply handing in his homework. This essay wasn't made public anywhere - and yet he is charged with the same crime as someone pulling a fire alarm in a crowded theater. If the essay wasn't directed at anything or anyone in particular - what precisely were they trying to defend?

Sometime people need to stop treating everything as a crime. How is a trip to the therapist or a conference with a parent not the more rational, reasoned response? If Lee was a real danger (and every indication is that he is not) - would a criminal charge even work as a deterrent? I don't see how.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It also appears to be paved with asshats, but that just might be my eyes playing tricks on me.