There is currently a problem in Florida for children being traumatized for noncriminal acts. Children are being taken to jail for behavior that once warranted a trip to the principal’s office. The secretary for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice states there are far to many children being taken away in handcuffs in front of their classmates. I know that being a young child in school is stressful enough without having that sort of traumatic event. Something like that can cause serious damage to children down the road. What is more appalling is that most of the children being arrested are not actually committing criminal acts. Less then 5 percent of children arrested was for actually weapons charges. Children are being arrested for minor behavior issues like not taking a cell phone out or yelling in the middle of class.
A twelve-year-old student had been suspended, but never received the notification. The student then showed up to school and was arrested for trespassing. This student was one of 12,000 Florida students arrested last year.
There are so many problems with what is going on in the Florida school system. Labeling a child as a criminal as such a young age can be extremely detrimental to their upbringing. Putting a child into the criminal justice system takes that child out of school and can make their behavior in the future much worse. Being in the system does not provide children with counseling or social services they may need. Not only is it bad to put a child into the criminal justice system the experience of being arrested in front of your peers can be a very traumatizing.
The student who was arrest for trespassing was shaken up by the experience. Her mother stated the arrest interrupted her education and made her and her daughter distrustful of schools. Schools are supposed to be a place where children feel safe and protected. Students should never be fearful of going to school. People are worried that since the school shooting in Newtown there are going to be more police in schools, which may lead to more students arrested. People are so fearful that a horrific event like that in Connecticut will happen again. Schools may start overreacting to student violence in fear that something horrific may happen.
Florida school officers state they are willing to work with campuses to help this problem. If officers are willing to work with the schools maybe this issue can be reduced. The chairman of the Orange County School Board said he would not want school official to interfere with law-enforcement’s job. But he did agree that arrests for minor vandalism, petty fights, and trespassing seem unproductive.