When the Kid's in Cuffs, What's a Parent to Do? 

  When the Kid's in Cuffs, What's a Parent to Do? 

Posted by FoM on December 27, 2001 at 11:48:57 PT
By Joan E. Lisante, Special To The Washington Post 
Source: Washington Post  

You might get "the call" in the middle of a staff meeting, or at 2 a.m. after reading three pages of Oprah's latest pick before your eyes cross and you flick off the light.But the shock and feeling of helplessness triggered by the caller's opening words don't vary: "This is a detective down at the Reston district station -- we've got your daughter in custody."
There must be some mistake.Your life flashes before your eyes. It's all you can do to sputter out a few words: "What happened? Is she all right? Who else is with her?"Should you call a lawyer? Page the public defender? Go over there and pick her up? Then what?Tim Henry of the Moorestown, N.J., police department has peeled many a parent off the ceiling. Henry, who spent 13 years as a detective working on juvenile cases, advises parents to "get the facts. Find out who's handling the case and try to ascertain what's going to happen. Remember that juvenile justice is set up differently from adult court. There's an emphasis on accountability, but guidance and reinforcement are usually more important than punishment."Here are more issues to ponder:• How serious is the incident and how involved is your child? Do you need a lawyer? In some juvenile matters, children and parents appear without counsel. But going it alone may not be the best decision -- it depends on the charge and the consequences.• Could your child be detained or put on probation? Do community service, or lose a driver's license?• Does this incident reveal a hidden side of your child? Does his judgment need a little work?• What will this cost in time, money and aggravation?While you need to handle it, don't let this incident dominate your life. Figure out how your child got into the situation. Did he go along with a friend's nutty idea, or is something truly wrong? Now's the time to intervene, while he's still under the jurisdiction of a rehabilitation-focused juvenile court.And don't feel alone -- this sort of thing is as common as acne. In 1999, according to the Department of Justice, more than 900,000 juveniles were taken into custody for crimes ranging from destruction of property to public intoxication. Most of these kids had parents who, stunned and bewildered, made that long trip to pick up their little darling when they'd just as soon have dropped her off at military school.Once your child is under arrest, police, security personnel and judges seem less like servants of the law than people who have upended your life and cast a jailbird shadow over your child's future.But what's the view from the other side? What's it like running down teens with beer or marijuana in the Camaro?Tim Henry doesn't consider cops and kids "natural enemies." "I think the arresting officer sets the tone. The most effective way to deal with a situation is to talk to kids with respect. Don't get into a battle of the egos," he says.And Henry takes a personal interest in those he's chasing, many times looking into a kid's family situation. One night, he followed a "teen caravan" of three to four cars into a local park and watched for a while. When he stepped out of the patrol car, one kid shouted "Five-O!" as the rest scattered. "Later," Henry recalled, "I phoned some of the fleeing kids who know me, and they apologized."And what about the judge, who ends up sorting out the mess? Eugene Hyman, a Superior Court judge on delinquency assignment in San Jose, Calif., has a unique view on things: He used to be a police officer. Hyman doesn't think kids and cops are natural enemies, either."I don't think police officers dislike juveniles, but over the years kids have been treated more and more as adults under the law," Hyman said. "Today they have virtually the same rights, except the right to a jury trial. So this drives the perception of juvenile court as no longer a gentler place ruled by the 'best interests of the child.' Society is afraid of kids, and everyone wants the book dropped on kids -- with the exception of their own."And Hyman realizes that parents of a child in trouble are in a tough position, especially in states like California, where communications between a parent and child aren't privileged. Result: Parents can be forced to testify in court about something their child told them.High school security officers see a lot of action, too. Oakton High School's Mikey Wood has specialized in kids with bad judgment since 1991.What does she see in a school of more than 2,500 students? "Fights, vandalism, theft, threats, possession of drugs or alcohol, and truants and runaways," Wood says. Besides testifying in court, she's also the Vienna school's police, fire and security contact.There's nothing pretty about a cornered kid, and Wood knows all the standard lines: "My friend gave it to me and I didn't know what it was" and "I don't know the kid's name -- he just came up and gave it to me" are two favorites.Wood has also seen disappearing acts worthy of Houdini: "Students will drop things they shouldn't have if they think they're going to be searched. We've seen students put baggies of marijuana on top of tires as they walk by a car, stuff weapons and drugs in underwear, and hide marijuana pipes up sleeves, in shoes, or under hatbands," she says.School psychologists like Fran Gatlin, who works at Fairfax's Robinson High School, are also on the front lines. "When I work with kids facing court dates," Gatlin says, "I work on management of anxiety. I interview to make sure the teen isn't feeling desperate. Beyond that, I urge them to be honest, not argumentative. I may do some role-playing to help them come up with appropriate responses."Although you know, from the time you camped out with eight whiny Cub Scouts, that you're on your kid's side, observers might think differently as you turn blood-red when confronted with your child's wild side.Henry says he typically encounters two attitudes: "Sometimes parents are very angry at their child, and I remind them that kids can make inappropriate decisions. Other times, they're mad at the system or the police, and blame them for that lost chance at a job, scholarship, et cetera."Henry believes that neither is productive and advises parents not to overreact: "Kids learn valuable life lessons from being arrested -- they find the whole thing unpleasant, and usually don't repeat the experience."Wood also dislikes being the bearer of bad news: "When I make an initial phone call to parents suggesting that they observe certain behavior or have a drug assessment done, there's usually a cold response and many excuses are issued for the behaviors . . . but many parents eventually reach out for help."One of the best things a parent can do, according to Gatlin, is to be supportive, but have "the teen earn the money for fines, lawyers, or court costs. Learning from mistakes and not repeating them is fundamental. . . . Facing the consequences of behavior now may keep a teen from getting into something more serious later," she observes.Kurt Kumli, supervising district attorney of the Juvenile Delinquency Division in Santa Clara County, Calif., points out that police or other officials have many options when they come in contact with juveniles."Obstinate, hostile, noncooperative kids are more likely to end up in juvenile hall. . . . With about 80 percent of juvenile crime, the way the kid interacts with authority figures may be the single most important factor in determining the outcome," Kumli says.So try to remember that you, too, were once a 16-year-old with shaky judgment, and keep your cool. Note: What Might Seem Like the End of Your World May Really Be the Start of His Shaping Up. Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Joan E. Lisante, Special To The Washington PostPublished: Thursday, December 27, 2001; Page C10 Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Related Articles:Students Debate Controversial Pot Legislation Bust Can Smash Student Loan Crackdown on Students

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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on December 29, 2001 at 08:54:23 PT
This might be the scariest article yet on this site...
In the suburban town where I grew up, all the cops ever did was chase kids & take their beer. All my friends were very careful to never DUI, but I spent all of high school looking over my shoulder at parties, ready for the sprint to the woods if they raided us. One of our neighbors was robbed, and the woman was outraged over the indifference the cops showed - they did squat for an investigation, they basically told her, file the insurance forms. The police a few towns over accidentally helped her much more by recovering the stolen goods as part of another case.It's so sad that the American reaction to this is to normalize it and accept it, to ignore it as an adult instead of working to change things as adults. Is it apathy? Is a side effect of growing up watching TV and playing videogames, instead of developing creativity and initiative. I sure hope not.There's a great article in Natl. Geographic this month on the European Union. Once they're done building it, they will greatly outnumber us in people and size of economy. Maybe then they will pressure us on the Drug War as a human rights issue, I hope so. In Europe drinking ages are low and drugs are non-criminal, kids would be appalled at the police pressure on us here. We just accept it, get a little fatter, and head off to Walmart to buy some more shit we don't need........... 
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Comment #3 posted by DdC on December 27, 2001 at 13:37:15 PT Assassins of Youth
"It's for the kid$$$"So many coincidences. The FRCn DARE Partnerships getting their funding from the drugs, chemical and fossil fuels now that they've been embarrassed into dropping the alcohol and tobacco funding. (Cannabis competition?) The thugczar, this the same Chemist profiting on pisstest? As our xthug czarbarry now sees the light of rehabilitation and treatment and sold his name to a center. As did Turner and Bendett. Even Klintoon had a change of heart conveniently after it was too late. How many kids get raped as a deterrent to smoking pot? How many get forced ritalin and end up with neurological tremors? How many kids would have a pocket full of money from selling weeds if it was legal? How many are in the "wrong place" when a bad deal goes down that wouldn't if it was legal. How much does the prison industrial complex make on the hundreds of thousands of kids each year? Arrest forms, gas to transport, food, clothing and shelter. 39 prisons were built in California and 1 College the past 10 years. No profit in educating the kids, too much competition getting work as it is. Take away their family foodstamps and college tuition and see who ends up in juvi dentention. Snitch witnesses remove unwanted's. Thermal censors banned without anonymous tips? Manditory sentencing, no knock, eavsdrop, wiretaps, plea bargain away the 5th, juries filled with corporate government. Voting scams banning cons and ballots with hanging chads. The business of WoD Inc. Keeping the minimum wage 1/3 of the cost of living. While keeping the labor force strong deterring out spoken disidents complaining of conditions. They have no problem with kids in sweatshops or fighting wars. Get a job and be responsible, use common sense and have guts. Any kid knows the pay of Mickey D's compared to $400.00 oz's. Incentives made by prohibition create juvinile deliquents! Then treatment brings in profits, GONE with peace and tolerance. Fighting for crude when even kids could grow gas on the farm, getting them harmed by bullets and bombs and depleted uranium poisoning, protecting totalitarian royals concedrned more with their drapery. Protecting society in the name of the youngins been going on since Cane slew Able and only happens when the people get lazy and let government define their Freedom. Cannabis is the Keystone of WoD, the staple of the Fascist. Legalize it for the sake of the kids.
If the people lead, the leaders will follow.
Peace, Love and Liberty
DdCAssassins of Youth
The assassins of youth...DARE the FRCn PDFA
WoD Babykillers New Thugczar Conserving Compassion
In an editorial in its May 1 issue, William F. Buckley, Jr.'s National Review commented on the case of Jimmy Montgomery, a paraplegic sentenced to 10 years in Oklahoma prisons for less than 2 ounces of marijuana. NR noted that former deputy drug czar John P. Walters criticized ABC News for reporting on the Montgomery case. Walters showed no concern for Montgomery but rather complained, "Apparently ABC couldn't find a grandmother on death row for carrying a roach clip..."ACS - Division of Analytical Chemistry - DAC Awards 
No award given) 1977 - (No award given) 1978 - James D. Winefordner 1979 - John P. Walters 1980 - Donald E. Smith 1981 - Jon Amy 1982 - Harry L. Pardue 1983 ... 
John J. DiIulio's book Juvenile Crime, Adult Time: Why are we so afraid of our kids... he co-authored with former Drug Czar William Bennett and John P. Walters, warned of thickening ranks of juvenile sociopaths, "radically impulsive, brutally...
Also As Ex-Theorist on Young 'Superpredators,' Bush Aide... Prohibitionist Deceptions                                       America’s New Drug Pushers John P Walters      
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Comment #2 posted by Dark Star on December 27, 2001 at 12:23:10 PT
Been There
Dark Star has had to answer the 2 AM phone call and go downtown to pick-up the wayward Dwarf Star for "Minor in Possession" (of alcohol). The ingrate accused the cops of coveting her friends' cannabis when they confiscated it, but did not acknowledge the favor that none were charged for it. We had such a nice conversation just 48 hours earlier where we discussed all the things not to do during her youthful experimentation to avoid just such an eventuality. Too bad she didn't walk the talk. When she asked, "Which would upset you more if I did it, booze or pot?"My response was, "Cannabis is certainly less dangerous, but both of them are illegal for you. The law has no sense of humor."What this article does not address is the fact that countless kids are running afoul of the system, are having their lives negatively impacted, and contrary to the impression of the friendly neighborhood cop depicted, are learning only a scathing contempt for the system.Modern Europeans do this aspect of child husbandry a lot better. Alcohol is no big deal until you abuse it. It is okay for youth to drink in most countries, but they are even harder on drunk driving. This makes sense. Increasingly the Dutch, English, Spanish, Portugese are emphasizing harm reduction with drugs, and will have healthier, more responsible and respectful kids as a result.The Amerikan Way: If a little repression does not work, turn up the volume and really make it hurt. 
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Comment #1 posted by aocp on December 27, 2001 at 11:56:59 PT
Henry believes that neither is productive and advises parents not to overreact: "Kids learn valuable life lessons from being arrested -- they find the whole thing unpleasant, and usually don't repeat the experience."And there we have it. Being arrested is right up there with puberty. "Has your Johnny been arrested yet? Gosh, i wonder what's wrong? Susie is already learning her valuable lessons for two years now."Remember the lesson here, folks: do as the mommystate says, or else. Pity der shrubya can't keep the economy rollin' or else he'd be on cloud nine. Things keep going like this and he'll be voted out faster'n y'all can say jackrobinson. And it'll be beautiful.
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