In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the city’s police chief Karl Durr was forced to apologize after his officers handcuffed and arrested 10 elementary school students on April 15th. Students were between the ages of 6 and 12. The arrests were apparently connected to a bullying and assault incident that occurred at the school. It is reported that the 10 students were watching a video of the assault.
The police chiefs apologetic remarks come after angry parents demanded some kind of action during a community meeting. This incident serves as yet another example of how schools nation wide are becoming ever more reliant on police intervention when it comes to disciplinary issues they should be handling themselves.
Bullying is a big problem. It’s a form of child abuse. But arresting and prosecuting bullies is not the answer. (See our information on get-tough bullying laws.) Responding to child abuse by abusing children through the justice system does not bring us closer to an answer. Unfortunately, schools are also in an impossible positions. If the incident left any kind of mark or injury on the victim, they could get in trouble for NOT reporting it to police. School staff facing similar predicaments might try placing a call to the victim’s parents first and try to work out an intervention that doesn’t involve the authorities.
Though the chief apologized for the heavy-handed tactics of his officers, charges against many of the students have not been dropped. Parents: please talk with your kids about bullying, so that we don’t end up in this predicament in the first place.