Life is hard in the 50 states. Governments are broke, and the people are broker (is that a word? It should be). But Texas cops have come up with the worst way to balance the budget you'll read about all week.
They're charging kids as young as 6 with fine-carrying offenses, just so they can collect revenue. According to Texas Appleseed, a "nonprofit research and advocacy group focusing on social and economic justice," kids are being handed tickets for crimes like "classroom disruption," then forced to pay fines of as much as $500 for the in-school offense. The courts, naturally, get to keep all the money.
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! At 6 years old, kids are still learning right from wrong. At this age, classroom disruptions like a kid jumping up to yell, "I hafta pee Mrs. Jones!" happen every day! It's a parent's job to give kids a good base, but we send them to school in hopes that they'll get a social education too, that they'll learn how to fit in and not cause disruptions. A little kid needs the principal and teacher to discipline them; they don't need cops involved terrifying them and criminal charges that may or may not show up on some permanent record down the road.
What's more, a ticket that costs money doesn't affect a 6-year-old or a 10-year-old in the long run. It affects the parents, who now have to take their kid back and forth to court and somehow cough up the money. In-school punishments meted out directly to a student for an infraction make more sense for a child because they feel them directly. They can connect cause and effect much more vividly when it's a direct punishment to them rather than to their parents.
Now consider why kids act out in classrooms. Isn't it often because they aren't getting enough time with their parents at home or enough attention? And now the cops want to make their parents spend more time out of the home working to make money just to balance their budgets. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Do cops belong in the schools handing out tickets to little kids?
Image via Elvert Barnes/Flickr