Oh America, are we TRYING to fill up our prisons until there is no room left? Have we actually gotten that far? Because I can't really see another other reason for having a bunch of kids arrested for ... wait for it ... throwing water balloons. In school. As part of a prank.
Y'all have heard of spring fever, right? End of school ants in the pants? Just being kids?
The water balloon situation at Enloe High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, would be less troublesome if it weren't for the pattern of criminalizing youthful behavior that we've noticed developing in this nation.
Last month, Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old doing a science experiment at her Florida high school, was arrested when the mixture of chemicals blew up. She was charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school property and discharging a destructive device. For a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT! The charges were eventually dropped -- due to public outcry.
Back in February, kids at a Georgia high school were arrested for "inciting a riot" ... over a food fight. Again, the charges were dropped.
And now this debacle in North Carolina, where the school admits the balloons in question contained just tap water. The juniors and sophomores -- all were 16, save for one 17-year-old -- could have been hauled into the principal's office for a tap on the wrist. Instead cops were called, and they were served with charges of disorderly conduct after a security officer in the school was hit.
For water balloons.
Unless public outcry once again shows prosecutors the error of their ways (fingers crossed), these kids will have criminal charges haunting them for the rest of their lives over a harmless prank that any one of us would have done as kids.
This is where we've gone, America. Kids aren't getting worse. They're simply facing harsher consequences for the very things we did as kids.
Somehow we've lost sight of our own teen years and what we were like, what it was like when the temperatures rose and we started the countdown to the end of school, and we were high on life. We did stupid things too. Our kids are bound to do them because they are no better (or worse) than we were.
It's time that we start treating our kids as we would have liked to have been treated when we were their age: like kids.
Do you agree with the arrests for throwing water balloons? Are kids being thrown to the wolves in America?
Image via stevendepolo/Flickr