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9 and 10 Year Olds **Arrested** for Drawing Stick Figures

They say a sure sign you are going insane is when you are convinced everyone else in the world is insane... I must be losing my mind.....

Students Arrested Over 'Violent' Stick Figure Drawings

OCALA, Fla. -- Two boys, ages 9 and 10, were charged with felonies and taken away from school in handcuffs, accused of making violent drawings of stick figures.

The boys were arrested Monday on charges of making a written threat to kill or harm another person, a second-degree felony.

The special education students used pencil and red crayon to draw primitive stick figure scenes on scrap paper that showed a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said.

"The officer found they were drawing these pictures for the sole purpose of intimidating and scaring the victim," said Ocala Police Sgt. Russ Kern.

The boy depicted in the drawings told his teacher, who took the sketches and contacted the school dean, Marty Clifford. Clifford called police, who arrested the boys after consulting with the State Attorney's Office.

So these 2 kids are going to have to spend the rest of their lives sitting on the Group W bench because they drew stick figures?

I remember as a kid getting into fights with my sister and her saying "I hope you die." I guess that's a felony today. We feed our kids video games where the object is to walk around killing everyone in front of you then when they draw a violent picture we charge them as felons!?!?

I know this is bold and irrational plan but did anyone consider having their parents tell them to knock it off?

Sometimes I think I'm the only sane one left.


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Comments (48)

Just 8 years ago when I was... (Below threshold)
Joel B:

Just 8 years ago when I was in High School, occasionally we would have stick figure wars. Those would always be fun get you to be imaginative.

When I was a kid, we made "... (Below threshold)

When I was a kid, we made "guns" out of wood and played "war". We made some a bit more realistic than others -- they fired rubber bands. And, I have carried a pocket knife nearly every day since I was five years old, including all through nearly every day of school from first grade through a B. S. degree.

Then, it was simply not a problem. I wasn't a "threat" to anyone. It still isn't, but the cretins "in charge" have heads that are so twisted they have to screw their ball caps on backwards.

yeah, glad they weren't spa... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

yeah, glad they weren't spanked or anything. that would be cruel.

*don't get excited - I'm not advocating spanking. I just find it ironic what society considers to be appropriate punishment: spanking bad; hard time good.

"Have you ever tried turnin... (Below threshold)

"Have you ever tried turning off the TV, sitting down with your kids, and hitting them?"

"We're just so busy..."

Bender and Hermes - Futurama

I don't know how old you ar... (Below threshold)
Just Don:

I don't know how old you are Paul, but "when you were a kid" did 10 year olds rape and kill 6 year olds? Did high school kids bring multiple weapons to school and USE them? Did 16 year olds shoot and kill 14 year old "best friends" because they "got mad?"

I know the article sounds like the authorities went off the deep end , but perhaps you should read a newspaper now and then (avoiding, of course, the NYT and WaPo).

I would like to read your post if the story was that these kids killed the object of their stick figure war AND the authorities were aware of their "art" but did not take it seriously because they were just kids.

Tee bee is absolutely right... (Below threshold)

Tee bee is absolutely right. (Although I myself do advocate occassional spanking.) The difference in attitudes between the two punishments is striking.

I remember being deeply afr... (Below threshold)

I remember being deeply afraid of certain kids at that age. Yes, even at 9 or 10 some people are already psychopaths who could seriously injure or even kill someone.

If the article is correct in saying this was done intentionally to frighten someone, these kids ARE disturbed and should be given a close look at the very least.

Uh Oh. Frank J. is always d... (Below threshold)

Uh Oh. Frank J. is always drawing stick figures with tiny little swords.

- If the rumors of you bein... (Below threshold)

- If the rumors of you being sane are true Paul be afraid - The "stick figure" arm of the moonbats brigade will being hunting you down soon and penciling you out....

This is what happens when y... (Below threshold)

This is what happens when you let bureaucrats take care of your kids. They act to protect themselves, not your kids

And the moonbats are showin... (Below threshold)

And the moonbats are showing their true colors. Not a peep about freedom of expression. Now if the stick figures had been sodomizing Charles instead of stabbing him, we'd have a whole different ballgame.

On the other hand, kids oft... (Below threshold)

On the other hand, kids often draw what they can't or are afraid to express verbally. Frankly based on my training & experience, I'd be pretty concerned about kids who drew something like that, given the level of violence expressed.

As a kid we invented a game... (Below threshold)

As a kid we invented a game called "Who Dies The Best." One by one we were shot with a toy gun (or long stick) you did your best to die in the most dramatic, athletic, or comic way you could think of. The person died the best, won the honor of being the shooter for the next round.

And yet the works of Hieron... (Below threshold)

And yet the works of Hieronymus Bosch remain ART.

Who had a tradition of taun... (Below threshold)

Who had a tradition of taunting who?

I could imagine these two kids bullied the other kid and this being an extention of that. I can also imagine the two kids being bullied by the other kid and them killing him in effigy. These kids could be being punished for using the only thing left to them to relieve their frustrations. Nice thought we give these kids criminal records (do felonies get expunged?) & their the ones who are normally tormented.

Anyone got more info on the relationship between these 3?

Circumstances matter.

Just Don, it is the stupid ... (Below threshold)
Don Juan:

Just Don, it is the stupid idiotic thinking like yours that causes the increases in the behavior you decry.

You really are clueless.

hehe- and Don does his best... (Below threshold)

hehe- and Don does his best to convince me he's insane too.

Notice the article states t... (Below threshold)

Notice the article states that the students were "special education" students. In California at least, thats how we say retarded. So we have 2 retarded kids age 9 and 10 intimidating another child and that's cause for calling the cops. How about some supervision?

Just Don isn't exactly clue... (Below threshold)

Just Don isn't exactly clueless. He is part of the all-bad-things-must-be-prevented-no-matter-what-the-cost school of reasoning. Throw 100,000 of these devilish toddlers into the slammer if it saves one owie. Such thinking is outside the norm of game theory models, that is to say that humans aren't necessarily rational creatures. Uh oh.

Hey those are some very wel... (Below threshold)

Hey those are some very well educated police they have down there. They were able to diagnose that these 9-10 year old boys were in fact dangerous sociopaths just by looking at this one picture. Hell these guys are even smarter than that shrink on Law and Order. As for talldave and just don, you guys need to quit watching the local news so much or if it is really that bad there........move, after all its a free country (for now).

Back in my day, we had a gr... (Below threshold)
Grampa Simpson:

Back in my day, we had a great way to settle these kind of disputes. First, we'd tie an onion to our belts, 'cause onions were easier to get than turnips. Then, we'd all head down to Shelbyville. On foot, mind you -- bicycles were for sissies!! I remember Jimmy Bysen had a bicycle -- he also wore a beeyoootiful lavender scarf, that really set off his eyes. Grew up to be a chorus boy for Liza Minelli, that one did. Changed his name to "Josh Marshall".

Anyway, once we got to Shelbyville, we took the onions and cut 'em in half, then rubbed 'em on our knuckles. 'Cause that's how kids -- boys, anyway, that didn't grow up to be Josh Marshall -- would settle penny-ante disputes when I was a boy. We'd throw a few punches at each other, get sent to the principal's office for a lecture and maybe a paddling, and then go play baseball together.

Except Josh, who played with dolls.

This is PC out of control!<... (Below threshold)

This is PC out of control!

a) Special Ed can include e... (Below threshold)

a) Special Ed can include emotionally disturbed as well as mentally impaired kids. That puts an interesting wrinkle on this not mentioned above.

b) Sounds like the "authorities" thought carefully about this before they acted, even calling to the State level before acting. I expect they may actually have had good reason to act.

c) If further evaluation shows it WAS harmless, then the charges can be dropped, records expunged, and we go on our way. But as mentioned above, we live in a progressively more violent world at public school, and if the drawing is representative of a legit threat, then the right thing has been done. If the drawing was not a legit threat, then the perpetrators (and anyone who pays attention to the news) hopefully learned a good lesson that its not appropriate to threaten people with violence unless you have the President and Secretary of Defense on your side... ... Sadam was drawing those stick figures with WMD and conventional weapons obliterating us, wasn't he?

c) If further evaluation... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

c) If further evaluation shows it WAS harmless, then the charges can be dropped, records expunged, and we go on our way.

except for two kids who've been to the slam after being dragged off the playground in cuffs. how ya gonna make that go away?

and as for thought carefully about this before they acted, that would explain why the parents were there, and the kids had council before being hauled off by grown-up strangers. oh, my bad, the parents weren't there. this went from Charles to Charles' teacher to the Dean to the police to the AG. then the cops moved in.

this is major CYA - the police spokesman says, "However, we have to put ourselves in his mind and that's the bottom line here. It is his well-being and the way he perceived that picture to be. It actually put him in extreme fear and he was in fear for his life." so screw the other kids. that's what you get when you piss someone off at school. he who gripes first...

I want all of you idiot apo... (Below threshold)

I want all of you idiot apologist to explain to why they had to haul the kids out of jail with no parents there and IN FREAKING HANDCUFFS!

And I don't want to hear "It's procedure."

If you really want to be a do gooder and think it really does take a village (and not a family) to raise a child, then explain to be why a social worker did not take them downtown.

I hope those authorities ne... (Below threshold)
Connor Carney:

I hope those authorities never see StickDeath.com ...

Great post! I laughed my b... (Below threshold)

Great post! I laughed my butt off at the "Group W bench" thing:

"With pictures and arrows, and a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us, and that's not to mention the airial photography."

It's easy to laugh at this ... (Below threshold)

It's easy to laugh at this - until it's your child depicted as a stick figure next to a pool of his blood or garroted in pictures used to threaten him/her.

Context is very important here. Maybe it's harmless venting. Maybe it's not.

But if someone does get hurt, I'd hate to be the one to explain to their parents how we thought this was all harmless because it was just stick figures.

And if you think it's totally ridiculous to find stick figures threatening, draw a stick figure diagram showing the President stabbed and hung and send it to the White House saying you're going to do that. See how funny they think it is.

Anyone care to speculate on... (Below threshold)
Paul Zrimsek:

Anyone care to speculate on why these kids are in jail while Nicholson Baker is still on the loose?

"Notice the article states ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"Notice the article states that the students were "special education" students. In California at least, thats how we say retarded. So we have 2 retarded kids age 9 and 10 intimidating another child and that's cause for calling the cops. How about some supervision?"

I confess I do not live in California, but in New Hampshire, but special education does not mean retarded. My son has an autism spectrum disorder, but is absolutely not retarded (he actually works above grade level) he is a special education student. Also, kids with various emotional or behavioral problems may be classified as special aducation, but will have normal or above normal IQ's.

That said, I think it is hard to judge who was or wasn't in the right here-there aren't exactly enough facts.

I think taking kids that young out of school in handcuffs is going overboard, but I strongly suspect that there is probably some history here that we are unaware of, and the picture was more than likely the last straw.

Although, I do think schools are a bit too overboard, when it comes to some of these zero tolerance policies, I think when we teach kids that a water gun at school gets punished just like a real gun we are making it more likely the real gun will show up.

These kids probably need counseling/therapy not handcuffs and kiddie jails.

Maybe if they drew Stick Fi... (Below threshold)

Maybe if they drew Stick Figures engaging in Robert Mappelthorp type activities they could be hailed as
artistic prodigies?

Those who say this is overr... (Below threshold)

Those who say this is overreaction have a lot of reasons to support that interpretation, especially for children this young. However, I think Tall Dave is closer this time.

I suspect that there was some history, and maybe the two kids were showing no respect to the police and school authorities. The arrest may have been to "put the fear of God" into the kids, with the police knowing that they would not actually go all the way to a prosecution.

I agree with this tactic. Better to cut this off at the pass early, rather than let it get ingrained and out of hand. (Of course I wouldn't recommend this for one offense, but when there has been some history).

This is my theory, and I acknowledge the poster who said we really don't have enough information to know.

One time my daughter was refusing to go to school (8th grade), and I had just sustained a knee injury so I could not physically force her into the car to go. I believed that she was taking my knee into account and making a power play. I think it is critical that a child not win a power play once I select a place to make a stand, so I called the police to try to get them to act in accordance with truancy laws and force her to go to school. You can imagine how steamed I was when they refused to take any action.

Fortunately this daughter straightened out and is now a junior in college, doing well.

Anyway, sometimes it is appropriate for police to show a young person that they must comply with the rules, so they don't get into bad habits and attitudes that cause failures and/or serious disruptions to their life.

Whatever happened to sittin... (Below threshold)

Whatever happened to sitting in the corner? Detention?

Paul insane? Well, I'm not ... (Below threshold)

Paul insane? Well, I'm not gonna argue with that one. :)

Joe I played straight man f... (Below threshold)

Joe I played straight man for every lefty out there and you are the first one to say anything. I thought I'd get an earful for sure.

I agree with a few here (ri... (Below threshold)

I agree with a few here (rita, among others) and that is that the drawing indicates very problematic psychology by those who drew it, however, I think the even crazier aspect of this story is that the children responsible and involved (that includes the third child a/k/a "victim") are now involved with a police record and that the police were even involved.

The children need professional intervention but from reading how they were deprived of that in lieu of a criminal record, I think that the adults responsible for that do, too.

You know, it is possible for someone to inspire even the most foul behavior in a child, the most disturbed emotions, and then appear quite unresponsible for any contribution to that afterward. I'd take a very, very close look not only at the children involved but also those adults who have had the most time "supervising" them (that includes not only parents but especially the school personnel).

I can't believe that the police would place these children into the criminal justice process -- gotta be something else here that isn't being shared.

But, one thing here from pe... (Below threshold)

But, one thing here from personal experience is that I never had any moment of fear and/or intimidation in any public school I ever attended. I remember well one grade school student who wound up getting a round of spanking by the notorious Principal's wooden paddle, and then many years later hearing how that student matured into an adult who was nabbed by the Secret Service for printing counterfit U.S. currency in the basement of his house, but, even that guy was popular and well mannered in school, just that he favored continuous spit balls and the teacher's didn't (thus, the paddling, as I remember the situation).

A lot of the violence in schools today is self fulfilling. Be hard and mean and uncaring and threatening to anyone, particularly to children, and they grow up being hard and mean and uncaring and threatening to others. A simplification but then again, positive reinforcement is the best teaching mechanism there is.

But, TallDave, the people w... (Below threshold)

But, TallDave, the people who drew this particular imagery are children. Not adults. Young human beings without any concept of what is "legal" and/or "illegal" and while I realize that not being aware of laws is no defense for violating them, I do recognize that the people in this case being criminally punished are children, not those who even, probably, understand what the words, "criminal" nor "justice" actually mean.

To my view, involving law enforcement in this issue (the children created the image, they didn't enact the behavior depicted in the image) only exaccerbates the degree of upset, the extreme nature of the pscyhology involved. The children were at a place that both merited intervention and posed an age-defined liklihood to benefit from that intervention, but, once it's leaped over into this level of trauma and complication -- arresting the two children and hauling them off to be incarcerated, for God's sake -- it seems that the children are in a far less likely place to be redirected from their bleak realities.

I think it indicates a very terrible problem with and about the school system, at least as much as it indicates a terrible problem in the psychology of the three children involved.

Perhaps the so-called "vict... (Below threshold)

Perhaps the so-called "victim" deserved a clobbering on the head anyway. Anyone thought of that? He might have pulled Daffney's hair, cut into the tricycle line, or thrown tanbark. Those brave boys might have been standing up to a bully, just as the heroic passengers on flight #93. I have faith that our men in blue will get to the bottom of this matter.

These 2 were special ed kid... (Below threshold)

These 2 were special ed kids it seems from the article. Isn't a felony charge going a bit overboard? Sort of like cutting off a hand for stealing bread. Were there no other intermediate options that could have been pursued? Esp if these 2 had no prior records or history of violence?

I would hate to think there is no more to the story than this. Even idiotic educators and PC police normally have some sense of punishment fitting the crime, mitigating circumstances, and prior history.

I think it's all a case of ... (Below threshold)

I think it's all a case of CYA. If anything ever were to happen the school, teachers, school district, and everyone else involved would be sued, and porbably lose. By showing that they act (react) even in minor instances they partially absolve themselves of actually having to do anything. The parents put the burden on the school, the school passes it off to the police, the police send it to the DA, the DA to the courts. If all was done by the letter of the law the liability is shuffled back to the original responsible party, the parents, who take a hit in the wallet for the legal fees. To handle it any other way than a zero tolerance item gives the parents an out, and puts the burden on everyone else because they can't or won't do their job. Those very same poor excuses for parents would sue the school and probably win if their child was ever harmed by another student that had displayed any animosity to their children and gotten by with it.

Linda Vester had the local ... (Below threshold)

Linda Vester had the local Sheriff on the phone today on her show. According to him, this was not an isolated incident. Apparently, the two students who were arrested had quite a bit of history of harassing and bullying the other child and had made other threats against him. So this wasn't a case of the police making a knee-jerk decision.

He also said that police procedure require that anyone under arrest for a felony (which is what the kids are accused of committing) must be handcuffed in a patrol car. He further said that the kids were not yanked out of clas and frog-marched into the car. They were brought by school officials to a Vice Principal's office where they were handcufed and taken pretty discreetly to the car. The officer decided to handcuff the children in the front. So while the arresting officer folowed policy, he also gave every concession to the comfort of the children. It's also important to note that the school officials were fully involved in this.

The Sheriff also noted that the parents of all the children have been involved in the investigation and that he expects that the District Attorney (or the local equivalent), who is responsible for the ultimate charges against the kids, has a wide array of laws and methods at his disposal to handle the situation legally.

Aftre hearing the Sheriff, the situation seemed a lot less ridiculous and heavyh-handed than it initialy sounded.

Thank God law enforcement w... (Below threshold)
For the Children:

Thank God law enforcement was on top of their game!These two hooligans had been under scrutiny for weeks since it was discovered they had a long history of violent behavior.This duo had been known to throw snowballs,ride their bikes on sidewalks,stay up past their bedtime and countless other such actions.One was reported to have(god forbid)a BB gun and with all things,no PERMIT for it!Counselors for the "victims" will be on call 24/7!!!

What so many don't realize ... (Below threshold)

What so many don't realize is that school is *not* more dangerous now than it used to be. Despite the well-publicized school shootings, despite daily news stories about school violence, schools are getting safer. The problem isn't with the kids, it's with the adults who have turned into cowards and Chicken Littles.

Yes, there's a very slim chance that these two kids *might* have gone on to hurt their so-called "victim". There's also a very slim chance that your kid might die from cardiac arrest while playing baseball, or that his headache might be a brain tumor, or he might be abducted by a random serial killer. If you constantly step in and try to protect your kids from the most insignificant risks, there is a much *greater* chance they will grow up unprepared to deal with the very real risks of adulthood.

Oh, and stop trying to cast this as a liberal thing. I'm liberal, I know a lot of other liberals, and I and everyone I know thinks this is case is complete BS. When we were kids, we handled problems like this the way all nine-year-olds did -- we'd get into fights, get over it, and then go play, and when we were truly out of line, we got punished and that was that. The people responsible for this aren't democrats or republicans, they're busybodies and cowards of every political pursuasion.

Bill: it is "a liberal thi... (Below threshold)

Bill: it is "a liberal thing" in the context that almost all the worsening in education has been created by liberal groups, causes and various other quite liberal aghast level protests, resulting in our educational system staffed and administered by some truly nutty and quite liberally liberal folk.

Which is what most here to my read readily recognize about this situation that even you, a liberal, declare as being "BS." People readily perceive the mismanagement by adults associated with the children's problems and the inability to resolve anything on a behavioral level (the old fashioned way, to put it conversationally here), their inability to handle these behavioral and psychological problems by these children without going the very liberal way of calling the police, hauling the children off to incarceration, attorneys, all of that.

It's the over reaction of everyone responsible slipping the problem to someone else -- parents should be held responsible and accountable, children (all three of them) need to be receiving professional care as do their parents, and the educational process needs to have the straightforward capacity to confront and enforce discipline and the ability to explain why.

But, instead, liberal groups, interests, causes, etc....and a few decades later, we get to this: the courts now in place of what used to be the Principal's paddle and classroom discipline, summer school, jobs after school, no allowance, lectures and penalties for very bad behavior.

I'm not under stating the severity of the disturbance that these children indicate, but I am emphasising just how obfuscated our educational systems are today and how occupied they now are with lawsuite shy administrators and instructors who cannot relate personally with any authority to students. Instead, they call the police and that's that, and the kids are failed all the way down the line by all the adults, from what I read here.

I suspected as much that there was some other information here we weren't reading in the initial story, that the children probably had displayed other problems earlier that brought about some "final" act (call to the police, police acting to arrest), but, still, these children as do their parents need some intervention by someone other than further penalty. It's only going to make the situation worse, is my guess.

Thus, all this considered, people just avoid typing all that out and explaining this and refer to this as a result of "liberal" ideology run amok in our educational processes today.

Don Juan:Just D... (Below threshold)
Just Don:

Don Juan:

Just Don, it is the stupid idiotic thinking like yours that causes the increases in the behavior you decry.

How could my "stupid (sic) idiotic thinking" that there is more violence among children today than when I was a kid cause increases in violence among children?

I confess to being clueless!

Ridicule is a shield, not a weapon.

oh my gosh you have to be f... (Below threshold)

oh my gosh you have to be freakin kidding me
when i was a kid we drew this stuff all the time but we never got arrested for it ?
this is insane
now if they were seriously gonna kill the boy then yes its alright
but i used to draw pictures of me killing people all the time but only when i was angry i never killed anyone

"Thank God law enforcement ... (Below threshold)

"Thank God law enforcement was on top of their game!These two hooligans had been under scrutiny for weeks since it was discovered they had a long history of violent behavior.This duo had been known to throw snowballs,ride their bikes on sidewalks,stay up past their bedtime and countless other such actions.One was reported to have(god forbid)a BB gun and with all things,no PERMIT for it!Counselors for the "victims" will be on call 24/7!!!"
you have no idea how to be a kid do you
that is completly normal for young boys

"hooligans" WHAT?






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