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Daylight Savings Time Puts Kid in Jail for 12 Days 881

Posted by Zonk
from the yeah-that's-a-woops dept.
Jherek Carnelian writes "Cody Webb was jailed for calling in a bomb threat to his Hempstead Area high school (near Pittsburgh). He spent 12 days in lockup until the authorities realized that their caller-id log was off an hour because of the new Daylight Savings Time rules and that Cody had only called one hour prior to the actual bomb threat. Perhaps it took so long because of the principal's Catch-22 attitude about Cody's guilt — she said, 'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.'"
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Daylight Savings Time Puts Kid in Jail for 12 Days

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  • Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:59AM (#18766625) Homepage Journal
    ... wrongful imprisonment? I thought you could.
    • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:01AM (#18766657) Homepage Journal
      Feel free to tell his principal how you feel about the whole guilty until proven innocent thing she has going on.

      k.charlton@hempfieldarea.k12.pa.us
      • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kisak (524062) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:26AM (#18767071) Homepage Journal

        Feel free to tell his principal how you feel about the whole guilty until proven innocent thing she has going on.
        Guilty until proven innocent is common practice in the USA these days. [amnesty.org]
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by OgGreeb (35588)
          For many people in Guantanamo, it's "guilty, no attempt to prove innocence necessary."
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:27AM (#18767085)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by szook (318848)
        Crap like this is why we chose to homeschool....

        why tell the principal about it when you can be the principal?
        • by John Straffin (902430) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:56AM (#18767541)

          We homeschool too, but I hope I never have to deal with a student calling in a bomb threat!

          "Hello... yes, this is he... you've done what?"
          (covers telephone mouthpiece)
          "Honey? Have you seen the kids this morning?!?"

      • Re:Can you say... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DieByWire (744043) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:28AM (#18767105)

        Feel free to tell his principal how you feel about the whole guilty until proven innocent thing she has going on.

        Email address removed

        ...so that you, too, can try, convict and punish on less than complete evidence.

        Sheesh. Leave it to the lawyers and courts, please.

        • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mgblst (80109) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:38AM (#18767283) Homepage
          Yeah, that the same. Sending someone (who may or may not have said the above statement) a whole pile of abusive emails, and sending someone to juvenile hall for 12 days.

          Or perhaps someone was going to email her a go directly to jail card.
        • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by annodomini (544503) <lambda2000@yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:39AM (#18767301) Homepage
          I think it's kind of silly to post the principal's email address on Slashdot, but sending someone an email is not "trying, convicting, and punishing" someone, and not even remotely comparable to locking someone up for 12 days.
          • Re:Can you say... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by The Great Pretender (975978) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @11:44AM (#18768075)
            I think the point was more along the lines of re-enforcing the -innocent until proven guilty concept- rather than -does the punishment fit the crime.
          • Re:Can you say... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by omnipotens (567130) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @01:14PM (#18769431) Homepage
            Exactly. That's why I e-mailed her to let her know how personally disgusted I am with her behavior, and to express my hope that the kid's family is able to sue her personally instead of the school district to help her pay for her error.

            Because, really, I do hope that happens. It's going to suck for her, and she is going to have a much harder time of things, but we need to stop this "creeping fascism" in all sectors of USian life. This principal needs to be made to pay, for the same reason a student who behaves badly in school needs to be punished: to stop all the other principals from thinking that they can get away with the same thing. That's why the *one* that we do catch being so insanely STUPID in a situation with GRIEVOUS CONSEQUENCES for one of her pupils needs to be punished so very severly.

            And if she receives a few hundred chiding e-mails, so be it as well. A few hundred chiding e-mails is NOTHING compared to twelve days in jail.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Attaturk (695988)

          ...so that you, too, can try, convict and punish on less than complete evidence.
          Sheesh. Leave it to the lawyers and courts, please.
          A fine sentiment but it's worth noting that a tirade of angry e-mails is hardly comparable to an unsound trial, unjust conviction and a custodial sentence during the prime of one's life.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hel Toupee (738061)
          try, convict and punish on less than complete evidence

          Leave it to the lawyers and courts, please.

          Because that's what they do best!!!
        • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alchemar (720449) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @12:21PM (#18768465)
          Please let me take a moment of your time to explain the difference between expressing how one feels, and putting someone in jail. Emailing someone to complain about the way that they have handled a problem is considered the proper way to handle things in a democracy. A principle of a public school is a represenative of the school and its policies. The principle is given an extrodinary amount of power over the turnout of the next generation. That is why their emails are made public. If the person feels that they have done nothing wrong, the can ignore the emails. If they care to defend themselves, they can hit reply.

          If however you are put in jail for a crime that you did not commit based on "evidence" that was not fully investigated, and denied your right of innocent until proven guilty, it violates your constitutional rights. While sending emails could be considered harrassment if done excessively, by giving false information as to the origin of the email, or including threats. Putting someone in jail just does not compare. People in public offices can be convicted if they bread the law, but more importantly, can be removed from office if they go against public wishes. These wishes need to be known, and I think that sending an email is a good means to that end.
        • Right... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DeadCatX2 (950953) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @12:45PM (#18768895) Journal
          Leave it to the lawyers and courts, because that's what the they did before they put the kid in the slammer.
      • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:37AM (#18767265)
        Or give her boss a call.

          Dr. Terry J. Foriska
        Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education

                  E-mail: terry.foriska@hempfieldarea.k12.pa.us
        Office Phone: (724) 850-2232
        Fax: (724) 850-2089

        Dr. Terry J. Foriska has more than 25 years of experience in public education. He is in his fourth year as Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education for the Hempfield Area School District. Prior to joining Hempfield, he was Assistant Superintendent for the Gateway School District in Monroeville. He has held administrative posts in several other school districts in Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties. He began his education career as a teacher in the Mt. Pleasant Area School District.

        About Dr. Foriska

        Dr. Foriska holds a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a second master's degree from Duquesne University. He earned his doctorate of education degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991. He conducted his doctoral research on the topic of student learning styles and received national recognition for his work. He went on to specialize in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment, and is frequently invited to share his expertise at the state and national level.

        He has served on the Learning Styles Network, a national board of educators devoted to raising awareness of how students learn. Over the years, Dr. Foriska has also served on several committees and task forces formed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to share successful processes, products and philosophy for improving education.

        Dr. Foriska has published numerous articles in both state and national education publications. He is also the author of four books.

        He has received many awards for his work, including the "Outstanding Research and Publication Award " presented by the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. He is the only two-time recipient of this award.

      • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:46AM (#18767409) Homepage
        I can see next week's headlines now:

        "Timezones get British man wrongfully extradited to US for threatening E-mail"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        "Feel free to tell his principal how you feel about the whole guilty until proven innocent thing she has going on."

        and get mixed up with another email that emailed her a threat and end up sitting in jail for 11 days?? No thanks!
    • While daylight savings is a somewhat interesting factor & the school's principal sounds like (frankly) a raving nutter - shouldn't the blame for incarcerating this kid lie with the local police? What were they thinking?

      Article doesn't contain too much information, but the reg (byo grain of salt) sez [theregister.co.uk]:

      Webb refused to confess, was arrested "on a felony charge of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and related misdemeanor counts" [emph mine]
      wtf? WMDs? I guess they just can't be found anywhre huh?
      • by Intron (870560) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:13AM (#18766835)
        I've eaten in the Hempstead cafeteria. They definitely have WMDs.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:34AM (#18767199) Homepage Journal
        "WMD" has become almost as much a euphemism for "The Man can do anything he wants" as "terrorism" and "child pornography"; not the root password to the Constitution, say, but at least superuser. And it's been written into all kinds of state and local criminal codes which will never, ever, under any conceivable scenario, be applied to people actually using nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. It's been used to charge drug dealers on the absurd theory that drugs are WMD -- er, no, people don't generally wander the streets begging dealers to sell them sarin gas to use on themselves! And of course any explosive device (whether said device exists or not ...) will be labeled WMD by some ambitious prosecutor, because it grabs headlines. The original meaning has been diluted to the point where the phrase is useless, and can therefore mean anything you want it to, which is exactly how the people who abuse it want things.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Peter Mork (951443)
        A more reputable source (namely the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) confirms this [pittsburghlive.com]: "charged with a felony count of threatening to use weapons of mass destruction and misdemeanor counts of making false alarms."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530)

      wrongful imprisonment?

      Not to mention slander, liable, defamation of character and abuse of process. The kid's 12, imagine the parade of child psychologists you could put together to go on about how expensive it's going to be to treat his self-image problems and damaged reputation.

      Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you to put yourself in this child's place. Innocent of wrong doing and accused by this man (points at principle at defense table) in a most callous and vile manner and being a criminal

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:59AM (#18766631)
    This kind of draconian, presumptive, knee-jerk response is exactly what people seem to be calling for from Virginia Tech...after all, "what if" this could have been a real bombing? Maybe even the worst school bombing in US history? They needed to react vigorously and without thinking and full consideration of the situation, right? I mean, after all, the daylight savings change is just a minor oversight. They could have been saving lives, right?

    I mean, we should be able to, within less than two hours, have an overly aggressive "lock down" a 700 building, 2600 acre, 30000+ person city-like area because of an isolated domestic incident in a dorm, but we shouldn't have an overly aggressive response against this kind of possible school violence?

    To anyone who thinks Virginia Tech has ANY culpability here,

    1. Remember what your response would be to ridiculous "zero tolerance" tactics on any topic, and

    2. Read the below first.

    Commentary included from here [slashdot.org], here [slashdot.org], and here [slashdot.org].

    And yes, I believe this is "on topic" and highly related given the accusations that are being levied against VT.

    -----

    When what is believed to be a single, isolated shooting in a dorm happens on a 2600 acre public, open campus with hundreds of buildings, you can't assume that you're about to have the worst shooting incident (of any type) in US history.

    Yet, people are already blaming Virginia Tech.

    Would we close or "lock down" a city of 40000 people if there was a shooting? Because that's exactly what a campus of this size and type is (including students and faculty/staff).

    No, but people are already calling for siren/PA systems in EVERY of HUNDREDS of buildings, of varying ages and constructions, centralized door locking/control and camera systems for not just outer building doors, but ALL doors.

    The University reacted in a reasonable way. Yes, a shooter was "on the loose". Someone who had shot a person in a dorm, and the University immediately sent out notifications that such an event occurred; to be cautious and aware, and to report any suspicious activity to campus police. The area was "locked down", but after over two hours elapsed, there was no reason to believe that a madman was about to go on a random killing spree across campus.

    This is not an elementary school. This is not a high school. This is a massive, open research campus with tens of thousands of people spreading over 2600 acres, with private, residential, and other buildings intermixed.

    The only person to be blamed here is the shooter. And yes, he's dead. But Virginia Tech is not at fault.

    -----

    Colleges and universities do have the same kinds of procedures.

    But a hospital is typically one building. Virginia Tech is hundreds of buildings - I believe close to 700 - of varying types, purposes, and ages. There is no central PA system or door locking system. Most of the buildings are wide open. They're intermixed with non-university lands and buildings, and span 2600 acres. Some of the buildings are over 50 and 100 years old. Do we retrofit literally tens of thousands of doors with centralized locking and cameras and install central warning/PA systems in all buildings, just because you might be the site of a madman's rampage?

    There's security and prudence, and there's waste and ridiculousness.

    And the area in the vicinity of the shooting was locked down and blanketed with police. It was determined to be a domestic-type, targeted incident. And by the time VT had a handle on the situation, thousands of students were already on their way to campus. Nothing happened for over two hours. Then what do you do when you have no means of directly communicating with everyone? Should the university have had a knee jerk to a shooting in one d
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:13AM (#18766837) Homepage Journal

      This kind of draconian, presumptive, knee-jerk response is exactly what people seem to be calling for from Virginia Tech...after all, "what if" this could have been a real bombing? Maybe even the worst school bombing in US history? They needed to react vigorously and without thinking and full consideration of the situation, right? I mean, after all, the daylight savings change is just a minor oversight. They could have been saving lives, right?


      I think a morning show radio personality here in Tampa said it best: "These kinds of things (referring to the shootings at VT) happen in a free society. And that's that unless we all want to live in a police state."

      It's along the same lines as the infamous, possibly misquoted, possibly misattributed Ben Franklin quote: "They that would trade essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither."

      So what is it? Do you want free society, where safety is sometimes an issue, or do you want a police state, where you might possibly be safer, but have no rights? Because those are your choices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lockejaw (955650)

      This kind of draconian, presumptive, knee-jerk response is exactly what people seem to be calling for from Virginia Tech
      I don't know what they've been calling for, but if I were there, I would have liked to have been emailed at 7:30 instead of at 9:30.

      A proper response is quick, not clumsy. This is both quick and clumsy. VT was slow and clumsy (though clumsy seems unavoidable given VT's size).
      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:24AM (#18767037)
        I don't know what they've been calling for, but if I were there, I would have liked to have been emailed at 7:30 instead of at 9:30.

        So, you think you should have been emailed that something happened 15 minutes after it occurred, when chances are the police themselves didn't even have a handle on what happened yet, much less University administrators? Acting without thinking, right? Just like the school officials did in this case.

        And if they'd emailed out something, it wouldn't have been to close the university because there was by all appearances a domestic shooting in a dorm - which do happen at universities, by the way. Hell, it probably takes a minimum of 15 minutes to even coordinate a mass email, knowing the bureaucracy of a campus that size. Within a couple of hours of what is believed to be an isolated incident with no real reason at the time to believe otherwise is perfectly reasonable.

        A proper response is quick, not clumsy. This is both quick and clumsy. VT was slow and clumsy (though clumsy seems unavoidable given VT's size).

        Your parenthetical statement at least shows some understanding of the situation here. Even IF they'd decided to cancel classes and close the University, that email probably wouldn't have been able to go out in any practical sense, and after having a very minimal handle on the situation, for at least 45 minutes to an hour. And even then, many students, and even faculty, would either never see it that morning, or already be on their way to class. And even if you could muster enough police presence to start going around locking buildings, how do you, in one hour, lock several hundred buildings, clear them, and then what do you do with the thousands of students already on campus?

        Even in the best case lockdown scenario, if we're playing the "should have, could have, would have" game, what if there was then an outdoor shooting that killed 5 instead of an indoor one killing 32? 5 is better than 32? Except all we'd know about is the 5, and Virginia Tech would get raked over the coals for having a lockdown without thinking about it. Not to mention that we can't live in a state where we think that the worst shooting in US history may be about to occur, so we'd better react accordingly.

        That's why I'm saying be careful what you wish for. We look at a daylight savings time story like this and scoff at its ridiculousness, and at the same time, believe that Virginia Tech should have made the same kind of reactive knee-jerk decisions without thinking and full consideration.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jimbolauski (882977)
      Couldn't agree more at campuses like The University of Cincinnati, which is in a high crime area, locking down the campus every time a gun gets brandished would not only be costly but the students would not be taught. At some point people have to realize that not all tragedies can be avoided. Knee jerk reactions are rarely correct and lack foresight needed to make intelligent decisions (Patriot Act, Duke Lacrosse). The blame resides solely on the Principle, Officer, and Prosecutor who failed to look at a
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOsPAm.optonline.net> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:02AM (#18766673) Journal

    Unfortunately, the school forgot that the clocks had switched to Daylight Saving Time that morning. The time stamps left on the hotline were adjusted by an hour after Day Light Savings causing Webb's call to logged as the same time the bomb threat was placed. Webb, who's never even had a detention in his life, had actually made his call an hour before the bomb threat was placed.

    These are the people we want teaching our children? Or we want our children to become/emulate? I'm not sure which is more shocking -- the fact that they jumped to conclusions based on a couple of pieces of evidence or the fact that it took 12 days for some bright person to remember the switch in Daylight Time.

  • Money! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Taelron (1046946) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:03AM (#18766687)
    This kid is not going to have to worry about college tuition... His family will sue and they will be awarded a large settlement because of this... Just you wait and see...
    • Re:Money! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:55AM (#18767535) Homepage Journal

      His family will sue and they will be awarded a large settlement because of this... Just you wait and see...

      He should, and I hope he does.

      I'm about as anti-lawsuit as you can get, but the kid was in jail for 12 days because someone screwed up royally. Jail. An innocent kid. For no reason whatsoever. I hope he gets so much money from them that the school is absolutely freaking paranoid about ever accusing someone again in the future.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:07AM (#18766735) Journal
    Disclaimer: I have yet to rear a child.

    Perhaps it took so long because of the principal's Catch-22 attitude about Cody's guilt -- she said, 'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.
    I like to believe that, in America at least, we avoid this "Catch-22" wherein we assume from the get go that the alleged criminal is innocent until proven guilty. Which gives them no motive to lie. After the fact, it may be revealed they were lying but you have to prove it first. Most of the time, they are caught within their lies and their guilt is exposed that way.

    Relying on one instance of evidence that relies heavily on technology, is a pretty shaky case in my opinion. The principal has graciously illustrated why this is a risky assumption to make. I don't think I need to expound on my general feelings of how the RIAA uses the same techniques in their settle out of court cases but there is definitely a direct relationship here.

    I feel that, as a society, we don't give our children enough credit. I've posted about this before [slashdot.org] and I'm sure I'll post about it again. If you don't apply the same ideas of justice & freedom to children, how can you expect them to grow up with those same virtues instilled? You can't, really. Once they turn 18, they still remember a lot prior to being 18. Any injustices they suffered are probably not forgotten.

    While I have not raised a child, I have volunteered at local grade schools to teach the children about engineering. I go and set up some sort of challenge that involves engineering with limited resources. One of my most horrific experiences wasn't watching some child verbally or physically assault another child, it was actually a teacher/student exchange. The challenge was to build a tower out of cards and after several failures and few successes, I decided to wrap up with some basics in mechanical engineering. I asked the class why they chose a square structure to build their tower in. One particularly energetic imp told me it was clearly the most stable. I corrected him and said that actually a dome is a more stable structure. But he persisted and asked why were 99% of buildings made in a square formation. I really didn't have an answer ... so I kind of filibustered. But the teacher cut off his questions and told him he was flat out wrong. And the kid responded with something on the order of, "You say that because that's all you ever expect out of me. You just like it when I'm wrong and the other kids are right. That's what you like." And I waited for the teacher to correct him. To tell him that this wasn't the case. But the teacher just sat there and stared at him. After an awkward minute, I proceeded but I never forgot that exchange. The kid had clearly demonstrated a very astute analysis of building structure so much so that I couldn't reply to him intelligently. I don't care what his history was, the teacher seemed to pigeonhole him back into being "just wrong."

    I pretty much blame myself for not encouraging the kid to research it on his own. But I thought about it a lot afterwards and wondered if we don't give our children enough credit. Does this happen often? Do children get stereotyped as "the problem child" with no possible second chance? Are they doomed once teachers look for this type of behavior. I hope not but this story with the principal assuming the kid was wrong is just another example, though my personal example is probably a case of no exoneration.
    • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:23AM (#18767017) Journal
      I know it's not really the point of your story, but in case it comes up again, the main reason that most of our buildings are generally rectangular is because it's much easier(read: cheaper) to build them that way.

      • by virtual_mps (62997) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:48AM (#18767445)

        I know it's not really the point of your story, but in case it comes up again, the main reason that most of our buildings are generally rectangular is because it's much easier(read: cheaper) to build them that way.
        And because efficiently fitting square furniture into a round room is a bitch.

        Before anyone suggests making the furniture round, consider that you'd need custom furniture for every size of room.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mdielmann (514750)
        More than that, how do you double the height of a dome? Yep, you make it twice as wide. How do you double the height of a straight-sided building? You make the walls stronger. Straight-sided buildings make better use of airspace, and so make better use of the surface area of our planet.
    • by MojoRilla (591502) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:29AM (#18767119)
      I think teachers lashing out at students who are more intelligent than them is common. A relation of mine was in a grade school science class and the teacher said that liquids are always less dense than solids. My relative said that the teacher was wrong, and that ice is less dense than water. Instead of the teacher admitting she was wrong, she sent my relative to the principal's office.
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:32AM (#18767175) Journal
      To be honest, a lot of the time in school, especially in second grade, I felt exactly this way. It's like, whatever I did was wrong. I think it seriously tainted my outlook on the world, with effects that persist to this day. And before you accuse me of making whiny excuses, I'm consciously trying to "retrain my neural network", for lack of a better term, and I don't intend to use that excuse to justify further failures.

      But seriously: track that kid down. Whatever the cost. He deserves vindication. This isn't a matter of which building is best. (Though I'd recommend the geodesic dome article on Wikipedia for why they're not used.) It's a matter of whether you've taught this kid to suppress his own reason.
    • It's interesting. My son, who's eight, never lies. In fact, if I ask him if he's done something and I say I don't believe him, he gets incredibly upset. My daughter, who's three, will freely lie if it gets her out of anything. "Did you wash your hands? Did mom say it's okay?" To some degree, it's a measure of maturity. Eventually people figure out that the elusive concept of "trust" is more valuable than the short-term gains made by lying. Not everyone figures this out, and many people lie about sma
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rob T Firefly (844560)
        Not everyone figures this out, and many people lie about small things ("Yes, honey, that dress looks great.").

        I'm your wife, you insensitive clod!!!
    • All too true (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @11:17AM (#18767887)

      If you don't apply the same ideas of justice & freedom to children, how can you expect them to grow up with those same virtues instilled? You can't, really. Once they turn 18, they still remember a lot prior to being 18. Any injustices they suffered are probably not forgotten.

      Too true my friend, too true. A good example from my own past is cops.

      I was a teenager and I got pulled over for having a crappy car. Twice in two different cities. I wasn't speeding, I wasn't playing loud music - I was just trying to get to work. How do I know that's what I was pulled over for? Both times the cop said so.

      I was searched. My car was searched "for drugs". One cop told me to get my "piece of shit car out of his city and not come back".

      That was close to 20 years ago. I'm now nearing 40, have a nice job, and drive a brand new Prius. Or my minivan. I am invisible to cops, and haven't had any reasons given in the last 20 years to dislike them.

      But still every time I pass one on the road I think "motherfuckers".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eratosthene (605331)
        Amen to that. A few years, I actually had a two or three year stint of no tickets at all (which, if you knew me in high school, is pretty amazing). I was quite proud of my l33t driving skillz. About a month before Halloween one year I decided to grow out a mohawk just for fun. In the less than two months sporting this hairdo, I got pulled over no less than five times. Every time the officer just gave me a warning and told me to be on my way, but this just cemented my hatred and paranoia of cops even more.
  • More details (Score:5, Informative)

    by scottennis (225462) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:08AM (#18766767) Homepage
    There is a more detailed account of the story here [pittsburghlive.com].
  • by robinsonne (952701) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:09AM (#18766779)
    "Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time."

    When did the RIAA go into the education business?
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:11AM (#18766811) Journal
    The principal is an ordinary member of the public. She didn't arrest the kid or charge him. She supplied mistaken evidence that this was the culprit, which was pretty inept, but the rest of the system should have caught this.

    Why wasn't he interviewed by the police in the prescence of an adult immediately? Isn't there meant to be some advocate protecting the accused rights, especially with a 15 year old?

    Surely a decent investigation should have gone something like:

    cop: We have this recording of the threat.
    Defender: Uhm. That doesn't sound much like this kid. Are you sure you got the right guy?
    Defender and cop disappear. Re-appear later.
    cop: Sorry about that. You're free to go.
  • by GoatMonkey2112 (875417) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:15AM (#18766891)
    Last time I checked, high schools do not have jails. Maybe the principal pointed his finger at this kid, but it's the police who were dumb enough to believe him without doing the proper investigation.
    • by Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:36AM (#18767241) Homepage
      True, the principal "only" pointed *her* finger (RTFA) at the kid.
      But you can't just go around accusing people of crimes to the police.

      This is sufficient grounds for a claim of malicious prosecution.
      For example, if a store manager accuses you of shoplifting with no good reason, and calls the police to have you arrested, the police may reasonably take the store manager's word for it and arrest you. This situation happens all the time, and when the arrest was wrongful, the store manager is liable for malicious prosecution if his accusation was unreasonable.

      To accuse someone of a crime is a serious business, and I don't understand why anyone would defend an idiot in authority who doesn't take such accusations seriously enough to investigate properly.

      A principal is (supposedly) an authority figure.
      It is reasonable for police to believe a principal.
      Maybe the police should also be held accountable for the *length* of his wrongful detention, but the school principal is clearly liable for his detention in the first place.
  • What a shocker! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:18AM (#18766933) Homepage
    A public school worker who doesn't believe in the rights that our forefathers shed blood for and died for? Anyone actually surprised by this?

    The public school system is the love child of 1984 and Lord of the Flies. I would have thought that people would have learned by now that it is unfixable.
  • by LoudMusic (199347) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:21AM (#18766983)
    Can we please blame this on video games? Maybe the educator assumed that since he played video games he was a bad kid.
  • by Two99Point80 (542678) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:22AM (#18767007) Homepage
    ...if only "Jumping to a Conclusion" was an event in the Olympics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rarel (697734)
      Must be on the way, I heard someone created a special mat just for that!
  • That's no Catch-22 (Score:4, Informative)

    by JerSully (824068) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:28AM (#18767095)
    "Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time."

    That's no catch-22. A catch-22 is a situation whereupon two actions are dependent on one another. A chicken-or-the-egg sort of thing. This quote is close, but it's not a catch-22.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic) [wikipedia.org]

    Sorry to pick a nit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NereusRen (811533)
      Seems like it applies just fine.

      Here's an example from the article you linked: "[O]ne cannot get a job without work experience, but one cannot gain experience without a job."

      Here's the current situation: One cannot prove one's innocence to the principal without giving trusted evidence, but one cannot give trusted evidence without being considered innocent by the principal.

      It's parallel to th example I always think of for Catch-22: you need a permit to get into a secure building, but the only office where yo
  • by WZ1116 (1089507) <tonynunn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:38AM (#18767281)
    I agree that it was ultimately the fault of the police for wrongfully arresting and holding the child, and not the principle. However I do believe that as somewhat of a figurehead in the community, the principle of the HS should be held publicly accountable for her actions. It was completely unprofessional, and she should loose her job for it, as well as be required to make some sort of public apology or reparation. I'd love to see that, personally I had so many disciplinarians in high school say whatever they wanted without backing it up, and without having to later answer for their actions.
  • Guantanamo anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @10:51AM (#18767481)
    How is this different from the way we treat any of our terrorism suspects? It was a bomb threat. He should be happy he was only in jail 12 days and not 5 years.
  • by portscan (140282) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @12:15PM (#18768351)
    this is actually the perfect example of begging the question. contrary to popular opinion, "begging the question" does not mean "demanding that the question be asked." it is a form of logical fallacy in which you assume what you are trying to prove.

    using the fact that someone was accused of a crime to discredit their defense of that crime is a prime example of begging the question.

    the example of "a catch-22" from the book catch-22 is the following: if a pilot is crazy, he will not have to fly more missions (since he will be placed on medical leave). if a pilot does not want to fly more missions, he is not crazy (since he values his own life, therefore he has to fly more missions). so if you're not crazy, you fly more missions. if you say you are crazy, the army assumes you are just trying to save your own life, therefore you are not crazy, and therefore you still fly more missions. that's the quick summary, anyway.
  • The Real WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @12:24PM (#18768507)
    The Real WTF (tm) is that they would jail a student for making a bomb threat, even if a hoax. What ever happened to just a week of detention? If we are that paranoid, then the Terrorists Have Already Won (tm).

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