June 14, 2005

I know it's harsh to call a 3-year-old a "potential criminal"...

But doesn't it make sense to intervene and help a child when he's most likely to respond? (Via Memeorandum.) Not that a more tactful label wouldn't help too.

12 comments:

Goesh said...

You have the best topics! I've always advocated big doses of strong medicine to quell unruly, aggressive youngsters. It is cheaper to manage dulled wits in Special Ed. classes than it is to pay turnkeys and Judges. Much of this hooliganism vanishes with maturity anyway, so why fret and wring hands over some brats?

Nick said...

I'm assuming the labeling will then be handled by the newly formed UK Ministry of Pre-Crime.

Chris said...

The document proposes parenting classes when a child is identified as a potential criminal and intensive foster care for children who are not "under control." (emphasis added)

So basically, the state will take away your children if it (the state) determines that your child is a potential criminal or "not under control." The decision about whether or not to tear apart a family, of course, will be based on a body of sociological work that relies on statistics which seem to show a correlation between childhood behavior and adult behavior. It will not be based on such quaint determining factors as, y'know, abuse and neglect.

Is this for real? If I had to live under this kind of system I think I would want to home school my kids and never, ever let them have any contact with the system.

Chris said...

Plus, notice that the statistics cited don't actually support the policies:

Eighty-five percent of prisoners in UK juvenile detention facilities have histories of bullying in school

Oooh. With a high correlation like 85 percent, it seems like we should be really worried about bullies becoming criminals, right? But note that it said 85 percent of prisoners were bullies. But how many bullies become prisoners? We don't know, the article doesn't tell us.

It could be that only 20 percent of bullies become prisoners. Should the state implement drastically intrusive measures against bullies, including ripping them up from their homes and families and putting them in foster care, because of just 20 percent of their number?

Of course, the other 80 percent that would not have become criminals will experience the trauma of being separated from their families and being bounced around the foster system, which might well make them more inclined to become criminals.

knoxgirl said...

There's definitely a Big Brother/"Minority Report" vibe going on here.

I hope their school system is more capable and sophisticated than US public schools if they're going to get into the business of diagnosing and treating serious behavioral problems.

Murky Thoughts said...

We could call them "ethically challenged."

lindsey said...

I don't agree with taking children away from their parents, but some sort of profiling of troubled children who show signs of future criminal behavior would be a good thing. At the very least, children identified as risks could get special education or some sort of intervention program designed to prevent them from becoming criminals and dedicate their energy toward more productive things.

Anyway, this may be quite an effective way to find children who suffer from some sort of mental illness and get them help or who are abused at home but would have slipped through the cracks.

chuck_b said...

Why not call a child who bullies a "bully"? That would be my suggestion.

Also, that news article describes preparation for a *10-hour school day* for children. That's appalling.

jar said...

This freaks me out. As a preschool teacher I cannot imagine having the responsibility of putting a child into a catagory like that especially at age 3. I agree with goesh in that a lot of bad behavior vanishes with age anyway.

lindsey said...

jar, my sister's a special education teacher in a suburban elementary school. She's taught for over twenty years and has pretty good accuracy picking out which children will end up in jail. She's even got one kid now she's convinced will end up on death row. Imagine a kid who beats on his classmates, abuses his teachers, kills small animals and is just hell on wheels. Bully doesn't even begin to describe it. She doesn't want to run into him when he's a teenager. To compound the problem, this good suburban school can't get the kid out of the school and into a special school that can help a kid like this despite his abusing his classmates and teachers. To hear her talk, she is helpless when she deals with kids like this, so some sort of system that would direct more resources toward helping these kids would be a good thing.

jar said...

Lindsey,

I agree with you there. I would not want to run into that child as an adult either and they should get help and be indentified. However, what about the child who is either just having a rough year or has a teacher that cannot stand him or her. I'm afraid that it would involve children who have normal behavior but have people in charge of them in a school environment who cannot handle that. When you put a child into a category you had better be 100% right or you can do more harm than good.

Iron Teakettle said...

Thank God for July 4, 1776.