Pepper spray and 8 year olds

Current event time! The NY Daily News had an article this morning about Cops defending the use of pepper spray on an 8 year old who was threatening to stab his teacher. Click here to read the article.

If you don’t feel like it, here’s the breakdown:

Apparently in Colorado, a Cop got called in for a third time regarding the same kid named Aiden. He had a sharp piece of wood and was threatening to stab the teachers. His mother states that he has had anger issues in the past and his tantrums aren’t unusual. She also states that he was treated like a “common criminal.” The police spokesman Steve Davis says he defends the Cops in choosing the pepper spray.

Here’s my take:

First of all, how long do you let your kid have these ‘anger issues’ before you seek help? More and more, I’ve been reading about teachers being threatened and taking all the blame when they call the police. I remember a few months back, a teacher in California was actually suspended for calling the cops on a student who was bullying kids. Isn’t the job of a school’s administration to defend it’s employees and safety? I mean, hell, the kid even says he has anger issues. Um, a cry for help, perhaps?

It seems to me that some parents are relying heavily on anyone but themselves to raise their children. I often wonder if it’s because they feel in over their heads, are lazy, or just don’t care. Any of those situations are sad. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to raise a child who has anger issues and don’t have any support system in place. But ignoring it won’t make it go away.

However, the teacher has had to call the cops before on this kid. Doesn’t that say something? And why should it come to three separate times? I understand a teacher has too many students these days, but three times calling the cops should say that this child is in desperate need for some help. There’s a reason schools employ guidance councilors and if that’s even too much for them, I’m sure there has to be other outlets for them to consider. There’s also a reason for organizations such as PTA, where parents and teachers work together to make sure the kids turn out OK.

Now, the here and now. A cop used pepper spray on an 8 year old. Not really sure I’m OK with that, but at the same time, someone was going to get hurt. The 8 year old had a sharp object and the cop had pepper spray. I’d much rather have a snotty 8 year old than a bleeding teacher, kid or cop. I understand that if that kid had asthma or some other respiratory issue, it could have been worse, but he didn’t, apparently, so all is well on that front. His mother says he was treated like a ‘common criminal,’ and that’s exactly what he was. It is a crime to threaten and abuse others. I don’t care if you’re 8 or if you’re 80. And does she really think that once he’s 18 and an adult that he’s going to magically be all better? Pretty sure Charles Manson had a rough upbringing. Just saying. (Yes, I know, I just compared an 8 year old to Charles Manson, please don’t give me shit about it.)

How do you know when to take a threat seriously? I, personally, take all threats seriously. I don’t think the cop had any other choice in the matter. Sure, he’s 8 and smaller than them, but imagine if the cop had used force to get him to drop the sharp object and broke a bone by accident. POLICE BRUTALITY! OMG!

So that’s my take on it. What’s yours?

*I’d also like to note that I, personally, have been both pepper sprayed and tear gassed. It passes quickly. It’s not pleasant whatsoever, but I’d much rather that than having something physical done to me.


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on April 6, 2011, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I am in complete agreement with you on the fact that many parents don’t think it’s their job to parent. I cannot believe this mother would allow her child to keep going to school knowing he has “anger issues” and that he has had the cops called on him twice before. It’s called a psychiatrist and you might need to have your kid medicated, lady.

    As far as the PTA goes, all they are there for is fundraising, so they are of no help in matters such as these. This kid should have been at least suspended for this behavior in the past and by this point, expelled. This is the job of administrators and now they don’t want to do their jobs. The buck has to stop somewhere. I’d be in the faces of administration if either one of my kids went to school with a kid who threatens real physical harm to others. So not cool.

    I’m on the fence about pepper spray. I mean, couldn’t have a couple cops just grabbed the kid and got him to let go of the sharpened piece of wood? He’s not *that* strong. They could have sprayed lemon water in his face – still stings, but isn’t horrible. At least they didn’t taser him? Ugh. It’s a mess no matter how you slice it.

    • I agree with you that they could have used a milder thing than pepper spray, but I’m sure they just got in their cars and quickly went to the school. And the way the article reads, it almost sounds as if the cops had no other choice. I was totally going to write that I’m glad they didn’t taser him!


  2. I saw this story on TV this morning. Kid was getting all kinds of face-time and a special interview and everything.

    I don’t have a problem with the police action. We weren’t there… we don’t know how chaotic the situation was. Some kid rampaging with a sharp object? Sure, he’s 8 now… what happens when the same kid is a glowering 15-year old and still hasn’t conquered his “anger issues?” There is no magic age where kids suddenly “get it” and snap into good behavior.

    An impression needs to be made on this kid (and his parents) right now, or else the behavior doesn’t change. So far, all this kid may have gotten out of it was that if he has a melt-down, he gets all this special attention and an interview on network TV.

    Still, shouldn’t the school have a better handle on dealing with this kind of thing? Like an isolation room? If it’s me, I have a room to toss the kid in and let him cool down for a while.

    “When you’re done screaming, you can come out. Meanwhile, your mom’s on the way.”

    Perhaps these teachers should whip out a flip cam and start recording the little angel’s behavior. Let the parents (and the school board/media/everyone else) see exactly what was going on . THEN let them try to blame the teacher.

    I saw the kid say that if he could, he would have used the sharp stick on someone. He was not in any way repentant.

    Somehow I managed to go through an awful lot of school years and have never seen such behavior from a student that is necessitated a visit from the cops. If a kid misbehaved, he got in trouble… board-work, detention, even whacks. And usually, the parents administered their own punishment at home, just for causeing trouble. Now it seems to be everyone’s fault except the one acting up… And behavior continues to get worse.

    OK, end of sermon from another childless douchebag…

    • And you said it! What I was hoping would say. HE GOT VALIDATED BY TV AND ATTENTION. He doesn’t care that that is what he’s remembered for. He got face time. And I’m with you, I never saw something quite like that in school. Actually, no, I take that back. When I was in high school, a guy I graduated with tried to hit our teacher. Too bad for the kid, my teacher was a former 7th in the world body builder. He picked him up and had him 3 feet off the ground against the chalk board. Was that right? No, probably not. But the kid never did that again.


  3. Great post, Cassie, and so relevant. I once worked with pre-school kids—for a short time. They were kids at risk. They were ages 3 through 5, but they had seen a lot. More than once I caught some of them re-creating a sex act with another child in the classroom. I truly don’t think they knew what they were doing (clothes on), but enacting what they had witnessed at home. One day we took the kids to a public swimming pool and one of them was really acting out. I took him away from the pool, and had him sit beside me in a time-out. He grabbed my arm out of the blue and bit me! I actually had to get a rabies shot. As you know, human bites are as dangerous as animal bites. I say, put the parents in jail! All of them.

    • Kids are so gross, but this is no exception. It’s amazing to me what parents allow their children to get away with, and what they teach them. Moreover, what they DO in front of them.


  4. Those parents — or that parent — need as much help as the child. My husband, a psychologist who has worked with children and does still work with teens and adults, is always amazed when a parent comes to hin with his/her child, wanting the child to be fixed. He often finds a way to get the parent into therapy too, because, they are part of/the root of the problem. however, there’s only so much anyone can do. Even if someone said, Your child needs help, appointments can be blown off. My guess is that the parent’s blind spot — which can be common to parents — is more problematic than “not my little Johnny!” There must be something that deeper keeping the mother (or parents) from realizing 1) her child really does need help and 2) there *is* help out there. She truly may not know what to do or how to do it, whether due to immaturity or drugs or… well, just not being very smart.

    • Your husband must have the patience of a saint. And you’re right, it’s the parents that need the counciling just as much as the kids.


  5. I know I’m going to get a lot of shit for saying this, but here goes:

    This is why my small fries are never going to public school. If we can’t afford private school, then I will home school them.

    I know private school is not necessarily a panacea; some of them are as bad or worse than the better public schools. And please believe me when I say I do NOT (DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT) want to home school my kids, but I will do it if I have to.

    But I want some say, either because I pay an assload of money or because I AM the administrator, over the people with whom my kids attend classes and over what happens inside the school. And no one can have that kind of control in a public school setting.

    Am I being overly controlling? Probably. Pessimistic? Absolutely.

    I went to public school and had a horrific experience. The Guy went to public school and had a stellar experience. But when it comes to the small fries, I just can’t handle any more crap shoots than necessary.

    • The public schools around where I live aren’t that bad. Where I grew up, they’re all small, with graduating classes under 100. It was good for us. But I can see your view point. However, my one boyfriend went to private school and his buddies weren’t perfect by any means.


  6. One of my co-workers is always complaining about how his teacher wife is having to deal with poorly-parented or in-need-of-counseling students who turn violent. Apparently the administration doesn’t want to do anything, because it reflects poorly on the school. She’s been bitten, and another teacher was stabbed. This is incredible to me. I think you’re exactly right about parents not taking the responsibility to raise their kids.

    On the other hand, I reeeeeeeally doubt that pepper spray was necessary. As a non-cop, I’m not really sure what the proper response was, but seeing as how cops regularly talk people into not using their guns, I figure a piece of wood should be easy. But hey, yeah, that kid needs some help, and hopefully the cop did what he thought he needed to.

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