Four young boys were arrested Feb. 15 on charges of felony burglary, criminal mischief and trespassing. They were 7, 9, along with two 12-year-olds.
The minors were caught on a school surveillance tape destroying books, computers and smearing paint on walls. School officials estimate at least $50,000 in damage, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
“It is shocking to know that elementary and middle school aged children have their minds bent on such destruction,” said David McCranie of the Tallahassee Police Department.
While these kids will not be tried as adults, this incident raises the question of accountability. Will the parents be held responsible for the actions of their offspring?
The incident happened on a weekend.
This is a time where activities for children of those ages should be structured so that they will not have time to come up with reckless pranks like the one in this case.
The school district has already provided suspension and expulsion as a remedy.
This solution is bound to fail. The boys may attend a new school but that does mean this will change their behavior.
A punishment should be implemented for the irresponsible parents of the boys. Of course this will not excuse the boys for what they did, but the child is the responsibility of the parent.
Some say the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 21, so any lapse in judgment by a minor should not be solely blamed on the minor. An act like this can be seen as neglect as children are like sponges, they soak up what they are taught. Parents need to teach their children right from wrong.
Jail time for the guardians seems excessive, after all, it is not like the boys committed murder.
A healthy fine seems adequate, especially one that will subsidize the damages caused by the boys.