A 15-year-old student spent 100 days in juvenile hall for making threats after he showed his “dark poetry” to a classmate. The poem included the line, “I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill students at school.” George T. had been kicked out of his previous high school for non-violent disciplinary offenses. Instead of calling a counselor, Santa Teresa High officials called the cops. The case of George T. will be heard Thursday by the California Supreme Court. From the San Jose Mercury News:
Even prosecutors who deal with juveniles concede they will welcome some direction from the Supreme Court. Kurt Kumli, a deputy district attorney who supervises juvenile prosecutions in Santa Clara County, said he believes the law supports the conviction against George T., but he wonders whether it was the type of case that belongs in the criminal system.
“As a legal issue, it’s there,” Kumli said. “That having been said, I’m not sure in retrospect if the behavior is really the type of behavior that requires a juvenile justice response. A line being drawn, regardless of where it is drawn, is going to be to everyone’s benefit.”
George T. is finishing high school at another San Jose area campus. He has not committed any acts of violence, and says he never intended to. He was having a “bad day.”
Certainly, students who write and talk about killing should be taken seriously. A small percentage of kids who express violent fantasies may act out if they’re ignored. They need to talk to a counselor, not a cop.
Update: Zero Intelligence has a copy of the poem.
Who are these faces around me?
Where did they come from?
They would probably become the
next doctors or loirs or something. All
really intelligent and ahead of their
game. I wish I had a choice on
what I want to be like they do.
All so happy and vagrant. Each
Original in their own way. They
Make me want to puke. For I am
Dark, Destructive & Dangerous. I
Slap on my face of happiness but
Inside I am evil!! For I can be
the next kid to bring guns to
kill students at school. So Parents
watch your children cuz I’m BACK!!
It’s clear why the girl who read it, the teacher and the principal were worried, but it reads a lot more like a plea for help than an “imminent” threat.
Note that George T. (aka Julius) was in honors English yet spells lawyers as “loirs” and thinks “vagrant” means care-free.