Home > Uncategorized > The Criminalization of Adolescent Humor: Belching Student Arrested, Expelled from School

The Criminalization of Adolescent Humor: Belching Student Arrested, Expelled from School

Reading between the lines of this Daily Mail article, I am fairly confident that the student who was arrested by an SRO and “…suspended for the remainder of the school year” following a November incident of burping in a PE class and in the hallway subsequent to his removal from class was well known by the school disciplinarian and deserved some kind of serious consequences for his misbehavior. But once a police officer intervened in the case and took the young man to court, the student was charged with a “petty misdemeanor”, subjected to a search that required him to remove much (but not ALL) of his clothing, and put out of school for more than half a year.

Having taught in an urban junior high school and worked as a disciplinarian in high schools for six years, I was asked to deal with several incidents like the one described in this article and worked with several students like the one described in this article, but I never dreamed that this kind of misbehavior should result in any kind of action by a policeman. My experience tells me, though, that once a policeman IS engaged in an incident, they, not the school, are in control and the school needs to defend itself for deferring to the police and for whatever action the police ultimately take. In New Mexico, the court has determined that burping in class and/or in the hallway outside of class is a criminal offense. Presumably this will make there schools safer and improve the learning environment. It is almost certain, though, that children are learning to avoid adolescent behavior at all costs.

 

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