Monday, March 27


You may remember the Little Columbine episode from a Johnson County high school earlier this month.

Recall that a girl overheard two boys on her bus talking about taking over the school, that investigators arrested four boys aged 15 and 16, learned the plot involved holding the principal for ransom, and that at least one of the boys had access to guns. Bullying was said to be a motivating factor. The prosecutor made noises about charging them as adults.

As usual with such things, it took a couple of days of fifteen-minutes-per-half-hour teevee news coverage before anybody attempted an answer to the rather obvious question, "What are you going to charge them with?" "Conspiracy" was the answer, since "fantasy" is still at least as legal as bullying at that age.

In the middle of last week the Star mentioned, more or less in passing, that one of the four had already been released to home detention; this apparently wasn't news when it happened. That was the sound of one fuzzy slipper falling, albeit with ankle bracelet attached. Friday the big muthafuckin' Andy Griffith motorcycle boot hit the floor:
2 boys ordered released
1 suspect in high school takeover plot faces immediate expulsion

By Paul Bird
FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Two of four boys accused of plotting to take over Center Grove High School were ordered released from custody after a Thursday hearing in Johnson County Juvenile Court.

One boy, 16, was scheduled for release after the hearing, according to his attorney. Juvenile Magistrate Marla Clark ordered the other boy, 15, released Monday.
All four were ordered by Clark to submit to psychological evaluations.
The Indianapolis Star generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.
The 16-year-old faced Clark for the first time. He is the only one of the four charged who is not in special-education classes, according to his attorney, Brian Newcomb, Franklin.

Holy shit. Special education students, and it's the first time I've seen it mentioned. I'm flummoxed enough to quote myself:
What seems to be the first thing on everybody's mind is that the prosecutor will seek to try the boys as adults. This seems, if not outright bloodthirsty, at least a tad premature to me--at least insofar as the public interest, if not the prosecutor's actions, go--and I have a relative at the school and a wife who's a teacher.

So lemme rephrase that, or clarify. as they say at WaPo: this is an unfortunate case which the Prosecutor chose as a grandstanding moment he could only manage by leaving out the mitigating factors, and the local media climbed all over without ascertaining the fact, or recognizing its importance when it did come out. And no one looks twice at a Principal who "wasn't highly familiar with those individuals"; so not highly familiar, in fact, that he couldn't even tell the media they were in special education when it came time for his close-up.

Yes, "special education" can mean a lot of things, mental disabilities, emotional disabilities, learning deficits. And in this case it also means there is a big stinking pile of shit underneath another sensational news story du jour.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing how bad people are at dealing with teenagers when, presumably, they themselves were teenagers at one point.

It boggles the mind.

Anonymous said...

Dear God.
Are we still going to be pretending that these kids--special education kids--weren't being bullied because that kind of thing doesn't happen here?

Anonymous said...

Jeebus, but that is some stanky shit. Obviously, neither shame nor dignity are in high supply at the Star.

Anonymous said...

For the Star: I emailed Mr. Bird Friday morning asking whether, and if so, why, this was the first we were hearing about it. I haven't heard back.

As for the school, I suspect it was business as usual from day one over there, just based on the fact that by day two it was CYA with "the student council sponsored Friendliness Week just last month!" and the principal addressing the student body via the PA. The suburban schools know athletics get a lot more popular attention than the Chess Club ever will. That's said to be why our wealthy Republican relations to the north just keep expanding Carmel high school (now at 4000 and rising) instead of building a second one and facing a decade of fewer banners to hang.