Last September a Los Angeles police officer used his Taser to subdue an unruly and autistic 12 year old. When Officer Vincent Arias walked into the Hawthorne California middle school the 5'7'' boy was violently assaulting a security guard. After a bout of kicking and cursing, the student decided to flee through an exit door and that's when Officer Arias shot the 50,000-volt Taser. Look, this is a new generation of children, no doubt. They're cyber-savvy, politically-entrenched; some are even down-right brilliant. But then there are the unruly ones. The ones who threaten [or fight] their grandparents, or travel in large groups and terrorize, or simply get buck-wild in the classroom [I know. I taught at a junior high, for a day. Let's just say there were issues of student boundaries].
My point is I've experienced a variety of youngsters and witnessed dozens of "disarming" behavior [which includes a student hitting me with a book], but I never thought a Taser was necessary. Besides, the physical side-effects for Taser use aren't thoroughly researched. So who knows what type of damage 50,000 volts will have on a pubescent kid. Here's my question: Is there an event that justifies the use of a lethal weapon on a child? The 12 year-old Hawthorne student also had autism so shouldn't those classrooms be equipped to handle all types of behavior [sans the need for lethal weapons]?
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.