File it under “Duh”

A few years ago a seven year old boy had felony charges brought against him for a fight that happened with another boy in first grade. He had punched the boy, then kicked, hit and scratched three other adults as they tried to get him under control.

Today he was found incompetent to stand trial – too young to understand the charges against him.

That’s the first Duh.

The boy is obviously troubled. Violence should absolutely not be tolerated, and intervention was absolutely necessary. Agreed. I’m totally on board. But charging a seven year old with a felony?

“This should have been a whole team of people trying to help a kid, but in reality it turned into an adversarial posture,” the prosecutor said.

That’s the second Duh. What did you think was going to happen? You could have gotten the kid – and the family – help without bringing these ridiculous charges. Help doesn’t need to be court-mandated. It just needs to be.

Children are malleable and capable of learning and should not be shackled with the felon label for life because of an incident such as this at age seven. No weapon. No blood. No permanent – or even semi-permanent injuries. I understand that there could have been. I understand that there could be a next time.

I don’t know at what age children should be held legally accountable for their actions. I just know it’s not seven.

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