Don't start none . . won't be none

We just returned from court, where my 15 year old son , who is now a common criminal, received his punishment for the Egg Incident. It was an interesting process, really.

We show up at Juvenile Court at the assigned time. Problem is – 50 other kids with their parents show up for court at the same assigned time. We sign in – and then they start calling each kid and their parents up in front of the judge.

We sit through about an hour of other juvenile court hearings before they get to us. The other offenses range in everything from truancy to shoplifting.

As we’re listening – I’m finding the fines and consequences to be somewhat interesting. The following offenses carried these types of fines:

  • Telling a teacher to fuck off: Disorderly Conduct charge – $100.00 fine.
  • Shoplifting a necklace from Claire’s: Retail Theft Charge – $75.00 fine
  • Throwing a snowball at school that hit a teacher in the head – Disorderly Conduct charge – $83.00 fine
  • Truancy – Truancy charge – $83.50 charge
  • Habitual Truancy – Truancy/Habitual charge – $250.00 fine

Oh – and one final charge that I won’t soon forget:

Throwing egg in school hallway – Disorderly Conduct charge – $100.00 fine plus $11 Restitution.

Thankfully, because Ben is still too young to work – they have a program called “Project Payback” – where the kid can work off his fine by doing community service.

So, the school punished him by making him, and his friend, do 40 hours of after-school janitorial work.

The judge punished him with a Disorderly Conduct charge on his record, plus however many hours of community service it will take for him to payoff the $100 fine, plus restitution.

And the kid had the enormous balls to ask me if I would pay the fine FOR HIM and let him work it off around the house.

I’m smarter than that, said I. We’ll be giving “Project Payback” a call first thing tomorrow morning.

Moral of the story: Can’t do the time? Don’t do the crime.

But my favorite? : Don’t start none . . won’t be none.

16 Comments

  1. pam

    Good for you Lisa. Look at those fines. Good God!

  2. That’s absolute bullshit. 40 hours to pay off a $100 fine = $2.50 an hour.

    That’s a God-damned outrage.

    If he’s gonna do Janitorial work, he should get paid what the damned janitors get paid ($21.50 or so per hour) what they get paid and only have to work 4 hours.

  3. $100 and a record for a school hallway egg tossing prank? I am thankfull that

    (a) they still used the strap when I was in school – otherwise I’d still be working off those community hours.

    (b) courts were only involved in actual criminal offenses when I was in school, and

    (c) that I ain’t in school no more if that’s the sort of thing that happens these days.

    Is the moral of the story that it’s cheaper to skip school, tell your teacher to fuck off, hit them with a snowball, or steal their jewelry, than it is to toss an egg? Halloween will never be the same :-)

  4. SL – I hear ya on that. The judge actually did give Ben a lecture on the fact that when he was a kid — he wouldn’t get fined .. he’d get the strap instead. From the teacher .. and then from his father.

    Vinny – Ben does get to keep a % of his earning in the Project Payback program. A certain % goes in Ben’s pocket — and another certain % goes to the fine/restitution. I won’t know until I call them in the morning how much goes to which, though.

  5. …and addendum…however, Ben is the one who made the stupid decision to throw the egg. I guess they are tougher on kids to try and teach them a lesson on crime, at an early age.

    The judge did tell him that he could have gotten it worse. The police office COULD HAVE ticketed him for ALOT more than disorderly…. he could have gotten tresspassng (because it was WAY after school hours)….plus he could have gotten ticketed for Destruction of Property – AS WELL as disorderly conduct.

    So, I guess – – in this commmunity, at least — Ben got off easy, it seems.

    Ahh, to live in a small town with hardly any crime – – see what happens when local police are bored? :)

  6. Disorderly Conduct seems to be the “lump” charge, doesn’t it? Who filed those charges with the police? The school? I am surprised they don’t just handle it themselves without police involvement.
    ~L.

  7. pam

    5-“and addendum…however, Ben is the one who made the stupid decision to throw the egg. I guess they are tougher on kids to try and teach them a lesson on crime, at an early age.”- Thankyou for that. I knew you walked the walk and you just confirmed it. You actually did Ben a favor by not allowing him to get out of HIS responsibility! Good for you and the court system. Hopefully they learn through this.

  8. As another old-schooler, I am pretty surprised that misconduct in school gets you taken to court. Back in my Catholic school days, the teacher on the spot was judge, jury, and executioner. Justice was often meted out swiftly, surely, and right on the spot of the infraction.

  9. Hmmm… I’m a little on the fence on this one, while I am all for the letter of the law, it seems a little extreme to involve the court system in this, then again it happened outside school hours and so could be considered vandalism, then again it might have been better dealt with by the school internally and it worries me a little that they feel that the courts would be better than them at dealing with it, then again, maybe involving the court is a deliberate intent to short sharp shock the kid into using his noggin next time, then again bays will be boys and I would be lying if I said that I had not done worse my self as a lad… Hmmmm… I guess the one thing I am sure of is bravo on not letting him cop out of the community service, bravo.

  10. Hmmm… I’m a little on the fence on this one, while I am all for the letter of the law, it seems a little extreme to involve the court system in this, then again it happened outside school hours and so could be considered vandalism, then again it might have been better dealt with by the school internally and it worries me a little that they feel that the courts would be better than them at dealing with it, then again, maybe involving the court is a deliberate intent to short sharp shock the kid into using his noggin next time, then again bays will be boys and I would be lying if I said that I had not done worse my self as a lad… Hmmmm… I guess the one thing I am sure of is bravo on not letting him cop out of the community service, bravo.

  11. TJ

    I think the most interesting / puzzling part is how the fines are laid out … ‘fuck’ is worse than theft or snowball-assault? /TJ

  12. yeah, and how come the one actual crime there, the petty theft got the smallest fine????

  13. P MAnn

    OK, I agree you did the right thing. But these punishments, at that age??? I was brought up in a small southern town and once, yes, long after school hours, a buddy and I lit cherry bombs and flushed them down the boy’s room toilets. You should have seen the spew when they went off! Unfortunately we were caught by the janitor. We were sentenced to a month of cleaning all the toilets after school. We never did it again. Lesson learned.
    This just seems as exsessively stupi as the “no tolerance policy” is turning out to be. Just DAMN!

  14. Yeah, I’m thinking along the lines of TJ and RedFred here.
    $100 for telling a teacher to Fuck Off but $75 for actually stealing stuff?
    WTF is that about?
    Personally I feel that unless a threat of violence has been made any insults, profane or otherwise, shouldn’t be clogging up the court system. The school should handle that in house.

  15. astroknight

    Okay, I have no problem with Ben being punished, but there’s a few things that seem wrong here. Throwing an egg is fairly harmless fun, and it seems wrong to have it be a bigger penalty than stealing. My other problem is that the school already punished him with “suspended from school for two days and sentenced to three weeks of after-school janitorial duty as a consequence”. They’ve already ‘served time’ for the crime. I’m not saying the kid should be left to walk away from it (he should have been smart enough to not get caught in the first place, like the rest of us screwoffs), but this seems like too much. One or the other.

  16. Jeff

    Cool quote. Is that how he spells his name?

    “I want a bottle of wine that tastes like you… in a glass that is never empty. ~ Russel Crowe – A Good Life”