Archive for February 7th, 2010

This is Alexa Gonzalez.

She’s 12 years old and attends junior high school in Queens, NY.

She loves her friends, Abby and Faith.

Probably knows every show on the Disney Channel.

You probably wouldn’t guess that she’s a menace to society.  A threat to the very fabric of our civilization.

You see, this past week Alexa was arrested and taken from her school in handcuffs by police.

Drugs, you ask? Bullying?  One of those horrible videotaped girlfights?  Did she stab a teacher?


She wrote on her desk.

Terrible things.

I love my friends Abby and Faith and worst of all, Lex was here 2/1/2010.

Then she punctuated the whole bit of obscenity with a lewd symbol– a smiley face.

Omigod!  Monster!

You know, when I heard this the first thing that came to mind is that I would be in prison today for almost anything I did  on a regular basis from the ages of 12 to 16.  Talking during class.  Running in the hallways.  Yelling during lunch.

Actually, I probably should have been in prison for some of the things I did that I won’t mention here but I’m trying to illustrate a point here.

Kids are still kids.  Kids will do goofy, rebellious things.  Our job is not to go insane, not to overreact.

I used to write little stories with illustrations on the tables of a study room a group of friends and I occupied during lunch hours at my school.  They were goofy tall tales of a character I called General Billy Bob Buckles. Not great stuff but they filled the time and satisfied a creative outlet.  Not obscene, although they were far more inflammatory than I love my friends.

But in the end, they were saying the same thing.  Like Lexa was here, I was saying I was here.  It’s that eternal need to be heard, especially when you’re a 12 year old child in a world where you often feel powerless and voiceless.

Now I knew at that time that if I had been caught by someone in authority  (particularly our principal who was very much irked by these stories and whose ire only served to make me want to write even more on the desks)  that I would have been in for trouble.  But the thought that I could have been hauled from the school in cuffs would have seemed ludicrous, beyond belief.  It would have seemed, even to a kid with limited life experience, to have been way out of scale for the crime, especially when so many far worse  crimes were occurring within walking distance.

It seems we have lost scale for we react to many things, this incident just being a highlight.  It feels as though we are teaching these children to be reactionary, to not step back and take measure with a calmer eye and common sense.

And where this lesson leads is far worse than a 12 year old girl writing I love my friends.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: