I just read this story about Allen Lee, the eighteen-year old boy who was arrested for writing a violent stream-of-consciousness essay in English class. I find this troubling. The students were told not to censor their writing, and Allen Lee didn’t. And in a world of school shootings and violent video games, is it any wonder that what he wrote was so disturbing? I’m not trying to defend his essay as normal, but I don’t think he should have been arrested for writing it.
Now, as a few of you reading this blog can attest to, I was a somewhat troubled teenager. I wrote a few disturbing essays in English class because I was, well, disturbed. But I was never arrested. I was pulled aside after class and invited to counseling, but never arrested.
In the wake of Virginia Tech, schools are obviously taking a proactive approach to preventing violence, and they should. But I think school officials missed a critical first step in this situation: talk to Allen Lee, call his parents, find out why he wrote this essay.
If Allen Lee had been a cute, blonde white girl would they have been as quick to call police? Maybe. Maybe not.
What do you think?