At William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood NJ, a third grade end-of-year party resulted in a visit from the police and a referral to Child Protective Services when a 9 year old commented on the party food using the word ‘brownies’ and another child said it was racist. (No, I am not making this up.)
The police officer interrogated the child and later interviewed his mother, Stacy dos Santos, who said her son was referring to the snacks available at the party and not skin color. She also reported that her son was traumatized when a police officer came into the school to talk to him. What nine year old wouldn’t be traumatized?
“He said they were talking about brownies. . . . Who exactly did he offend?” dos Santos said.
The child’s father also weighed in,
“I’m not comfortable with the administration [at Tatem]. I don’t trust them and neither does my child,” she said. “He was intimidated, obviously. There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.”
No child should face a police interrogation without a parent present, even one as ridiculous as this one.
Not surprising, the parents are requesting a different school for their son next year.
The police officer referred the case the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Seriously? Social Workers now have to investigate ‘the incident’. What a waste of time and money.
In this small school system, only 1,875, police are often called five times a day to investigate school incidents. From Philly.com,
The increased police involvement follows a May 25 meeting among the Collingswood Police Department, school officials, and representatives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, where school officials and police both said they were told to report to police any incidents that could be considered criminal, including what Police Chief Kevin Carey called anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”
The police and schools were also advised that they should report “just about every incident” to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Carey said.
Needless to say, parents in this small community are upset at what they see as police as overreach.
Is there NO common sense left, anywhere?
Read more details on the story here.