"I understand what happened recently at Virginia Tech," said the teen's father, Albert Lee, referring to last week's massacre of 32 students by gunman Seung-Hui Cho. "I understand the situation."So, it seems clear that Lee was pretty dumb to have written this so soon after Virginia Tech, but, even so:
But he added: "I don't see how somebody can get charged by writing in their homework. The teacher asked them to express themselves, and he followed instructions."
Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with disorderly conduct for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location.
Unless somebody is holding back some important fact, this young man is getting a raw deal. He doesn't belong in the criminal justice system. And the main reason he was treated this way is that people are on edge because another young Asian-American student killed 32 people two weeks earlier in Virginia.(I sure am glad my high school days are far behind me. If being a socially inept Asian student inclined towards dark and disturbing imagery had been the profile of a rampage-killer-in-the-making back then, I'd have been screwed. Actually, now that I think about it, I still fit that profile. Ooh, look out!)
I don' blame his teacher for alerting her supervisor at the school. I can see where she might have been worried.Similarly, whenever I see a black man walking in my direction on the sidewalk, I always cross to the other side of the street. Better safe than sorry, I always say. (Crap, when I started writing this, I told myself I wouldn't turn it into some race thing. Oh, well.)
By all means, pull him out of class the next day and try to figure out what's going on. Haul in his parents to find out what they know. Huddle with the rest of his teachers. Get him to a shrink for a psychiatric evaluation. Interview his friends, if it seems necessary.
Hell, call in the police if they honestly believe the young man poses some kind of a real danger and ask them to look into it.
But to have him arrested and criminally charged as the starting point of their response, based solely on what he wrote for a class assignment that instructed him not to censor himself, that's just outrageous.
Judging by the e-mails to the newspaper, I'd guess that at least half of you disagree with me. Lucky for me, you can't have me arrested.
Many of you are from the better safe than sorry school of thought.