Monday, January 21, 2013

Fear

Last night my daughter (who is away at college) got a text message:  "Pick up the phone or I'll kill you."  It wasn't from a phone number she knew, so she ignored it.  Less than two minutes later, a second text came through: "Oh, now I'm going to kill you anyway."  My daughter texted back, asking who this was, and the texter followed up by stating she knew who my daughter was (called her by name) told her that (she, as it turned out) knows where Tay lives, and knows she's not there, and demanding to know where she was right at that point, all the time refusing to say who was calling. The texts got creepier and creepier.  Tay was terrified. 

After two hours of this, during which time the police were called (the local police hand all campus activity over to the campus police, because the city's agreement with the campus is that the campus has it's own, independent police force with all the authority of the local police) and they called me.  

Cay was crying and frightened, Tay was hiding out in the computer lab talking to me online while the police carried out an investigation, most of that time on the phone with me, and everyone got good and upset before we all figured out as it unfolded over two hours that this was likely one of her suite-mates who'd gotten locked out of her room, originally called for Tay to come let her in through the connecting bathroom, and then thought it was a jolly good idea to mess with Tay instead of getting back into her room right away.  The police have since disabused her of that notion. 

I didn't get to bed until after midnight, when Cay settled down.  I had nightmares all night, and woke up swollen and so stiff I could barely move.  When you have lupus, that kind of stress can really do you in.  

Tay, on the other hand, is pretty much over it (one of the benefits of autism, that kinda dissociative quality) and had been moved into a different dorm late last night, and is ready to go have breakfast and go back to her own dorm (this time without police escort) and get all her stuff moved to her new place.  From her standpoint, this was all a young person behaving stupidly, not criminally, and she's not unhappy to be away from her old housing (where she was with people who were totally unlike her and shared nothing in common with) and into a dorm room with a friend of hers whose roommate had transferred out, a move she was going to apply for when housing change requests came available at the end of the month anyway.

The police, on the other hand, are less than pleased, and really wanted Tay to press charges. In today's environment with all the sensitivity to senseless killings, they wanted to prosecute her for harassment.  And while I understand their view, I have to agree with Tay.  This girl would have had a criminal record and probably been kicked off campus for what was likely a stupid joke.  And as stupid and possibly criminal as it was, I rather support Tay in saying that this girl has likely learned a lesson, and it would be worse to take away her chance at education and betterment.

2 comments:

  1. I think you're out of your mind. Nobody learns a lesson by getting away scot-free. The perpetrator of this appalling "joke" should be prosecuted and made accountable for their actions. THEN she will have likely learned her lesson. Yes, she will have a criminal record. That is because she committed a crime.

    What kind of a parent are you anyway?

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    Replies
    1. What kind of parent am I?

      I'm the kind of parent who teaches education over ignorance, love over hate, tolerance over prejudice, and peace over anger. I'm the kind of parent who understands that young people make mistakes, and how "jokes" can go awry. I'm the kind of person who would rather see a young person who's acted foolishly, but whom isn't a danger in society, get a chance at straightening out their life rather than losing it to a criminal record and an expulsion from school.

      I'm the kind of person who knows that this girl didn't get off "scot-free" because she wasn't arrested and hauled off to jail, that she is aware, after her encounter with the police, of the seriousness of what she did... that she's lost a friend, will have difficulty with on campus housing because of this, and that the campus police will be keeping an eye on her.

      We have serious cases in courts: shootings and drug dealers and drunk driving and domestic violence. We don't need to clutter the courts with kids whose stupid pranks, which they likely didn't begin in malice or with the intent they eventually resulted in, who need a lesson in growing up rather than jail time.

      And I'm also the kind of parent who recognizes that her "child" is an adult, and will stand by HER decisions and her right to make them.

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