TheÂ Eighth amendment to the Constitution states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Despite the clear words of our Founding Fathers, two students who only threatened to bring a gun to school, were sentenced to up to 90 days in boot camp.
The students’s alleged plan to shoot other students became a rumor that quickly circulated throughout their school. School officials alerted the police who then spoke with the parents of the students. The mother of one student gave the police a semiautomatic handgun, which she found in her son’s room.
The gun possession normally would have led to a misdemeanor punishment but due to the tragedy in Littleton Colorado, even the student who only made threats, must now go to boot camp. This sentence is in addition to the time they have already spent in a regional youth detention center since their arrest.
“I think the punishment is excessive,” said Richard Hoffman, the stepfather of the 15-year-old. “It was a misdemeanor charge, and the length of time that they’ve already been in there is excessive. If the Colorado incident hadn’t happened, he would be at home right now, which is where we want him.”
The punishment is excessive because the students did not actually bring the gun to school or use it in an offensive manner. Instead, the gun was locked in one of the student’s briefcase. In addition, many of the charges were based on rumors that were probably influenced by the Littleton tragedy.
Beware of school officials and police who are eager to show the world that they are doing everything possible to prevent another Littleton tragedy. Statements such as, “I’m going to kill that guy if he teases me again,” may now lead to boot camp.