Elementary School Kids Arrested for Not Breaking Up a Fight

A group of parents in Murfreesboro, Tennessee are outraged after several young children were arrested during school for failing to intervene in an off-campus fight they witnessed.

Yes, you read that correctly. The kids – who are only between the ages of 6 and 10 years old – weren’t even involved in the fight and it happened off school grounds.

How did such a bizarre incident ever take place? That’s what parents are trying to figure out. More than 150 moms and dads showed up to a community meeting at an area church to discuss what happened, the Daily News Journal reports.

What they do know is that at least five students were arrested after police obtained a video of a fight in the neighborhood. Arrest warrants were issued for the kids who stood by instead of breaking up the fight. How police got the video and who filmed it isn’t clear, according to the article. The kids were later released.

Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr apparently attended the community meeting and said police will review the incident, though he didn’t go into details about why the students were arrested.

“Out of this, we want to learn and make things better so they don’t happen again,” Durr told parents, the Daily News Journal reports.

Parents are understandably upset.

“There are innocent kids that have been arrested that have been entered in a system they have no business in,” Zacchaeus Crawford, who says three of his children were handcuffed, commented during the meeting. “This is nonsense, and it is nonsense in the fullest definition.”

Officials promised to investigate the situation and report back. Fortunately, these parents seem prepared to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately for the kids, though, they’ve already experienced the trauma of being handcuffed and hauled off to a juvenile center.

It’s not clear who was involved in the off-campus fight or their ages. While I think anyone can agree that children should be taught to try to help when they see someone being hurt, it’s also fair to assume that 6- and 7-year-old kids shouldn’t have to be vigilantes in their neighborhoods.

Isn’t it possible that trying to intervene in a fight as a 6-year-old – when you’ve barely finished kindergarten – could have been extremely dangerous?

As commenter Kate Bowman writes in response to the Daily News Journal story, “Please provide an example of how 6yrs old should stop a fight.”

“They could tell an adult and I would hope their parent, but that’s not a legal requirement for 6yr olds,” she wrote.

Another reader, Marcus Marik, aptly comments: “Arrested for failing to stop a fight? Maybe they should arrest the police next time they fail to stop a crime in that town!”

We’ll be interested to find out more details about this incident but it seems clear that someone messed up – and it wasn’t the 6- to 10-year-olds who ended up in handcuffs that day.

What do you think of this story? Should kids be held responsible when they don’t break up a fight? Tell us in the comments.

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