Protecting juveniles in the news media


In a small town in northeast Washington, an 11-year-old boy was convicted of attempting to murder his fellow fifth-grade classmate.

Stevens County Superior Court Judge Allen Nielson supported the statement that this elementary school student devised his murder plot earlier this year with another classmate.

On Feb. 7, the boys brought a knife and handgun to school. Another student spoke up after seeing the students weapons in one of the boys backpacks. Before the boys could carry out their plot the school staff seized both the weapons.

A school counselor named Debbie Rodgers interviewed the older of the two boys. He admitted that his plan was to stab the girl to death because she was “really annoying” and the second boy was going to point the gun at anyone who tried to intervene.

One of the boys also tried to justify their actions by stating, “she’s rude and always made fun of me and my friends.”

The two boys also told authorities they were going to “get,” or murder, six more students at their school, Fort Colville Elementary School.

The convicted juvenile criminal is due back in court on Nov. 8 for a sentence hearing. He was sentenced to three to five years in a juvenile detention facility.

Both of these Juveniles names were not mentioned on news reports and neither were their pictures or anything to give away their identity.

Juveniles have confidentiality protection that adults do not have. Many believe this is the case because the states have a strong desire to rehabilitate the lives of juvenile delinquents and protect their reputation by not reporting their names to the press.

This issue does not prevent newspapers from reporting the stories and certain distinctions are made to decide if releasing the name of a child criminal will defame his/her reputation.

I personally believe that a child who is positively guilty of murder shouldn’t have their identity protected or hidden from the media just because of their age. Anyone who is capable of such a crime should be recognized as a criminal and the public should be aware of his or her identity.

I understand that if your name is in the news mentioning that you are a murderer, your life weather in jail or out of jail is permanently damaged due to your reputation and records.

If you are under the age of 18 and committed a crime you will most likely have a longer life to live with this reputation. I understand the theory behind protecting these children from the media, but I do not agree with it.

For more information on the elementary school case visit:

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