Judge Ordered 12-Year-Old Boy to Get a Job

Parents have been telling their children to get a job for ages, but when a judge does it, that's definitely new.

A Western Massachusetts boy who spray-painted graffiti onto his neighbor’s homes as an 11-year-old was ordered Wednesday to get a job so he can pay the victim’s $1,000 restitution – and learn a life lesson at the same time.

The boy, who was identified in the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruling by the pseudonym of “Avram,” had previously had charges of juvenile delinquency put on hold for one year in return for his promise to make restitution to his Easthampton neighbors.

After he failed to pay a single penny within that year, Juvenile Court Judge James G. Collins extended the now-12-year-old boy’s probation for four years and ordered him to get a job – an order defense attorney Craig R. Bartolomei said was contrary to juvenile law and to the reality of society today.

Problem is, what kind of job can a 12-year-old boy legally do? The kid's defense attorney pondered:

“The state itself limits what they [12-year-olds] can do,’’ Bartolomei said in a telephone interview. “They can be actors, with a permit. They can work a farm, and they can basically deliver newspapers. But kids don’t deliver newspapers any more.’’

John Ellement of the Boston Globe reports: Link

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In the town I grew up in, on Long Island, we had a program called P.A.V.E.S. that was run by the city's child services office. I don't remember the full name but Paid and Volunteer where in there.

Basically, when a young person wanted work, they would sigh up with P.A.V.E.S. an list what they where interested in doing. My brothers and I listed snow shoveling and lawn mowing. Others might list baby sitting, dog walking or any number of other skills a young person might have. In the summertime, it was not unusual to see a kid riding his bicycle while pulling along a lawnmower.

Then, when a town's person needed yard work done, they would call the P.A.V.E.S. office and in turn, P.A.V.E.S. would call us with the details. Then, off we'd go! We'd make a reasonable hourly rate for the time, often setting up regular appointments. It was certainly less expensive then professional help, and the kids would earn more then just a pay-check.

It was a great program for the kids that instilled confidence, self-worth and self-reliance, among others, and it also peripherally benefited the elderly in town who could no longer do everything for themselves. The program itself cost next to nothing to administrate and created an all important vetting process for the safety of the young people who took advantage of the program.

I really do hope programs like this still exist out there.
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So what if the poster got the specifics about available work for a 12 year old wrong!

I think, and correct me if I am wrong original commenter, that what was being suggested, in essence, is that in a years time, through the parents and with the Judge's help, some kind of solution could have been found to carry out the sentence in such a way that this child, who clearly has discipline/authority issues, will benefit the most from the court order.

Court judgements aren't just blanket punishments. They are meant, as justice for the victim, and to further deter those found guilty. This is a child of 12 with prior delinquency charges. He clearly has issues. None the least of which is likely his parents ability/skill to get through to the kid. Throwing a judgement in his lap and expecting him to comply was never going to get the job done done. If this kid is going to get out of the system, it's going to take a team effort.

I mean, come on, this kid couldn't be remanded to weekly or even monthly meetings with a state social worker at DHS where, while being helped to fulfill his sentence, a trained child and family skills advocate could at least attempt to to make the sentence work for the kid and his parents in the most beneficial way?

.....Puleeze! ;)
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You don't live in New England. It's obvious. Corn is not grown almost at all in Western Mass and almost ALL farms are family affairs with maybe at best two weeks of work an 11 year old can do. There are nearly no one-crop farms. Also snow and lawn care have been co-opted by large companies for at least 25 years. My brother and I tried to do lawn mowing in the summer of 1990 and we only found five clients the whole summer. Almost all of the lawn jobs were taken by True Green. It seems that before you make a judgement on the issues a kid has, maybe you should actually learn something about where they live and what the fats are on the ground. Oh and for the record? De-tasseling is a one week job at best these days and it only happens at a certain time in the summer that varies. So are you really saying that this 11 year old should know how to follow the patterns of the grow cycles so he knows when to apply? Funny how you seem to be asking a child to do that when the average ADULT can't seem to figure out why raspberries are expensive in winter and why key limes aren't available in July....Puleeze.
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