The FBI has over 77.7 million Americans in its master database of criminals. And according to the Wall Street Journal, they’re adding between 10,000 and 12,000 new names per day. That means that roughly one out of every three American adults has a file with the FBI.
From a new article in the Wall Street Journal about the rise of arrests in America’s schools:
Over the past 20 years, prompted by changing police tactics and a zero-tolerance attitude toward small crimes, authorities have made more than a quarter of a billion arrests, the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates. Nearly one out of every three American adults are on file in the FBI’s master criminal database.
The WSJ uses this statistic within the context of the police presence in our nation’s schools and tells the story of one young woman in Florida who was arrested for conducting an explosive science experiment on school property.
A science experiment that went awry turned into a 17-month battle for Kiera Wilmot and her mother as they tried to clear the honor student’s arrest record. According to the police report, she was on school grounds outside the classroom trying out an experiment that hadn’t been authorized by her teacher. Ms. Wilmot, now 18, said she put a piece of aluminum inside a bottle with two ounces of toilet cleaner to see what would happen. The teen’s mother said she was trying to simulate a volcanic eruption.
“It popped,” blowing the top off the bottle, she said. She was handcuffed by the school-resource office, escorted out of the Bartow, Fla., school and taken to a juvenile facility where she was charged with possessing or discharging firearms or weapons at school and making, throwing, possessing, projecting, placing or discharging a destructive device.
Amid a flurry of news coverage, the charges were dropped, but the arrest record remained. Ms. Wilmot’s mother, Marie, said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement declined to expunge the record. A second attempt, this time as an adult, was approved last week by a judge, who ordered her records sealed, Marie Wilmot said.
Most kids, as the WSJ piece notes, aren’t so lucky to have their records sealed or expunged.