For years the NYPD has tried to send a clear message to the NYC student body that there is zero tolerance for defacing DOE property; in 2007 cops made an example of 13-year-old Chelsea Fraser by dragging her out in handcuffs after she wrote "okay" on a desk at her Dyker Heights school. It's NOT okay, Chelsea, but these punks just won't learn. On Monday 12-year-old Alexa Gonzalez was "doodling" her little heart out on her desk in Junior High School 190 in Forest Hills when she got busted, handcuffed, and escorted to the police precinct across the street, where she was detained for several hours.
The vandal-in-training was using what she says was erasable marker to write "Lex was here 2/1/10'' and "I love my friends Abby and Faith'' on her desk. Harmless "doodle" or wanton destruction of taxpayer property? "I started crying, like, a lot," Alexa told the Daily News. "I made two little doodles. ... It could be easily erased. To put handcuffs on me is unnecessary...I just thought I'd get a detention. I thought maybe I would have to clean [the desk]." Her mother, an accountant, said, "She's been throwing up. The whole situation has been a nightmare." But surely suing the city could make all those bad dreams go away! (The NYCLU has already sued the city over excessive school arrests.)
Alexa was released without bail, and has been assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she's learned from the experience, the AP reports. She says she has now "definitely learned not to ever draw on a desk." And yet the DOE is essentially apologizing; a spokesman tells the News, "Based on what we've seen so far, this shouldn't have happened."
Even the NYPD is backpedaling, with spokesman Paul Browne saying, "Even when we're asked to make an arrest, common sense should prevail, and discretion used in deciding whether an arrest or handcuffs are really necessary." Kids, the lesson is clear: the NYPD is getting soft on doodling!