John Stossel

But punished they were. The boys were locked up for six days. The police "pushed us up against the wall. … They strip-searched us and then they put us in our cells," Cory told me. Ryan added: "Every time a lawyer, somebody, came to talk to us, we had to get strip-searched afterwards." He said this happened six or seven times.

The first night, their parents waited at the jail but couldn't see them or even talk to them on the phone. They didn't get to see their boys until two days later.

That's jail policy, the district attorney told their lawyer. No communications until visiting day.

After six days in jail, the boys were released but banned from school and from seeing many of their friends. The district attorney, who wouldn't talk to "20/20," demanded a trial. It took half a year before a judge would finally hear a motion to dismiss charges.

By that time, all the girls had signed affidavits saying they didn't think the boys should be prosecuted. The charges were dropped.

The district attorney says she'd do it again because she did nothing wrong.

Give me a break.

Genuine sexual harassment is nasty, but it's also nasty when politically correct prosecutors and timid lawsuit-fearing school administrators jail kids for small infractions.

"There's been a disturbing increase in the trend of arresting children for minor infractions that often would have been taken care of … by simply calling in the parent," says Jakada Imani of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. "Criminalizing our young people at younger and younger ages … has to be deeply troubling for anybody concerned about this country's future."

Adults should take a course in common sense before they upset more kids' lives over things like a hug or a silly game.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate