In the 6th grade, my son was a pretty good kid. He didn’t get into too much trouble, but on one specific day he got into it with another kid in his class over a Pop-Tart. They were horse-playing and, eventually, it got too rough. The other boy was hurt after hitting a locker and needed work on his two front teeth.
While it wasn’t my son’s intention to hurt the boy the way he did, instead of picking him up from middle school that day, I picked him up from a detention center. He was scared and confused, and he didn’t understand that this mistake would follow him for most or all of his life. By the time all was said and done, my son ended up with a record, community service and probation – at 12 years old.
Once it was over, we thought it was behind us. We never had a reason to look at his record after that. It wasn’t until my son was 19 that we realized this incident in middle school would still affect his life. He was applying for a security job and it was taking a long time for his paperwork to come back. Once it finally did, we were both shocked to find out that this was still on his record and the reason he didn’t get the job.
While he is still able to find jobs with other security firms, I wish I would have known sooner that I needed to hire a lawyer to have his record expunged. I always assumed, as I think most people do, that when you turned 18, your record becomes sealed. Children make mistakes. My son had a bad day in middle school, and it followed him into adulthood.
I don’t think people know that in our state, records aren’t expunged. They should be. Kids make mistakes and they shouldn’t follow that child into their adult life, limiting their possibilities.