An 11-year-old boy named Elijah took the internet by storm when his mom explained in a viral video how he hacked his school’s internet to get virtual classes cancelled for three months! Until he got caught – and walked into a room of police.
Many on the internet, prison abolitionists or not, brainstormed solutions to her humorous story-time, from enrolling Elijah in a gifted program, to getting him to cancel their student loan debt online.
But his school plotted a more violent approach.
They seriously wanted to press federal criminal charges against this fifth grader! Can you imagine if this little boy ended up joining the 14% increase of Black children in juvenile detention at the height of the pandemic?
Turns out, they didn’t need to traumatize an elementary schooler with police after all! They came up with some solutions that should’ve just been employed in the first place: explaining the damage he caused, having him write an apology, and testing his computer programming skills with a few projects – which he passed with flying colors.
Whether Elijah was a tech prodigy or not, no child should be threatened by or subjected to incarceration. Even though schools aren’t on prison grounds, carceral mindsets can exist anywhere! That’s why we still need to fight for, and invest in, our Black youth.