07 May 2020

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: The Wisdom of a Good Judge

I had my kiddo piece for this week all planned out in my mind. I really did – until I read about the early demise of our most recent Juvenile Court judge. It brought back memories…

Juvenile Court judges have one of the toughest, most heart-breaking jobs on the planet. They pour their heart and soul into their job, they’re dealing with young, moldable minds, and that’s a responsibility I can’t even fathom. But sometimes it comes with jocularity too.

One of my Things, I won’t say which one, got in trouble in middle school. I’m talking about -6th- grader!

He, and 3 other friends, found a pill on the gym floor. A pill.

This pill got passed around between the 4 of them. None of them knew what it was. None of them took it, and I had no idea -any- of this was going on.

After passing said pill around between them for a couple weeks (I can only imagine the pocket lint that came with it), none of them had a clue what it was. -But- it was a prescription medication, out of the bottle of the prescribed individual.

One of the boys said it was a hormone pill. His mom took them, and if you gave it to a girl, she’ll like you. They collectively tried to decide what girl they wanted to slip that pill into her school milk. They never could decide -which- girl, or who was going to slip it into her milk so she’d like -him-.

Back and forth it went between them, until the last “holder” told my Thing he’d sell it to him for $1.00. My thing bought it.

Here we go to the principal’s office! The resource officer at the time wanted to charge it up to youthful stupidity. No one got hurt, so let it go. The principal at the time wanted to make an example of those dumb a$$ little boys and pressed charges. Now we enter the world of juvenile court.

All 4 boys received 3 juvenile felonies. Possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance out of the original bottle, and.. I can’t remember the 3rd – it had something to do with talking about slipping it into a girl’s milk so she’d like them. My Thing got a 4th felony – purchasing a controlled substance. -That’s- where his lunch money went.

The look on the judge’s face during their sentencing was priceless! I have -NO- idea how he kept it together!!! The kids were too scared to notice the smile on the judge’s face when he put his head down and covered his eyes with his hand, but he -had- to sentence something. These were -NOT- bad kids. Naive, yes. Bad, no.

Each child was sentenced separately, but it all came down to the same thing. Juvi “Boot Camp.” Boot Camp was just what you’d expect, but these were little, spry children compared to the lazy, “bad a$$” teenagers going through the same camp. All was held at the old Cousins, and the lil’ kids enjoyed the break from school. Run up the hill, roll back down, run up the hill, roll back down… It was PLAY time!!!

Juvenile records are sealed once the child reaches legal adulthood; 18 years old. Bet there are a lot of adults that would kill for the same thing. These lil’ kids were given a gentle lesson, and all turned out to be good men (don’t tell them I said so!).

The wisdom of a good judge can change a lil’ life forever. I thank all our Juvenile Judges for their service.