After a 5th grade boy accused of threatening to carry out a mass shooting was "perp walked" — that is, escorted in handcuffs to a sheriff's vehicle in front of a video camera — and the 10-year-old's mug shot was made public, the sheriff of Lee County, Florida, told the Daily Mail harsher and scarier punishment for young violators is the best way to keep them out of trouble in the future.
"The vast majority of parents come forward and tell me, 'Thank you for doing that. My child is now afraid of the consequences,'" Carmine Marceno added to the outlet. "It is changing the way we behave. It’s changing the way children think."
In fact, the outlet said Marceno & Co. have shared at least nine juvenile mugshots in recent years — and he defended doing so.
"If a 10 year old, 12 year old, 18 year old presses the trigger, the aftermath is the same," he told the Daily Mail, adding that it "doesn’t matter who it is; you commit a felony, you write a threat to commit a mass shooting in a school, the mugshot, the picture, it's all going up there because the days of people trying to protect or hide are done."
'Please sit your children down'
He added to the outlet that parents must get to the bottom of what their kids are up to and issue warnings if necessary: "Please sit your children down and tell them 'fake threat, real consequences.'"
"At what point or where does that child get the idea of committing a mass shooting or threatening to do so? Is the child on the Internet? Does he see it on the news and copycat it?" Marceno continued to the Daily Mail, adding that "he learns it [from] somewhere, and it's important for that parent or guardian ... to say, 'Did you see what happened today on the news? Did you see the unfortunate events that are taking place in the rest of the world?' And sit their child down and say, "How do you feel about that? Do you understand that you have a smartphone? Do you understand that if you say something like that, the repercussions are being charged with a felony? It's life-changing. Your picture is going to be on the news.'"
'We need to get back to the old school'
Marceno also said the way many parents handled discipline in the past needs to come back in a hurry.
"We need to get back to the old school," he told the Daily Mail. "I can tell you this: When I was growing up, my parents just looked at me, and I knew all bets were off. We need to get back to the old school and hold people accountable."
He added to the outlet that "when I was growing up, the nun hit you with a wooden ruler. You understood what was right and wrong. Today what do we do? Society says, 'Well, if your parents discipline you, and any kind of abuse, come forward so we can report your parent.' So parents are afraid, they're afraid to discipline their kids."