Not So Bucolic

What’s happening these days on Bainbridge Island?

Two Sakai Intermediate School students, aged 12, were arrested Thursday for purposefully putting strawberry lip gloss into their teachers’ drinks to give her an allergic reaction so they could skip class, Bainbridge police said.

Luckily, the teacher recognized the reaction, and took medication to stop it, police said.

Crime is up about 20 percent on the island — both in property and violent incidents — and some recent stories have some of us in our newsroom wondering: what’s happening in this seemingly bucolic community?


Four teens were arrested in February and charged with exposing themselves to a special needs student at Bainbridge High School in at least 50 separate incidents.

And Devin L. Williams, 21, told Bainbridge detectives he’d accidentally burned down “Ed’s Shed” a little league storage facility and announcing booth, because he was attempting to burn some old love letters.

Anyone have some theories on the increase in both crime and/or seemingly bizarre incidents?

23 thoughts on “Not So Bucolic

  1. My daughter is in that class at Sakai. I am very concerned. I appreciate you covering the story. I wish I knew what was going on with kids today… boredom i guess.

  2. Yes you should be concerned, no it’s not boredom……….. it’s no home training kids now are brought up with a sense of “entitlement” with no respect for authority or elders,they are not feeling compassion or passion about anything or anybody but themselves so blame the parents !

  3. IF my daughter did something like that I would tan her little behind.

    Kids now days run wild and a lot of parents idea of parenting is give them another pill and sit them in front of the TV.

  4. Some kids have always ‘run wild’ until they get beyond the run wild stage during their growing up process.
    If they are lucky no harm was done to or by them.
    Some parents work hard to be their child’s Best Friend. I’ve listened to parents proclaim their child tells them ‘everything …and overheard their kids joke with friends about it.
    Many kids have no responsibilities, no energy burning ‘chores’.

    What does the fact only 10 percent of the kids offered the free WASL tutoring last summer took advantage of it?

    Ten percent of that group of kids had parents that saw to it their child received the tutoring needed.

    Making the parents responsible for their children’s actions might change the juvenile crime rate.

    The kids trying to poison their teacher could have killed her.
    Those kids need to be put away … they crossed over the ‘prank’ line.
    Sharon O’Hara

  5. If my kid did something like this, she would be in jail…or at the very least, scared straight. Thank God she is not like these little hoodlums…I hope they get what they deserve.

  6. I have to agree with SHANE. When a child is screaming for attention, parents these days put them on medication and then blame the medication when the child does something wrong. I just can’t imagine what those 12 year-old girls were thinking. Thank goodness the teacher is alright. Let’s hope those girls get the help they really need.

  7. My dad always told me if I did something, got caught, went to jail, I would spend the night. Today kids are rude, have no respect and are in need of some good old behind the woodshed punishment. But wait, you do that and you might be branded a child abuser. I don’t care, if my kids screw up, they will pay piper. As for those two kids, their parents need to be taken behind the woodshed for allowing that kind of behavior.

  8. Please, before demonizing the parents, learn your facts.

    In the case of one of the girls, I can personally witness as to how much the parents have tried with their daughter.

    I happen to know both of the girls but am speaking up for the parents of one in particular. These parents have done everything in their power to help this little girl. Groundings? Yep! Does she have responsibilities at home (chores)? Yep! In fact, she went from nearly failing school to getting all 3’s and 4’s, thanks to her parents love, support and discipline. There have been times when this girl was to have done something special with my daughter and we’d get a call telling us that she was grounded and unable to come.

    Please, before demonizing the parents, know this: These parents’ dreams have just been shattered. The daughter they both love has done an extremely horrible crime. A community where they have lived and worked hard for many years will now shun them because of their daughters actions. (Don’t believe me, then please remember the community’s response to the Tolo Road accident several years ago.) They made the strong and right decision to leave their daughter in Juvie rather than bail her out. How many of us, as parents would have rushed to bail their child out as soon as possible? I believe that I would! They had the strength to call their daughters’ best friends mom and ask her to keep her daughter away from their daughter because they don’t want her dragged down into trouble too. Would you have that kind of strenth to admit to others that you’re losing hope for your own child, despite everything you’ve done?

    This child is NOT one of the average Bainbridge Island kids who belong to a two-parent, six plus figure income who is allowed to run free, do whatever they want, and is not held responsible for anything. The parents of one of the girls in this case are two hard working parents who DO discipline their child, set definte rules and boundaries for her and hold her accountable for her actions. They already are being punished for their daughters’ crime. They admit their daughter did it. They are losing the support of people they believed to be their friends. They’re hearing themselves being demonized by those who don’t even know them or all they’ve tried to do to help their daughter. They are seeing their failure blasted all over the news world-wide. Yes, they’ve had calls from friends as far away as Germany who have heard about this.

    Am I biased? Most likely I am. I know both girls personally. One for many years and one for only a few. One has been a friend of my daughter and one is the best friend of my daughter. My daughter is shattered. Her trust in her best friend is forever gone. Her love for her best friend is being tried. Her love for her best friends parents has expanded, for, unlike us adults, she has the compassion to know their pain for their sense of failure. Another piece of her childhood innocence has been irrevocably ripped away from her. She has now lost her best friend. She has lost another person she has called friend for many years. She is proud to call the girl who ran to the teacher (and most likely saved the teachers life!) yet another friend.

    So please, think before you rush to judge. Everything is not all black and white. Before you are so quick to judge, remember that others may be judging you by your response. And think, before you judge, that you are just adding more pain to the situation. And while you are thinking, I’ll be at court with my heart crying for a little girl who, yes, I still love very much, whose picture is still in my wallet next to my own childrens’ pictures … and with all my support and love for two heartbroken parents.

  9. Wow—Justoneproudmom you nailed it right on the head. Thank you for taking the time to post a powerful letter that so many people need to read and heed. People are so quick to judge before they have all information before them and I thank you.

  10. I totally agree with JOPM…it isn’t always the parents in cases like these. We can only do so much and we as parents have our hands tied (by the state) when it comes to discipline. I hope and pray that I have done my child right when it comes to discipline…I am her mother, not her friend. No one knows what exactly what happens to kids when they think it is okay to commit such acts. You DO find out who your friends are in times of trial. Don’t forget, these parents in this case are victims also. They are the ones who are ultimately going to have to answer for their children. I just hope that they let their kids pay the piper and don’t try to bail them out.

    I know someone else who has had to pay the price for his kid’s actions and his kid has taken total responsibility for his actions. Unfortunately, the other kids who were plotting together have spent no time behind Juvie walls for their part…no doubt they will do something else because they got away with it the first time. But, my friend’s kid will never do anything that even remotely comes close to the word “crime” ever again. He and his parents have and are paying the price. Hopefully, it won’t follow them forever…but, it probably will.

    CMC Spouse, this was not a cry for attention, this was an out right crime that they knew was wrong…the only help that they should get is some time in Juvie…or jail…so that they can truly appreciate what they have at home.

  11. Kris, don’t get me wrong. I totally agree with you those girls deserve the punishment they get…either time in juvie-hall or jail, but I also believe they need some serious help.
    When my daughter was in first grade, the assignment she was given was draw her needs and wants. All the kids drew, except one, houses, food, toys, etc. One little boy drew a picture of a stick person with blood. When it was his turn to stand up and explain his drawings, he said he wanted to know what it was like to shoot someone. (I happened to be volunteering in my daughter’s class that day.) Long story short, the parents were notified immediately and the child got the help he needed before it was too late. The little boy told the class he had seen it on TV and thought it looked cool.

  12. JustOneProudMom,

    Thank you for bringing the human side to the news.

    Each and every crime and news story involves real people and extended family of those in the story. It is so easy for us to pre-judge the situation based on our own personal experiences or generalizations.

    I’m grateful that the teacher was ok. Exposure to allergens can be very scary and potentially deadly for those of us with severe allergies. While I doubt the girls involved understood the magnitude and potential of their actions, they do need appropriate consequences. As the parent of a 12 year old, I know they don’t think real far ahead. But I also know that a solid set of consequences generally teaches them to measure the potential activity with the potential consequences. Still, they don’t always make the right choice. (sigh)

    Kudos to the girl’s parents who let her sit behind bars and contemplate her fate. That must have been very difficult. Hopefully, it will have some impact.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  13. Thank you A Sailor, you have given us something to consider. Perhaps this is the time for the court/legal system to step in and send a STRONG message to these girls that will act as a deterrent. I would like to say I have confidence in our system … unfortunately, that is not the case. All too often, teens and preteens commit horrendous acts and walk away with a slap on the wrist. What could be an opportunity to cease any future behaviors is negotiated away by soft county prosecutors and defense attorneys. I am sorry to say, but I have little confidence that Russ Hauge’s office will send these girls a STRONG message. (Nothing against Mr. Hauge).

    I have worked in the courts for many years. Time and time again, our court officials and judges throw away wonderful opportunities to curb and potentially prohibit future crimes. I am willing to bet that these girls will be given credit for time served (thanks to good parents that they served any time at all) and then placed on a years probation. Neither one of these girls will see the inside of Juvenile Hall again in relationship to this crime. However, I would propose, maybe these girls do need to be incarcerated for some more time. Let’s send them a good and strong message. One that is so intense that they never want to see the walls of Juvenile Hall again. This is in their best interest and in the interest of our community. I would like to say I believe our county prosecutors and judge will deliver a sentence that is equivalent to the crime committed.But I seriously doubt it. Once again…I believe our prosecutors will throw away this wonderful opportunity to serve these girls and our community. I willing to bet on it!!!

  14. I agree with JAPM. We really “blame parents first” these days, assuming a parent just didn’t ‘do it right.’ As my kids got older I felt that once they entered school and especially once they entered a peer group, my influence diminished rapidly. You can say, well, if you had instilled the right values, etc., but the fact is, the influence of same-age kids on each other is very very strong. I can also say that laws limiting parental rights are NOT helpful. For example, I had no right to supervise my daughter’s birth control. I was ‘out of the loop.’ Don’t you know kids quickly figure out what their status is and how the legal system can ‘help’ their ‘freedom.’ Insofar as the peer group represents the collective community, I guess I can take my share of the blame, but I truly feel something is wrong at the peer group level. I can’t pretend to know how to fix it. I am sorry for the families, and I wish the adult peer group on Bainbridge would grow up.

  15. I was there. My heart cried as I watched two parents I respect try to pull their shattered selves together and be strong for themselves and for their daughter. My heart bled as I listened to the weeping of a young 12 year old girl who had realized the harm she attempted to bring to another, the shame, the pain and the sense of failure she has brought upon her parents. The weeping of a young girl whose life will never be the same again. The weeping of a childhood lost. And oh yes, my heart bled.

    I would like to correct a couple of mistakes that some of you may have read on several news sites:

    REPORTED: The teacher went home early.

    FACT: As reported by the Bainbridge Island School District…the teacher took Benadryl and used her inhaler and finished out the day.

    REPORTED: The girls were in Juvie from Thursday until late Friday.

    TRUTH: One girl was finally bailed out of Juvie about ten o’clock on Sunday night. The other girl remained in Juvie as of her hearing on Monday afternoon. According to the court records, her family was hoping to post her bail later on Monday. What amazes me about this inaccuracy by Channel 5 is that in their typed release, they stated the above fiction. Yet, in their video report, they told the truth. And the Channel 7 reporter wondered why, at the arraignment on Monday, I told her that I had no comment because I don’t trust the newspeople! *L*

    The reason I’m sharing this? Once again, I want you all to know some of the story from the other side. The newsmen wanted to talk to me about what kind of girl one of the girls was. NO COMMENT! Not for one moment did I believe that they would share the stories of the girl I know. The girl who sits on the school bus, sharing a seat with a handicapped 6 year old, reading books to her, almost every day. The girl who is trying to overcome traumatic events that happened in her early most formative years of life.

    So yes, I was there. I was at court, loving a scared child, supporting two shattered parents, and blocking overzealous newsmen. I’m here, at home now, trying to help my daughter through it all. Trying to help her understand that her best friend has committed a serious crime.

    And oh yes, my heart is still crying and bleeding for all involved. For the girl I love who has destroyed her own childhood. For two parents who have tried so hard to raise their daughter right. For my daughter as she struggles to understand. And for the teacher who should have never had to have gone through this.

  16. A Sailor,
    Trust me, it’s not always the parents. Sometimes it is DSHS who have tied our hands so much so that we feel that we cannot discipline our children affectively. It IS partly society because society has said that we cannot spank our children…we cannot reasonably discipline our children…TV is violent…gameboy is violent…x-box is violent…MTV is violent…rap is violent…country music is violent…etc…etc…etc. Our children have become so desensitized by what they see every day. Even the news no longer censors violence. They show almost everything these days. And our kids are becoming used to it. So, I am not surprised by the actions of these two children. We no longer hold kids accountable for their behavior. Heaven forbid we damage their self esteem by making them study for tests and accepting failure when they indeed, fail…or teach them responsibility in a world of greed and “it’s all about me”. It’s no wonder children think it’s okay to poison their teachers. It’s no wonder that children shoot up their classmates because they have been victims of constant ridicule and bullying because no one stopped it in the first place.

    It’s a scary world that we live in…and we are ALL responsible for the way things are.

  17. I also have spent many days in our juvenile courts watching kids be thrown away. Kris you are so right about DSHS being at fault. In this case most likly indirectly,many others they are directly responsible for. as for spending time in detention goes.If juvenile hall were such a good deterrent the dention center would not be full of the same kids over and over. I personally know two foster kids that prefer jail to any foster home. To top it off they are not feeding these teenagers enough in there. Every kid I talked to about our good detering juvenile hall that was their only complaint. So if withholding food is the way our detention system deters further crime. It is not working. When asking if there is something I could do to generate more money for food for these kids,I was told they are fed properly. The foster kids I know went in their frail and drug addicted only to come out even more malnurished than when they arrived. There are better ways to disipline kids. Of coarse these girls need to have consequenses for their actions but not turning them into institionalized repeat offenders. The Judges that suposedly throw away these chances to help these kids?? I believe these Judges are just trying to do what they can with in the law. I also believe they do not want any child to become institionalized and keep returning. My best wishes to these struggling families, Hopefully these girls realize they are lucky to have parents that care.

  18. Ms. Ehrhardt,
    Are you serious? These girls from BI should thank their lucky stars if they get bread and water three times a day. Juvie-hall isn’t a country club. Sorry they couldn’t have their cake and eat it to. My girlfriend has worked at JH for many years and said the children are fed three meals a day. It may not be the best tasting, but then again they aren’t there to be wined and dined. Sorry that lobster and caviar aren’t on the menu. I guess maybe they should have thought about that before they tried to poison their teacher.
    As for their punishment, what do you suggest? A slap on the hand, grounded for the weekend, and maybe go as far as taking their cell phones away. Come on. These girls could have seriously, if not worse, hurt this teacher. I have a 14 year old daughter and her father and I are lucky that she gets good grades and is well behaved. But she does get into trouble. She has lied about doing homework or “forgot” to do her chores, but she has never planned and carried about anything illegal – and worse yet to seriously harm someone.
    I, too, wish the parents best wishes, but it’s time to stop blaming everyone else and let these girls learn about “tough love”.

  19. Many kids have had challenging, bad stuff happen to them.
    Very few of those kids plan out and execute a plot to poison a teacher – or anyone.
    Something is seriously wrong with any kid PLANNING to hurt anyone ..especially someone who is only ‘guilty’ of being their teacher.
    DSHS has nothing to do with this…unless they threatened to harm the girls if they didn’t poison their teacher.
    Sharon O’Hara

  20. First of all, of course these kids get 3 meals a day. The portion sizes are just very small. Ask the kids that spend time at our country club on Old Clifton Rd.. You may read about it in the paper one day soon. To my knowledge several parents are intending to sue with the help of medical professionals. Our Judges in Juvenile court are very educated and compassionate. I trust their judgment when it concerns juvenile offenders. Those two foster kids I spoke of were good students until DSHS became their parents. They are the directly affected children. The others that are indirectly affected are the ones that come from parents that are afraid to discipline their children, maybe they know someone that has had their kids taken and ruined by DSHS for no real reason. These girls are suffering consequences. Just because they live on Bainbridge does not make them any different than any other kid. If these girls were intending to really harm this teacher they would have used something with real strawberries. I highly doubt they investigated the possibilities that artificially flavored lip gloss could trigger an allergic reaction. Thankfully the teacher was not harmed.

  21. Yesterday the news was full of the horror of a school shooting spree killing 32 people before the gunman shot his own face off…”…the worst in U.S. history.”
    That gun person had parents, family and friends too.
    I wonder if they had early warning but ignored it, excused it?
    And now 32 people are dead and their family and friends have their lives changed forever..
    Sharon O’Hara

  22. Maybe his family didn’t have a clue. He must have gotten good grades in high school,or he would not have been at VA Tech. From my interactions with Korean families their culture consists of very close family ties. Much more than most American born families I have seen. This is, I am sure horrible for his family to be enduring. We will all find out more as it hits the media.

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