Empire Editorial: Thank you, parents

It isn’t easy being a parent.


There are the diapers, crying and sleepless nights. When they get older, it’s “no” and endless, repetitive hours of the same favorite TV show, book or game.

When they become young adults, it gets even harder — the kids are old enough to make many of their own decisions, and sometimes they make the wrong ones.

This week, a handful of Juneau parents made the toughest decision they’ll probably ever make with their kids. They turned them in to the Juneau Police Department.

The kids — five boys aged 16, 10, 8, 7 and 6 — were the culprits behind the vandalism of Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School two weeks ago. The kids broke into the school and a vending machine, then lit on fire a backpack full of body spray cans — in effect turning it into a bomb.

These acts went above the normal class of juvenile prank, and the boys’ parents acted accordingly.

It couldn’t have been an easy decision. We want to believe the best of our children and our family. We know they’re good people, we see the good they do, and because they behave with kindness toward us, we believe they show that same kindness toward others.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always true.

Sometimes, the best course is through the rocks, rather than around them. The parents of these boys have taken a tough path, but it’s the correct one.

We encourage the juvenile justice system to consider moderation when punishing these boys, should they be proven guilty. Rather than juvenile detention, we support appropriate punishments that ameliorate the harm caused by vandalism.

Perhaps a few days working alongside the school’s maintenance staff will show these boys the effects of their juvenile act.

It’s never too early to learn that actions have consequences. There are more than 7 billion people on the Earth, and it behooves all of us — not just the young — to stop and think about the consequences our actions have on others.

Behind every set of eyes is a thinking, self-aware mind as vital and important as our own.

Thank you, parents, for reminding us to stop and think about our decisions. We might no longer be kids, but it’s not too late for us to learn.

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include Publisher Rustan Burton, rustan.burton@juneauempire.com; Director of Audience Abby Lowell, abby.lowell@juneauempire.com; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland, charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com; and Asst. Editor James Brooks, james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com.


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