11-Year-Old Arrested Over Therapeutic Stick Figure Drawing

In February 2011, Nonsensical News on February 24, 2011 at 7:17 am

February 22, 2011

An 11-year old Colorado boy has been arrested after making a violent stick figure drawing at the instruction of his therapist. The child, identified only as “Tim,” suffers from attention deficit disorder (ADD) and was told by his therapist to draw pictures whenever he feels agitated or upset. But what the child drew got him hauled off in handcuffs by police. He was arrested, fingerprinted and placed on probation, all at the ripe old age of 11.

What did little “Tim” draw to land himself in such a mess? His stick figure drawing depicted him shooting his teachers, with “they must die” written above their heads. According to KWGN in Denver, “Tim” felt better after completing the drawing. He crumpled it up and was going to throw it away when it was intercepted by his teacher, who then alerted the principal. The school knew that the boy was in therapy, determined that he was not a threat, and sent him back to class after notifying his parents about the incident.

Imagine their surprise, then, when police showed up at their home that night. They informed the parents that they were arresting “Tim”, then proceeded to haul him off in handcuffs. His mother begged officers to allow her to remain with her son through the booking process but they refused. He was treated like any other criminal– mug shots and fingerprints were taken, then he was locked in a cell. He thought he would never be released.

“Tim” explained to police that he never intended to harm his teachers and that he’d only made the drawing to help deal with his ADD. Still, he’s been charged with interfering with staff and students at an educational facility,  a third- degree misdemeanor.

It seems, however, as there may have been some misconduct on the part of police who questioned little “Tim.” His parents say that if they’d known their son’s cooperation with police would be used as evidence against him, they would have told him to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent and hired an attorney.


  1. Everyone wants to say the police over-reacted, but I representative a group of citizens who’ve lost family members to stick person violence, and we think the police acted appropriately.

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