A kid's point of view: 'I'm not surprised at that reaction'

A kid's point of view: 'I'm not surprised at that reaction' »Play Video
Alex English, son of KATU reporter Joe English, says he can relate to what the 11-year-old boy accused of bring weapons to school is going through.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – The 11-year-old boy accused of bringing a gun to school with plans to shoot a classmate gave an expletive-laced outburst in court.

His family says he's troubled. They've sought help but are frustrated.

I have my own perspective from my personal life and the perspective of my 16-year-old son, Alex.

He's never taken a gun to school, but he's had similar behavioral issues. As we watched the video of the middle school boy in court, we both could feel the pressure on this kid and his parents.

"I'm not surprised at that reaction," my son says after watching the Frontier Middle School student find out from the judge that he didn't get to go home. The boy's frozen for several minutes except for the tears. Then he lashes out at the people around him.

"I probably would have done the same thing – told them not to touch me or go anywhere near me. But that's just me," my son says.

Alex doesn't know the boy but says he knows the feeling: a hoard of adults standing and staring at you, not knowing what they expect.

He takes a guess at what's going through the kid's head.

"I'm guessing it's a combination of thoughts of why did I do this, why am I such a bad person, why and how did I end up here, why are these people treating me so badly?"

He can see the boy needs help. But he says the adults in the courtroom, their actions, body language, what they're saying, isn't making things better.

"It's ridiculous to think anyone would try to put this much pressure on this little kid," Alex says. "This 11-year-old kid who really didn't know what the consequences of any of this were."

Alex agrees the boy shouldn't be in school but shouldn't be locked up either. His time should be done somewhere he at least feels a little bit safe.

"There is no hope unless the people in his life play a role. Unless they actually help him out a bit," my son says.

My son was willing to talk because over the years he has been able to talk more about it. When he was 11 years old, he couldn't tell people what he was feeling, and he's hoping people will be patient with this boy – not that he hasn't done something seriously wrong – but listen to what he's saying and what he's not saying. And help him to express that, and that's going to help make him better in the long run.