Age Of Accountability

Recently the New York Times ran an article describing an incident where two young children ran into an 80+ year old woman on their bicycles.  The children were 4 and 5 years old and are being sued.  These toddlers on training wheels are being held accountable for their reckless actions.  I think we can all agree that a 4 & 5 year old should not be sued – possibly their parents, but that is another story.  What is the age for accountability and why are we as a society so inconsistent?

Why are we quick to hold a 4 year old responsible for running into an old woman on her bike, but scared of holding a 14 year old responsible for doing his homework? We hide behind this notion that if we fail a 14 year old he/she will feel “discouraged” and will quit trying.  You know, that might be true.  Life is hard.  And if this 14 year old doesn’t have the internal spirit to overcome failing out of 9th grade and still succeeding in life than I doubt he will magically gain it by the time he is 18 and in my classroom.

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