Why Is Kyle Thompson Under House-Arrest?

Kyle Thompson likes playing football, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. The Michigan student has also been under house arrest since last March and barred from school for six months. Why? His teacher wanted to see a note he had written, His teacher wanted to see a note he had written, a joking “hit list” of people he wanted to hit on the football field, and she tried to take it from him. He thought she was teasing him about it and was playfully trying to get the note back. When he realized this wasn't play, he immediately let her have the note. That misunderstanding got Kyle thrown in jail, and placed under house arrest.

Kyle is part of a national trend where children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Many of these children have learning disabilities or histories of poverty, abuse or neglect, and would benefit from additional educational and counseling services. Instead, they are isolated, punished and pushed out. "Zero-tolerance" policies criminalize minor infractions of school rules, while cops in school lead to students being criminalized for behavior that should be handled inside the school. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

The ACLU believes that children should be educated, not incarcerated. We are working to challenge policies and practices that contribute to the school to prison pipeline.

Watch Kyle's video below, and to learn more about the school-to-prison pipeline here.

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Kevin Cannell

My wife and I recently received a letter from the District Attorney's office in response to a "physical altercation" that my 11 year old son had last May. Both of the children were suspended for 3 days. The letter states that my son must enroll into a juvenile diversion program or be charged with a M3. Obviously my wife and I are in complete shock. We spoke to the school principle who informed us that under the zero tolerance policy, all physical altercations with children 10 years of age and older were reported to the police department. Criminalizing childish behavior is terrifying, and we must inform other parents to what the Zero Tolerance Policy really means to our community.

Bryan Carey

I had heard that Kyle Thompson's court date was October 17 (yesterday) but I have not been able to find any news anywhere about whether his expulsion was upheld or if he could go back to school. Are there any updates concerning his case after yesterday's hearing?


Kyle Thompson's court date has been further delayed until Dec 2-3.


Education should be compulsory for everyone. Not just in Academics.
It should include teaching Virtues, Character Building, The Difference from Right and Wrong, Common Sense, Good Judgement, Emotional Intelligence, Diversity of the Cultures, Beliefs, Traditions, Socio-Economics, Languages, Arts and Sciences of Humanity and Respect and Tolerance for these Differences, the Elimination of Prejudice of All Kinds, Learn and Understand the importance and meaning of Human Rights for Everyone and why We All must Uphold and Protect these Rights.
This type of Education is important to the prevention of crime and the rehabilitation of the criminals who commit them, it is also important to the betterment of the criminal justice system. Of course there will be those who are either incapable or refuse to learn and use the knowledge for their own benefit, there always are due to psychological or developmental reasons. However because of the compulsory education described, individuals will be able to independently investigate the truth for themselves, less likely to commit crimes because they are able to exercise good judgement, with emotional intelligence, virtues in their character, and use restraint. Therefore reducing the numbers of new criminals and repeat offenders. The best use of time during incarcerations is educational development.
As for Kyle, he learned his lesson the moment the teacher took the note away from him and he knew she wasn't playing. As harmless as the note maybe, how would he feel or any of us for that matter if we found out our name is on someone's "Hit List". Wouldn't it make you wonder why? What did you do to get your name on somebody's hit list? Does that person really think I deserve it? Kyle and others should ask themselves these questions and realize how hurtful psychologically it could be to anyone on their lists. Like teasing, bullying, gossip and backbiting someone is always the victim or perpetrator whether they realize it or not. Do No Harm. Is the lesson.


Was he arrested for writing the list, or for using force in an effort to retain possession of it?


I had the same question, what exactly was he expelled for. The note itself, which may be seen as assault, his "use of force" to keep the note (arguable point), or the alleged assault on the teacher that the ACLU seems to have left out?

Lindsay Barrow

I think this is a great story. I am doing a project on students rights in school. I feel that yes it was wrong for him to do this but it was a great learning experiment. Now that all this has happened to him hopefully it wont happen agin. And it may be a good thing he got thrown off the team hopefully he learned something.

Lea Grant

Kyle's story is disheartening. The School to Prison Pipeline is unjust and unfair. I teared up when viewing his story. To be placed out of school for six months is unfounded. I believe in discipline however his was extreme. To take Kyle off of the football team for six months, yes I can see that. However to tarnish his educational attributes and put in him in the system is just crazy!

As a parent I understand.

Please help me advocate for my daughter's education by signing the referenced online link at www.change.org

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