Response to Kids’ Misbehavior: “Good Old Days” vs. Now

older generation of kids, historical comparison of children,

Learning from earlier generations. (CC by 2.0 SimpleInsomnia)

Unable to find a job in my field after college, I ended up working as a nursing home activity director. It was the best job in the place. Unlike overworked staff in other departments, I had time to form real relationships with the residents. This was 25-some years ago (yes, I’m that old). Our 100 bed unit was brimming with people too frail to care for themselves but most were otherwise mentally acute. (Not one patient with today’s unnecessary plague, Alzheimer’s disease.)

These elders were in their 80’s and 90’s, born around the 1900’s or slightly before, and always happily reminisced with someone willing to listen. They were extraordinary teachers and gave me perspectives I could have encountered nowhere else. One angle new to me was how differently childhood was viewed by adults back when they were growing up.

Kids worked hard then. They were expected to do heavy chores at home as well as work on the family farm or family business. Some even held jobs in factories. But when their obligations were over they were entirely free. They roamed the streets or woods with their peers, improvised games, put on their own skits and plays, made playthings like twig whistles and soapbox cars, built forts, swung from vines into swimming holes, and indulged in make-believe well into their early teens. They skirted around the adult world in a realm of their own, as children have done throughout human history.

criminalizing children, school-to-prison pipeline,

Costumed kids, skit to come. (image: Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries)

I’m not implying that childhood was remotely easy back then. Aside from hard work there seemed to be very little recognition of a child’s emotional needs. Worse, it was a time of blatant racial, gender, ethnic, and class discrimination. But I’d like to point out that when these elders were kids back in 1910’s and 1920’s many of them caused real trouble. Here are a few of the more extreme stories they told me.

Halloween was a holiday with no real adult involvement or interest. That night kids of all ages went out trick-or-treating, knowing they weren’t likely to get a treat (cookie or apple) from most neighbors. Preteens or teens often played tricks to retaliate. Soaping windows was the mildest trick they described. Most were much worse. Wooden steps were pulled away from doors, gravestones left in yards, pigs let out of pens, fires set in dry cornfields ready for harvest, water pumped into basements. One man told me he and his friends put an elderly widow’s buggy on top of her back porch roof. It wasn’t till a few days later that her plight was noticed and someone strong enough to help could get it down. A common Halloween prank was lifting an outhouse a foot or so to the side. In the dark, an unsuspecting person heading out to use it was likely to fall into the hole.

A 14-year-old stole whiskey from a bootlegger and got shot at as he ran off. Another bootlegger was blamed and never seen again.

A 15-year-old took her older sister’s papers booking passage on a ship to the U.S., saying her sister could better look after their family back home. Once she arrived, she worked as a cook for a family that paid for the ticket, answered to her sisters name, married under that name, and gained citizenship under that name. Her sister used the same name back in Ireland all that time.

There were plenty of other stories. Public drunkenness, fist fights that turned into brawls, runaways who rode the rails and runaways who got married against their parents’ wishes, shoplifting, breaking into school offices to change grades and steal tests, and one story of a school riot over a change in dismissal time.

These people suffered no appreciable consequences from authorities.

Not. One. Of. Them.

Their parents were certainly angry if they found out. The usual punishment? More chores. If police were informed they gave the kids a talking to, in the most extreme cases put them in the back of a squad car for a more serious talking to at the police station. No charges. No jail time. No record of their misdeeds beyond a local cop’s memory. Back then, it was assumed that kids would grow out of it.

All of these people grew up to work stable jobs and own homes. Most were married until death parted them from their spouses. One was a judge, one a career military officer, several were in the skilled trades, several others were business owners, many were homemakers and tireless volunteers, nearly all were proud parents of highly accomplished children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Yet today’s kids are being criminalized.

I’m not for a moment defending any young person’s impulse to wreak mayhem at home or in the community. I am saying that today’s response to (far less drastic) behaviors common during any child’s growing up years is appalling.

These days armed officers roam schools in thousands of districts. Studies show their presence doesn’t actually improve safety. Instead, children are often treated like criminals for common disciplinary issues such as yelling, swearing, or pushing. Here are a few of the more extreme examples.

A seventeen-year-old girl spent 24 hours in jail for truancy. This honors student works two jobs to help support her family and can’t always get to school.

A six-year old boy and avid Cub Scout was suspended for five days after bringing to school his Cub Scout eating utensil containing a fork, spoon, and knife. Due to public pressure, the school board voted to spare him the other punishment he’d received: 45 days in reform school.

A thirteen-year-old boy was handcuffed, arrested, and transported from school to a Juvenile Detention Center although his parents weren’t notified. His crime? He “burped audibly” in gym class.

A twelve-year-old girl was arrested for doodling on a desk with a green marker.

A seventeen-year-old boy who broke up a fight between two girls was shot with a taser by a deputy on duty at the school. The young man suffered a brain hemorrhage, spent 67 days in intensive care, and remains brain injured. The officer wasn’t charged due to lack of evidence.

The Guardian interviewed Deborah Fowler, who authored a 200-page study of the consequences of policing in Texas schools. They report,

…most schools do not face any serious threat of violence and police officers patrolling the corridors and canteens are largely confronted with little more than boisterous or disrespectful childhood behavior.

What we see often is a real overreaction to behavior that others would generally think of as just childish misbehavior rather than law breaking,” said Fowler. Tickets are most frequently issued by school police for “disruption of class,” which can mean causing problems during lessons but is also defined as disruptive behavior within 500 ft of school property such as shouting, which is classified as “making an unreasonable noise.”

Minority students are much more likely to be disciplined, fined, or arrested than white students in what’s being called the school-to-prison pipeline. Huge corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and smaller companies like AIM Truancy Solutions lobby for get-tough policies that bring them big profits in tax-payer money.

In some states tickets are issued, even in primary grades. These citations may compel the student to appear in court to face sentences including fines, court costs, and mandatory participation in remedial programs. This means the child is now entered into the judicial system, with police or court records that may or may not be sealed. If students don’t appear or their families can’t afford the fines, an arrest warrant may automatically be issued when they turn 17. This means childish misbehavior can follow young people into their adult lives. There’s a common question on applications for college, the military, and employment “Have you ever been charged with a crime?”  The answer, for these kids, is “yes.”

Heavy-handed tactics used against children may get worse very soon. School districts in 22 states including Texas, California, Florida, Kansas, and Utah are participating in a federal program which provides military surplus to local law enforcement organizations. We’re talking gear like assault rifles, extended magazines, military vehicles, and other weapons intended for combat.

What happened to free range childhood? Why do we act as if every choice a child makes must be the correct one? That risks are always too risky? That freedom of any kind equals danger?

The goal of creating high-achieving young people through unremitting scrutiny, at times backed up by force, is wrong. But today’s treatment of young people isn’t even based on evidence. Ask any high-achieving adult about their youthful high jinks. Better yet, ask the oldest people still left to us. A long look back may be the cure we need.

“We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self-control.”  inscription in an Ancient Egyptian tomb

“I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless… When I was young we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly unwise and impatient.”   -Hesiod, 8th century BC 

“The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest, and unladylike in speech, behavior, and dress.”   -Peter the Hermit, sermon preached 1274 AD

what your great-grandparents did, oral history,

What our elders can tell us. (CC by 2.0 SimpleInsomnia)

Don’t Deprive Kids Of Risk

let kids take risks, don't overprotect,

jessicareeder’s flickr photostream

I publicly admitted to letting my teen take risks that would make most parents shudder. I’m not talking about the month long backpacking trip my 16-year-old took with his older brother and a friend. Nope, I’m talking about letting him meet up with middle-aged guys he talks to online.

The circumstances were perfectly suited to advancing his maturity as well as his skills. But to most parents, that decision marks me as a very bad mother. I’ll take that risk. Parenting has a lot to do with drawing the line between safe and unsafe. And then there’s that pesky line between good and bad.

It found it easier to see absolutes when my kids were babies. Bottle or breast, free play or playpen, guiding or scolding. The choices seemed easy. As they got older I didn’t lose my cherished parenting philosophies and obnoxiously healthy dietary scruples, but I did relax into the gray area. Some would say I’ve gotten too relaxed.

Every day I watch as parents pile their cars with their darling backpack-laden children, then transport them all the way to the end of the driveway where they sit, engines idling, until the school bus arrives. The reverse process takes place in the afternoon. These kids are spared more than the exercise required to get from house to curb. Presumably they’re also kept safe from potential child abduction. I don’t know if this is the case in your neighborhood but it’s a standard practice around here, even though I live in a rural township so small that it doesn’t have a single traffic light. (It’s rumored we may get lines painted on the streets.)

Despite the pastoral beauty of our area, kids rarely play outside. Clearly their parents are quite a bit more cautious than I am. Apparently this is a major trend. With the very best intentions kids are kept indoorswatched closely, even monitored. But why?

According to How to Live Dangerously by Warwick Cairns, “stranger danger” is so vastly overblown that you’d have to leave your child outside (statistically speaking) for about 500,000 years before he or she would be abducted by a stranger.

Violence against kids has markedly decreased and the overall crime rate continues to plummet. A teen is three times safer today than a teen in 1979. Sure, there was no Internet in the 70’s but online, the real danger to kids tends to be peer harassment. A larger danger? Kids who have no experience with real challenges.

Kids require escalating responsibility as well as escalating risk in order to grow toward a healthy adulthood. The common practice of delaying risk (and often responsibility as well) stems from the best motivations: love, concern for their safety, interest in staying closely involved. But today’s highly cautious approach to parenting actually inhibits a young person’s healthy development, according to Too Safe for Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive by resilience expert Michael Ungar. It can result in young people who are overly anxious or who take unnecessarily dangerous risks. It can also leave them unprepared for adulthood.

The decisions I make for my family probably aren’t the ones you make for yours. I give my kids the go-ahead to build spud cannons in the name of science but I wouldn’t dream of giving them non-organic celery. I encourage them to join online special interest forums but abhor movies with gratuitous violence. It’s not easy to keep looking at where we draw the line, but just like you, I’ll risk anything for my kids.

Natural Antidote To Bullying

antidote to bullying, free play prevents bullying, bullies made by restrictions, nature prevents bullies,

Wikimedia Commons

Children are drawn to challenge themselves. They need to take risks of all kinds—physical, social, emotional, intellectual—in order to grow into mature self-reliance.

Where do such challenges most naturally occur? Outdoors. As detailed in Last Child in the Woods, when children spend time in natural areas their play is more creative and they self-manage risk more appropriately. They’re more likely to incorporate each other’s ideas into expressive make-believe scenarios using their dynamic surroundings—tall grasses become a savannah, tree roots become elf houses, boulders become a fort. Their games are more likely to incorporate peers of differing ages and abilities. Regular outdoor experiences not only boost emotional health, memory, and problem solving, they also help children learn how to get along with each other in ever-changing circumstances. Free outdoor play with others, especially when it’s not hampered by adult interference, teaches kids to interact with others while also maintaining self-control. Otherwise, no one wants to play with them. It’s the best sort of learning because it’s fun. Sounds like the perfect way to raise bully-proof kids doesn’t it?

But the opportunity for free play and risk is funneled into very narrow options for today’s children. They are shuttled from one adult-run activity to another. Time between these obligations is often spent indoors. And children’s outdoor play is restricted by excessive rules designed to keep them safe from dangers out of proportion to any real safety issue.

So kids don’t get natural challenges like climbing trees, exploring fields, building forts. They are deprived of the rich lessons of cooperation and self-control found in free play. And they don’t develop biophilia, that essential sense of connection with nature. Then we expect them to get along and recognize real risk. Any wonder that bullying is a growing problem?

Here are examples of playground designs that, in institutions like schools and daycare programs, foster free play using natural materials. Sensory play, places for solitude, and opportunities for physical risk are built in and, no surprise, children get along better.

It’s a step in the right direction. A few steps farther and we’ll let kids back in nature herself, playing in woods and fields and beaches. Too bad all the money thrown at anti-bullying programs aren’t used to fling open the doors to the natural world. “Go out and play,” may very well be the best anti-bullying advice yet.

What the French Revolution Can Teach Us About Parenting

A Deck of Cards Dating Back to the French Revolution Where Kings Have Been Replaced With Wise Men (Solo, Plato, Cato, & Brutus), and Queens With Virtues (Justice, Union, Prudence, & Force) La Bibliofilia

The parent I would become was changed by history. Or at least by revelations history can offer.

At 18, I signed up for a college history course simply to fulfill a requirement.  Although I’ve forgotten the professor’s name, I’ll never forget the man. He was oddly proportioned with a short round body that didn’t match his oversized head. His florid face, full lips, and bulging eyes gave the impression that he was continually strangled by an unseen hand. Stadium seating in our introductory history class of nearly 100 students made him look even more foreshortened as he stood below us at the front of the room. He used no visual aids, no videos, only an occasional map that he drew himself on the board. He spoke without notes about a subject that impassioned him. As he lectured his voice started to quaver, his hands trembled in front of him, and he leaned forward looking at us with red-rimmed eyes. He was overwhelmed with the task. His lessons had to sink in.

That lesson was the same no matter what era we studied. He taught us to look at all of history using one pivotal question.

What happens when people are deprived of (or otherwise separated from) the consequences of their words and actions?

We studied the elite in various societies throughout history who were insulated from the consequences of their actions, even if the working poor around them suffered more and more from decisions made by the elite. We analyzed the larger impact this had on the culture over time. Then we narrowed it down. We looked at rulers who were typically brought up with all the advantages of privilege. Those who rarely experienced the consequences of their actions from childhood on tended to make decisions that resulted in tragedy, sometimes immediately, sometimes in ways that resounded for generations.

Any time we stumble on truth we see how it interconnects with larger truths. That was the case with my history professor’s question. I saw that theme, consequences, everywhere I looked—- in literature, in politics, and in the news being reported each day. I saw it in relationships around me. And on weekends, while volunteering with a project that offered services to teen addicts, I saw it there too.

So I vowed to use what I’d gained from my history professor when I became a parent. When my toddlers made a mess, even spilling a drink, I offered them a rag and some assistance cleaning it up but I didn’t do it for them. That work was their own. As they got older I expected them to give me three reasons when they wanted to do something outside our normal rules. They learned impeccable logic in the service of their own interests. And when they were teens I didn’t keep them from taking reasonable risks, knowing that they had developed a fine awareness of their own abilities.  I certainly suffer at times from parenting this way.  My kids expect ME to deal with the consequences of my own words and actions.  I can’t rant about an idiot driver on the road without one of my kids telling me it’s an opportunity to practice inner peace. That’s what happens when my words come back to bite me.

Too many kids are deprived of the consequences on a small scale. When parents help a child on and off playground equipment for fear of falls, the child is taught she can’t trust her own body. If a parent takes over building a model when the child becomes frustrated, the child is taught he is incompetent. If a parent refuses to let a child take the blame after hurting another child, she is being taught to avoid responsibility (and empathy). These aren’t the messages parents intend to convey. They’re hoping to make things safer, easier, and happier for their children. But frustration, embarrassment, even a few bruises are important parts of the maturing process. Attempts to make childhood frictionless are misguided. Worse, the consequences of words and actions on a larger scale may be much harder for these children to understand. At least that’s what history tells us.

Maria Theresa of Savoy, comtesse d'Artois

Making Heroism Happen

Notice similar statements when people who have committed heroic acts are interviewed? They tend to say, “I wasn’t trying to be a hero, I was just doing what anyone would have done.”  (This from a man who climbed into a burning car to save a woman.)

we can all be heroes

Hero: Wesley Autrey

Or  “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular” (this from a man who leaped in front of an oncoming subway train to pull an unconscious man from the tracks.)

Hero: Jencie Fagan

Or “I think anybody else would have done it.” (This from a teacher who stopped a school shooter by embracing him in a bear hug.)

The same rationale is heard from people who rise to heroic acts despite living with difficult circumstances of their own.

A homeless man who tried to tackle robbers during an attempted hold-up of a Brinks truck and memorized the license plate of their get-away car said, “You just gotta look out for what’s happening with people around you other than yourself.”

A teen with an extensive criminal record stole a bus to drive victims of Hurricane Katrina to safety. He explained, “The police was leaving people behind. I had to pick up people on the bus. The police didn’t want to do nothing. We stepped up and did what we had to  do.”

And a homeless man lost his few possessions after jumping into an icy river to rescue a drowning woman. He said “I just did what needed to be done because someone needed my help.”

what it takes to be a hero

Hero: Adan Abobaker

In their own words heroes continue to tell us that what they have done is not at all extraordinary. If we hold heroes apart from us as superhuman and describe their actions as unfathomably brave, we deny that all of us have the capacity to be heroes if the need arises.

We can develop that capacity. When I lead non-violence workshops we start by working on issues of empathy (identifying with the emotions, ideas, and attitudes of others) as well as empowerment to act on that empathy. Both are necessary to break through what’s been called the “bystander effect.” This was first identified by Ervin Staub, who survived under Nazi rule due to the kindness of others. Dr. Staub explains in  The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence that it takes the willingness of those who are uninvolved (bystanders) to step in, advocating for the victim or victims, in order to halt the escalation of violence and to uphold the common good. Without such bystanders, atrocities such as war and genocide are “permitted” to happen.

The bystander effect is active on a smaller scale as well. Studies show if an emergency unfolds before a group of people they’re less likely to take action, basing their decisions on the behavior of those around them. If that same emergency presents itself in front of one person they are more likely to take action. We’ve all heard of these situations precisely because they’re so heinous.

What’s the difference between those who ignore suffering and those who are moved to alleviate suffering? People who have imperiled their lives for months or years to help others can give us some insight. Svetlana Broz, author of Good People in an Evil Time: Portraits of Complicity and Resistance in the Bosnian War, says it requires at least three attributes.

1. The courage to think for oneself, resisting conformity even at the risk of one’s own safety.

2. A moral core that inspires action.

3. The capacity to empathize with those who are dissimilar.

Hero: Zofia Baniecka, rescued 50 Jews during Holocaust

Eva Fogelman, author of Conscience and Courage: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust, writes that heroic acts tend to come from a deep sense of common humanity. The roots of this behavior may stem from early upbringing. Fogelman notes that many Holocaust rescuers themselves suffered and were sensitized to the suffering of others. They also tended to have been raised in loving families where self-worth was fostered and reason rather than punishment was used as discipline.

Social scientists still know quite a bit more about aberrant behavior than why people choose to do good. That’s changing according to Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.  Zimbardo conducted the now infamous 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment (check it out on this slide show) which demonstrated that psychologically normal people will instigate and take part in atrocities. Now Zimbardo is devoting himself to bringing forth the brighter side. He’s started an organization called  Heroic Imagination Project which aims to teach the rudiments of heroism.

Currently a pilot project, it consists of four main educational components taught over four weeks.

  1. Students initially learn about us versus them attitudes, unthinking obedience to authority, and other human tendencies which unwittingly allow cruelties to happen.
  2. Next they work on building empathic responses through listening, paying attention, and “walking a mile in the other guy’s shoes.”
  3. Then they study heroic stories, seeking role models and discovering that compassionate action does inspire.
  4. And finally they practice heroic behavior on a daily basis by translating their good intentions into action, no matter how small.

We don’t have to wait for a course. The steps taught by the Heroic Imagination Project are the building blocks of human decency, things we should teach our children every day and should continue to develop in ourselves.

We’re captivated by real heroes in the news and imaginary heroes in the movies because they call out the best in us. Such stories ask us to live up to our values, not only when we’re in extreme situations.

It’s also time to recognize unsung heroes around us everywhere. They don’t get publicity because their deeds don’t seem extraordinary. Unselfish acts performed a million times a minute weave us together as a caring species. We tend to the helpless, comfort the sorrowful, share knowledge, and create happiness. Such kindness is contagious, each act of compassion and cooperation spreading out in enlarging waves of goodwill. Such efforts may seem small, but they are the basis for making heroism happen.

On the Beating Death of a Snapping Turtle

snapping turtle migration, snapping turtle endangered,

Our neighbor beat a snapping turtle to death. The life taken stays with me.

Every spring we see snapping turtles near our pond. We’re glad to see them return. Perhaps their presence reassures us that our farm is bountiful and feeds them well. Or perhaps their yearly return is a ritual of sorts, acknowledging as rituals do that some things stay the same in a world where so much changes.

The turtles are quite noticeable as they move with prehistoric dignity through the grass. If we pass by they slide into the water. Sometimes we’ve had to move them (very carefully) out of the way of a tractor. Other times we’ve had to caution children or guests away from them.

They linger for at least a few weeks in early spring. Then the turtles, following timing triggered by their own reptilian wisdom, trek across neighboring property toward a large lake several thousand feet away.

But this time that turtle journey happened at the same time my neighbor went outside with his two children. He saw the turtle as a danger and decided it had to be eliminated for the safety of his children.

First he shot it. Yes, shot it. (We live in a rural area where guns are common.) Somehow gunshots didn’t have the desired effort. Thankfully they also didn’t ricochet off the turtle’s shell, creating a far more serious hazard.

Then he got out a heavy implement and, slamming down over and over again, he beat the turtle to death.

Appallingly, my neighbor did what he assumed a good father does.

But this is what I can’t stop thinking about. There are pivotal moments in a child’s life when what we show them about the world stays with them. I mean more than the bloody sight of that turtle’s death, left to rot rather than killed for food. We can show them that nature is a part of us—-to experience with wonder, to treat with respect and to embrace as a unified whole. Or we can show them that nature is separate from us—-to use for our amusement, to treat with disdain, to attempt to control.

I realized this when my first child was a toddler, barely walking. He encountered an insect and paused before lifting his little white shoe to stomp on it. I showed him instead that we could squat down near the insect to watch it but not touch it. In those few minutes he looked carefully for the creature’s eyes, remarked on its feet and clapped in joyous astonishment when it unfolded wings and suddenly lifted away. After that he kept a careful watch for insects. His questions (What does it like for snacks? Does it go home to bed when it’s dark? How does it talk to other bugs?) showed he was thinking about what it might feel like to be an insect. He learned that some sting and bite, some hustle away on many legs, some wriggle into the ground. He learned awe tinged with caution.

That’s the moment my neighbor missed. He could have called his children to come look at the snapping turtle from a safe distance, his arm around the youngest, pointing out the its heavy shell and powerful jaws. He could have cautioned them to always tell an adult if they ever saw such a creature, and to never go anywhere near it. Snapping turtles can be dangerous. That’s why we teach our children to identify, avoid and respect those dangers. But we also need to weigh risk factors to put danger in perspective. A turtle crossing the yard offers good reason for caution. But there are greater dangers facing children in my neighborhood. Cars passing by on our 55 mph rural road. Guns in the home. Toxins released when garbage is burned in the backyard.

I’m sure we all have different opinions about what constitutes danger. Maybe the way we frame this says a lot about our worldview. *

a

Snapping Turtle Sidenotes My husband and I have both stopped at the side of the road to move snapping turtles out of the street. This is best done without hands or feet, just the encouragement of a window scraper’s blunt edge. The turtles snap grumpily, then lumber off to a shady drainage ditch. {Always move turtles in the direction they’re going. Migration urges them in that particular direction.) We do this because we’ve repeatedly seen drivers intentionally speed up to hit these slow-moving creatures. We’ve also seen drivers do the same to vultures, hawks and crows—-nature’s blessed carrion eaters who clean up our roadsides when a carcass lies in sad repose after meeting with a car.

I tried to find out why turtles might be traveling on roadways far from ponds and streams. Looking up the Common Snapping Turtle  (Chelydra serpentina) led to me find out more than I expected.

These long-lived turtles are important to the eco-system. They eat plant and animal matter, often scavenging. Docile in the water, they’re more aggressive on land. Food scarcity, pollution and habitat destruction may be forcing them to travel overland more than before.

Center for Biological Diversity is concerned about a massive increase in hunting and exporting turtles. These creatures, so integral to healthy aquatic ecosystems, are being sold to Asian countries, primarily China. Consumption of turtle meat there has driven many native species of turtles to extinction.

Eight states—Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee— permit unlimited harvesting of all turtle sizes, using lethal hoopnets and box traps in public and private waters. These devices box traps also capture, maim, kill, and drown protected turtle species, non-target fish, mammals and birds.

In our state, the Department of Natural Resources doesn’t monitor health or population trends of wild turtle populations. *