For our case of the week, we were hired by parents to perform surveillance on their 16-year-old daughter, “Shannon”. She was abusing drugs and alcohol, not attending school and had actually struck her mother in the face on two occasions.
In 2015, we have had approximately 50 cases where a parent or custodial guardian has retained our surveillance services. The evidence we gather during these cases nearly always results in a big nightmare for the parents. However, when the parents listen to our counsel, the children general have a great chance to change and recover.
We interviewed Shannon’s parents and it became readily apparent that they wanted to be friends first and parents last. We see this a lot. From a very early age, the parents relinquished control of their home environment, having no hard and fast rules of behavior for their children. This lack of discipline plays out in the school system, where there is no respect for authority and their personal teachers. Homework is never an issue, just getting to class for some teenagers is a major accomplishment.
We only take these cases if the parents agree that their child needs to be extracted from their local environment and placed in a structured environment. The new school’s mission is to change the behavioral attitude of the child. Additionally, the parents must agree that their child can not return to their home unless they have exhibited a change for an extended period of time. Shannon’s parents agreed.
Shannon was followed from her home where she was picked up in a vehicle driven by her friend, Tara. Shannon was driven over to another neighborhood where she was dropped off. Tara departed alone.
About an hour later, Shannon and an unidentified male, approximately 19 years of age, exited the residence and entered a vehicle. They were followed to a local drug store where one of our investigators shadowed their movements inside the store. Efforts to purchase a 12-pack of beer were successful by the male. Efforts by Shannon to find and then place a package of condoms on the counter with the beer was also observed.
The two left the store and were followed to a local park in the area where they remained in their vehicle. Our night-view cameras were illuminated by the fire from the smoking marijuana. Both were observed drinking beer.
We called the local police department who quickly arrived on scene. Shannon’s parents had agreed that it would be no problem if she was detained or even arrested. After about 10 minutes of the police interviewing both subjects, the male was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of the patrol car. We phoned the parents, who advised the police had called them to come and get Shannon. About 12 minutes later, the parents arrived and put Shannon in their vehicle.
We then were contacted by one of the officers who knew we had made the call to police. Shannon’s friend, “Marc”, was arrested for outstanding traffic warrants and a failure to appear. He had used a fake identification to purchase the beer. He told the officer he did buy the condoms but he was not going to use them with Shannon. The officer probably told Marc, “Do you think this is my first rodeo?”
The next morning we met with an unbelievably defiant Shannon. Her parents were in total agreement she needed to be placed in one of the many residential schools for out of control teenagers that we know are unsurpassed within the current academic establishment. The right schools do work. These are not the camps in Utah or Alaska where they take children and break them like animals before sending them back basically worse than when they left – these are world-class facilities that treat children with respect, and help them change their own lives.
The parents asked me, “Shannon won’t go voluntarily, so what do we do?”
“Easy fix,” I advised. Once the parents decided on the school and completed all the necessary paperwork, I spoke with the Dean of Admissions and requested two of their finest escort officers come to the house. The next day they arrived at 4:00 am, woke Shannon and advised her “We can do this the easy way or your way.” You are going with us in our vehicle either cooperating and being pleasant or you can go with us in handcuffs.” Shannon agreed to cooperate with the two men who obviously had years of prior experience in the law enforcement community.
The long term prognosis for these type of cases is best played out by waiting until the subject is 18 and graduates with a high school diploma from the school. Given all the physical, mental, academic and behavioral changes Shannon needs to go through, I hope that a year and a half is enough to turn her around. Time will tell.
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