LETTER- Cops should heed these rules

The fallout from the so-called "bomb-plot" saga needs to be addressed soon so other families do not have to face the nightmare detailed in the July 20 Hook [News: "Teen drama: Parents speak in 'bomb' case"].

All over Albemarle County, law-abiding parents have told law-abiding kids not to talk to the police without a lawyer. That loving parents should consider this necessary to protect their children is beyond sad. The trust that should exist between parents and the police can be restored only if police allow parents to be present when their children are questioned, except in cases where domestic abuse is suspected.

Parents and educators must emphasize that even when instant messaging, there is no privacy online. It's not a safe place to spout off and say things that kids in every generation have written in letters/diaries. Our kids must be constantly reminded to protect themselves.

When dealing with underage children, the authorities must respect the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty or until the legal process has been exhausted. This would preclude press conferences about juvenile arrests. Every effort should be made to avoid arresting students at school. The press should refrain from naming teenagers tried in the juvenile system until the appeals process has run its course.

We live in a time when parents fear for our children's safety. We must recognize that it's extremely difficult to tell the difference between real threats and teenage nonsense influenced by popular culture. The police, schools, and even the media are in a very difficult position, but I believe that my suggestions could be implemented without endangering our students. 

Let's hope the families caught in the bomb plot nightmare can recover and that the boys who have been released are able to obtain an education and proceed with their lives.

Faylene Macko
Albemarle County