Legal age limit blocks 1 child accused in Pretty Prairie vandalism from facing charges

HUTCHINSON, Kan. Following the vandalism to the band room in the Pretty Prairie school district, one question that followed is whether those responsible will be charged.

Legally, at least one of those involved can't be charged because of a state law that says children younger than 10 years old are too young to be charged with crimes.

The youngest of four children accused of vandalizing the band room is eight years old.

Friday, Eyewitness News discussed the law with Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder who testified in front of state lawmakers before the Senate bill was signed.

Schroeder says each case involving minors is unique and this limits what judges and prosecutors can do. He says the juvenile justice system is about rehabilitating children and the law stops them from getting the help they need.

He says the Senate bill keeping children younger than 10 from facing criminal charges was not a good move for the juvenile justice system.

Schroeder says the law limits what judges and prosecutors can do for juvenile cases.

"Without the individual focus of the child's needs, each family's needs, what are the issues that are causing this?" he says. "It it a mental-illness problem? Is it a peer-pressure problem? It's going to depend."