Case Study

Case Study
Psychology 210 B19
Liberty University Online
Maude Martin

Case Study

In a small Michigan town, a 6 year old boy brought a gun to school. He accidentally shot his
playmate, a little girl whom he had a playground scuffle with on the previous day. Tragically he
killed her. After an investigation of his home another gun was found along with drugs. Even
more disturbing it was revealed that his father and grandfather were both in prison for gun
related charges. The young boy shared a home with his mother, an uncle and a younger sibling.

The child in this situation is between the age of 2 and 6 years old. This falls into the category of
“early childhood”. During early childhood, children are learning social skills and developing
manners and   morals. This is due to the “immaturity of the prefrontal cortex” children
impulsively do what they see and what they are told to do. (Berger pg.216)
It appears that the adults in this case did not monitor the child's actions nor did they provide a
safe environment in their home. Child maltreatment now refers to all intentional harm to or
avoidable endangerment of anyone under 18 years of age. (Berger pg.227) The adults allowed
drugs and guns into the home.   The young boy may have emulated what he saw of his relatives.
He thought that it was okay to take the gun to school and use it as a scare tactic. These were the
same actions displayed by his father, grandfather and possibly the uncle. This is clearly a sign of
maltreatment called fantasy play, with dominant theories of violence or sexual knowledge.
(Berger pg.230)

According to our legal system, children under 7 are not held responsible for crimes. Children

have the ability to feel   hatred or dislike. (Berger pg. 279) Neither externalizing nor internalizing
children do not regulate their emotions very well, or the expression of emotions. (Berger pg. 268)
Based on these studies it would not be appropriate to charge this child with a crime.
The uncle, 19 years...