Five most memorable kids-in-trouble stories

The story of eight-year-old Sean King, who made news for delivering a Martin Luther King speech while wearing blackface, is hardly the first time a local kid found himself in the spotlight for strange reasons.

We've collected five memorable moments from recent years. Count them down below.

Number 5: Was Sean King judged by the content of his character?

The younger King dressed up as MLK for a school project -- and he made it clear in media interviews that he didn't intend to offend anyone. Nevertheless, a number of teachers and students at the Colorado Springs-area school he attends were reportedly put off by a costume that extended to skin coloration.

In contrast, Sean's mom was miffed because her obviously sincere son was called into the principal's office, and presumably called on the carpet, for giving his all for an assignment. She's allegedly considering pulling him out of the school over the brouhaha.

The latest: The Kings want an apology from the school and the district, which is looking at creating a class to teach kids about racial stereotypes.

Page down to continue reading about our five most memorable kids-in-trouble stories. Number 4: His mom isn't LMFAO. Kids love singing popular song lyrics. But when D'Avonte Meadows, age six, joined the trend a few weeks back, he got in hot water thanks to the content of the sentence he delivered to a girl waiting with him in the school lunch line -- "I'm sexy and I know it," the hook of an infectious LMFAO jam.

As a result, D'Avonte earned a three-day suspension for sexual harassment -- punishment that flabbergasted Stephanie Meadows, D'Avonte's mom. "I could understand if he was fondling her, looking up her skirt, trying to look in her shirt. That, to me, is sexual harassment," she told 7News. "I'm just, I'm floored. They're going to look at him like he's a pervert.... That's not fair to him."

Page down to continue reading about our five most memorable kids-in-trouble stories. Number 3: Hot stuff

As our Alan Prendergast reported last year, Jacob Christenson of Parker was just shy of his eleventh birthday when he lit a piece of paper on fire at the encouragement of an older boy.

According to Jacob, "It burned him, and he threw it into the bush. And I tried to get it out, and I got burned. Then we started throwing rocks at it, trying to put it out."

They didn't succeed. "It started catching on the center bush," Jacob recalled. "Then it lit the first bush. And it went to the third and fourth and then to the house" -- a reference to a pair of townhomes that were soon engaged in flame. "It just happened. We both started running, and we were yelling for help. Somebody saw the fire and called the cops, and the fire department people came up. I'd never seen anything like it except on the news."

The resulting damage was estimated at $195,000. But considerably more startling than this figure was the subsequent action of the Arapahoe County District Attorney's office, headed by Carol Chambers. Jacob and the boy were formally charged in juvenile court with second-degree arson.

"It was a bad mistake, but second-degree arson?" asked Tina Christenson, Jacob's mom. "That's pretty major."

After the case generated a rush of publicity, Jacob was reportedly placed in a diversion program that included counseling and a work component intended to help him pay restitution estimated at up to $23,000.

Page down to continue reading about our five most memorable kids-in-trouble stories. Number 2: That thing's a lot more lethal than a peanut butter sandwich.... A four-year-old in Lakewood caused panic in her classroom when a loaded gun was found in her backpack, as we reported in 2010. But it was her dad, James Chavez, who was held responsible.

"The teacher indicated to us that she was getting some of the kids' belongings together for the end of the school day, and she found this weapon in the backpack of the four-year-old child," Lakewood Police Department spokesman Steve Davis told us about events that unfolded at Molholm Elementary School.

Both Chavez and the girl's grandmother were contacted by the school, and under police questioning, "Mr. Chavez indicated to us that he had placed the gun in her backpack earlier in the morning and forgot it was there," Davis added.

Why? According to Chavez, he had a loaded gun on hand "because he'd been the victim of a shooting sometime in the past and carried it for protection," Davis went on. "But why it was placed in a four-year-old's backpack, I have no idea. I certainly can't think of a good reason. It was a tragedy waiting to happen, and luckily it did not."

Page down to continue reading about our five most memorable kids-in-trouble stories. Number 1: Can I have some pepper with that?

Last year, Lakewood PD spokesman Steve Davis responded to another bizarre tale -- this one involving cops who chose to pepper spray an eight year old named Aidan who was allegedly out of control.

"You had people in danger," Davis told us. "You had teachers who had barricaded themselves into an office because they were so frightened of this child. The child was making threats that he was going to kill them and he was ramming the door of the office they were in with a push cart, trying to get to them. And as we were responding, the information we got clearly indicated that there were people who were very fearful of him, and they wanted us to get there in a hurry to take care of the situation."

The cart to which Davis refers previously held a television, which Aidan was said to have tossed to the ground, in addition to hurling chairs. As a result of his actions, the teachers in question took refuge in the office and called police.

When officers arrived at the school, Davis continued, "the child was armed with a piece of wood described as being twelve to fifteen inches in length and sharpened to a point, and he was using it as a weapon. The officers told him they were there because of what was going on and to drop the piece of wood -- I've heard it described as either a piece of trim or a piece of paneling -- and he didn't. He held it up to the officers and was threatening them with it."

In response, "one of the officers pulled out the pepper spray and tried to squirt it, and the child blocked it with a cardboard box. So the officer reached around the box and squirted once -- and the child dropped the long piece of wood and the cardboard box and the situation was defused."

Far from suggesting that this decision was over-the-top, David defended it as the best way to deal with the situation.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts