Would you cover up a crime for a child? How much help should a parent give when a child is in trouble?

A “Reader” suggested an excellent topic yesterday on our blog: How much help do you give a child/teen/adult child in trouble?

“Reader” is referring to the big story about the Atlanta schoolteacher who was charged Wednesday with tampering with evidence that implicated her daughter, Aimee Michael, in a crash that killed five people.

The AJC story reports: “Fulton County police issued citations to Sheila Michael for obstruction and tampering with evidence, police said.”

“Police have indicated that Sheila Michael knew about the crash several days after the incident and helped arrange for the BMW to be repaired.”

The mother is a 52-year-old second-grade school teacher for the Atlanta Public School system.

So “Reader” asks:

“What should a parent’s role be when a child gets in trouble outside of the home? Do you stick up for your child no matter what? If you thought your teen or older child had done something wrong and no one knew, how would you approach it? If you knew they had done something wrong, would you turn them in?”

I add to those questions: Would you turn them in if you thought they could go to jail for it? How far would your help go?

141 comments Add your comment

Michelle

May 1st, 2009
7:09 am

As much as I love my child, I would make HIM turn himself in and admit to the wrongdoing. If he didn’t, and I knew about the problem, I would have to call…ESPECIALLY if it involved life and death. I’m trying to teach my child about taking responsibility for decisions now (he’s 6) and hope that as he grows older, he’ll continue to do so.

I remember being a small child visiting my mom. We had gone to a little five and dime shop. My brother and I stole a few little things. Boy, when mom found out, she marched us right back down there! We had to give the stuff back and apologize! It was awful!

Fred

May 1st, 2009
7:19 am

I can honestly say that I have no idea how i would react. I do not know if I could be part of the process of locking up my daughters in prison and I do not know if I could live with myself if I willingly helped them cover up a serious crime. I just hope to God that I am never in this situation. Either choice of helping or not is horrible and unthinkable.

Nadia

May 1st, 2009
7:55 am

I have to agree with Fred. In the case that you mentioned, I would like to think that I would “make” my child turn themselves in, but it is hard to say until you are actually in that situation.

If I found out my five year old stole something, I would make them take it back and apologize. If I found out that my 17 year old stole something, I don’t know that I would because of charges being pressed. I would probably give them a severe punishment at home. No driving for a certain length of time, no going out, etc. I would probably return whatever it was they stole. So, I guess I am saying that, yes, I would cover for my child. However, I do not think I could sleep or live with my conscience if I covered for my child if they did what Aimee Michael did.

lakerat

May 1st, 2009
8:03 am

Wow – it is NOT a tough call when you are talking about a 22 year old involved in a hit and run that killed 5 people (trying to compare a 3-5 year old stealing is not comparing apples to apples in this situation). And to try to cover it up by getting the car repaired? You have not only added to the child’s problems but now you are an accessory after the fact to an incident that has gotten way overblown by the initial action of not stopping. The not stopping could possibly have been explained, but to ADD to the situation by deliberately covering it up? You have just messed up YOUR life, too!

I am not trying to be harsh here; just trying to point out that even the thought of potentially “assisting” in the now crime is WAY beyond my comperhension, and I hope that Fred and Nadia did not really mean it when they said they would not know how to respond.

lakerat

May 1st, 2009
8:09 am

Also, regarding MSG’s question about the DUI, Stan was correct that the suspension of the license does not begin until the Court hearing accepts the guilty plea or the person is convicted at trial. Also, even with a guilty plea the offender has to spend at least 24 hours IN JAIL, plus pay the fine, plus the license suspension, plus the increased ins. costs for the next 3 – 5 years, plus you have to put down on ALL job applications that you were convicted of more than a “moving violation”. Not a fun process for several moments of carelessness, even if you were not impaired (or so you thought).

momtoAlex&Max

May 1st, 2009
8:14 am

OMG, I just don’t know. I pray every day that I am NEVER in a situation like that. You know, you try SO hard to teach your children that every action has a consequence, and then something like this can go and happen and what do you do? I don’t know if I can honestly say “Yes, I would turn my child in” if it meant years in adult prision. On the other hand, this woman killed FIVE people! I still don’t know if I could live with myself knowing my child did that and I covered it up.

It’s just too horrible to think about.

Erica

May 1st, 2009
8:17 am

I live in the same subdivision as this young driver, literally within walking distance from the Michael home. It was troubling to me to think that Ms. Michael and her mom could literally blot out the intense media coverage of the horrific and tragic accident on Easter Sunday and be so focused on protection of Ms. Michael, and the repair of her vehicle, that they didn’t even think about the consequences for the families of those poor victims. As a neighbor, I was shocked, saddened, and it really drove home that the credo “I am my brother’s keeper” really doesn’t exist anymore in our society.

As a mom, what I found more troubling is the fact that this mother,even in light of wanting to shield her daughter from such harsh consequences, had such disregard for all the other parents involved in this accident….the mom who is still recovering who lost her 6 year old, the parents who lost their adult children and young grandchildren. Even though our natural instinct is protection, we still have to really make sure that our kids understand accountability as well. I really can see this mom going into some real shock after her daughter’s confession of her involvement in the accident, and even freezing for a second in sheer panic and shock, trying to think what to do next. But, as painful as the decision would be, sometimes you still end up having to do the right thing, not the easy thing. My question for Ms. Michael is: “By helping your daughter lie and conceal, what lesson have you left her with? What example did you provide when put to a super hard test?”

Honestly, if this young lady had simply stepped up and simply been honest, and been encouraged to do so by her mom, she would not be sitting locked up right now, facing years of incarceration. Two families were permanently impacted by this really sad crash, and their lives are changed forever. Thanks to a split second lapse in judgement and character, a third family is shattered as well.

What’s the lesson out of all of this? Something my mom DRILLED into my head growing up, “Sometimes the easy way out isn’t always the right way.”

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 1st, 2009
8:18 am

Guys — I want to mention that I posted a topic late last night below this one — It’s a link to several articles about Autism. There is a some new big research linking autism to genes and I wanted to make sure all our parents saw it. So PLEASE check out the item below this one on the right-hand side to read about it. Also I have created an Autism category in our blogroll on the right-hand side and will keep a lot of the articles there permanently and will link to new ones as they emerge!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 1st, 2009
8:30 am

Guys — Let’s remember that the mother (nor the daughter — although police say she confessed) have been convicted —- only charged.

Becky

May 1st, 2009
8:52 am

Without ever having faced this, I can say yes..Then when (if) this really were to happen, all I can do is pray that I would do the right thing.. I guess I would have to make a judgement call on what the child (adult in this case) did..If they were responsible for the death of 5 innocent people, I’m pretty sure that I would turn them in..My thoughts and prayers go out to both families..

JATL

May 1st, 2009
9:03 am

I hope to God I never have to face this decision! I think for me a lot would depend on the crime and the age of my child at the time. If my kid steals as a small child -yes, we’ll be going back to wherever he stole from to return the items and apologize -and he’ll be punished at home! There are some things that I wouldn’t ruin my kid’s life and future over if he chose to do something really dumb as a teenager -like shoplifting (only if it happened once -if I discovered it again all bets are off and he wouldn’t see outside for months regardless)!

In regards to this case -I’m appalled by the whole thing, and I do think the mother should be charged. If one of my sons came home and eventually told me about doing something like this, I would tell him we had to talk to the police IMMEDIATELY!!!! I can’t help but wonder why it took them so long to notice obvious damage to the car anyway, but the daughter’s case would look a lot better right now if A) -she had STOPPED or since she didn’t if they had gone to the police right away and shown some kind of remorse over the incident instead of remorse over just getting caught. I don’t see how either of them could live with themselves after knowing she killed a whole family and another child. It makes me want to puke. So yes, if, God forbid, one of my children is party to another person being hurt or killed, we’ll have to go to the authorities -anything involving violence because a lot of that tends to snowball instead of just going away. I don’t know how any of us would lead a normal or even half-way-happy life keeping such a huge secret and wondering if any moment we would be found out -AND knowing that there was a person or family out there grieving with no answers.

And sorry Theresa -most of the time I’m big on innocent until proven guilty, but that little b***h is guilty as hell!

Gail

May 1st, 2009
9:42 am

I also hope I never have to make that decision, I have a 22 year old son. But, if anything like this happened to him I would have to insist that he turn himself in and face the consequences.
The 22 yr old girl who left the scene of a horrible accident like this was not raised well by her Mother. The fact that the Mother knew about this and helped her cover it up, paid for the repairs just proves this point. Maybe if she had taught her daughter responsiblity when she was younger, she may have never left the scene of the accident in the first place.
Frankly, I cannot understand how the Mother or Daughter could sleep at night knowing that she caused the deaths of 5 people.
The Mother had a smirk on her face when she was taken into custody.
Unbelievable!!!

itamazesme

May 1st, 2009
9:51 am

My daughter and I discussed this. I told her that yes i would turn her in immediately, because i couldn’t live with the fact that harm fell upon 2 families.

Now, the only thing that puzzles me is that the car by admission of the mechanic had minimal damage when he repaired it. Which makes me think and just IMO that when this young lady hit the Mercedes with the family of 4 that possibly he had to be speeding and when she clipped the car – he lost control and the rest of the horrific events occured.

I can’t help but wonder did this young lady think she only clipped the car and decided to drive off only to find out the horrible events after the fact. Either way she should have turned herself in. Not only that but the mother is just as guilty because according to the daughter she told her two days later – yet 11 days later the only reason they are in trouble is because it had to be found out.

It would hurt me to turn my daughter in, my only one, the love of my life, however I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t knowing she did these things. I would just keep thinking, if the shoe were on the other foot and my child were gone – I would want the person arrested.
Mom knew better,she helped her child in a criminal act and therefore should be prosecuted along with her child.

Noneya

May 1st, 2009
9:51 am

No one knows what they will do when faced with this situation. It’s easy to type on the internet what you would do. If we asked Amiee Michelle’s mother this question a year ago she might of said “I would turn my child in.” It’s easy to pass judgement and play the morality police behind the anonymity of a screen name. All you can do is pray that you are never placed in this predicament. That is my prayer.

RGB

May 1st, 2009
9:54 am

If my child had killed 5 people and wouldn’t turn herself in, I would have cuffed her myself.

Personal responsibility has been replaced by victimhood in many cultures today and our society is worse for it.

Cammi317

May 1st, 2009
9:54 am

I would like to think that I would do the right thing, but I honestly don’t know if I were in the situation what I would do. As a mother my first instinct is to protect my child, but in that sort of situation..Wow! I am anxious to hear exactly what happened that led to the crash and the deaths of those people. I just hope that I NEVER have to make the choice.

itamazesme

May 1st, 2009
9:58 am

Gail – Although i agree with you they are both at fault. I can’t help but disagree in thinking that as a young woman at 22 – that she got scared and left – i think alot of young people possibly in that situation would panic and maybe leave – however, i AGREE with you – it was up to the mother to make her turn herself in. Like some of the other posters, it might of been hard for the mom, i am sure it was, but she needed to do the right thing…You are also right in that how could they sleep at night? it is beyond me how people commit such tragic acts (i.e., this one and the UGA professor) is beyond me.

Grammaw

May 1st, 2009
10:00 am

As much as I love and want to protect my kids, I could NEVER go to the extreme that Mrs. Michael went to, to protect her daughter. In reality, she was not protecting her, but giving her the very wrong messsage that what she did was ok, and “Mommy will take care of it”. She also put herself into the position of defending herself, and could very well end up in prison with her daughter for covering it up. I would tell her to fess up, take her punishment like a woman, and learn from it. I wouldn’t expect anyone to cover up for me, and I couldn’t do it for anyone, even a child of mine. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, and would be looking over my shoulder constantly.

Becky B.

May 1st, 2009
10:03 am

I once had to make the tough decision about what to do when I discovered that my son (then 19) had stolen someone’s credit card and made purchases on it. I first called a lawyer (he advised me to just tear it up and forget it), then the police. My son ended up just having to pay back the money, not going to jail. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but I knew that he had to realize that what he did was absolutely wrong. I do believe he learned a very valuable lesson and has not stolen anything since. So, yes, I would stand by my child no matter what, but I would not cover up a crime.

Joe

May 1st, 2009
10:10 am

I have many family members in education and all I can say is that parents are definitely quite comfortable lying for their children. So, it’s just a little leap in their minds to cover up a crime for their child. It’s ridiculous how little parents will let kids confront the consequences of their actions. I would dare say that if the Michael family had raised their child with a sense of responsibility for her behavior, then maybe the family would have spared themselves this whole situation.

TJ

May 1st, 2009
10:11 am

I have no doubt that Shelia Michael covered up her daughter’s crime. This is so prevalent in our society now. We hear constantly from parents sobbing to the media or in a court room that their children are good people… after they’ve murdered a child in a drive by shooting. Somewhere along the way the message has changed. If you kill 5 people, as long as no one finds out who did it, it’s OK. Ms. Michael is just as much of a criminal as her daughter. Responsibility for ones actions is something that each and every one of us have as an individual who inhabits this great earth. Religion teaches this, schools are supposed to teach this, and society is supposed to support this.

Reba

May 1st, 2009
10:13 am

It appalls me to see what families will do in cases like this. Two of my high school classmates just suffered through a trial last week. Their sons, best friends since birth, were killed by a wrong way driver who hit them head-on at a high rate of speed. The wrong-way driver, who was from out of state, sustained some injuries. He was driving without car insurance and he was not covered by any health insurance. His family chose to leave out the sordid details of the crash, and appealed to the surrounding community to help their son with his “medical” bills. The whole county turned out, and this young man was able to purchase a brand new Chevy Avalanche with the proceeds from his community-sponsored benefit. His family saw nothing wrong with getting the community to help their son. It was agonizing for my friends to have to sit through the trial and have to hear the painful details of how their sons died. The driver could have pleaded guilty and avoided further pain for the families of the victims, but he selfishly chose to have a trial so he could “beg for mercy” from the jury. He did not get it. He was sentenced to the maximum, but he’s still going to be able to go home to his mom one day. I really hope Aimee Michael will just enter a guilty plea so her victims’ families won’t have to endure the unbearable pain of a trial, and so those families can close this chapter of their lives and start the healing process.

Christy

May 1st, 2009
10:14 am

Covering for your child or anyone is never acceptable or excusable in my opinion, I love my children but I would never cover for them in any case, what I would do is be there for them and give them all the love and support I could during their time of distress or imprisionment and during my time of hurt and devastation. I have taught my children right from wrong and if they make a mistake they will have to deal with the consequences of that mistake and pay the price. Covering for your children only teaches them irresponsible behavior and how to live an imoral deceitful life, if you really want to help your child whether he or she is 17 and stole something and is about to be charged with a crime, take that time to reinterate how bad things only lead to worse things and you love them anyway thru the court process, go visit on visiting days, try to help them get help in whatever area they lack and encourge them to do that which is right at all times so that they don’t end up in court ever again. My son was 17 when he was first arrested for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, I allowed him to spend the night in jail and do the mandatory community service, the other two parents (my cousin and my brother) did not, my son is now married with children of his own and doing very well, my nephew is now in prison for something way more serious than that first incident my cousin’s son is not in trouble but he is still home living off his mother with no responsibility for his children or anything else, she still covers for him and allows him to not work to avoid child support. These are not the only incidents I know of where parents covering for their kids has assisted in their dimise, my mom did it as well with one of my brothers and by watching her I vowed what I would not do with my own children, I will not enable them.

J.D.

May 1st, 2009
10:17 am

If a parent has done their job properly from the the beginning, there shouldn’t be any problem with the child being involved in a crime. But in the event something does happen, the values instilled by the parent should prevail and the child will do the right thing. Lastly, regardless of the pain involved, if the parent has to turn the child in to the authorities there should be no question. It must be done.

gus

May 1st, 2009
10:18 am

If any of my kids did something wrong I would make him take responsibility. That’s part of growing up. I would provide all the emotional, financial, and legal assistance possible but there is no doubt that children, regardless of age, should be taught the difference between right and wrong. Shelia Michael, while rotting away in prison, should be made to look at the pictures of the five people who died in the accident that she covered up every day.

Joyce

May 1st, 2009
10:18 am

I have to agree with Becky B. In this situation, “standing up for your child” means helping them face the consequences of their actions. I hope that if my son ever makes a mistake this serious, that HIS OWN conscience does the job, not me. Either way, once the process began, I would stand beside him as loving support at every step.

Lisa

May 1st, 2009
10:19 am

Working in a school system I see it all the time, parents covering or not believing that their child could do anything wrong. I see it more and more, not being responsable for our own actions, it’s always someone else’s fault. Call me crazy, but I believe that we will hear that in some way, this family that perished are to blame. Their not, but in some way it will be twisted around. I’ve always taught my daughter that we are responsible for all our actions, good or bad. Just as we stand up and take credit when we do something right or good, we must also stand up and take the blame for any bad or wrong. What lessons do we teach our children if they believe that they can do no wrong and someone else is always to blame. I understand that she might have been scared, but would it not have looked better for her to go to the police, say that she was scared and that’s why she left, than to hide and have her car fixed. My prayers go out to the family of lost loved ones.

David

May 1st, 2009
10:21 am

The mantra in my family growing up (I’m 22 and graduating college tomorrow morning) was always “If you do something wrong, you’d better hope to God that I [either parent] don’t find out.” My little sister got to spend a night in the county clink because she was able to get away from a situation where she’d done something stupid and illegal, and one of my parents turned her in for it.

I’m getting married soon (at the end of this month), and The Wife and I have discussed how we plan on raising our children, when we eventually have them. And oddly enough, this came up. I like to think we’d do things like my parents did, but that had to be hard to do. You have to put an emphasis on personal responsibility in all situations, good, bad and indifferent.

KoolAid House

May 1st, 2009
10:24 am

While it would be an extremely difficult thing for me to do, I would have to turn my daugther in. Both our worlds would no longer exist. I’ve been teaching her “accountability” since she was able to talk and walk. When she was 7 she stole some books out of a supermarket. I marched her back in, gave the books to the manager and then walked over to the 2 cops having their lunch. They talked to her all the while she cried crocodile tears. Also told her how I could land in jail because of something she did as a minor. Accountability is key.

To turn a deaf ear to all the news media that has surrounded this accident is pure d selfishness. Plain and simple. Don’t know how any of the family members were able to sleep at night knowing what they knew. However, to turn my child in because it’s the right thing to do would certainly be a death sentence for me!

Justine

May 1st, 2009
10:27 am

In recent years I have realized very few people want to take responsibility for their behavior. This crosses all racial and economic levels. My response would be a lot different I guess. Becuase of my background, I would realize eventually the child would be caught. If they were caught years later when they had established a life and family that would be even more devistating. The first thing I would have done is contact a lawyer. Then I would do all I could to help my child. But I would make my child stand up for what they had done. After determining the options I would probably have the child face the music. Isnt that what is really at the base of this matter. The young lady was unwilling to face the music for her behavior. What I find most troubling is that she left the scene, went home and got in the bed. That is a sign this young lady grew up never having to accept responsibility for her behavior. It also shows her mother, an educated woman and a school teacher of young children, has failed to accept her responsibility and to teach her children to accept theirs. As one of the posters pointed out this is not a matter of stealing or damaging property. This is a matter of five deaths and a seriously injured woman. Personally I think mother and daughter should spend several decades in prison.

Bea Jay

May 1st, 2009
10:28 am

This just saddens me to think that intelligent people would hesitate to do the right thing. We are all placed in difficult situations at one time or another; however, we all have a conscience and we all will have to account for what we do down here on this earth.

REMEMBER
Jehovah is watching us. HE KNOWS.

lakerat

May 1st, 2009
10:29 am

C’mon folks (and Theresa, too – “Guys — Let’s remember that the mother (nor the daughter — although police say she confessed) have been convicted —- only charged”) – the question at hand is not whether the 22 yr old or her mother is guilty or innocent (”I am anxious to hear exactly what happened that led to the crash and the deaths of those people.)”, it is whether you would assist in covering up the incident for your child or whether you would assist in turning in your child who was involved. I cannot believe that many of you keep saying “I do not know how I would respond, I just hope I never get put in this situation….”.

HELLO – are we such a bunch of losers that we do not know right from wrong? Some of these comments are un-frickin’-believeable!!!! No wonder society is the way it is today if we, as a (before today, anyway) group that usually comment on most things on this site in rational and mature ways, cannot even begin to “know” how to act when faced with a very difficult situation (”I can honestly say that I have no idea how i would react. I do not know if I could be part of the process of locking up my daughters in prison and I do not know if I could live with myself if I willingly helped them cover up a serious crime. I just hope to God that I am never in this situation. Either choice of helping or not is horrible and unthinkable” and “I would like to think that I would do the right thing, but I honestly don’t know if I were in the situation what I would do.”).

Lord help those of you who have this mentality!

Bree

May 1st, 2009
10:30 am

It is easy for everyone to sit at their computer and type ‘I’d turn my child in’ or ‘Shame on her for protecting her child’ or ‘What kind of mom is she’ or ‘She’s not raising her daughter right’. But the reality is whether you will or will not, you don’t know how you’ll feel or how you’ll react if you were in that situation…knowing what you are facing.

Allow God to do the judging here. Have your opinion but fall back from judging. That is not your place. The victims are prayerfully all in Heaven. The Lord will provide peace in hearts of their families no matter what. As for Ms. and Mrs. Michaels, pray for them. I do. I really feel sorry for them both. What would you have done at 22yo? What would your parents have done?

Step off your high horse before you fall on your behind. Have a great weekend.

Tammy

May 1st, 2009
10:30 am

I love my child but right is right and wrong is wrong–I would go with my child to turn themselves in–I would love and support my child in every way–but to lie is always wrong.

Toni

May 1st, 2009
10:30 am

As much as I love my children, I would have to do the right thing and report it and turn them in. This is what you call tough love. You love your children and you want to protect them, but you also have to teach them that you are reponsible for your actions and there are consequences for your actions. Your children may be upset with you and not talk to you for awhile, but they will get over it and sooner or later they will realize that the right thing was done and will thank you for it at one point in their lives. Protecting them when they wrong only hinders them.

Penguinmom

May 1st, 2009
10:31 am

Covering up for your child in a crime like this is not something that suddenly happens. It is a pattern that you have established starting when they are young. Always taking their side in a dispute among friends. Never believing that the child deserved to get in trouble at school. Arguing with the teacher/principal about punishments. Fixing any problem that happens so that your little darling doesn’t have to deal with it.

Over time you escalate from little things to bigger things like excusing and helping to cover up shoplifting or vandalism. Everyone is just ‘out to get’ your child when they say your child is doing bad things.

Then one day your kid comes home in major trouble because of her own actions. The response has become automatic. Fix it, clean it up, try to make sure your child doesn’t suffer any consequences at all.

As parents we need to be sure we are appropriate advocates for our children, not facilitators of future criminals.

HB

May 1st, 2009
10:31 am

What a horrible position to be in! I’m troubled, though, that people here keep saying the young woman “killed” 5 people. From the stories I’ve read, it’s not clear what happened. We know she left the scene — that, of course, was wrong. Was she driving wrecklessly? I don’t know. I think it is clear, though that she didn’t set out to commit a crime. The parents weren’t covering for a kid who took a gun and intentionally shot someone, or even intentionally stole something. They were covering for their child who likely caused an accident (perhaps due to her own negligence in driving dangerously, but still an accident), panicked, and ran making things worse. I’m not saying they were right, but I think the unintentional nature of the crime probably made the decision to protect their daughter or not more difficult than if she had clearly chosen to commit a crime she knew was wrong. As for how could they sleep at night? I don’t think this family would sleep well either way — knowing they covered up a crime that hurt so many people, or knowing they sent their daughter to jail. Just a horrible situation all the way around.

lovelyliz

May 1st, 2009
10:33 am

You should be there for your child, be supportive but never be blind to what they’ve done.

Meme

May 1st, 2009
10:35 am

I would hope that I could. Especially if someone were hurt or killed. This mother should have supported her child by letting her know that it was an accident. She would not be in so much trouble if she had turned herself in sooner. As someone who has hit a pedestrian (she stepped out in front of my car to avoid a puddle), I had a moment of wanting to run, but I didn’t. I can sympathize with her, but she should have taken responsibility far sooner.

Toni

May 1st, 2009
10:35 am

This response is to Bree’s comments. Have you heard Aimee or Sheila Michaels offer an apology to the families who lost their love ones in the accident? I have not heard I am sorry from either one. Yes, as a parent we will struggle about what is the right thing to do because our child is involved, but in the end, you will have to make the right decision and do the right thing. It is not about you and how you feel, it is about what is right and best for your child.

Shaye

May 1st, 2009
10:35 am

What happened to the days when parents marched their child over to whomever they had wronged (the neighbor with the broken window, the store owner where they had taken a piece of candy without paying first, the child who they’d called something bad) and made them apologize? (THEN punished them as well.) I’m not perfect, and it would be hard, but absolutely would I turn my child in over this. then again, I would be so appalled that my child had done something like this, I think *that* would destroy me.

If this was something “minor,” perhaps I could see fit to give a little leeway, but 5 people DIED. They should throw the book at the mother and the grandmother for concealing this (never mind their stupidity in thinking she would not get caught).

I wish more people would realize the extreme consequences their stupid driving can have–think about this the next time you impatiently change lanes to go around someone, or try to cut in to traffic because you think you’re too special to wait an extra 2 minutes like everyone else. Cars are deadly weapons.

KoolAid House

May 1st, 2009
10:35 am

You know what HB, you’re absolutely right. Just because I’ve awaken every morning since this accident with a clear conscious and able to sleep well at night, doesn’t mean those family members did. I have no idea how many sleepless nights they’ve encountered. Thanks for steering me back into my lane (oops, no pun intended).

AmazonRed™

May 1st, 2009
10:37 am

The guilt would eat at me. Especially knowing that there were other innocent children whose lives were lost. I’d have a commitment to my kids, but a commitment to the Lord and what is right too.

The sad thing is, had she turned herself in, it wouldn’t have been as bad.

The part that got me was when they went as far to get the car fixed. And the report that when the heard police were at the house they left again. That’s really where I think they went too far.

It’s one thing to not come forward and let things unravel on their own. It’s quite another to purposely set out to cover it up.

If it was truly an accident, I’d want to come forward to express just that and hopefully find mercy by doing the right thing.

AnnieR

May 1st, 2009
10:37 am

I am in agreement with Christy who posted earlier, when my son was younger he did some stupid things like all kids do but we seemed to be the only parents among his crowd who made their child “step up” and take the consequences. At the time, that made us “evil” but later on he told his friends that he was glad we made him do that. For those who kids are teens, there is something called the first offenders program so it doesn’t go on their record and “ruin their future” as someone else posted. “Severe punishment” at home is often a joke, parents only enforce it as long as it’s convenient for them. But the case of this accident is something far and above just a stupid prank or petty crime. 5 people died horrible deaths and their families are impacted forever, to help your child cover up something like that is unconscionable. I love my child dearly but I would not risk going to jail helping him cover up something like that. I couldn’t live with myself if I did that. And to think this woman taught school, what sort of example was she setting for the kids in her classes? They might be little kids but morality starts at home and the lessons are basic. I pray for everyone involved.

Bree

May 1st, 2009
10:37 am

As I read more comments I have to think about the young boy who took his life because of bullying. It hasn’t been reported in the news (or maybe I missed it…bad news sucks) but what about the children who did the bullying. How are their parents holding them accountable? Do the children even understand? Do the children even care? Do the parents care?

You like to think that people will do the right thing? But that’s just not reality. And you all know it.

But as someone mentioned, God knows. The Lord knows all. And he makes no mistakes. Thus he should be the only one JUDGING. We should be praying for all those involved and thankful we were not and that our loved ones were not.

Again, have a wonderful weekend.

DIPPER

May 1st, 2009
10:38 am

Honestly I have no idea what I would do. But speaking right now I would say yes. I would try to do as much as I can to protect my child. Due to the fact that someone died, I would have gotten a lawyer first and contacted a few family members for support. At this moment I would have to convince my child that he/she must face the fact that they made a mistake.

As hurtful as it would be to see my child in trouble, I would sleep better knowing that we did the right thing.

janet

May 1st, 2009
10:38 am

First no one seems to make note that Mrs. Michael’s is a teacher. I find that fact alone disturbing. Here we have a woman influencing children who apparently has no basic morals or understanding of right and wrong. This is very simple to me and to most normal people who understand taking responsibility for their actions…Covering up something like this is not protecting your daughter, how misguided are you to entertain that thought. Protecting your daughter would be to get her an attorney and go immediately to the police. This started out as an accident, tragic and devastating, but due to Aimee’s actions, it became a crime when she left the scene. When her mother had the car repaired, in an obvious attempt to hide and cover it up that doubled down. Do these people not understand forensics. It is a relief to know that when you commit a crime in today’s day and age you will be caught and the longer it takes the worse it is for the perpetrator, and so it should be. I think they should both go to prison. Had they stopped or gone to police themselves I would say a fine and probation, loose the license for a few years, but now I do not think anything but prison time will satisfy anyone who has been affected by this tragedy… or the public. We all need to remember this could have been anyone of our family members killed, but by the grace of god. I cannot imagine leaving the scene of an accident, let alone covering it up!! Society does not need recklessness running around on roads that are dangerous enough! I hope that the sentence is harsh and that it sends a message to anyone else that you stop when you hit someone or something and you will be treat fairly, flee and there will be harsh consequences! Cover it up and life as you know it is over!

HB...

May 1st, 2009
10:43 am

…nobody on here said she “killed 5 people”, though TJ does say “If you kill 5 people”…the fact is, the young person was involved in an accident that killed 5 people. As others have pointed out, the main question today is not “what happened”, so please do not try to use semantics to answer the question or justify a reaction by the parent that was purely 100% wrong.

KoolAid House

May 1st, 2009
10:43 am

@Bree, it was reported in the news. I too thought and still think along the lines of your questions. What are the parents of the bullies saying to their children? Are are the bullies now acting? Do you think this devastating turn of events will help them to stop bullying? Sheesh, we live in a very, very wicked world.

AmazonRed™

May 1st, 2009
10:44 am

Wow! I am anxious to hear exactly what happened that led to the crash and the deaths of those people.

Cammi – The police report is posted on the AJC. Apperently the girl was making a lane change but the Mercedes was already in that lane. The Mercedes was hit and both cars lost control and went into the median. The Mercedes hit the Volkswagon head on, while the BMW regained control and was able to get back on the road. Everyone in the Mercedes died because that car caught on fire.