What had Boo Radley done that got him into trouble with the law and would have sent him to a state industrial school?

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Arthur (Boo) Radley seemed to be fairly normal growing up, according to Miss Maudie. When he was a teenager he became friends with some of the Cunninghams who were not a very good influence on him. Sometimes, too, guilt by association can get a kid into more trouble than he could think up on his own. In this case, the Cunninghams and Arthur were "in an excessive spurt of high spirits" one night, and they drove an old beat-up car backwards around the town square. When the officer, Mr. Connor, tried to arrest the boys, they locked him up in the courthouse outhouse. Nobody was hurt, but it sure made the officer embarrassed; so, he created a list of charges that include the following:

". . . so the boys came before the probate judge on charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, assault and battery, and using abusive and profane language in the presence and hearing of a female" (10).

The consequence was that the boys went to the state industrial school, which apparently was not something dishonorable. The boys actually got fed each day and received a quality secondary education. Unfortunately, Mr. Radley took his son Arthur home and promised there would never be any trouble out of him from then on. It seems that Arthur lost his freedom that day to a family warden that was worse than anything he would have experienced at the state school.

 

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