Lesson in civility: Kids who let out dog come forward

A screenshot of surveillance video showing two kids intentionally letting a dog out of a fenced area in Grand Rapids. (Chris Boden/YouTube)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Last week, a man took to social media to capture two teens who let his dog out of a fenced area near a busy Grand Rapids roadway.

The dog, Mackie, is OK. But her owner, who runs a science-based education program, went on a mission to teach a lesson to the two teens about the consequences of their actions.

It appears the mission has been accomplished.

“They wrote a serious, heartfelt apology,” said Chris Boden, the dog’s owner and founder of the Geek Group National Science Institute.

It was about a week ago around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday when two kids walked up to the gate at the Geek Group headquarters and let Mackie out, just feet from rush hour traffic on Leonard Street.

He got the dog back, but Boden went to Facebook to catch the kids. It wasn’t long after the post that the kids came forward on their own.

Their written apology was followed by a meeting with the kids and their parents. Their motive for letting the dog loose was no big surprise — they were just doing silly kid stuff.

They all agreed the kids will complete 50 hours of community service work at Geek Group. But Boden saw opportunity beyond the punishment.

After completing the community service, the kids along with their immediate family members get free memberships to the Geek Group.

The West Leonard Street location is a mish-mash of electronic and mechanical gadgetry that gives members a chance to feed their inner geek.

Boden hopes the kid’s indiscretion ends up sending them in a direction they may not have considered.

“It isn’t just to teach a lesson. It’s to make an actual difference — make a tangible, practical difference in their lives,” Boden said.

Despite the naysayers who disagreed with Boden’s approach to the problem, he is happy with the way everything turned out.

“You can actually hold people accountable in a way, engaging the community,” said Boden. “That is what the whole big Facebook post is about, teaching people a lesson in community in civility and civics. That’s the reason we’re doing this.”

**Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the Geek Group. We regret the error.