August 23, 2007

Zero Tolerance Idiocy, cont.

Sometimes a drawing is just a drawing.

Actually, I take that back. Nearly every single freaking time a drawing is just a drawing — particulary when it’s done by a thirteen year old with no evident psychological problems. And on the rare times when a drawing isn’t just a drawing, it is still just a drawing — though one that perhaps takes on import in retrospect, should certain interpretive methods be applied.

But those situations are so rare that they hardly merit creating a class of pint-sized criminal, one that simultaneously robs kids of their creativity and promises to turn them into the very kinds of bitter, puckered, petty tyrannical scolds who today attempt to squeeze the childhood joy right out of them.

Social scientists argue that kids abused as children will often grow up to become abusers. By that same logic, can we not say that kids who are treated as criminals for violating ludicrous nannystatist policies will grow up to be members of their local schoolboards — or worse, state lawmakers?

As Darleen quips, “Vouchers, please.”

Amen Yes indeedy to that.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:57pm
51 comments | Trackback

Comments (51)

  1. If I was that kid, I would take my magical a-ha “Take on Me” pencil and draw a key to the school, and use it to violate my suspension.

  2. I’d hack into the school’s computer system and change my grades.

    The password is kept in a desk in the principal’s office.

    And after that? Who knows. Maybe start a global thermonuclear war, get myself arrested for espionage, make-out with Ally Sheedy, then teach a supercomputer to analogize tic-tac-toe and wars that promise mutual destruction so that we can all learn a poignant lesson about hubris.

    If I can’t get me one of them magical a-ha pencils, I mean.

  3. If this kid’s parents have any sense, they’ll make his suspension a real vacation to drive home the point that he did nothing wrong. Then they’ll buy him a complete set of fatigues, night-vision goggles, and a convincing fake laser-gun to take to class on his first day back.

  4. - Ok you kids…..up against the wall, and assume the position….you know the drill…..

    – Now which of you little felons-to-be stole the Caric “fat ass” thread….. What…..don’t snivel….answer me before I start bitting off noses…..

    – You….yeh….the one in the Sponge Bob outfit…..
    – Say what?…..Oh…… an SQL error huh….. Well……I guess its ok then…..but don’t let me catch any of you drawing mustaches on Pelosi’s picture, or its back to the iso-tank…..Now get the hell out of here……Stinking little Cons……

  5. I hope that kid’s father uses his time away from school to take him out shooting. Oh, and to show his support for the “authorities” at school, his father should insist that he write an essay on what he learned from his trip, you know, so the school sees that they are taking it seriously.

  6. God, I hate those people. As I’ve said many times, they were the kids everyone hated in school. Always sticking their noses in everyone’s business, tattling to the teacher, and drawing pictures of horsies. And the girls were even worse.

  7. Reading this I’m reminded of the Larry Flynt (Hustler) obscenity trial in which Flynt was shown one of Hustler’s signature ‘pink’ centerfolds and asked to describe what he saw… to which he replied (I’m paraphrasing) “a sheet of paper with a bizillion little colored dots on it…” (which was precisely what the printed picture was)

    By the same token, a sketch of a gun is just a sheet of paper with some graphite scratches or colored wax smears on it… it’s not “a gun” and no threat to anyone (regardless of whether he drew bullets or laser power cells or whatever).

    I understand lawmakers initiating “no tolerance” rules regarding real guns or anything that might possibly look enough like a real gun to intimidate others.. Those are no brainers and shouldn’t even have to be explicitly spelled out…No guns are to be tolerated in our schools. However, every time I pick up a paper I see another student suspended because they had a dayglo super soaker or a G.I. Joe miniature 3″ M-16 or a key-chain derringer…

    The rules I understand, but who are these petit bureaucrats on the front line interpreting “gun” to mean “any representation of a gun, real or otherwise” and enforcing the rules without an ounce of common sense coming into play?

    Maybe the whole school district needs a short suspension in order to find time to get their collective heads out of their asses.. I’m sure they’re guilty of distributing history books that contains graphic images of guns in them…It’d be kinda hard to tell the story of this country without mentioning that all of our most revered heroes seem to have used guns in one way or another to secure our freedom.

  8. I think you’re all missing the point here. I mean, what if some poor hippie student or teacher (yeah, I know, how likely is the latter?) saw the drawing of a gun and got offended?

  9. A second student was also suspended Monday for a sketch on his homework. However, that student and his parents could not be reached for comment about the nature of that drawing.

  10. People in this country do not seem to understand that they have allowed the nearest asylum inmates control and educate our children. We will pay for this lapse of judgment in ways we can only begin to guess.

  11. Good god… this stuff gets outrageous. Thankfully, when I was in school, people weren’t so uptight. If they were, I definitely would have been suspended for a few of the poems I wrote for my classes.

    In fact, if some kid wrote those same exact poems today, they’d probably be recommended for psychiatric evaluation.

    Of course, this just goes back to the “lefts” unrealistic, ignorant, and downright laughable fear of even a picture of a gun.

    Does anyone have a link to that website that used to be up; the one where there was a live picture of a gun (web cam), a timer, and a question asking for someone to contact the webmaster should the gun kill someone? Anyone remember that?

  12. In other news, a teacher was suspended for giving a student’s homework assignment a letter grade between “A” and “C,” because the letter grade was said to resemble <whisper> boobies! </whisper>

    …seen, you know, kind of sideways…

  13. In other news, a teacher was suspended for giving a student’s homework assignment a letter grade between “A” and “C,”

    Do they still give letter grades? Some of my nieces and nephews were unfamiliar with the concept.

  14. If I know what a magical a-ha pencil is does that date me?

  15. Whew–glad I graduated when I did. Back in elementary school I used to draw a lot of pictures of WW2-era tanks and bombers. Engaged in combat.

    Yet, to this day, I haven’t tried to annex Sudetenland or invade Poland. But I am planning on using my new edger, so six of one, half dozen of another, I guess.

  16. Rob, I bet your nieces and nephews have tons of self-esteem, though. That’s the formula: No Letter Grades = Good Self-Esteem. I earned an education degree, so I know.

  17. Are schools and school personnel not under control of an elected board in AZ? It seems like a rather straightforward exercise in democracy would get this wrong righted.

  18. not really sure what to do with this, but I almost fell off my chair reading the first sentence in the article… how exactly a piece of paper is a “threat” I am not too sure… unless the kid was trained by MI5 or the CIA. Maybe they mistakened him for a US quasi-military operative… can’t have that, now can we?

  19. If I know that a-ha swiped that whole idea from Harold and the Purple Crayon, does that date me?

  20. I wonder what the reaction would be if he drew a Hisb’Allah flag.

    It’s clearly got a Kalashnikov rifle, but if they did anything about it, it would be islamophobia. The cognitive dissonance on that one would be mighty tasty.

  21. Vouchers please

    We’re not asking for permission to avoid this tyranny, are we? Because #8 just illustrated about how well that’s going to go.

  22. Rob, I bet your nieces and nephews have tons of self-esteem, though. That’s the formula: No Letter Grades = Good Self-Esteem. I earned an education degree, so I know.

    Well, most of them deserve it. They ARE related to me, after all.

  23. Vouchers? How much would a voucher be worth? And how much would a voucher be worth, after people started using them en masse?

    I don’t know what the answer is, but my kids’ school is going in the right direction, simply by having a Principal that gives a crap about education; she took her school from a “C” grade to an “A” grade over the space of two or three years, so she’s doing quite a bit right. I could forgive some of the milder PC horseshit provided that my kids are getting a decent education.

    It’s a matter of how much repair work I have to do at home, you see. It’s far easier for me to handle the occasional political-correctness crapola than it is for me to have to teach my kids the subjects they’re supposed to be learning, but aren’t.

    If one of my kids got suspended for drawing a gun, though, I just might have to have a few words with the school board, the principal, the teacher in question, and possibly an attorney or two. More than a few, actually.

  24. Do they still give letter grades? Some of my nieces and nephews were unfamiliar with the concept.

    Denver Public Schools has decided not to assign letter grades anymore. I have to question whether DPS actually wants to remain a school district, though, given that they are selling their admin building and looking at closing 40 schools. (DPS only has about 150 schools.)

    The reasoning behind selling the admin building is what hacks me off. They’re tired of teachers using ‘900 Grant’ as a way of describing bureaucratic inefficiency. Seems there are two ways to fix this: 1) make the bureaucracy efficient, or b) move into a building whose name is so long that it doesn’t lend itself to being bandied about like that.

  25. “Everyone incapable of learning has taken to teaching.”
    – Oscar Wilde

  26. And I just looked at the gun pic – are we sure this isn’t just an upside-down factory? (Yes, I know the parents admitted it was a laser gun.) This kid needs to be sentenced to art class, at the age of 13 I could draw a WAY better gun than that.

  27. Isn’t this some version of Pontius Pilate Syndrome — i.e. letting “the rules” set up someone for a fall, while washing hands of any rational judgement? Help me out.

  28. OTOH, I too used to draw pictures of WWII planes engaged in combat, in school and look how I turned out. I joined the Marines and fired real bullets at real targets and actually threw a live grenade once. Oh, and I got to shoot a bazoka and a machine gun and they were all real. Targets died, and a blown up tank got even more blown up. Then I got out and got a job and finished college and didn’t even shoot anybody. There were, however, rare occasions when I wished I could.

    So these professional educators are saving your little darlings from growing up to be law abiding taxpayers, veterans and responsible citizens with the self control not to go around shooting people.

    Well, everything doesn’t always turn out the way it should, right?

  29. I just might have to have a few words with the school board, the principal, the teacher in question, and possibly an attorney or two. More than a few, actually.

    With which I wish you well, Slart, but don’t expect much. You won’t fight city hall. In fact, folks get arrested challenging statist schools.

    Somewhat off-topic, I should have made a more complete point in #21, which is to ask, how did we get into something whereby we have to request from government both our cash and our choice back? (Pragmatically, I can point to nine hyper-achieving, well-adjusted home-schooled nieces and nephews and one daughter that finally escaped [don’t ask] the damnable slums of city high, having barely survived three years there, to take a final year being, yes, home-schooled.)

    But I would prefer to center on the principle of statist education in this particular constitutional republic and from there, how we came to be this obedient to it and dependent upon it. Vouchers are a nice band-aid, but they’re still band-aid. Rather than laundering tax receipts before returning a fraction of them to the responsible members of society, how about just doing away with their tax burden? Surely that’s more principled and more effective, all at once.

  30. Good thing none of this crops up in public school, huh?

    http://instapundit.com/archives2/008571.php

  31. With which I wish you well, Slart, but don’t expect much. You won’t fight city hall. In fact, folks get arrested challenging statist schools.

    Really? I guess that all depends on how the challenging is taking place. Public opinion is a pretty hefty crowbar, and the local news stations just eat up stories like this. Frequently what happens is the school official in question is visited by some reporters, has to explain his/her actions (“excuse me, is there actually a rule against sketching weapons?”), and winds up taking it all back. Occasionally, if the offense is large enough in terms of sheer idiocy, the official in question is…um…encouraged to find employment elsewhere.

  32. Slart,
    I had a school/legal run in over an event with my oldest son being bullied and, dear God, actually fighting back. They seemed willing to go it to court until my lawyer presented them with a huge discovery list. While it is by no means perfect, hiring a high dollar laywer how really knows how to pull someones pants down and break out the elbow length rubber gloves normally persuades the school district that out of court settlement is perferable. Sure, they may feel that are in a perfectly legal position but if your going to make them pay a lot of money and time to defend themselves they sometimes decide the battle isn’t worth it.

    You can’t always win every legal battle but you can make sure the other side knows they were in a fight.

  33. These rules aren’t for people who can afford a “high dollar laywer.” Demonstrating that capacity retroactively releases you from them — but you were always already released.

    Seen the Lohan news lately?

    Marx!

  34. I’d like a look at the scrap books kept by the parents of those school administrators from when they were children. I am absolutely certain you will find drawings of guns. As outrageous as this is on its own terms, to me it is far more so because these idiots all drew pictures of guns when they were 13 and they think they turned out just fine.

    This is conscious lying and harming a child in order to prove some PC point to…gods knows who. Some imaginary judge they are trying to please.

    They should be arrested.

  35. So, drawing a picture of a German shepherd dog might get one suspended for racially antagonistic content?

    A drawing of a breakfast meal with eggs, bacon, toast, butter, salt, pepper, orange juice, a fork, knife and spoon would definitely offend every group that whines about such things (PETA, vegetarians, Muslims, etc.) and would be considered both unhealthy (heart, cancer, etc.) and threatening (fork, knife, spoon and toast as in “You’re toast!). I am not sure if the plate would be considered a recreation flying disk (Frisbee), or if broken, might “radiate cold shards of broken glass” and be used by an art student for some esoteric composition or used by someone who has been looking for an opportunity to shank someone.

    Either drawing is bad or should only be done with liberal approved subject matter? “So long, Frank Lloyd Wright.”

  36. I think the parents handled the PR end of it masterfully: declaring that they found the school’s position “extreme and offensive.” Immediately accusing the school of psychological battery really puts the family on a good strong footing. It sure beats the hell out of terming the school’s position “ridiculous” and permitting reasonable doubt of how seriously they’re taking the situation to creep in to the conflict.

  37. *cough*homeschooling*cough**cough*

  38. Ardsgaine beat me to it. There’s a certain peace of mind that comes from knowing my son isn’t going to be heaved off campus for sketching a firearm.

    But, CNN was just last night pointing out the real danger.

    [Cue Dramatic Prairie Dog.]

    Christian homeschoolers.

    “God’s Warriors,” and all that. Funniest hour of TV I (sorta) watched this year.

  39. BTW, we’re homeschooling our older kid. “We” being in this case: my wife.

    One of many.

    In your link:

    Parker said he met with school officials to gain those assurances and then refused to leave until he got them. Parker stayed at Estabrook School for more than two hours, according to Superintendent William J. Hurley, as officials and Lexington police urged him to leave. Finally, they arrested him for trespassing.

    Yes, certainly, if I had an appointment to meet with school officials and then would not leave, I would completely expect to be arrested.

    There are ways to handle your issues, and there are ways not to. I’m guessing that his intention was to get arrested for the publicity, mission accomplished. But he wasn’t arrested for disagreeing, he was arrested for not getting the hell off of school property so they could, I’m guessing, lock up the school.

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  41. Alice says this:
    Denver Public Schools has decided not to assign letter grades anymore. I have to question whether DPS actually wants to remain a school district, though, given that they are selling their admin building and looking at closing 40 schools. (DPS only has about 150 schools.)

    For the record, I’m all for the closing of the extra buildings. The schools are being closed because of dramatically declining attendance, so the facilities are being consolidated. This should save a ton of money–which is nice because they haven’t given their teachers raises that were promised something like three years ago. Parents near the schools that are closing are cranky–which I understand–but they are missing the point that you can’t keep all of those schools open, staffed, and safe with just a few hundred students in attendance. Those are big buildings.

    I’m hoping they sell them all off to a developer who will make really cool condos. I’ll grab the stubby remnants of my magic a-ha pencil and make a doorway leading in. Then I’ll leave little doodles of combat weaponry and my signature line: Hooray Freedom to Doodle!

    The end.

  42. Which is why my kid goes to catholic high school.

  43. I’m so glad I wasn’t born 20 years ago. When I was in high school, one of my friends and I spend most days in one of our particularly boring classes drawing very detailed, vaguely D&D inspired, Rube Goldberg-ish human slaughter pits…you knows, like, guy falls into a pit, lands on a conveyor belt covered with spiked which dumps him into a vat of acid, etc, etc… I can’t imagine the suspensions and hours of therapy we would have been forced into if we did that now…

  44. Yes, certainly, if I had an appointment to meet with school officials and then would not leave, I would completely expect to be arrested.

    Really?

    Given that, presumably, you were there during hours and that it’s tax-paid property and that you just had zero assurances from public servants of reasonable behavior concerning your child being “instructed” in odd or offensive matters, what you would be is escorted from the building/grounds. At worst, that hopefully based on the bona fide authority to do so, and I don’t mean some bullshit local ordinance passed by soccer moms or brittle, pasty schoolmarms just because they felt like it when they say your kind coming and banging on their nice little scholastic empire.

    The authority to do so also more than implies yet another set of standards, those presumably based on principles bedded in reasonable, constitutional law — does the State have the right to deny you the exercise of maintaining your child’s best interest simply because it inconveniences them for you to do so? Because, Slart, I see nothing here that could even remotely equate that interest with the forcable denial of a man’s freedom, either pragmatically or principally under the usual terms of otherwise law-abiding American life.

    Being hauled off and deprived of your freedom, for crying out loud, for essentially not sacrificing or groveling for your rights and/or getting in the State’s face with entirely principled, legal speech and action smacks of some cinematic adventure in totalitarianism. Also one of many.

    Of course, if that arrest is in the best interest of the public peace, well, then we’re further down that path than I thought. As you were; the State has it all under control. Of which form or another we’ll just have to wait and see, which brings me back to my original point, which is why are we asking for permission from what used to amount to our inferiors.

  45. Being hauled off and deprived of your freedom, for crying out loud, for essentially not sacrificing or groveling for your rights and/or getting in the State’s face with entirely principled, legal speech and action smacks of some cinematic adventure in totalitarianism. Also one of many.

    A valid concern.

    The degree of validity depends on whether the state actually comes down on him. Something I doubt they will.

    It was an act of civil disobedience.

    Pretty effective one too.

  46. If I spent the night in jail for protecting the interests of my family from those of the State, such as they may be in a case like this, I’d be thinking the authorities just came down on me, ThomasD…

  47. Given that, presumably, you were there during hours

    From your link:

    The book’s contents concerned Parker and prompted him to begin a series of e-mail exchanges with school officials on the subject that culminated in a meeting Wednesday night with Estabrook’s principal and district director of instruction. The meeting ended with Parker’s arrest after he refused to leave the school, and the Lexington man spent the night in jail.

    what you would be is escorted from the building/grounds

    Escorted by whom? What if I refused to be escorted?
    How late at night do you think the school is normally kept open?

    and that it’s tax-paid property

    As is every city, state and local government building, courthouse, police station and public library in the country. This does not, however, grant you the right to hang out in those places at hours of your choosing.

    does the State have the right to deny you the exercise of maintaining your child’s best interest simply because it inconveniences them for you to do so

    Depends on the level of inconvenience. If I’m the superintendent, I’d deny the exercise of maintaining someone’s child’s best interest at, for instance, 2am. There’s plenty of time for conducting that sort of business during normal operating hours.

    Because, Slart, I see nothing here that could even remotely equate that interest with the forcable denial of a man’s freedom, either pragmatically or principally under the usual terms of otherwise law-abiding American life.

    I don’t know what kind of point you’re trying to make, here. I think some clarification is in order. Certainly, it’s possible that this situation could have been ended with no incarceration, had the police been called, and forcibly (if necessary) removed the guy from school property while they locked up.

    The way I see it, there are probably more effective ways to monitor and affect what your kids learn other than getting yourself arrested. If you really want to shelter your kids from the reality of the world around them, homeschooling is one option. Religious schooling is another. And, certainly, talking to them about the things they’re being taught should take place no matter where they’re being schooled. I think on the scale of things you can do to guide your kids’ education, intentional self-martyrdom doesn’t rank all that high.

  48. If I spent the night in jail for protecting the interests of my family from those of the State, such as they may be in a case like this, I’d be thinking the authorities just came down on me, ThomasD…

    On the other hand, id I spent the night in jail for refusing to leave the public library at closing time, I’d be thinking: what a jackass I am.

    Or, I could think that the authorities just came down on me, and fail to attribute the cause of said coming-down to myself. But that would be fairly lame, and to his credit, the guy in your linked article didn’t go that way.

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