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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zero Tolerance, Infinite Idiocy

Recently, Spotsylvania High School, located in Virginia, expelled Andrew Mikel II, honor student and Junior ROTC cadet, for what amounts to using a peashooter on school grounds. The boy was also charged with three misdemeanor counts.

The photo at the left shows the "weapon": plastic pellets and a pen tube.

According to this article in the Washington Post:
Andrew Mikel II admits it was a stupid thing to do. In December, bored and craving attention, the 14-year-old used a plastic tube to blow small plastic pellets at fellow students in Spotsylvania High School. In one lunch period, he scored three hits.

"They flinched. They looked annoyed," Mikel said.

The school district saw it as more than a childish prank. School officials expelled him for possession and use of a weapon, and they called a deputy sheriff to the scene, said Mikel and his father, Andrew Mikel Sr.

The younger Mikel, a freshman, said he was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault.

[...]

School officials in some e-mails referred to the plastic casing as a "metal tube." The plastic pellets were called "B-Bs."...

[...]

Mikel will be cleared of the misdemeanor criminal charges if he participates in a year-long diversion program...
Clearly, this particular school has lost all perspective as to what comprises effective discipline. Furthermore, the family's appeal to the school board resulted in the school's decision of Andrew's suspension being upheld, thus likely resulting in the boy's indiscretion and punishment as a permanent part of his cumulative file. As stated at The Blaze:
...The school guidance department told Andrew that as a result of his tarnished record, he will no longer be considered as a viable candidate for the Naval Academy....
Before we condemn the school and the school board too much, however, let us take note of the following from the above-cited article:
The federal Gun-Free Schools Act mandates that schools expel students who take weapons, including hand guns, explosive devices and projectile weapons, to school. E-mail traffic among school officials showed they ruled that Mikel's plastic tube, which was fashioned from a pen casing, met the definition of a projectile weapon because it was "used to intimidate, threaten or harm others."
The bureaucratic nanny state! As the boy's father points out:
“It takes four state agencies to go after someone with a spitwad: It takes the sheriff’s department, the commonwealth attorney, the school board on various levels and the department of juvenile justice … what a fine use of taxpayer resources."
Read more HERE at The Blaze.

One of the first topics covered in my teacher-education course "Discipline for the Secondary Teacher" emphasized the importance of not overreacting to any disciplinary infraction. In that valuable course, I learned one essential concept: both under-reaction and overreaction to infractions of discipline lead to any number of unintended consequences, all of which lead to ineffective classroom instruction. Therefore, we shouldn't be surprised that so many students today have lost respect for our education system.

12 comments:

  1. Outrages like this are happening all over. This is why local politics is so important and why schools should be privatized and run by local communities. Schools have become intrusive little federal progressive outposts corrupting our communities.

    In Denver, some kids were playing with airsoft guns (rubber pellets used to shoot one another) and one kid got shot in the eye so they called 911.

    The police came, everybody was ok and the parents of the kid who got shot said forget it, it's all OK, but Jefferson County locked the kid up in detention for a few hours, and he how has charges hanging over his head. Once I get the facts I'm blogging about it.

    Our governments at all levels are going crazy, and we've got to rein them in.

    They can't get on top of the drug problems, gang problems or illegal immigration, so they go after law-abiding citizens. We need to take our country back, and state and cities and schools!

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  2. Lesson of the day...if you are real criminal like say a theif stealing a $2500 necklace...next time its for real, or perhaps a juvenile stealing a car or breaking into a house...next time its for real....or if you enter the country illegally...you are just a law abiding citizen looking for a job...but a kid with a quasi pellet gun...oh my gosh call out the bees no the dogs no the dogs with bees....and SWAT

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Thanks G-d ! We are not alone !...

    http://goo.gl/PjE1H

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  5. I agree with Silverfiddle about privatizing education. This whole notion about “free public education” is no more than balderdash. Citizens are paying exorbitant prices for a failed education system. There are many things going on in our schools —but none of them has to do with learning. Anyone who has ever worked as a public schoolteacher realizes that the job entails more babysitting than teaching, and anyone who looks realistically at public education realizes the system is irreparably broken.

    Public schools today are centers of mixed messages. Liberals have confused themselves and their students. Spitting in the face of a teacher isn’t a first amendment right of expression, it is assault. What appears missing is a sense of propriety, good manners, and self-discipline. The boy with a peashooter was behaving poorly, and I think his behavior deserves punishment … but arresting him for using a peashooter while giving unlimited mulligans to those who slap, spit, or threaten teachers is inappropriate and wildly inconsistent.

    Private schools and home schoolteachers do not put up with such shenanigans. Neither should public schools, but this is how we’ve evolved: educationalists (e.g., leftists) are the problem, and getting rid of those twits is the solution.

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  6. One school system would allow a Sikh kid carry a ceremonial dagger, but another will suspend a kid for drawing a picture of a gun.

    Can these administrators try for a reasonable facsimile of a common sense approach to dealing with weapons in schools?

    Zero tolerance except when they
    don't feel like it isn't good policy.

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  7. My God, this hits close to home! My son, now 21 and living in Kansas City, attended Spotsylvania High School, when my wife and I lived in Spotsylvania.

    And yet, I hadn't heard about this.

    Wanna hear about another outrage? He was arrested last night in Kansas City because he vaguely (the suspect was reportedly wearing a gray jacket, and my son was wearing a dark blue one) matched the description of a man who had beaten his girlfriend and then jumped off a 2nd floor balcony. My son was simply walking his dog, and observing the movements of the Police around his apartment complex, when suddenly he was attacked by 5 police officers and thrown to the snow covered ground, and handcuffed. They pushed his face into the snow and told him, "stop resisting.

    "Even though he wasn't the guy they were looking for, he was arrested and taken to jail for "resisting arrest".

    He's out now, and $300.00 poorer from paying bail. He's thinking about suing them, but he probably won't win.

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  8. Mark, he needs to talk to an attorney. If he ignores this, he's contributing to the problem. Police always allege "resisting arrest" when they use excessive force. It won't hurt for him to consult with an attorney.

    Semper Fi

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  9. Unreal.

    I keep saying that nowadays.

    When I was in school not all THAT long ago, spitballs were not that big of a deal; perhaps a suspension or some janitorial work as punishment would be applied.

    This is preposterous.

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  10. As to the Police story...

    On ths urface it sounds like a case of bad police work but I was not there. I am generally opposed to suing as the monetary damages usually result in all of us paying the tab...

    Instead I would call the Internal affairs division of that department as you will get the judgement you really seek.

    If that fails call the Mayor...if that fails call the local newspaper...

    As to the resist charge most departments frown on that charge alone as most know that was used in the past to cover bad policing...it is scant covering today....

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  11. first we have to change the language and the so called public schools control thought....

    What I mean is there is nothing traditional about public schools...that is pure tripe...

    For thousands of years children were taught by their parents

    For hundreds of years they were taught by private tutors and/or small community schools

    For decades children have been taught in comformity factories iroinically run by liberals who supposed believe in diversity we call public schools.

    But there is nothing public about them any more. Community members have almost no effect on the agenda which comes from the government and mostly from DC.

    They are government schools and iroinically they do not bother to teach the history of this nation and its founding documents.

    More and more children are functionally illiterate. The government schools are a failure and a huge drain on State governments.

    Privatize the whole thing and unemployment all thos in DC who do not educate a single child but they do pull down 6 figure salaries with benefit packages people dream about.

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  12. Everything that I did as a child in school would land me in jail today. Our children will be growing up as zombies.

    BTW, your article inspired me to write one as well: Zero-Tolerance Policies Should Not Be in Schools

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