Institutional ‘solutions’ to school violence are bureaucratic failures

Liberals believe in creating institutions to solve problems.

Conservatives believe the individual is better at solving problems.

Rick Jensen

A 3 year-old deaf boy in Lincoln, Nebraska is being bullied by public school officials to change his name because the hand sign for Hunter Spanjer looks like a weapon. The Grand Island school district has a policy that forbids kids bringing to school “any instrument … that looks like a weapon.” They can’t change the sign, because it’s the official hand sign for his name, registered through S.E.E., Sign Exact English.

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Pressure from the National Association of the Deaf and the public has compelled the district into allowing the deaf boy to keep his name. Sadly, there is no humility or sense of shame from district authorities.

The fight for the individual succeeded. The institution proved to be a gargantuan failure, and neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.

An 8 year-old Baltimore student tries to chew his Pop-Tart into the shape of mountain. It looks more like a gun, so he says, “bang bang.” Anne Arundel County authorities declare this to be an “inappropriate” use of his imagination and so they suspended him from school.

Neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.

Kicking children out of school for harmlessly exercising creativity is what passes for education in a world where parents and teachers feel they have no influence on their local schools.

Just a few weeks ago, a seven-year-old Virginia boy was suspended for pretending a pencil was a gun at his Suffolk school. His father and neighbors were furious. Then the story went away. But not the education. What did the boy learn? He learned that admitting to doing something he didn’t know was bad behavior will get you the maximum punishment. He learned that apologizing for doing something that he didn’t know was bad behavior will get you the maximum punishment. He also learned that teachers and principals do not want to teach children that pencils can be dangerous. They want to teach you that using your imagination to pretend any object is a gun is punishable with exile from society. He learned that they use so-called “zero tolerance” laws to cold-heartedly deny children an education in favor of capitulation to the politically popular reaction of the day.

Neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.

A second-grade teacher was suspended without pay in April, charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon for showing his students the proper ways to use tools. According to Washington Irving Elementary School officials, these deadly weapons included wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers. They were kept in a secured toolbox out of the children’s reach.

Perhaps the Washington Irving Elementary School principal should hold an assembly during which she could deliver a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating how children should call police if they ever find an unattended wrench.

Sadly, neither the district superintendent nor the school principal was fired.

These institutional “solutions” to violence in schools are an obvious failure to everyone except the principals and superintendents who are delightfully relieved of their responsibilities to educate and consider the context of each student’s behavior.

In this utopian liberal world, all carbon-based life forms are equally subservient to the draconian laws bequeathed from the holy sanctuaries of their state legislatures.

It’s time to show zero tolerance for these small-minded, short-sighted bureaucrats infesting your public schools.

In the real world, we parents need to exercise our rights and duty by protesting, lobbying and forcing the firings or resignations of principals and superintendents (not teachers) around the country who use these zero tolerance laws as a weapon against imagination and an excuse for avoiding the difficult job of actually getting to know each student and properly guiding and directing them toward learning.

Also see,

Obama and the Media: Biting the Hand that Feeds Him

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