Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Zero Tolerance Meets Zero Intelligence

'Inch long' toy gun causes big trouble

News staff writer

A third-grader at Sun Valley Elementary was suspended this week for bringing a G.I. Joe toy handgun to school.

Austin Crittenden, 9, and his family say the school in eastern Birmingham went too far by sending him home for bringing a tiny plastic handgun that accompanied a G.I. Joe action figure.

"It's about an inch long," said Vicki Stewart, the boy's grandmother and guardian. "(The principal) had to tape it to a piece of paper to keep from losing it."

The length of the suspension has yet to be determined, said Birmingham City Schools spokeswoman Michaelle Chapman. Possible punishments for a Class III violation such as this one include expulsion and alternative school, she said.

According to a notice sent from the school to Crittenden's family by Sun Valley Principal Teresa Ragland, he was suspended at 2 p.m. Monday for "Possession of a weapon Firearm replica."

That's a violation of the code of conduct all students are given and asked to sign at the beginning of the school year, Chapman said.

"The code of student conduct specified that the violation of possession of weapons includes firearm replicas," she said. […]

Yet another example of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence.

You know, there was a time when your teacher would just take stuff like this away from you, put it in her desk, and tell you you could get it back at the end of the school year.

The problem with these codes of conduct (and I have to sign all four of my kid's rulebook every year and send back the signature sheet, so I'm familiar with how these things read) is that they were generally written with one intention--obviously that a replica gun is something that actually looks like a FULL-SIZE, REAL gun--yet are interpreted by administrators who have been given great leeway in enforcement.

Which is a recipe for abuse by nitwits and martinets.

Little Jimmy, who's daddy runs the bank might get no punishment from Mr. Addlepate, while little Bobby, who has, you know, behavior problems, and his mom's got a smart mouth on her, and he's not smart like the other kids, WELL, HE brought a GUN and must be PUNISHED!

I'm sure there's more to the story than what's in the news, but having four kids in the county system and witnessing myself how easy it is for administrators to play favorites or overlook certain behaviors from some kids and not others, I think this one doesn't pass the stink test, and someone is being made an example of.

I'm all for school rules and such, but not as and end to themselves, and not as a way to cover an administration's incapacity in actually providing an education for its charges. If you are unable to adequately handle the event of a child bringing a one-inch high piece of gun-shaped plastic into your school without running to a rule book and expelling him, you really don't have the necessary brain power to be an administrator and should consider an alternative line of work.

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