Speaking of Stupidity …

17 01 2010

…We’re back to the subject of school administrators as tin-plated dictators with delusions of competence.

back in October, a high school student named Gary Tudesko went bird hunting before school with one of his friends. The two hunters were running a bit late, so they didn’t have time to take Gary’s truck home and drop off the shotguns. Rather than breaking the rules by parking the truck in the school parking lot, Gary parked on the street- off school property. The shotguns were behind the truck seats, unloaded, and the truck was locked.

For some reason, the school’s sniffer dog was run past the vehicles parked on the street. The dog alerted on Gary’s truck, and the police were duly called. The cops determined that the owner was Gary Tudesko, and the school discovered that he was a student, so Gary was summoned to his truck to explain matters. He told the police what had taken place, and opened the vehicle to show them the shotguns. The police and the local District Attorney later determined that Gary had broken no laws. He was not arrested or charged with any crime. It should be noted that the fields near town are a well-known hunting area.

The school, unfathomably, determined that Gary was a threat to himself and others, and promptly expelled him for a year. When Gary’s aprents objected that the vehicle wasn’t parked on school grounds, and that he had not broken any rules, the school administrators claimed state law gave them “the right to search any of the student’s vehicles no matter where they’re parked or what they’re doing during school hours.”

For those of you playing at home, this is a load of fascist bullshit. By this logic, a student who is sick in bed at his home ten miles from the school can expect to have his vehicle searched in the driveway by school administrators or their hired agents. Zero tolerance seems to equate to zero thought, whether the subject matter is drugs, guns,  and tobacco.

If any of you who read this have children in school, how do you like the idea that school administrators or their agents can conduct searches of your child’s room or car at any time during school hours? Isn’t it comforting to know that your kid’s school administrators care so much for the safety of your child that they’re willing to violate your child’s rights? Where does it end? Does the school get a say in what religion your kid is allowed to practice? What if your child wants to ride dirt bikes? That’s dangerous! The school administration gets a say in whether or not that will be allowed. Perhaps the school will start interfering in what you serve your kid at dinner.

Why does this school believe they have the power to extend their draconian authority far outside school grounds? I’ll tell you why: It’s for the chi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ildren! Every time some alleged parent or another publicly bitches about protecting the children from every potential hazard on the planet, the autocratic despots in school administrations get to exercise more and more authority over the children under their “care”.

Far too many parents today spend huge amounts of time and energy trying vainly to remove any possibility of harm from their child’s life. This bubble-wrap mentality is actually increasing the danger to their children, and everyone with whom those children come into contact. Little Bobby gets a sniffle? Dope him up with antibiotics. There might be germs on the playground equipment where little Suzie is playing! Better wipe down every surface with disinfectant wipes or bleach. This ridiculous paranoia about supposed perils in everyday life are making things worse. Over-use of antibiotics is creating newly-evolved strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Wiping down every surface with bleach to kill germs makes it a certainty that some germs which are inevitably missed will find the child’s immune system weakened from inactivity.

Worst of all are those who wet their panties over the thought that their precious sprogs might possibly see a firearm. Horrors! Little Johnny saw a gun! Sign him up for therapy.

A commenter on FARK.com named cobrasmity posted this gem:

SCHOOL — 1957 vs. 2007

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.
1957 – Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2007 – School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2007 – Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.
1957 – Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to cl ass, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2007 – Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2007 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 – Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2007 – Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.
1957 – Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, and goes to college.
2007 – Pedro’s cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 – Ants die.
2007 – BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated; Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2007 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

That’s a little absurd, but so is the nonsense being spouted by the school administrators in this case.

School administrators are public servants. We pay their salary. Let’s try exercising some influence in how these nimrods do their jobs. Go to school board meetings and speak up. Read the student handbook at your kid’s school and find out what sort of powers the school claims to have. If you don’t like what you read, do something about it. The reason school administrators are getting away with this petty despotism is because we let them.

That’s something we, the People, can change.

Current status: Hacked off

Current music: Banditos by The Refreshments


Egregious Stupidity

15 12 2009

Stand by for some examples of Weapons-Grade Stupidity. The kind of stupid that takes effort to accomplish.

At school, an eight-year-old boy is asked to draw a picture of what christmas means to him. He produces a crude image of a stick figure on a cross. His teacher goes completely off the rails and orders the lad to the principal’s office, where he is suspended from school and forbidden to return until he has received a psychiatric evaluation for his “violent and disturbing” drawing. What really set the teacher off was the inclusion of little x’s for eyes, to indicate the stick figure was dead.

If you follow the link above, you can see this “violent” drawing for yourself. Scary stuff, isn’t it?

What’s really scary is the fact that the teacher and principal are both so lacking in any shred of common sense that this warranted anything more than a chat with the child’s parents- if that. Looking over some of the papers from my time in school, I find far more heinous things: edged weapons drenched in gore, tanks, airplanes, sharks, dinosaurs, guns, and literally thousands of stick figures in various states of dismemberment and violent death. Despite these doodles,  I somehow managed to survive to adulthood without requiring extensive psychotherapy or lengthy imprisonment for the safety of others. What the Hell happened to our schools in the intervening years?

I will now introduce two terms to explain the current state of education today: Parental abdication of responsibility and Zero Tolerance.

Far too many parents have abandoned the task of actually raising their precious crotch-goblins to the schools. This abdication of responsibility has forced schools into a no-win situation of heightened expectations and diminishing returns- coupled with increasing class sizes and budgets which do not keep pace. As a result, school administrators have developed a strategy which helps them avoid lawsuits and keep their cushy jobs without having to actually teach their students anything: zero-tolerance policies.

Simply by adopting all manner of asinine restrictions, rules, procedures, and policies and then slavishly following them regardless of logic or reality, school administrators can pretend that they are incapable of doing their jobs while avoiding responsibility for this incompetence. A kid draws a picture of a pistol in his notebook? Gotta suspend the little thug. Zero-tolerance policy for weapons, you know. Another kid points his finger and says bang? That’s an expulsion. A little boy gives a little girl a smooch at recess? Have the little bastard arrested for sexual assault. Sorry, ma’am. Those are the rules. My hands are tied.

Speaking of sex crimes, there’s a young man in Michigan who is a registered sex offender, and has been for the last six years. His “crime” was having sex with his girlfriend when he was seventeen. Trouble is, she was only fifteen at the time. He was convicted of sexual criminal conduct and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. I’m trying to figure out what Public good is demonstrated by this nonsense, but I’m drawing a blank. Anybody out there have any ideas?

Matthew Freeman duly registered his address with the police and tried to move on with his life. One evening he was outside in his parents’ driveway shooting hoops, which happens to be across the street from an elementary school playground, when a state police car pulled up. The officer used a laser rangefinder to determine that Matthew was only some 300 feet from the school, and he was charged with a school safety zone violation. I’m certain that the public in Pittsfield Township can now breathe easier knowing that this dangerous predator has been prevented from playing basketball in his parents’ driveway.

The quote from the county prosecutor has the dangerous terms in it. See if you can find them:

We view these as public safety issues,” Hiller said. “That’s the paramount concern we have when dealing with sex offender registry cases. This particular law is in place to protect children, so that’s obviously a very serious matter.”

Any luck? Allow me to paraphrase for you: It’s for the children!

Those four little words are being used all over this country to completely destroy our society. FSM forbid that any children get exposed to the real world at any time in their delicate little lives. We can’t be bothered to teach our own kids the difference between right and wrong, and the people we’ve stuck with the task aren’t willing to take on the responsibility either, so the obvious answer is to create a whiffle-ball universe to protect the dear little tykes from anything which might hurt them- physically or emotionally.

What’s really tragic about the whole issue is the fact that the actions taken to protect children from anything “bad” are actually making kids more vulnerable to bad things. All those ridiculous wipes and disinfectants we surround kids with have the effect of leaving their immune systems vulnerable to just about everything. Refuse to discuss drugs or sex with kids and you pretty much guarantee that they’ll learn about them the hard way. Pretend that violence will just go away if you don’t pay attention to it and you guarantee that they’ll grow up to be victims. Hover over your kid’s every movement to provide support and you create a being unable to make a decision without mommy’s approval.

Parents all need to take a step back and take a look at these idiotic and self-defeating measures we’re taking to protect the children. Perhaps they could perform a basic risk-assessment before implementing anything “for the children”. How likely is this “bad thing” to occur? If it did occur, how much damage would it cause? What can I do to reduce the probability of severity of this “bad thing”? It isn’t difficult to make these sorts of decisions. It gets even easier when you can teach your kids to do their own risk-assessments. At that point, all you really need to do is make sure the kids have enough information to make the right choices and the training to ask for more input if needed.

Oh, wait. That involves dropping the iphone and turning off the latest reality TV show and actually trying to raise your own kid. You know, effort. Ugh!

It’s ever so much easier to leave all that tough stuff to a bunch of government employees who have to spread their attention among several hundred other kids in their classes.

So much for future generations of Americans.

Current status: Disgusted

Current music: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach