This Is My Pencil. This Is My Pencil Pretending To Be A Gun. One Is For Writing. One Is For Mandatory Suspensions.

from the school-admins-looking-to-shutter-known-arms-dealer-OfficeMax dept

A majority of human beings would look at two 7-year-old boys pretending their pencils are guns and say something about "boys being boys" or "someone's going to poke their eye out" and leave it at that. Those who craft and enforce zero tolerance policies see something more sinister. They see "threatening behavior" that must be dealt with swiftly and with as little thought as possible.

The end result? Two 7-year-old boys with otherwise clean records were handed two-day suspensions for pointing their pencils at each other and making shooting noises. This ridiculous punishment was (of course) defended at length by school administration.

Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made.
Really? Administration thinks a pencil becomes a weapon when "gun noises are made." (They don't actually think this, of course. They've just crafted a policy that states this, thus preventing administration members from "erroneously" coming to independent conclusions.) I can see a pencil being considered a weapon if it's being "pointed" (in a stabbing motion) at a sensitive area like an eyeball or a neck. Then a pencil is a weapon.

When two boys point pencils at each other and make shooting noises, a pencil is still a pencil and their imagination is doing all the heavy lifting. All it would take to "disarm" these kids is asking them to stop. Which is what a teacher did.
On the suspension note, the teacher noted that the boy stopped when she told him to do so.
Problem solved. No one is harmed and the perpetrators were left with nothing but non-threatening pencils. Why this was written on a suspension note, rather than on a simple concerned note to the parents or better yet, on NOTHING AT ALL, is beyond me. But Bradshaw has an answer for every question and a terrible excuse for every idiotic zero tolerance policy.
“Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community,” Bradshaw said. “Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”
Do they? My kids don't think about that kind of stuff. Then again, they rarely watch the news. Would my boys be "threatened" by a pencil gun? I doubt it. They're probably packing a pencil or two themselves during the school day. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that these hypothetical, hypersensitive children who bruise whenever the wind changes direction do not actually exist, at least not outside of statements like Bradshaw's. They're straw children.

Bradshaw also defended the moronic policy using this gem:
Bradshaw said the policy has been in place for at least two decades.
So... you're saying the administration has been stupidly overreacting since back when MTV still played music videos and no one has once thought that maybe a few policies might need to be updated or relaxed or given a good once over with a dose of context or common sense? Rules can be changed, even big, important ones. (See also: Amendments 1-27 to the Constitution, but pay close attention to nos. 18 and 21.) Nothing's so inflexible that anyone should be reduced to the rhetorical level Bradshaw is, fending off irritated parents with "Yeah, it's a shitty policy but what are you going to do. It has tenure."

Bradshaw doubles down on the importance and inflexibility of "rules" as well.
“It’s an effort to try to get kids not to bring any form of violence, even if it’s violent play, into the classroom,” Bradshaw said. “There has to be a consequence because it’s a rule."
Yeah, I get it. A rule is a rule. And enforcers like Bradshaw are throwing stuff on kids' permanent records that wouldn't pass the laugh test in the real world. Will this file note that the two boys "pointed pencils at each other and made shooting noises?" Or will it state something to the effect that the boys broke the school's policy on violence and threatening behavior? My guess is the latter, which will allow anyone perusing the record to imagine the worst.

We can only hope that having these stories reported widely might push a few administrators to consider loosening or removing these so-called "zero tolerance" policies. Unfortunately, to date most administrators (and their policies) seem impervious to public ridicule, and every school-related tragedy just results in a newer, more rigid set of unbreakable rules. Until the day comes when kids can be kids without being suspended for pretending pencils are guns, parents might want to sit their kids down and have a long talk about safe pencil handling and the requirements and responsibilities that come with the "conceal-and-carry" permit they'll be needing before being allowed to start the next school year.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Thank God they were not pointing cellphone CAMERAS at each other or is could have become bloody.

    He's right, children should only play using approved imaginary objects and friends. Courtesy of Moral Police TM.

    In a less sarcastic note these morons need to be reminded of their childhood and how they played "police and criminals", "indians and cowboys" and others and had a ton of fun. I despise these shitheads for all those attempts of shaping how kids should play and depriving them of the same fun and freedom they had. Rotten dirty bastards.

     

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    Ninja (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    On a second thought pencils are dangerous indeed. Disregard my comment.

     

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    Atkray (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Bethanne Bradshaw needs to write on the blackboard 1000 times...

    Conflating a pencil with a weapon only serves to create fear uncertainty and doubt in the elementary school student body population.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 8:04am

    "Zero tolerance" is a form of extremism. Just like "never again," the attempt to absolutely prevent the recurrence of something bad that happened inevitably creates other tragedies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Two thoughts:

    1) Apparently their zero tolerance policy also covers critical thinking.
    2) These kids are going to grow up to become police officers that think smartphones are guns.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:07am

    If any 7-year-old kids are truly worried about shootings to the extent they can't handle their classmates goofing around with pencils, it is only because the adults have taught the kids that they should be afraid.

     

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    beech, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    really, in this day and age these kids got off easy. I could easily see them being tried as adults for making terroristic threats or skip the trial and be sent to Gitmo for a few years of interrogation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re:

    Also...
    "(Insert Deity of Choice)! He's got a 9mm Pencil! Hit the deck!"

     

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    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    The good news is that these records are sealed at 18 and most Jr. High and High Schools here in the US know to ignore such records when they know it was an over reach. Oh heck I remember my second grade year in grade/elementary school just when the original Power Rangers was becoming popular...a whole bunch of us divided up into two groups, 5 rangers and the rest were the Putties.... one day we play fought without injury or touching each other (akin to staged combat lol) for half a recess and the only the kids that were the Power Rangers got put up against the wall for 5 consecutive recesses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    A policy like this likely would have gotten me expelled in 10th grade when I got frustrated with what I saw as an arbitrary 'no metal rulers' policy and began explaining in detail to the principal how various items on his desk could be used to kill someone more efficiently than my ruler...

    Of course, I also think the conversation would have gone different.

    "You are suspended for 2 days. I hope you learn something from this."

    'Oh I have!'

    "And what is that?"

    *makes a gun shape with hand* 'Bang! I just got two weeks off school.'

    People will I'm sure say 'Think of your future!' but... kids are increadibly bad at that...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    "When two boys point pencils at each other and make shooting noises, a pencil is still a pencil and their imagination is doing all the heavy lifting. All it would take to "disarm" these kids is asking them to stop."

    Instead of being so focussed on pencil, peraphs we should focus on the real culprit here, imagination itself. If we were able to, somehow, remove every single trace of imagination, maybe, just maybe, the world would be a much safer place to live in.

     

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    jilocasin, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:15am

    Zero Tolerance == Zero Intelligence

    Zero Tolerance == Zero Intelligence

    That about sums it up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    “It’s an effort to try to get kids not to bring any form of violence, even if it’s violent play, into the classroom,” Bradshaw said. “There has to be a consequence because it’s a rule."
    Yes, I agree. Education and access to the tools necessary for such should always come secondary to discipline.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Imagine the overreaction if they had been playing with cap guns or spud guns. They probably would have been expelled.

    The old spud gun was a childhood favourite of mine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    Where was the school police officer? They shouldn't have even gotten one pretend shot off before being tased, cuffed and interrogated for hours on end to determine how far this gang violence extends.

    Think of the children, no wait. Think of the time it saves to overreact by not having to teach children.

     

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    Daniel, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    When I was in third grade I punched my teacher (always felt he deserved it). I'm happy I did it because he was an asshole at times, but I'm not proud of it. Regardless I received a ONE day suspension. I punched a teacher, and got less punishment than these kids who did nothing wrong.

     

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    ralph, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Technology advances but people don't get any smarter. Moore's Law does not seem to apply to humanity.

    If anything, our average effective IQ may be dropping.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    It's not an IQ issue, it's an issue of a complete lack of common sense.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    perhaps the answer is for all pencils to be checked by administration as kids enter the school grounds. any that are found to 'loaded with lead' should be instantly confiscated and the kids sent home. i'm sure the kids wont mind but i doubt if it would happen many times before a lot of parents started a 'lynch mob' and headed down main street, ignoring the misguided law!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:20am

    Simple solution: Ban pencils in the classrooms. If the kids adapt their play to using fingers, enforce a mandatory mitten policy. Problem solved.

     

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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    To think kids today are going to school is the bigger issue. They're prisons. I mean, they have to literally toe the line worse than actual prisoners do.

    It's moronic at its best. Strip away the arts, recess, and now imagination, and we're actually looking at the future of even more shootings since these kids will not adapt because a black mark tarnished them for life.

    I feel sorry for any kid that plays doctor.

     

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    crade (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    Bradshaw needs to better familiarate herself with the definition of the term. Pretend is not a form of violence and play is only violent if you actually intend to hurt someone or something with your play. Pretend violence is a form of violence like pretend food is a form of nourishment.

     

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    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re:

    Common sense is a part of the IQ testing process. The biggest problem with technology is that information is learned in an instant without applied studied knowledge and experience. It is OK to get information about something, but that information is best obtained when applied in a real life application. Homework is meant to give us the applied knowledge of what we are learning and has the hidden agenda to teach us the basics of a work ethic.

     

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    crade (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re:

    or familiarize even lol

     

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    lucidrenegade (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    If it wasn't a nut shot it doesn't count.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Rubber bands being used to slingshot rolled and folded V's of paper are closer to a weapon.

    In fact, I remember when I was a kid my friend had made a blowgun out of a straw and dart that was made from the pin in a safetypin and the tip of his shoelace. Bastard shot me in the arm several times that day. Never got into trouble for it, and didn't grow up into a violent bastard, just your run of the mill friendly bastard.

    That's not even the malicious real weapons pulled on me in a school.

    All the stupid 'zero tolerance' policy like this does is make the administration look stupid while not addressing any real problems. Guns and knives that are brough into a school and aren't immediately used for violent acts are used for intimidation and bullying.

    A real issue like bullying in schools takes a hell of a lot more mental capability to handle than what they show they have by making a blanket zero tolerance 'pew pew' noise policy.

     

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    Glen, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:42am

    If they were to make the "pew pew" sound in rapid succession, would that be considered an automatic weapon?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Bradshaw should be fired instantly

    AND should be blacklisted for life from any role in any educational institution at any level anywhere.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    why do schoolchildren go all nuts, get guns and shoot up schools? Could it have anything to do with being treated like complete sh*t by the authorities that are supposed to protect them? Oh, no, it must be video games fault.
    -THE LACK OF INTELLIGENCE ON DISPLAY IN THE WORLD MAKES ME ASHAMED OF BEING HUMAN

     

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    Rikuo (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    In other news, two other boys the same age declared themselves to be Superman and Darkseid and proceeded to stare at each other, pretending to shoot heat vision from their eyes (and yes I know Darkseid doesn't have heat vision but Omega Beams). They were promptly arrested and tried as adults for the handling of weapons of mass destruction.

     

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  31.  
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    Chris-Mouse (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    > The good news is that these records are sealed at 18

    That these records are public up until then, which means that the information will be on the internet. That makes sealing of the court records meaningless.

    http://www.crimeandjustice.org/councilinfo.cfm?pID=157

     

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    Glen, May 9th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    1000 internets to you sir!!!

     

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  33.  
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    Argonel (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    What a wasted teaching opportunity. They should have been taught the 4 rules of gun safety.
    1. All guns are loaded.
    2. Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire
    4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

    Then they should have been required to spend 10-20 minutes in imaginary target practice with their pencils until they can pretend to hit the bullseye every time they pretend to fire.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:01am

    So would making a Phaser noise make them safe vs making a "Gun" noise ?

     

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    Ox, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Lets take a page from South Parks book and nuke Imaginationland!

     

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    Rikuo (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re:

    What if the imaginary phaser was set to an imaginary disintegrate level? My god, won't someone please think of the children!!!!

     

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    anonymous dutch coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    american

    I admit that Holland has idiots too, but these stories only seems to come from the US of A. What are you drinking?

     

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    Irrelevant, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    Odd, when I was a kid we used something called 'fingers' for warplays. I still carry 10 of them regardless of my ingorance.
    As an abdult I had conversations with bunch of cops about whether I am armed or not = I still carry a pencil, light, books and brain.

    I AM ALWAYS ARMED =)

     

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    There You Have It, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    I personally find it hard to believe that he can seriously defend the school's actions with a straight face.

    Fire this guy immediately - FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE.

     

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    artp (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    Pencils vs. cell phones

    My imagination is not good enough to figure out how to make a gun out of a cell phone, as a police officer recently declared, but I could make a start at making a gun out of a pencil.

    I'd probably break quite a few before i got the hang of it, though. :-)

    Staples, please send me a gross of pencils!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:14am

    Crazy, irrational gun-toting adults are too hard to fight, so let's fight pen-wielding children.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Numbskull (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    And what do you get from that? Less accidental shootings because the kids know how to handle the real thing properly instead of waving around their dad's gun like it's a toy and accidentally offing their best friend.

     

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    Ninja (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 10:25am

    Re:

    Imagine if they were fans of Makai? Boys arrested for using UFOs and Apple Pies as weapons. None injured so far. So far the worst murder attempt was from that boy with pastry. IMAGINE IF HE HAD A PIE?

     

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    Keith, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    While a bit of an over-reaction, we don't know the level these kids were taking it to, or if there was a threatening overtone. I remember being a kid and playing in the woods where sticks and branches became guns, rocket launchers and phasers. I also remember bullies pointing their fingers at me making the gun sound which meant I was going to get the crap beaten out of me later. I hope that the administrators are able to differentiate between the two.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: american

    Koolaid

     

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  46.  
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    Mr. Applegate, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Make the insanity stop!

    When I was 7 I was stabbed by another boy with a pencil. I was stabbed in my right hand, in fact the 'lead' (I know it is graphite) is still in my hand. If memory serves I don't think he was even sent to the principals office. I think he was spanked by the teacher and I was sent to the nurses station, class resumed.

    Guess what, I am still alive and survived without being overly traumatized. Oh and the kid that stabbed me, yeah we went on to become very good friends for about 6 or 7 years. The kicker is years and years later neither one of us have 'a record' or have been in trouble with the law.

    In a similar story at about 5 I was 'shot' by an older boy, early teen, with an air rifle. He had loaded it with dirt and it got the left side of my face and my left eye. No permanent damage was done. Though I can't say I ever became friends with him. His Dad yanked a knot in his tail and he had to apologize to me and my grandmother and had to do yard work for her all summer for free.

    My point is that yes, bad things can happen but we can't over react and we can't treat every action the same because they aren't the same.

    Blanket 'No Tolerance' policies don't help teach kids anything. Except how to get a day or two out of school, which is exactly what many of them want.

    Applying judgment is exactly what school administrators get paid to do. If they are unwilling to do that we can have a computer kick a kid out of school and stop paying the administrator.

     

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  47.  
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    Altaree, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:55am

    It is the lawsuit happy helicopter parents that are at fault.

    No tolerance policies are just a CYA statement of "don't sue us". If the school administration could count on all parents acting as adults, this sort of thing could be handled like it used to be. Now one idiot parent with a stick up their butt can bankrupt a school system. Please direct the bile at the correct targets.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:58am

    Re: american

    We're drinking the zero tolerance kool-aid

    when I was in school, I was banned for using the school computers for a year for writing a program that spammed "FUCK YOU" and putting it on a friends computer when he was up and away. We laughed about it and deleted it afterwards.

    Someone who was watching us recreated the program (it was "FUCK YOU" nested between a start and an end loop), said I wrote it, and school administration was brought in. Their comment? "You shouldn't be writing computer code, that could lead to viruses".

    It was such a menace that they couldn't get it off themselves. Apparently just closing the program or asking me how to close it involved too much computer know-how for them. So much so that they hired a "computer expert" from out of state to drive in and close the programs for them.

    And it did teach me something very valuable: If school administration could operate autonomously using common sense instead of set-in-stone rules, they wouldn't have got jobs as school administrators. Pity the poor bastards.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    One might argue that there has to be a special exception granted for a certain class of individual when it comes to application of any variation of Moore's Law to humanity as a whole. To wit: Only inverse properties of Moores Law, and its many corollaries, are applicable to that peculiar species of humorless/hide-bound/authoritarian/waste-of-skin bureaucrat that infests the administrations of those institutions of public education whose putative mission it is to educate our children and provide for them exemplars whose behavior and actions afford those children a solid foundation for future social and intellectual development.

    Those of use to whom inverse properties of Moore's Law do not apply still retain some vestige of sense-of-proportion and common sense.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Damn you Pavlov

    "Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community,"

    I learned something a while ago about phobias. I have a phobia of bugs, anything with more then four legs freaks me out. I was able to ignore it until I accepted the fact that I had a phobia. Now I can't go anywhere near the damn things. Accepting that I had the fear and using it as an excuse to not do things nurtured the fear and turned it into something much worse.

    The same can be seen when dealing with pets that fear loud noises. If your dog gets freaked out by thunder and you coddle it, the dog thinks that thunder is truly a thing to be feared (and the barking at the thunder gets worse). But if you ignore the thunder and treat the dog like normal, the dog learns not to fear the thunder.

    If we over react to children playing with pencils, we teach all children around that anything can be a threat. This is something they will take into adulthood and affect their lives, their jobs, and their families.

    This isn't just putting something on these two boy's records, this is teaching everyone in that school that even the smallest thing should be treated with zero understanding, zero forgiveness, and maximum reaction.

     

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    Dennis S. (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    I guess you missed this story then:
    Washington State Allows Third Parties To Brand Youthful Offenders For Life At The Low, Low Price Of Only 69˘ A Record
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130419/15503622772/washington-state-allows-third-parties- to-brand-youthful-offenders-life-low-low-price-only-69-record.shtml

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Re:

    You missed the most important ones.
    5) Cever put down a loaded weapon, unload it first.
    6) Check its state of load on picking it up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Nobody needs to buy more than one pencil a month.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: american

    I used the school computers to download mods for Sims 2. I was barred for a few days, but that was that. If this had happened today and in the US, I would have been frogmarched out the front door and into the back of a cop car.
    In my defense, I was bored, since I was the kid who dismantled hard drives for curiosity, having taught myself everything the class covered years beforehand.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re: american

    Who isn't bored in school?

    I think the major problem with our school system is that our students (hereby referred to as "inmates") are, on average, far smarter than the dropped-out-of-high-school coach who is being paid to read out of a book and keep us in line.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: american

    Sounds like you "exceeded authorized access" there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    If any 7-year-old kids are truly worried about shootings to the extent they can't handle their classmates goofing around with pencils,
    And if such wilting violets do exist, should the correct response be:

    1/ "Oh, poor dears! Let us move heaven, earth and civil liberties to attempt the impossible task of protecting the precious things from all the evils of the world!"

    2/ "Toughen up and get used to it kids, the real world can be a scary place and an imaginary gun is not going to figure in the top 1000 of scary things you see in your life."

    Answers on a postcard please...?

     

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  58.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    If only that were sarcasm...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    You two can't possibly tell me that it would really permanently affect their personal lives...especially that any child psychologist (aka GUIDANCE COUNSELOR!) would know to think twice on such accusations and realize that they were only goofing off. Of all the people I know in my profession, I feel sorry for every Jr. High and High School Guidance Counselor the most. They have to deal with the worst type of skullfuckery in existence because elementary school discipline over reach cases such as those stated in the article. I mean they not only have it bad enough dealing with teenage anxiety, but they also have a slight hand shaped red mark from all the face palming they do when seeing these types of reports in permanent records.

    I mean seriously!!! How many people are going to be that naive to believe that these kids are that dangerous when they are in Jr. High and High School? You'll have to be an utter moron to believe such reports without evaluation from a guidance counselor.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    New Mexico Mark, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    School administrators acting like little Napoleons with children is a bit like animal rights advocates tossing paint on little old ladies wearing mink stoles rather than Hell's Angels wearing leather. I'd like to see them try that with me!

    (Me pointing pencil at Ms. Bradshaw) I know what you're thinking: 'Is that a #1 pencil or a #2?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a Dixon Ticonderoga Woodcase Pencil, the most powerful pencil in the world, and would blow your head clean off if I made the appropriate 'pew, pew' noise, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    "a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made."

    Not much of a leap before we start hearing "a finger is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made."

     

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  62.  
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    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: american

    I remember taking an IT course in high school regarding such tactics...my constituents took advantage of Windows' Net send commands...one of my friends got in big trouble for writing a batch file to send that command through command prompt multiple times. Now for those not familiar with the Net Send command, it basically sends a message to various work groups or users in the network. It sent a pop up message that you had to click on to get rid of. If you wrote a batch file for it in a text editor (Notepad namely) all you had to do was copy and paste the string over and over again....well my friend certainly perfected it, but due to a slight lapse in proof reading your work before execution..his message which was meant for me was sent through the entire school network...250 times. That's 250 messages popping up at your screen like an error message faster than you can click them away. He got a 5 day suspension for that.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    I'm currently in councelling for this x.x. I've grown up being called lazy, a slacker, a do-nothing... went through numerous unsuccessful 'programs' and attempts to FORCE my interest, but no dice.

    Unfortunately, I'm quite intelligent. So unlike the lucky ones who are held back and fail, and thus get further assistance, I breezed through high school on tests and exams, earning nothing but 50-60's...

    'How can you consider yourself worse off than high school failures' you ask? Simple. I now have over 30,000 dollars in student debt, and a college diploma I don't know how to use, because I gamed college like I gamed high school and have no %#()% idea how to live in the real world >.

     

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  64.  
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    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:40am

    Would the pencil tip in this case be acting as a bayonet?

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: american

    Ah good ol Net Send, if my computer-illiterate teachers had any idea how to find out which computer the message came from, we would have been in so much trouble.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Joe, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re:

    Despite it's name common sense isn't all that common, it's quite rare these days. Therefore, I think it should be added to the oxymoron category.

     

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  67.  
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    sorrykb (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    I propose we institute a zero tolerance policy for zero tolerance policies.

     

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  68.  
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    JarHead (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Will this file note that the two boys "pointed pencils at each other and made shooting noises?" Or will it state something to the effect that the boys broke the school's policy on violence and threatening behavior? My guess is the latter, which will allow anyone perusing the record to imagine the worst.

    It depends on what actually written on those records.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    Only time zero tolerance makes sense.

     

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  70.  
    icon
    JarHead (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    If the kids adapt their play to using fingers, enforce a mandatory mitten policy.

    Instead of making things complex by having separate rules (ban pencils, but mittens for fingers) why not simplify the rules: either ban everything including fingers (meaning cut off the fingers at childbirth), or enforce covering rules for all (pencils needs to be covered). However, only the former is in tune with "zero tolerance" policies.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    Hang on a minute, she isn't completely wrong with that statement. If anything is pointed "in a threatening way", it may become a weapon. I once had someone point a garage tool at me in a way that almost made me think he'd try to use it on me.

    The key here is whether it actually IS pointed in a threatening way. Pencils are not guns. Pointing it at someone like it was a gun isn't very threatening. Especially when the person pointing it is 7 (and even less so when it's 2 kids pointing them at each other, so it's likely not a bully trying to pick on someone.)

     

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  72.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re:

    1. good thing they weren't pointing their fingers at each other and going 'pow pow'...
    "Stop it this instant, or I'm taking your fingers away!!!"

    2. i remember in grade school we had 4 desks fitted together in a square, and we guys would -not pretend- but ACTUALLY 'fight' with pencils as swords...
    (well, we were pretending to 'sword fight', but we were actually clacking and jabbing and slashing each other in fun... yeah, its a guy-thing...)
    not only did we do that shit all the time, not only were we all 'good' kids in the 'smart' class, but -no lie- we would actually draw blood (i literally still have a graphite scar under my skin from 50 years ago)
    the teacher ? just rolled her eyes and asked us to knock it off... NO ONE ever got 'disciplined', much less suspended, much less branded a potential terrorist/mass murderer...
    ...and that's the way it should have been

    now ?
    land of the free home of the brave ? ? ?
    what a fucking joke that is...

    we can't even brook a dog damned 5 YEAR OLD GIRL talking about her HELLO FUCKING KITTY SQUIRT GUN at a bus stop without being -LITERALLY- branded a 'terrorist threat'...
    the fuck you say...

    you don't need to go any further: the dream of America is dead, long live amerika ! ! !

    geez, i'm EMBARRASSED to be an amerikan when chickenshit idiocy like this goes on every day a hundred times a day...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re:

    3/ The brainwashing to wussify the next generation so they'll be "more compliant" should be shut down.

    "The PC Police are comin' to arrest you"
    "The PC Police are comin' to arrest you"

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 9th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    NPA Recommends More Pencils In Schools

    The National Pencil Association decries any attempts at restricting citizens’ right to bear pencils. “The answer to this is clear,” their spokesman said: “Every school should be equipped with pencilled guards. The bad guys will think twice about drawing their pencils, when they realize they will be met with a written response.”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re:

    thank you, not a rodent, one of my pet peeves over this: trying to 'childproof' the world...

    not only impossible, but unwise to attempt... we should be raising the precious snowflakes to grow up in an ADULT world, NOT dumb-down the world to be childproof...

    PS wrote the suffolk county school board ('Where every child is a star, and we help make the shine.' no shit, that is their empty motto...) and told them where to stick their uber-PC'ism...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  76.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    i believe that is the plan...

     

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  77.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    Lucky punk (I mean this in the kindest of ways).
    I went from primary school where I was a child prodigy, straight As, even skipped a year, then went to secondary (high school) where I basically crashed and burned (I barely maintained a C average). Not once did my school talk to me, try to figure out what was going on, why someone who showed so much potential went from constant A's to failing English tests of all things. At least your school talked to you.

     

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  78.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    " Not once did my school talk to me, try to figure out what was going on, why someone who showed so much potential went from constant A's to failing English tests of all things. At least your school talked to you."

    Wow you had it tough across the pond...that kind of stuff is usually college study here in the US.

     

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  79.  
    icon
    Watchit (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    When I was in 5th grade we pretended yard sticks where guns and rolled up socks with tennis balls where grenades... for a school project to reenact the revolutionary war!

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    PRMan, May 9th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes. I would NEVER hire someone whose name came up on a public search saying that they pretended a pencil was a gun in elementary school... :rolleyes:

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    New Mexico Mark, May 9th, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Re: NPA Recommends More Pencils In Schools

    I propose we train teachers how to "quick draw" a pencil while making appropriate "pew, pew" noises. The offending child feigns death while the teacher blows the imaginary smoke from the barrel of their pencil. Other children learn that this is not a teacher to be trifled with. Problem solved.

     

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  82.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    From the article:

    "Will this file note that the two boys "pointed pencils at each other and made shooting noises?" Or will it state something to the effect that the boys broke the school's policy on violence and threatening behavior? My guess is the latter, which will allow anyone perusing the record to imagine the worst."

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

    There's nothing like this here in Switzerland. We have trouble convincing teachers that if a child is injured during one of the many outings into the woods, it's not somehow a badge of honor because you have to find your own way in the world.

    Another example was a few years ago someone broke through the ice and drowned in a village near here, and the mayor (!) just said: "The ice had not been declared safe." (Evidently a municipal determination.) No public apology or law named after a person.

    As for fake guns: we're just back from the opera, where our son was shooting his friends during the intermission. If you can do it at the Zurich opera, why can't you do it in an American school?

    Final point: kids in his first grade class bring their pocket knives to school. (As I did in CT in the 70s. It was green.)

     

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  84.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    Re:

    That should be funny, it really should, but considering that seems to actually be the plan, it only comes across as sad.

     

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  85.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re:

    Not too hard to believe really, any school that has a 'zero tolerance' policy in place has already made it loud and clear that 'thinking' and 'rational thought' are not things they place high priority in.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    OldGeezer (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Re:

    Are cap guns sold or even legal now? I grew up in the 50's & 60's and every kid had one. What was really fun was taking a hammer to a whole roll of caps. Never had one school shooting in elementary or high school. Never even heard of a kid bringing a real gun to school.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    AC Unknown, May 9th, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re:

    They're still sold in stores (I should know, as I work in retail), so I'm guessing they're still legal.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How dare you giving information out like that. Now our sons will go to school knowing how to terriorize the locals.

    That website needs to be banned, people who made it need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, now some might say first and i say who cares about the first, we got kids to think about!

     

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  89.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand TGT...but the simple fact remains....it's only a guess. Thing is that these types of reports ate kind of ignored here in most US school systems when overreaction by staff is in place...the record not only shows how the student (mis)behaved, but also shows the disciplinary action taken by the staff of that school. The common misconception is that a permanent school record is kept sealed only to be brought up and filed by counselors of schools and in the Jr. High and Secondary levels...it really only has to do with discipline in the sense of how the situation was handled.

    Now I can understand if the boys get disciplined for goofing off in class...but this a school yard "incident". The action, or rather overreaction, by the staff is noted by the district.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Damn you Pavlov

    Pavlov had nothing to do with learning behaviors from others...his experiment and accidental discovery involving dog behavior should ring a bell ;-)

    Playful banter aside...the Pavlov experiment pertains mainly to programming the internal timing mechanism of our thought process to routines at intervals...and the behaviors from the results were eventually done naturally by the dogs themselves without prompting by the bell or perceived knowledge of the dogs themselves. Then he changed the timing and found that they would only remain salivating at the previous usual time that the bell would ring. Odd enough the effect wares off with new conditioning so our internal neurology adapts to new thing gradually.

     

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  91.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Zero Tolerance == Zero Intelligence

    Why are summations being used as a term pertaining to equivalency yields?

     

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  92.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 4:16pm

    Re: Re: american

    Be glad it ain't the purple type....

     

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  93.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 4:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    Sadly, MS no longer includes that in command prompt in Vista and newer.

     

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  94.  
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    vilain (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 4:42pm

    I wonder, if, at the next school board meeting

    If a group of parents stand as the School Board enters the chambers, aim pencils at them and make "pew pew pew". Some finger guns might also be used.

    Then let the hijinks ensue.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    RoC1909, May 9th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    Uh...I am using Windows 7 and NET SEND is still available.

     

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  96.  
    icon
    AzureSky (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    if i where these kids or their parents, the new policy would be to never touch a pen/pencil/exct in school again, when teachers complained, I would just have the policy state that the child/student is not allowed to handle dangerous weapons such as pens and pencils.

    watch their reaction, when they cant say "they really arent weapons" because that would undermine their excuse for suspension and open them to legal action for said suspensions.

     

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  97.  
    icon
    Wally (profile), May 9th, 2013 @ 10:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: american

    You're using Windows 7 Business or Ultimate then.

     

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  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2013 @ 1:29am

    Re:

    How about a mandatory rule for schools that if they wish to enforce such a policy, they must refer to it in all documentation and discussions as a "zero intelligence" policy.

    Either they drop the policy or they have to be honest about it's origin.

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2013 @ 1:32am

    Re: Re:

    I always thought #5/6 were implicit parts of #1.

    If you treat a firearm as loaded, wouldn't you check it first when you pick it up, including possibly unloading it?

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Yesterday Jones, May 10th, 2013 @ 2:09am

    What if the kids had pointed sandwiches or gym shoes at each other and said "bang". Does the criminality of the act hinge on how closely the thing pointed resembles a weapon?

    What if they'd placed a box of pencils under a desk, and gone into another classrom and said "bang". Would that be construed as a planting an imaginary bomb?

    And what if they pointed their pencils at each other and said "pffft" instead of "bang"?

    I mean, does it make a difference if you shoot someone with a pencil fitted with a silencer?

    What if the pencils had erasors on the end? Could they have claimed they were playing at cops and were only firing rubber bullets? Would that fall in or out of bounds?

    The more examples you switch in to this scenario, the more arbitrary this stupidity becomes.

    I would not want my children's education to be influenced by silly, petty people like the administrators of Suffolk Public Schools.

    Sadly, this nonsense is probably the tip of an iceberg. How many other insidious nonsenses are these petty princes inflicting on the children? How badly are they warping our children's future beliefs, values and behaviour.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    D, May 10th, 2013 @ 4:59am

    Online courses dont require a teacher to make these choices

    As more kids realize the benefits of taking classes online and the amount of time they save not being in a classroom, these problems will go away.

    Ag programs are now taught on computer, foreign languages are taught that way along with thousands of other classes.

    Kids, wake up and demand to take online courses only. For about 3 hours of your morning you can get in a 7 - 8 period normal class day and not have to deal with having your entire day wasted in a classroom that goes nowhere with an instructor who will suspend you for playing with a pencil.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Dave, May 10th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Have you got lead in your pencil?

    Obviously the pencil has been suitably modified to shoot its graphite over vast distances, making it a lethal weapon and qualifies for a world-wide ban. After all, we can't have items like this, capable of such destruction, on open sale now, can we? Pens might be next and where would we be then?

     

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  103.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 12th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Re: Zero Tolerance == Zero Intelligence

    Why are summations being used as a term pertaining to equivalency yields?

    == is computer programming notation for equality (in many languages).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 12th, 2013 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re:

    5) Cever put down a loaded weapon, unload it first.

    Impossible due to rule 1.

    6) Check its state of load on picking it up.

    Unnecessary due to rule 1.

    Hm, I think Argonel may have misstated rule 1. :-)

     

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  105.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 12th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

    Re:

    While a bit of an over-reaction, we don't know the level these kids were taking it to, or if there was a threatening overtone.

    They're seven year olds playing with pencils who stopped when they were told. How bad could it have been?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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