School Threatens Child With Expulsion For Halloween Drawings

from the fear-itself dept

There is an epidemic coursing its way through our school systems that puts our children's lives in danger. For some reason, this epidemic appears to be on the rise, resulting in fear, oppression, and a demoralizing experience for our kids in schools that almost certainly effects the educational experience, if not the psychological well-being of millions of young Americans. As I'm sure you have already guessed, I'm obviously talking about the stupid adults that run everything and have put in place a nearly-institutionalized overreaction to some very real but rare tragedies of recent note. That overreaction is how you get terrified kids during school shooting drills. It's how you get seven year olds suspended for novelty pens, which I guess is mightier than the high-powered rifle.

And it's how you end up with a grade school child being threatened with expulsion for drawing some pictures of what he'd like to dress as on Halloween.

The three images in question depict a soldier, a ninja and a Star Wars character - possibilities for the 8-year-old's Halloween costume. Each of the drawings show the character holding either a gun or a knife.

"I think we really send our children the wrong message when we show that, as adults, we're so afraid of our shadow that an innocent picture - that any 8-year-old might've drawn - is cause for this kind of concern." [Comment from a local citizen]
The report also notes that the student engaged in creative writing which was likewise deemed to be dangerous, but which ultimately turned out to be a fictional story about the school being attacked by zombies, otherwise known as the kind of thing every single young boy thinks about at some point. For these crimes, the principal of the school informed the parents that they have a zero tolerance policy for images depicting guns and violence, that the child's creativity resulted in every other child in the school being in danger, and that they were grounds for expulsion.

And, in case you haven't decided yet, this is stupid. The images of school shootings in our media are powerful ones, but they don't necessarily need to result in everyone over the age of eighteen completely losing their minds and institutionalizing a culture of fear of our own children. You want to create a mythos around violence and guns amongst children? Outlaw discussion about them. You want to ostricize children? Limit creativity. You want to make children trust adults even less than they already do? Try to put them in some iron-grip of zero tolerance during the very time when they are learning to be most expressive, curious, and creative.

Can we please just go back to trusting our children to be relatively decent again? Because each and every one of these stories is dumb.



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    Ninja (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 3:42am

    One can only hope these kids don't grow up with distorted personalities and that those morons holding such positions die a swift death. I'm guessing these morons are in their 50-60s so there's some time before the idiocy starts fading. What a fucked up generation... I hope there's a lawsuit coming.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    'Merica - Home of the meek.
    A child's drawing is so terrifying we had to destroy his life.
    A child's imagination so dangerous, EVERYONE COULD DIE!

    The parents in these districts need to start recalling their school boards and finding people willing to risk drawings and imagining.
    Give up the idea that this is the real danger to kids, the real danger is that you simple minded asshats are going to turn your children into drones to be exploited for life.
    Never dreaming to be more than a faceless cog in the machines making people who could dream rich.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    They should have drawn an NSA agent wielding their internet gun. Why? Because if they did this the school would be dealing with a pack of pissed off agents.

     

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    anonymouse, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:19am

    Do they not understand

    When you make something illegal for kids they are drawn to it they want to know why it is illegal and then they end up learning things we would rather they only learned when they were older.

    I hope that this pathetic restriction on kids from having any form of creativity is stopped in it's tracks by someone with a little sense.


    Kids are able to see more violence and bloodshed in movies that are freely available all over the internet, damn they love the likes of thor and superman and other marvel movies, but sadly for them these movies have been developed for adults, my 7 year old managed to get hold of a copy of the latest superman movie but even he decided after a few minutes that although it looked really cool it was a bit too violent for him, yes he decided on his own with no input from any adult...i wish to think that it is the way i have brought him up , but i think it is a basic lack of interest in violence and seeing people being attacked by robots, and hundreds killed in cities that are attacked....while adults can filter out the fact that hundreds die when the Enterprise in the latest star trek movie crashing into a city will kill tens of thousands, my Son realizes this is what is being depicted and he chooses not to watch it.

    I want my kids to use their imagination and i want them to know they are not going to be thought of as evil just becasue they draw or write about a fictional situation

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:28am

    so, does he/she bring up his/her own children in such a strict way that they daren't mention weapons, let alone draw them? do they even know what these things are and the harm they can do? isn't educating about the dangers of them better than trying to hide them as if they dont exist?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    We judge others by our own thoughts and actions

    I think the problem here is that adults have lived long enough to see a few mass shootings and acts of violence. So when an 8 year old, who may have never heard of these things, draws what is otherwise harmless pictures, the adults assume the worst. They assume little Johnny is a psychopath. So the immediate, knee jerk reaction might be understandable, but you would think that cooler heads would prevail soon enough and the school administrators would realize their over reaction but somehow they never do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    The USA is one of the the most hostile nations in the world, constantly invading and meddling in the affairs of other countries. Plus, your constitution specifically allows you to carry guns.

    But then you have a "zero tolerance" policy about kids drawing violent pictures and people get all up in arms when some "violent" video game comes out.

    Does not compute.


    Speaking of the 2nd amendment, shouldn't schools at some point teach how a gun actually works, and its effects on the human body, given how guns are such a big part of American national identity? (assuming they don't already)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    Can we please go back...

    To the time when those who are educating the children display a greater capacity for intelligence than the children they are supposed to be educating?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    This.

    Even more important, gun safety. I am not from the USA, but from what I have heard, there are so many guns in that country that teaching gun safety from a young age would be important to prevent accidents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:16am

    Re:

    "finding people willing to risk drawings and imagining"

    That there is your problem, any sort of creative thinking or imagining is what the schools have a problem with. Conformity is the name of the game, turn the children into productive sheep of society.

     

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    Call me Al, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re:

    I think you'll run into trouble with that idea. People would immediately say that teaching gun safety would result in more guns use. Amusingly the people who say this will be the same who laugh at those who say sex ed shouldn't be taught and abstinence is the only way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:21am

    Re:

    Plus, your constitution specifically allows you to carry guns.

    And the problem with that is???? Notice all the mass shootings are in "gun free zones". To quote an old saying, when they outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns. For the naysayers I would ask about drugs. Why can you get drugs on every street corner in America, in large cities to small towns, and they have been illegal for decades? How would outlawing guns have any different result?

     

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    spodula, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re:

    "And the problem with that is????"

    I suspect the original poster doesnt have a problem with this. More that he is pointing out that if you allow that, you could do with proper gun safety training in the learning environment, not banning any reference to them.

    "Zero tolerance" means "I dont have to think about this, therefore i have no responsibility for it".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:40am

    Hell, I'm 29 and I routinely daydream about my office getting attacked by zombies.

     

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    me, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:45am

    Any teacher/administrator subjecting my nephew to this brand of BS

    It will become my mission to have them removed from the Education system for good. This kind of fear mongering bullshit is so completely useless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    As I keep telling myself, there are lots and lots, hundreds even thousands of smart intelligent americans (heck, be generous, despite the evidence maybe even a million or two). Such a pity for them that they live in a country that seems to have the highest level of stupidity and that they are so vastly outnumbered.

    Nobody does stupid quite like the USA. No 1 for sure.

    Maybe there's something in the soil or the water?

     

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    Peter, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:50am

    I'd call this "zero brain" policy rather than "zero tolerance"

    Although one could argue, that those two are very closely related.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: We judge others by our own thoughts and actions

    Sure it would be an understandable knee jerk reaction in anyone who had no experience of children at all.
    Presumably someone raised on another planet by aliens/robots or alien robots and whose entire experience of humankind is based on horror movies. Although Occam's razor suggests it would also understandable if IQ is below 80.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Never mind the fact that 'abstinence only' sex-ed almost always leads directly to massively larger teen-pregnancy rates over states that teach actual sex-ed...

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Not just a US problem

    The problem is the idiots, no matter the country, tend to be a lot louder(almost like they're trying to make up in volume what they lack in brains) than the sane, intelligent people, so they seem to be a much larger portion of the population than they actually are.

    In a group of 10, one man yelling is a lot more noticeable than 9 people talking normally, and the same principle applies to morons.

     

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    scotts13 (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:39am

    Only concerns the safety of one person

    We live in a society that (apparently) drive people insane, including some children. Insane people lose it, and shoot up the place. We don't know how to change society, so we try to head off the results - i.e. more and more safeguards against shootings.

    Now, you CAN'T ever completely stop anything, so this is doomed to failure; and in fact the draconian and irrational attempts produce more crazy kids.

    So, the only avenue left for administrators is to protect themselves alone, by appearing to have done everything possible towards this Sisyphean task. The one thing they DON'T want is a microphone shoved in their face and the question "This child has a history of drawing violent and disturbing images. Why was he allowed to remain in school?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Isn't expelling a child from school for something they draw a violation of the first amendment?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You are correct. I don't have a problem with people having guns. I was just pointing out the logical inconsistency between, one one hand allowing citizens to carry guns and on the other having a zero tolerance policy regarding kids drawing guns.

    I believe that, in the US at least, people are too casual about guns, which ends up resulting in tragic deaths that could easily be avoided. That is due to poor gun handling education, in my opinion.

     

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  24. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    "Can we please just go back to trusting our children to be relatively decent again?"

    Well, well, well. Look who's wanting simple decency and common sense now. But only in one limited area. Here on Techdirt you cover violent video games and excuse them because can't see any linear relation to ill effects, and you thereby oppose efforts to bring sense back to society. -- But then you're puzzled why we can't have a nice society. I'd be in sympathy with you except that you refuse to even acknowledge that violent video games cannot be good for society.

    You were born into a sick and stupid culture that fosters instead of abhors violent video games. Not your fault. But you refuse to examine your own actions and so are also making it worse -- and delight in doing so, claiming that since you've not killed anyone, it proves games aren't harmful.

    So this is the milieu that you get, kids. And it's getting bad enough that even you notice. In five more years, YOU'LL be taking over as ranting geezer, Timmy, despairing at what kids are doing. The people your own age didn't learn to reason, either, but got into position of authority by attrition, and like you, feel they have to do something to stop the slide over the cliff, but when they do, YOU rail at them for the attempt.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Perplexe...

    I'm not sure I understand americans... On one hand, children can no longer draw pictures of weapons, but on the other, as an adult, you insist on keeping the right to carry firearms.

    Should the children have the right to draw wathever they want?

    Or

    Should adult also live with a zero tolerance policy?

    There was a story, not so long ago, of someone shooting someone else, in the metro. Usually, seeing someone carryaing a gun would be "sign" of danger... Like, I don't know... He's carrying a gun, he might be dangerous! Let's do something about it before he hurts someone! But noooooo, you have the right to carry weapons, so if I jump on you because you seem like a threat to everyone for carrying a weapon, I'm in the wrong. How confusing is that.

    Let's make it simple...

    Carrying a weapon = DANGER

    Drawing a weapon = Who Cares

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    Re: Perplexe...

    I was on the metro the other day and I saw a guy who looked really strong. He had muscles on his arms, and his hands were all rough. He might be dangerous. He could be a threat to everyone. But nobody jumped on him, how confusing is that?

     

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  27. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Re: Can we please go back...

    To the time when those who are educating the children display a greater capacity for intelligence than the children they are supposed to be educating?


    Wistful sentiment. But it's not possible until we're again free of The Rich. It's a difficult case to lay out quickly yet clear when you see the big picture. Civilization is fragile, and it's now BROKEN by design of The Rich who've yet again messed it up for everyone. We'd still recover IF Populist sentiment rose identifying the real criminals who control the world, The REALLY Rich, the Inherited Tyrants, and we pulled them down as was done in 1776. Don't look for politicians to lead the way; they're ALL corrupt and won't; We The People have the power. What we need is a good strong New Deal that again stops the "malefactors of great wealth", NOT a New World Order which is exactly those malefactors taking over the entire world with monitoring technology and banking swindles.

    In short, wistful longings are useless and will never be realized unless we stop the bad actors from further wrecking everything so they can rule the world. Learn who the real enemies of humanity are: Money Manipulators who trick enough dolts with paper money to gain real control. And then they ruin the world. -- It's not even a new story: that's what The Rich ALWAYS do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Re: Not just a US problem

    There's also the Dunning-Kruger Effect in er...effect.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    Re:

    The Supreme Court held that schools could partially suspend First Amendment rights during school hours in order to prevent the disruption of education.

     

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    lfroen (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    What a complete and utter bullshit.
    Violent video games, you say? News flash: basically, ALL games that young boys play starting at age of 5 are violent. They (boys) don't need video hardware to turn stick into sword, magic staff or rifle.
    But - lo and behold: they can tell exactly where the game ends and real fighting starts. So when I tell my son "no, you can't beat other children" he completely understand that I don't mean "don't play with toy sword".

    Now, there's kernel of truth in "video games are bad". It is generally accepted fact that children (age 5-10) should play video games little as possible. Not that it's some kind of "harmful influence", but it bring nothing for child development. And no, "educational games" are useless too: there's plenty of research about it.

     

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  31.  
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    P., Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    It's not "The Rich". That is pure bull.

    "The Rich" doesn't give a hoot about public schools. Their kids don't go there. They don't set policies. They don't make requirements. And for money... we spend more and more on schools, we are spending more now than ever before (even if we adjust for population and inflation)... and schools are still failing our kids, and saying more money will fix the problem (even tho the school "The Rich" sends their kids gives a better education with less money per child).

    The problem is the hand-wringing populous. People who have a fit that their special little snowflake isn't doing well and it's not their wonderchild's fault, but the schools. Back then, if a kid had bad marks in school, the parent blamed the kid, and told them to study more. Now if that kid has bad marks, it's the teacher's fault, or the schools fault... or the evil "The Rich"s fault.

    Today getting a high-school diploma is pretty much a guarantee for any child. The education isn't needed, just sit through school for 12 years and you get a trophy... because everybody gets a trophy.

    If you want to fix the issue: Have teachers have merit based pay (Not only pay based on number of years worked and degree.) If a good teacher shows up, they should get raises. If there is an OK teacher... not much in a raise. Poor teachers need to be fired. Also add in a voucher system that would allow the poor students to transfer to better schools. Bad schools will have to compete. Remember it's not about the teachers, or even the schools, it's about the students. If the students can get a better education in the next school over, they should be able to go there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    Yeah

    United States: An authoritarian idiocracy and caricature of its own constitutional ideals.

     

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    Pragmatic, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: Not just a US problem

    Please, please, please can we stop putting them in charge of our kids and our stuff?

     

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    OldMugwump (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:50am

    1st amendment case?

    This sounds like thoughtcrime.

    Given that the kid was expelled from a state school not for any overt actions or threats, but based on speech alone, perhaps the parents have the basis for a lawsuit.

    Maybe losing some lawsuits would go some way toward defusing this moral panic.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    Kind of a logical jump from school to the rich isn't it? Plus it isn't the rich that are corrupt, it is those in power that are corrupt. A majority being rich but being rich doesn't mean corrupt. Also, I don't know at what level you define rich, but I personally know several people who have plenty of money and they use that to help our local town. You make good point but if you have zero tolerance for the rich, what difference is that than the school district's policy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    You like to make a lot of logical jumps. You mention violent video games are a problem but violent crimes are at a lower rate then 100 years ago. Also, if you pressure your gospel onto people, how is that not different then the rich corrupting society with theirs?

    "In five more years, YOU'LL be taking over as ranting geezer" It sounds like you are already reached this point.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    If you want to fix the issue: Have teachers have merit based pay (Not only pay based on number of years worked and degree.) If a good teacher shows up, they should get raises. If there is an OK teacher... not much in a raise.

    That's kind of the basic idea behind "No Child Left Behind" and it doesn't really work. You need a standard metric to determine who's a "good" teacher and who's not. No Child Left Behind uses standardized testing to determine Federal dollar allocation to schools. What we are seeing now are teachers prepping the kids for a whole semester for the tests so the teachers don't get laid off. The actual teaching suffers because they are focusing on memorizing answers instead of having the kids learn how to think for themselves and problem solve.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re:

    And the problem with that is???? Notice all the mass shootings are in "gun free zones".
    Arguably it could be that the zones you speak of are "gun free" rather than gun free specifically because of the 2nd amendment. Whatever the reason (and no, I don't think banning guns is any kind of answer), it is true that the US has the highest per-capita gun-related homicide rate of basically any developed country in the world that's not central or south America. What would you say is the reason?
    Certainly on an international stage, America comes off as a gigantic bully the world over, but to the original poster's point, I don't think it's necessarily a dichotomy of ideas between that and this kind of stupid "zero tolerance" stuff. I think both are examples of "We know what's best and we're in biggest and in charge so your opinion doesn't matter".

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    But it's not possible until we're again free of The Rich.


    Hey Blue, I notice that in this latest rant against "The Rich" you didn't bring up "taxing the hell of out them". Add that to the fact you that won't (my guess is can't) answer my simple questions concerning your notions, I have to assume that you have given up on your notions of "taxing the hell out of the Rich" as being unrealistic and unachievable in the real world. Thanks for the confirmation.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    I think John W. Campbell nailed the education problem back in the 60's, America has confused the equality of result with the equality of opportunity. The system is trying to make sure all students get the same outcome, which pushes expectations towards the lowest common denominator. The bright are starved of the educational opportunities that would let them shine and instead become trouble makes to relieve the boredom.

     

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    FM Hilton, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Zero Tolerance for Zero Brains

    The education system has become the proponent of this 'Zero Tolerance' shit. It's becoming more and more apparent that it doesn't work, because there are more mass shootings now than there were before this silly, stupid and insane policy came into being about 20 years ago.

    Some of the shooters were kids when it became policy and SOP. But let's look at what's happened since Columbine:

    A Sandusky, Ohio high school student was suspended for 90 days and flunked, after school authorities found a broken pocketknife on him during a drug search in September 1999. He had used the knife to clean his golfing cleats.

    After bringing a Cub Scouts dinner knife to school to eat his lunch, a six-year-old boy was ordered by Christina School District to attend an alternative school for students with behavioral problems for nine weeks. After a media uproar, the school board voted unanimously to reduce punishments for kindergartners and first-graders who take weapons to school to a 3-5 day mandatory suspension, retaining the original definition of "weapons".

    A third-grade girl, also in the Christina School District, was expelled for a year because her grandmother sent a birthday cake, and a knife for cutting the cake, to school. The teacher used the knife to cut the cake, and then reported the girl to the authorities as having a dangerous weapon. The expulsion was overturned and led to a state law that gave districts the ability to, "on a case-by-case basis, modify the terms of the expulsion."

    Other cases in the Christina School District include a straight-A student who was ordered to attend "reform school" after a classmate dropped a pocket knife in his lap,and in 2007, when a girl was expelled for using a utility knife to cut paper for a project.

    Earlier in 2009, an Eagle scout was suspended for three weeks for having an emergency supply kit in his car, that included a pocket knife.

    A kindergartner was suspended in March 2010 for making a finger gun.

    A kindergartner was suspended for 10 days in January, 2013 for referring to "shooting" a friend with a Hello Kitty bubble making gun. The suspension was reduced to two days after the parent met with school officials.

    A second grader was suspended in March 2013 for biting a Pop-Tart into the shape of a mountain, which school officials mistook for a gun.


    The reason behind the thing with guns? The "Gun-Free Zones Act of 1990, "that prohibits any individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a "school zone" as defined by 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(25). Its formal title is the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and is sometimes referred to as the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1995, possibly in reference to S. 890."

    Reference-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun-Free_School_Zones_Act_of_1990

    There was one move by Ron Paul to get this law repealed, and it was later referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it lies in state.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    Now, there's kernel of truth in "video games are bad". It is generally accepted fact that children (age 5-10) should play video games little as possible. Not that it's some kind of "harmful influence", but it bring nothing for child development. And no, "educational games" are useless too: there's plenty of research about it.


    Citation please.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Tolerance and Intelligence

    Let T stand for Tolerance.
    Let I stand for Intelligence.

    If T then I.
    If I then T.

    Hence, T iff I.□

     

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  44.  
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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Not just a US problem

    Anything that can easily be chanted/shouted/repeated by a large group ad infinitum is also going to be an example of reductio ad absurdum. That is one of the reasons rhetoric in any form needs to be treated with disdain, forcing elaboration from all parties.

     

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    The Real Michael, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    "Can we please just go back to trusting our children to be relatively decent again? Because each and every one of these stories is dumb."

    Only if parents take a firm, unwavering stance against abuses such as these. But until then they'll continue to terrorize children in a blatant attempt to wussify future generations, to make them cower before authority.

    People have as much authority over you as you allow them to have. That's just all there is to it.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Re: We judge others by our own thoughts and actions

    So the immediate, knee jerk reaction might be understandable


    Perhaps, but I certainly don't understand it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:41am

    Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    How is this dumb bitch not banned? I mean, htere is nothing ever added to discussion by reading these posts other than "you're wrong and an idiot"

    What a pussy OOTB is.

     

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  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re:

    While there are a lot of guns, they aren't evenly distributed in the population. In my part of the country, lots -- maybe most -- never see a gun except on TV/movies or on the hip of a cop. Gun safety courses seem like a waste of time in that context.

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    But what about cases, like this one, where suspending the kids first amendment right directly caused a disruption in education?

     

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  50.  
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    P., Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    The problem with "No Child Left Behind" is we let the bad schools go on way too long.

    When we have schools that have seniors pass with a 4th grade reading level, having a test that requires 12th grade reading to pass will cause most students to fail. And when they fail, and lose money, the union rules state that the first ones out the door isn't the old crone who has been in the school for 35+ years, and can't teach who is let go, but the newest hire... even if they are a great teacher. Also that old crone makes much more money than the new hire.. firing a bad teacher that has been there for decades to hire two new teachers with a new passion for teaching may be the best route for the students.

    A better way than having federal government deal with it like No Child did is to use a voucher system. If a school is great except for a 10th grade science teacher... and students tend to shift to a neighbor school for the 10th grade, it's in the schools best interest to let that bad science teacher go, and hire somebody new... somebody better than their neighbor school.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    This sounds like the sort of crazy, that you find in Arizona.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The US is 104th out of 207 in homicides per capita. Focusing on one type of weapon greatly skews the statistics, especially since we can demonstrate an alternate casual link in the fact that our murderers are more financially capable (general trend for entire population) than the murderers in other countries. Guns are expensive, after all.

    Drop the skewed stats first, then we'll talk about which gun bans make sense. Gun control, or only giving guns to the police, does not and should not be on the table. The police/national guard need to think about every shot fired just as much as a citizen does.

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re: We judge others by our own thoughts and actions

    ...So the immediate, knee jerk reaction might be understandable, ...
    No, not really. these are supposed to be well educated people capable of using all available information to put an action into context and then have a reasoned response. This isn't the 1800's where SUSPECTED witches are scary and must be burned, drowned or stoned, certainly we can expect more out of society today, than then. Evidently, I am expecting far too much from mankind.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    Kind of a logical jump from school to the rich isn't it?
    Yes it is, but not an impossible one. Much though blue's rants are famous, I actually bothered to read this one because there weren't any gratuitous ad-homs and there is a grain of a point in there.
    We have created a society where it is considered the solution to everything to move money around. Governments either throw gobs of money at sound-bite versions of "society's problems" or take it away in taxes to somehow "disincentivise" supposedly wrong behaviour.
    Laws are often created basically to defend money (copyright for example) and such laws often carry a harsher penalty than crimes against the person - fraud for example often receiving a longer jail term than, say, rape.
    Increasingly too, it seems someone must be to blame for everything that goes wrong, from an industrial accident to a simple sprained ankle while walking and at the end of the blame is usually someone getting paid.
    A societical focus on money as a solution encourages governments (whether "helped" to this thinking or not) to create more yes/no boundaries in rules where money can be applied instead of the maybe where human judgement lies. Money-based solutions also inevitably favour those that are very rich because they allow them to manipulate the conditions of win/lose and also to ignore at least some of the supposed "punishment" since the same "fine" will have less impact. That bias encourages those in a position to do so (i.e. primarily the very rich) to support laws that further encourage this separation.

    OK I'm stretching a bit and it's a long way from being that simple, I'm just trying to show that it may not be such an impossible logical leap as you imagine no matter the source.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    A voucher system would make the whole situation even worse. The very poor don't have the luxury of taking their kids to the next school over. So those kids would be stuck going to a school that is even more underfunded.

    Also, how would that school be able to hire a better teacher when it's funding goes from bad to awful?

    Vouchers are for people who don't believe in public education at all and would like to see it end.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was just pointing out the logical inconsistency between, one one hand allowing citizens to carry guns and on the other having a zero tolerance policy regarding kids drawing guns.

    Actually, there are only a handful of states that allow citizens to carry guns, and that number is sadly, dwindling. Many states require a permit to carry a gun. All states allow a citizen to own a gun (with restrictions,) but concealed carry and even open carry laws exist in quite a few states. A bunch of states outlaw a loaded carry. Like the "old west" stories, the belief that everyone in the US is armed, and can legally be armed all the time is sadly a myth.

    The problem is, the criminals don't follow the laws, so they have absolutely no problem carrying loaded firearms, regardless to the laws.

    I believe that, in the US at least, people are too casual about guns, which ends up resulting in tragic deaths that could easily be avoided. That is due to poor gun handling education, in my opinion.

    I actually believe the exact opposite, but agree with you 100%. People in the US are too uptight about guns. I know people who say they would be happy to live out the rest of their lives never seeing a gun. They don't own them, and never want to own them, and never want to handle them. To me, that is absolutely fine, but everyone should receive education on how guns work, and how they should be treated safely and respectfully. If all people get as an education on how to treat guns is what they see on television or in the movies, that is where we have major problems (since very few movies/television shows accurately depict their safe usage...how many shows are there where the good guy has his finger on the trigger when he has no intention to fire the gun...not safe, you only put your finger on the trigger when you intend to fire a bullet!)

    Bullshit! on Gun Control is apropos here. Most people have such a small and distorted understanding on guns that I am far more concerned about my safety around someone who has never shot a gun than someone who spends a couple hours a week, month, or even a year in a gun range.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Drop the skewed stats first, then we'll talk about which gun bans make sense
    Well ok, but looking at "intentional homicide per capita", in the stats I'm looking at the US is still only below most of the S/C American countries and a bunch of places with "stan" at the end and above everyone else so I'm not sure that's so great. Also, you were the one talking about mass shootings, so the firearm homicide stats seemed relevant.

    You also missed the part where I said I don't think banning guns is the answer. Possibly part of solution might be gun control (in the true sense of the word "control" rather than the politician's usual use of the word, which seems synonymous with "ban"). However, I think it likely that the main source of the problem is elsewhere, which leads back to the question of why the US seems to be so (to use the original poster's phrase) "hostile"?

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    How is this dumb bitch not banned?


    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. That applies to both of you.

     

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    James Burkhardt (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Re: Zero Tolerance for Zero Brains

    Mass shootings are not one the rise. WHen you define mass shootings as being "12+ people killed" they are on the rise....with 6 of the 12 mass shootings happening since 1949 occuring in the last 6 years. But thats not a very statistically sound sample. If you define mass shooting the way the FBI does, "4+ people killed", the 600 incidents since 1949 are relatively evenly spaced.

    Source: http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/18/navy-yard-whiplash-are-killings-going-up-or-down/

    There is plenty of evidence that zero tolerance doesn't work. Including the fact that mass shootings aren't falling, violence in schools isn't going down, ect. No need to use bunk statistics to make your point.

     

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    James Burkhardt (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    Now, there's kernel of truth in "video games are bad". It is generally accepted fact that children (age 5-10) should play video games little as possible. Not that it's some kind of "harmful influence", but it bring nothing for child development. And no, "educational games" are useless too: there's plenty of research about it.


    Aside from the anecdotal evidence contrary to this (i.e. me), I can't find links to widely published research or any articles downplaying educational games in google under the educational games are useless moniker. Moreover, if you had solid research about that perhaps you could tell us WHY? I learned so much from early video games. I also demand a source for these claims.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    S/C American countries and a bunch of places with "stan" at the end comprises almost 50% of the data. I call that skewing the stats. Oh, and a slaughter with a bracer of throwing knives takes roughly the same amount of time as a slaughter with a pistol or rifle. The differences are that you can reload a pistol better while the knives offer better defense against counter-attacks.

    As for gun control, this creates imbalance which leads to abuse. Blanket bans on certain weapons that are optimized for warfare are fine. I'd say the determinant here should be whether the weapon can be used in a precise manner safely.

    An assault rifle in full auto is difficult to control and is typically designed to be used in burst mode where the intention is to require less careful aiming or provide suppressing fire.
    An explosive or weapon using explosive ammunition is equally imprecise.
    A sawed off fails the precision test, other shotguns don't, at least within the intended ranges.

    Similarly ammunition designed to pierce fails the precision test because it will hit things obstructed from view behind the actual target.
    This covers both armor piercing rounds and crossbows.

    Precision is useful for hunting, sport and police work. Lack of precision is useful for militant purposes but detrimental to all other pursuits.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: Not just a US problem

    Few other countries and no civilised nations idolise their village idiots. The US had one as their president for 8 years and has an entire tv network devoted to the ranters and ravers.

    Of course there are idiots in every country but only in the US are ignorance, viciousness and cowardice fundamental 'virtues'

    But it I guess it is unfair to expect anything more of a country founded on genocide and built on slavery. Only the very rare individual can overcome a twisted childhood and if the same is true of nations its apparent the US is not exceptional in that way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    I don't think you get it. This is not about terrorizing children or suppressing their creative talents. This is about creating the next generation of citizens that are conditioned to accept the restriction and withdrawal of their Constitutional guarantees as normal. Think about it. We (the current generation) are still arguing about it and fighting it. They won't when they grow up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Said it before, saying it again

    I've said this before...

    I'm so sick of school administrators exhibiting ABSOLUTELY ZERO CRITICAL THINKING skills.

    ZERO TOLERANCE == ZERO THINKING.

     

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    derek, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:27pm

    hypocrisy

    What's really galling about the whole thing is the hypocrisy.

    US culture absolutely fetishizes firearms and violence, and then when children draw a picture with a gun in it the adults convulse in panic.

    What do people expect? Children are trained by everything from zombie-hacking TV to Dad's gun lust that weapons are no big deal -- then when they treat weapons as no big deal, everyone around them pitches a fit.

    Tough times to be a kid!

     

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    Jim N, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:33pm

    It's becoming obvious that this is not simply a case of scatterbrained 'zero tolerance' nonsense. This is a determined effort on the part of our public indoctrinators to demonize guns to kids. Guns must be seen as evil - as the cause of punishment and humiliation - in order to prepare the next generation for the elimination of these evil tools via confiscation.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    So is the school, itself, unable to show movies about wars? Can we not discuss history with children now because it involves gun violence?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Solution: Threaten the jobs of Principals

    Seriously, if they refuse to show any judgement whatsoever we should have them replaced by a minimum wage worker with a computer program. Maybe that would get the morons to shape up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And you're completely fucking off base. Full auto and burst fire assault rifles are already illegal, excepting under very onerous and expensive restrictions.

    A sawed off shotgun provides nothing except a concealment advantage, as the spread will be almost identical to a full barrel gun. In fact, in reality the most buckshot will spread at combat range is a few inches.

    Beyond 20 yards, you aren't even going to hit your target consistently.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SawedOffShotgun

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    It'd be different if he presented anything other than the same trolling and insults toward the site every post. Would you defend someone's right to come on her and drop nothing but racial slurs?

     

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    DSchneider (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    National Draw a Gun at School Day

    What we need is a day when every kid at a school with these stupid zero tolerance policies pulls out a piece of paper and draws a picture of a gun. Let's see how their policies fare in the face of massive disobedience.

    Worse case, if they end up expelling all the kids, they'll no longer need to be employed.

     

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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    Would you defend someone's right to come on her and drop nothing but racial slurs?


    Absolutely. Free Speech rights are not just for speech you agree with or are comfortable with. It's for all speech.

    Now having said that, free speech rights have nothing to do with the consequences of your speech. You can still be held accountable for what you say.

    The correct response to ignorant speech is to counter it with more speech, not to censor it.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    There's a gray area here. While I'll defend anybody & everybody's right to speak regardless of what they're saying, that in no way means that you have the right to speak using someone's private soapbox.

    However, this is Mike's site, and he gets to decide who can or cannot say what. Nobody else has any "right to speak" here at all, any more than anybody has a "right to speak" in your own house. This is as it should be.

    That Mike allows us all to speak our minds here is wonderful, but it in no way means he is obligated to do so.

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Calvin wouldn't have made it through first grade nowadays.

     

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    tracyanne, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    Re:Notice all the mass shootings are in "gun free zones".

    By that logic not only the schools of Australia, but also the streets of our cities should be running red with blood from mass shootings on a daily or weekly basis, because pretty much (with very few police controlled exceptions) all of Australia is a "gun free zone", as we not only Don't have a constitutional right to carry guns, but are prohibited from actually owning guns.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    S/C American countries and a bunch of places with "stan" at the end comprises almost 50% of the data. I call that skewing the stats.
    Yeah, because in the same part of the list as Krgystan, Pakistan, the Ukraine and Belarus and above Iran and Kosovo is definitely where you want to be aiming for... Oh, and yes throwing knifes are equally quick and fatal, but you can learn to shoot a pistol in an afternoon and skill enough to kill someone with a knife at better than arms length takes rather longer. You also forgot to mention bows and arrows, which at least have an effective lethal range above about 10 meters. I have at least some skill with all 3 and I know if I were to go bat-shit crazy enough to want to try it, I wouldn't be reaching for a knife or a bow given the option - there's a reason war moved on from bows and arrows - so that argument seems a little spurious.

    As for gun control, you seem to be assuming what I mean by it. I'd probably agree with you about the precision argument, but I'd add that there's a whole other potential dimension of gun control that you seem to ignore. There's a big difference for example between it being legal to own a gun and being able to carry it, store it, transport it or shoot it any way or place you want (and yes I know you can't do all those things in the US either but many states seem more up the permissive end of that as far as I can see).

    Correlation isn't causation and I think that the UK gun laws are stupid and botched, and only a part of the reason there's relatively little gun crime (being an island tends to help a bit) but I can't help noticing that most of the "western nations" that you'd probably mention in the same list as the US have some sort of gun control and mostly turn out to have 1/2 or less of the per capita murder rate of the US overall. If you want to "unscew the stats", how about ignoring the nations notorious for lawlessness and violence? Or would you consider that would also drop the US from the list?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2013 @ 5:37pm

    Re:

    To be fair, he never made it past the first grade.

    That said, to expand on your point, Bill Watterson would probably have gotten arrested for the Sunday comic he drew about Calvin fantasizing over blowing up his school in a fighter jet.

     

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    timmaguire42 (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 3:15am

    Good lord! When I think about the stuff I drew when I was a kid. The stuff every kid drew when I was a kid. That's right, every kid. Including these adults who are punishing these kids.

    That's what drives me nuts about these cases--the adults enforcing these crazy rules did this stuff or stuff every much like it when tney were kids. What is the matter with them?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    yeah, giving the poor the money to shift to a different school would make them unable to shit to a different school.

    You make total sense.

    Also, fuck the poor, let them work harder.

     

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    astrostars, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 6:05am

    ...the rest of the story

    People, you're on the wrong bandwagon. Since the school didn't comment, you're hearing only one side, which, based on my 1st hand knowledge, is not completely accurate. The reporter should have investigated the fact that the parents also withdrew the boys from another school just a little over a month ago. AND they attended yet a different school last year. Hmm... red flag friends! I have witnessed this child's anger, rage, and violent outbursts. Walk a day in the shoes of his teachers, and you won't be bashing the school; you'll be thanking them for providing a safe learning environment for the rest of the class.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not terribly concerned with the current restrictions, but rather with what restrictions make sense.

    As for the shotgun, a sawed-off fails due to the lack of control over the recoil.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    RE:Gun control
    Disputed meaning, I'd classify those items under gun safety. Gun control deals with ownership and carry restrictions that are specific to certain people. Gun safety provides mechanisms for licensing that can be met by anyone who can demonstrate an understanding and safe use of the weapon class in question.

    As for the statistics, we are attempting to determine whether the US has a relatively high degree of lawlessness and violence. Therefore, we can't exclude countries based on these metrics without invalidating our statistical measures.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Re: ...the rest of the story

    so, is it that he has changed schools (and we dont know why. maybe the admins at the other schools were just as inept as this one) or that he has a pattern of anger, rage and violence?

    maybe hes angry his parents keep pulling him out of schools. maybe his parents are angry at the idiocy of zero tolerance.

    doesnt change the fact that zero tolerance equates to zero intelligence on the part of administrators.

     

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    Brazenly Anonymous, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: ...the rest of the story

    Citation needed. Searching news posts for the school did not uncover an opposing viewpoint and also did not reveal the name of the student, which would be required for an independent investigation.

    From your post it appears likely that you are either trolling or personally involved in the story. If the latter is true and you feel your story is not being fairly told, I'd encourage you to speak to a reporter and bring evidence.

    I'd also say that even if everything you say is true, this can still be handled in a much better manner. I've heard first hand stories of kids that legitimately and repeatedly attempted to attack someone and they were merely held by a school security guard in the hall until they were fit to return to class each time. If they don't get expelled for that, certainly a few simple drawings should not be a sufficient cause.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 8th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    The vouchers don't cover the extra costs involved in going to an out-of-area school (transportation, etc.), so yes.

    fuck the poor, let them work harder.


    Ahh, so you're one of those people who think that the poor are poor because they're lazy? Good to know.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    Amen.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 9th, 2013 @ 3:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Disputed meaning, I'd classify those items under gun safety
    A semantic argument. As an example, if I were to say you are allowed to own any weapon you want but may only legally load and fire it in approved areas, how would you describe that? It's not a ban on weapons, but neither is it "demonstrating understanding and safe use". Me, I'd call it gun control.
    As for the statistics, we are attempting to determine whether the US has a relatively high degree of lawlessness and violence.
    Actually the term the original poster used was "hostile", which is a slightly different thing to lawlessness and violence. In that context, saying "The US is much less violent than countries that have little or no rule of law" doesn't get you very far.

    I think that the fact that the US significantly tops the so-called "western nations" in homicide is interesting. Are the US people more "hostile" or is it because the stats are scewed by homicides that wouldn't have become that if there weren't so many guns lying around people's houses? I don't know the answer to that and there are undoubtedly other possibilities and other related statistics, but it's a relevant question to gun control.

     

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

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 10:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Can we please go back...

    Really? Fuck the poor? Work harder? Let me show you an interesting little map. It shows how many hours you have to work at minimum wage to afford the rent on a two bedroom unit. A little old, but minimum wage hasn't gone up while rent has.

    http://www.housethehomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/cost-of-rent.jpg

    Take a gander at that, then go fuck yourself.

     

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

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not when you immerse them in violent video games, Timmy.

    The First Amendment is not there to protect speech we like. Speech we like is in no danger of being censored. No, the First is there to protect speech we don't like. It does not, however, protect one from the consequences of their own words.

     

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

  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2013 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Yeah

    Once more we need that 'Sad, But True' button...

     

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


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