School Suspends Student Indefinitely For A Drawing Of A Cartoon Bomb He Made At Home
from the ADM:-SOMEONE-SET-US-UP-THE-BOMB dept
I don’t even know what to say about the following. Is there some sort of secret contest going on between administrators to see who can come up with the most ridiculous interpretation of their school’s zero-tolerance weapons policies? Do they meet annually to hand out awards and have a good laugh at their students’ expense?
Or is it something more nefarious? Are they ushered off to administrative instructional facilities shortly after being hired and, under the guise of “teambuilding,” fed a combination of psychoactive drugs and zero-tolerance dogma until they’ve “unlearned” any sort of common sense or restraint they’ve picked up through their life’s experiences to that point?
What else could explain this race to bottom, policy-wise?
To date, students have been punished for the following “weapons”: pop tarts bitten into a gun-like shape, fingers folded into a gun-like shape, an ASL sign for a student’s own name being a gun-like shape, a drawing of a gun having a gun-like shape. And now, as if to indicate that the previous incidents were merely blips on the zero-tolerance-insanity radar, comes this story.
Parham said her son, Rhett, had made the hand-drawn picture of the bomb during the weekend at home. Parham said her son is a fan of the video game Bomber Man and drew the cartoon-ish like explosive.
Parham said her son took the picture to Hillcrest Middle School, and that’s where problems arose.
Parham said she was told that her son showed the picture to some older children, who reported him to school administration. She said her son was suspended indefinitely by the school.
Here’s the “bomb.”
As you can see from the drawing, this bomb is the sort that only strikes fear into Wile E. Coyote and TSA agents. Or so I would have thought until confronted with the fact that “older children” were so troubled they brought it to the attention of school administration, which was so troubled it suspended the child indefinitely.
Now, the good news is that the suspension was lifted two days later. The bad news is, well, there’s a lot of bad news. The bad news is that he was suspended at all. The additional bad news is that he was only reinstated after a “manifestation hearing” by the board to determine whether this harmless drawing of a cartoon bomb was somehow “linked to his disability.”
You see, the student in question has autism and therefore, somehow, his drawing of a bomb might be a sign that his “disability” was turning threatening or I don’t even know how to finish this sentence because it was a FREAKING CARTOON BOMB based on a CARTOONISH GAME with CARTOON BOMBS IN IT.
Two hours. It took two hours for administration to decide to rescind the suspension. Lord knows what would have happened if a student advocate specializing in autism hadn’t been present.
Now, if you’re not completely perplexed, irate and reeling from the ridiculousness contained in this post so far, you’re going to suffer a brain spasm and die a little inside when you read the school’s excuse for its actions.
“They actually reiterated to me they knew he was non-violent,” said Parham. “They knew he was not actually having a bomb, creating or making a bomb. But that they could not go without making an example of him and take some type of action because they were worried about their perception. Perception is actually the word he used. Perception is reality, and parents might think you have a bomb or [might be] violent.”
Because my first response to this statement is to type up a string of capitalized nonsensical letters in an attempt to convey my internal dialog that begins with a WTF loud enough to be audible to people outside of my skull and concludes with me hammering at the keyboard until the pulsing in my frontal lobe stops, I’ll turn this rebuttal over to Lenore Skenazy at Free Range Kids.
The perception that anyone could be harmed, physically or mentally, by a pretend bomb (or gun)? NOT REALITY. The perception that our kids are awash in a sea of predators? NOT REALITY. The perception that kids are at high risk if they sit in a Bumbo chair or wear a pair of flowered sandals? NOT REALITY. The perception that any parent who isn’t watching his or her child every single second is putting that child in danger? Not reality.
An administration so worried about “perception” that it suspends a child indefinitely solely to show it won’t tolerate any deviations from policy, no matter how slight, is an administration so weak it shouldn’t be entrusted with the care and education of children, especially children with additional needs.