If School Officials Got Confused By Kid's Science Project, Why Does The Kid Need Counseling?

from the shouldn't-it-go-the-other-way? dept

Slashdot points us to the story of an 11-year-old student who tried to build his own motion-detector system as a science project, and when he brought it to school to show people, school officials thought it was a bomb and freaked out. They called the police, evacuated the school and all of the expected chaos followed. Law enforcement even brought in a robot to examine the device, and the student's house was searched for explosives (none found, of course). After all of this (and it was said that the student and his parents were "very cooperative" throughout the ordeal) you might think the family deserves an apology. Instead:
The student will not be prosecuted, but authorities were recommending that he and his parents get counseling, the spokesman said. The student violated school policies, but there was no criminal intent....
I'm trying to figure out what "policies" could have been violated, and why it would require that he and his parents get counseling. It wasn't the kid who did anything wrong. It was the school officials who freaked out. Perhaps they should be the ones to seek counseling?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Poster, 19 Jan 2010 @ 7:58am

    Gotta love "zero tolerance".

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

  • icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:01am

    So it begins

    At every turn it appears we penalize the intelligent; while simultaneously bemoaning the dearth of intelligent people for high-end jobs. I suspect this may be the beginning of the end--or at least the beginning of a new "Dark Age" (just like the one in medieval times.)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:22am

    I wonder if the device worked or not. Making a motion detector at age 11 is pretty impressive.

    But lets look at the situation.

    Kid does something smart
    School freaks out
    School blames kid for freaking out
    School cites 'broken policies' as the reason

    The only way I can see it is either the school has a ban on wires and 'electronics' or it's against school policy to be smart.

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    • icon
      Hephaestus (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Its probably the gatorade container wired into the center of the device that they freak out about...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:06am

      Re:

      "Making a motion detector at age 11 is pretty impressive."

      Oh please, I bet you at least one of the parents was like an electrical engineer. The kid had little clue how to make it without the help of the parents. Since it's the kid who should be making the project, I might give the student a bad grade just because it's clear that the parents made it and not the kid. Or else I might independently ask the kids a bunch of questions about motion detectors and see if the kid can answer without the help of his parents.

      Oh wait, most teachers at his grade level won't know enough about motion detectors to know what to ask.

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      • identicon
        duderino, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:31am

        Re: Re:

        um, it's "Millennial Tech Magnet Middle School "

        (http://www.mtechmiddle.org/?rn=7539728)

        So it looks like the teachers would know what to ask.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          um, it's "Millennial Tech Magnet Middle School "
          ...
          So it looks like the teachers would know what to ask.


          Um, you don't seem to be familiar with what passes for a "technology teacher" these days.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2010 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If they don't know the difference between a bomb and a motion detector then what makes you think they'll know what questions to ask?

          teacher: Does your motion detector involve explosives?

          Student: No.

          Teacher: So your project will not explode upon detecting motion

          Student: No

          Teacher: Ok, you get an A.

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      • icon
        SomeGuy (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:30am

        Re: Re:

        It was a project the student initiated on his own, not one he was given by a teacher. So, no grade. also makes the story even more disappointing. A kid with talent does something interesting, and the school freaks out and treats him like a criminal.

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      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re:

        > Oh please, I bet you at least one of the parents
        > was like an electrical engineer. The kid had
        > little clue how to make it without the help of
        > the parents.

        Nothing like coming to a dead certain conclusion with absolutely no evidence to back it up.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:26pm

        Re: Re:

        My Father was a social worker, my mother an anthropologist and I was building radios at 11 years old. Just have to have an interest and smart friends...

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

      • icon
        slander (profile), 20 Jan 2010 @ 12:48am

        Re: Re:

        Really. By the time I was 11 I was deep into hobbyist computing (mid-70s). Designed circuits, built boards, burned fingers, all that.

        Remember, just because your VCR lets you know that it's always 12:00 somewhere doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of us are pretentious 'tards...

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      • icon
        Dementia (profile), 20 Jan 2010 @ 3:22am

        Re: Re:

        And there are books aimed at the 10-12 year old range that teach them how to make stuff like this. Just go take a look at the "Evil Genius" series. I just bought one for my nephew for Christmas. The one on spy gadgets has lots of interesting gadgets. Granted, they may need some assistance, but the projects aren't difficult to build.

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    • identicon
      Yakko Warner, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      The only way I can see it is either the school has a ban on wires and 'electronics' or it's against school policy to be smart.

      I would say a policy against electronics at a technology-based magnet school would be absurd, but "absurd" seems to be the rule of the day here...

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  • identicon
    Mike Eber, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:24am

    The really sad part is that this school is a Technology Magnet School... Sheez

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  • identicon
    bob, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:29am

    Where is this?

    This is out in CA just south of LA LA land, of course the parents are to blame, the The Peoples Federal Republic Of California representatives could never over react, or be at fault.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:30am

      Re: Where is this?

      See, if you knew what words mean you'd realize that you can't have the word Federal in the title because it entails agreement among states to unite under a federal body. In this case CA is a single State. However, you certainly can say The People's Republic of California which, if it became such, would instantly flush the rest of the country to the last 3rd of countries ranking in terms of development and wealth.

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re: Where is this?

        Why couldn't it be a federation of counties?

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        • icon
          Chargone (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Where is this?

          that only works if the counties exist as valid entities without the state giving them authority.

          if the state exists by the authority and agreement of the counties, then it could be a federation. if the counties exist at the dictate of the state, then it is unitary, i believe.

          then there's Feudalism, which can be kinda both and neither...

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  • icon
    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:31am

    Compare and Contrast

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  • icon
    Shanoboy (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:32am

    Oh GEEZ.

    Sigh... I wish I was rich enough to send my kid to a private school that maybe doesn't have to deal with all this Zero Tolerance BS.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:33am

    The policy that was violated was "Do not make school officials look like morons."

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

  • icon
    a-dub (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:38am

    "Police and fire officials also will not seek to recover costs associated with responding to the incident, the spokesman said."

    The vice principal should be responsible for paying the police and fire officials, as well as paying the child's parents for time and even mileage. But what the hell was the VP thinking? You see a young student showing other students a suspicious device and you go run to call 911? Any moron can look at an empty coke bottle with wires and quickly determine that it's not an explosive. If it were my kid, I would have that principal by the balls and I would give him valid reason to call the police. What a joke.

    "A MAST robot took pictures of the device and X-rays were evaluated. About 3 p.m., the device was determined to be harmless, Luque said."

    This whole thing reminds me of that Baby Ruth in the pool incident in Caddyshack. Lets drain the pool and send in hazmat to determine what that floater is....ridiculous.

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    • icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      "Any moron can look at an empty coke bottle with wires and quickly determine that it's not an explosive."

      Yeah, the thing this has in common with Boston's Mooninites freak-out is that someone should have realized that a bomb requires something to actually be doing the explody. You can cram as many Lite-Brites and Gatorade bottles together as you want, and it doesn't matter how many wires and circuit boards you wrap it with, it ain't going to go Boom.

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  • icon
    Chris in Utah (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:41am

    Police State 101

    Dont call the parents first no call the "authorities on kids"

    We live in a police state, the sooner we realize that the better.

    It's not cynical I'm just tired of the blind leading the blind.

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  • identicon
    David, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:42am

    San Diego Unified "Contact Us" page:
    http://www.sandi.net/20451098155234193/site/default.asp?

    Millenial Tech Middle School "Contact us"
    http://www.mtechmiddle.org/apps/contact/

    Email away everyone. Email away.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:46am

    (sigh)

    Typical leftist knee-jerk over reaction.

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

    • identicon
      hegemon13, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:55am

      Re: (sigh)

      Leftist? I don't see how this has anything to do with left or right. In fact, the most draconian policies regarding "terror" were passed by the Bush administration.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re: (sigh)

        The right-wing would have used this incident as an excuse for all Amurricins to carry side-arms to shoot the kid before determining the "explosive device" was, in fact, a motion-detector science project.

        Apparently it was an "emotion detector", and the kid requires school mandated counseling to get over his justifiable "terrorist" vitriol against administrative stupidity.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:06am

        Re: Re: (sigh)

        But most gun control type of legislation is passed by the left. This being an extension of over control protectionist "save-the-children" but not the unborn children type mindset.

        Simple truth is that yes, might not be a leftist that over-reacted, but most educators at least at university level are liberals and conservatives are not well recieved there.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: (sigh)

          *Sigh* typical partisan politicking blaming everything on one side or the other when in truth it's everyone's fault.

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      • identicon
        Jim H, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:02am

        Re: Re: (sigh)

        Oh yes Blame Bush! In dark blue California!!!!!!

        That makes lots of of sense....to an idiot or a Liberal Democrat. Ok, sorry for being redundant.

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        • identicon
          Joe, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: (sigh)

          Uh, no Jim H, you are the idiot.

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          • icon
            Chargone (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: (sigh)

            personally, i think everyone on both side of any argument about how it's all the 'left' or the 'right's fault in the USA is an idiot.

            your entire political spectrum is on the 'right' anyway, and all equally useless (much like almost everyone else's, that part), so why argue about it?

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    • identicon
      Joe, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:07pm

      Re: (sigh)

      I am curious as to which part of this whole story seems 'leftist' to you? As you might recall, Bush also overreacting when he found out about Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction'.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:15pm

      Re: (sigh)

      good grief, why did you have to bring politics into this.

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    • icon
      beernutz (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 2:26pm

      Re: (sigh)

      What?

      What the hell does "leftist" have to do with this?

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    • icon
      rooben (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 3:55pm

      Re: (sigh)

      I was thinking exactly the opposite! Typical right-wing fear (everything/everyone is a terrorist if they are not part of the Hive Mind).

      If you look at San Diego, they actually lean further right wing than left. Most of their State and National reps are Republican.

      Unfortunately, Terrorism fear is the responsiblilty of right-wing hacks trying to scare their way into office, and the blind media promoting fear in order to boost ratings.

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  • identicon
    JB, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:47am

    Pranks

    Man, I remember taking film roll canisters with a mall amount of vinegar and baking soda, shaking them up and rolling them behind occupied toilets at school. Everyone had a good laugh and the chemistry teacher decided to incorporate such things into the lessons. Now, I wouldn't doubt that the bomb squad and haz-mat would be called in to deal with possible bombs unleashing a white powder in the lavatories. School would be shut down, parents freaking out, police making arrests and kids being scarred for life due to overzealous enforcement and paranoia. Sad thing is, I've only been out of high school for 10 years.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:49am

    (sigh)

    Typical rightist knee-jerk over reaction.

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

  • identicon
    Ryan, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:51am

    wow

    how the times have changed. I remember making a spud gun (it looked like a cannon and shot a potato about 100 yards) for my high school physics class. We used it to study velocity and motion equations in a way more fun way than simply doing calculations on the blackboard.

    I can't imagine what would happen if I were a student today and pulled into the parking lot with what looked like a cannon in my pickup truck.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:51am

    Makes me glad I don't live in the US, here, kids get the benefit of doubt.

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  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:52am

    Policies

    Didn't you know that there was a policy against cool science projects in most public schools?

    Great message - don't build anything remotely cool and bring it to school.

    Next thing will be that the school will realize that the kid came up with some new technology for motion detection and they will want to own the rights to it because it was a science project.

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  • identicon
    Tyanna, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:54am

    School Mission Statement: All Millennial Tech Middle School students will cultivate their technology skills to enhance their motivation and curiosity to excel academically in order to become productive citizens that will drastically impact the developing information age. All Millennial Tech Middle School students will cultivate their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills to enhance their motivation to excel academically in order to become global leaders and productive citizens in their chosen career path. Makes me wonder what rules the school has to contradict that....

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  • icon
    Jared (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:54am

    Because of the school's reaction

    The parents and kid probably need counseling because of the school's overreaction and their subsequent treatment.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:00am

      Re: Because of the school's reaction

      I think my family would benefit from some counseling for PTSD after this type of reaction.

      While one can understand why a school official might have raised eyebrows when first confronted with an unknown device, I wonder if anyone ever asked the boy what it was before launching into "full lockdown mode"? It is one thing to err on the side of caution, and quite another thing to throw reason out the window.

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  • identicon
    zub, 19 Jan 2010 @ 8:57am

    What about the kid?

    Did at least anybody explain to him that he did nothing wrong?

    Being punished for being clever (and being left with the feeling that what he did was wrong) is not a good way to start.

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  • identicon
    Joe, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:00am

    Yeah School officials need counseling

    They obviously over reacted and are trying to CYA right now.

    The family deserves an apology and the school official who flipped out should undergo stress management counseling and a 101 on technology course.

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  • icon
    Nick Dynice (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:00am

    The counseling might go soemthing like this:

    "Look kid, there are a lot of dumb people out there, and your teachers and principals are no exception. They have been trained by Hollywood movies as to what a bomb looks like, and have probably never seen or heard of an electronic project kit. So, in the future, house your project in project box so that no one can see the wires or batteries."

    The terrorists win again by making everyone unreasonably vigilante, resulting in possibly fewer kids experimenting with electronic kits, making us a less technically literate society, causing innovations to occur elsewhere.

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  • icon
    chris (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:03am

    children are too much liability

    children and the institutions necessary to adjudicate them are a drain on society.

    i don't see why we should continue this nonsense. children ruin everything, why not just ban them instead of letting the government ruin our lives to protect them?

    it has to be cheaper to just institute a national curfew that forbids people under the age of 21 from leaving their homes physically or electronically. perhaps a hunting season where it is legal to shoot children for sport would be incentive to keep children out of sight without taxing law enforcement unnecessarily.

    just like guns or animals, children are dangerous items that need to be should be registered, tracked, and kept under lock and key.

    once public spaces are free from the threat of children, perhaps a little sanity will return to our government and society can return to normal operation.

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  • identicon
    Colg, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:05am

    Sigh... we made a methane oxygen bomb in physics class (under supervision) and set it off in the hall way. It rattled all the windows in that wing of the school and brought everyone running. Today I guess we would have all been arrested.

    Actually I agree that the whole family is in need of counseling. The have just been vigorously mindfucked and should be treated for stress.

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  • identicon
    Jeff, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:12am

    It's obvious the kid must be doing some extracurricular learning otherwise the faculty would have known what the device was.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:17am

    So Mike, rather than spend time trying to figure this out, why don't you just call them and ask? Add some value here, don't just post flamebait.

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    • identicon
      dorp, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      So Mike, rather than spend time trying to figure this out, why don't you just call them and ask? Add some value here, don't just post flamebait.

      So Cowardly Coward, why don't you call yourself and tell us what you found out, don't just post flamebait ;)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re:

        Well played, dorp.

        Actually, I'm not all that interested in this story. I'm more interested in Mike's motivation in posting this. The story is all over the place and now it's here too. Mike / Techdirt has enough credibility and influence that people might talk to him. Add something to the story and I'll be impressed. Shouting "yeah! what's up with that?" isn't so interesting.

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  • icon
    SkullCowboy (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:19am

    Between the lines

    It's a pity the reporter who wrote the article didn't ask a few probing questions, like what school policy the student broke. Or, 'after talking to the student' what led them to believe evacuation of the school and a search of the student's garage was warranted.
    I can almost here the ultimatum offered by the school officials at the end of this.
    Admit this was all you and your child's fault, don't contradict any of this at a later date and we won't file a bunch of bogus charges, make you pay for police and fire response and expel your child for reasons that will keep him out of anything but a school for violent offenders.
    Oh, the student handbook for the school can be found here:
    http://old.sandi.net/mtm/policies.html
    Maybe some of you can figure what policy he broke...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:38am

      Re: Between the lines

      Also of note, count the number of sources cited in this news article. For extra credit, find any facts that was wasn't single-sourced.

      Other than the name of the police spokesman and one police officer, there weren't any names mentioned.

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 1:00pm

      Re: Between the lines

      > It's a pity the reporter who wrote the article
      > didn't ask a few probing questions, like what
      > school policy the student broke.

      I've noticed this trend in journalism across the board. Most news stories these days leave me wanting for basic facts. The news media seems to focus more on feelings and emotions than factual information.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:22am

    Oh come on mike, everyone knows that 8 year olds are the biggest threat to national security.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:30am

    In defense of the school...

    Once upon a time it was neat to have those 1001 electronics boards and radio kits back in the 80's, these days all these items will be viewed by the non-technical (and the trained bomb squads) as suspicious, no matter what the owner says. And with all the Arduino/atmega/xbee/electronic hobby sites cropping up (hackaday.org, sparkfun.com, adafruit.com), its easy to have access to many of these cool hardware kits, and easy for security to brand you as a terrorist if seen with these items.

    Keep in mind people that with everything that has happened since 9/11 and the shoe and underwear bomb attempts, everyone is on their toes when they see something out of the ordinary.

    Let me ask you this: if *you* were vp of a school (technical or not, doesn't matter) and you see a kid with a device inside a bottle with electronics and wires, wouldn't that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand and raise all kinds of alarms in your head? I don't agree with their response to counseling, but you have to give the vp at least a little credit for properly responding. What if it *was* a real bomb? The VP was in his place to make that call, he would not have been doing his job otherwise.

    You can't possibly expect someone to walk into a public place with a circuit board and wires exposed to open air and not have someone yell 'terrorist'. It's just not possible nowadays, thank the gov't and terrorists for that. They created the perfect amount of paranoia in our country for incidents like this to be blown way out of proportion.

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    • identicon
      Joe, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:17pm

      Re: In defense of the school...

      What you meant to say is that once upon a time it was cool to be an intellectual, to stand up above the rest, to have the desire and drive to create something new and innovative. For example, Bill gates was selling his software to cities at 14. However, we now live in an age where intelligence, science and reason in general are frowned upon, it is not cool to be the smart guy. This child should have been celebrated, instead of traumatizing him for the rest of his life. If he did truly create a functional motion detector at 11, can you imagine what he would have been making by 21? But not anymore, because now his parents will never let him around another circuit board in fear of causing another 'terror' panic.

      The part that completely blows my mind is the fact that a principal thought that the kid would bring a bomb to school. Are you serious? How paranoid and demented do you have to be if the first thought that came to this DB's mind was "it's a bomb!".

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    • icon
      PrometheeFeu (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:50pm

      Re: In defense of the school...

      I agree that the initial suspicion may not be overreaction. But maybe instead of calling in the bomb squad, the VP should have asked: "What is in that bottle little Timmy?" And little Timmy would go: "Nothing sir, I'm using it as part of my project in the following XYZ ways." "Do you mind if I peek in?" "No at all." [VP peeks in] "OK, cool Timmy, have a nice day..."

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    • icon
      Dementia (profile), 20 Jan 2010 @ 3:34am

      Re: In defense of the school...

      So now explain to me where in 9-11 and the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber, electronics were where? Who saw all the exposed circuit boards? As I recall, 9-11 was box cutters, the shoe bomber was trying to light his shoe with a match, and I didn't want to know how the underwear bomber was trying to detonate his.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:19pm

      Re: In defense of the school...

      No, my first thought would be "What's that he's got?" followed by "Wonder if he made it?"

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  • identicon
    Hiccup, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:33am

    I will give them the benefit out the doublt...

    And assume that the counseling they are recommending the kid take is because of how they over-reacted and to make sure he knows he didn't do anything wrong.

    I don't see how after talking to the student about his project they came to the conclusion that they should call in the bomb squad.

    It would be cool to see a picture of his project too, and what his final grade on it was.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 9:38am

      Re: I will give them the benefit out the doublt...

      It would be cool to see a picture of his project too, and what his final grade on it was.

      I bet the kid got an A, turns out it wasn't a motion detector, but in fact an idiot detector. Worked with flying colors.

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

  • icon
    senshikaze (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:05am

    so did anybody else get a "Little Brother" feel from this story?
    I am just saying...

    (Little Brother by Cory Doctorow)

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

  • icon
    Robb Topolski (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:08am

    Looks like the kid actually invented...

    ...an idiot detector!

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

  • identicon
    PIPE DREAMS and PIPE BOMBS, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:16am

    ok ill put a real pipe bomb schematic on my website

    this way kids teachers and the govt idiots can all see what a real bomb looks like and yea BTW i take absolutely no liability nor warranty when you frak up and blow up the garage as two 12 year olds did 10 years back

    yea see we need more stupid people right at least this way we can get rid a the frak tards in society by having them blow themselves up

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:18am

    *Reads the title question carefully*

    Because public officials are never wrong.

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

  • identicon
    SuperSparky, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:22am

    Government in control

    See what happens when you throw out common sense and hand it over to government bureaucrats. You see, the most competent work for the private sector. The morons settle to the "government knows best" slime pool.

    I am curious as to how "zero tolerance" can even be applied to this case. The kid did his assignment, a completely clueless moron freaked out over his own ignorance (why is that guy in charge?), and then when the spotlight shows his own stupidity, he blames the kid for his obvious mistake. What was the school not tolerating? Homework? I believe the "zero tolerance" should apply to the VP for scaring a population of students and parents for no reason whatsoever. Throw the moron out. Such a person should never be involved in education.

    Rant over, but perhaps all school staff should have a familiarity what classes are being taught and that all electronic circuits aren't bombs. Bombs usually involve an explosive.

    What does this kid learn? Label his science projects with a big bold sign saying "MOTION DETECTOR".

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

  • identicon
    Stuart, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:41am

    The terrorist

    won the day they made us take off our shoes to get on an airplane. Can we PLEASE just kill terrorists when we see them and go back to having airports we can use?

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

  • identicon
    Richard, 19 Jan 2010 @ 10:58am

    Then, China encourages students to innovate and ten years from now we cry when China leases the White House to Jacki Chan

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:21am

    motion-detector incident

    I wonder if it detected any motion in the school officials' undergarments...

    The original article states "After talking to the student, it was decided about 1 p.m. to evacuate the school as a precaution while the item was examined." - I wonder what was said during that discussion ..... ?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:32pm

      Re: motion-detector incident

      Official: Could your project blow up?
      Student: Uh... I don't think so.
      Official: Bomb alert! We need to evacuate!

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

  • icon
    Monarch (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:23am

    Maybe it is being recommended they get counseling for the psychological distress they were subjected to by the school and local authorities? I would say I would need city funded counseling for my child and myself if I were subjected to that kind of abuse of power by the local government. Probably speak to a lawyer about a civil suit against the city for violation of my civil rights also.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:32am

    Recent history is full of examples of someone over reacting to a situation, then holding the accused responsible for the over reaction. What ever happened to the reasonable person doctrine?

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

  • identicon
    OKCancel, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:37am

    Innovation is Anti-American. All that clever stuff with gadgets should be done in Asia and India. We never would have made it to the moon if we had used American ingenuity.

    Curiosity didn't kill the cat. Curiosity was killed by fear. They'll get my soldering gun when they pry it out of my cold dead hands.

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

  • identicon
    1$ for you, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:42am

    the race the americans won to the moon

    apart form some possibilities it was all in a Hollywood stage

    funny last i checked the rockets that got to the moon were made entirely in america by americans. YES they were new immigrants some like the project leader but hey THEY WERE AMERICAN

    even my dad was smart enough to immigrate out of the usa to canada

    every american i dealt with has soo much money they just buy the intelligence and worry about getting scammed latr

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

  • icon
    Jimr (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:47am

    Back in high school we had a pranksters wrap a bunch of D batteries in Red table and added some lose wires and his old fashion ticking alarm clock and would periodically hide in the teachers desk. Great fun for the students when a substitute teacher came in.

    I can hard imagine what would happen in this day and age.

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

  • identicon
    richard tech, 19 Jan 2010 @ 11:53am

    ultimate test

    but....the question is...would the character Will Smith played in Men In Black have shot him on the firing range? Like he did the little girl with the physics book, who was obviously "up to something."

    that's all I have.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:00pm

    as a parent, my first reaction would be "how stupid are you?" my second reaction would be "if you want in this house, provide a court order to search the premises, including what your looking for and where you can search" and my third response would be "you dont tell me how to parent."

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

  • identicon
    tim, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:01pm

    Many of you have this story wrong - sorry

    The request for counseling is an admission that, in doing their job, they traumatized the poor kid and greatly upset the parents.

    I respect the officials for this recommendation.

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

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:16pm

    hahah, sounds like the school officials are the ones in need of 'counseling'.

    Speaking of which - why do we never hear about how politicians and other government officials need 'counseling'.

    Would just the concept and overwhelming desire to stay in a position of power so long be considered 'mental instability'?

    Seems to me, it's "Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder" or some variation of such.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 12:54pm

    I remember when I was a kid in elementary school, my dad had bought me one of those '60-in-1' kits. I would take it to school and build radios/alarms out of it and a crowd of kids would gather around to see what I was making. I can't fathom had I done that as a kid nowadays; I'm sure it could've turned out much like this story.

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

  • icon
    PrometheeFeu (profile), 19 Jan 2010 @ 4:40pm

    I called, they just hung up on me.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2010 @ 5:32pm

    Anyone got a picture of this "device"? I just hav to see what explosive gatorade looks like..

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

  • identicon
    Prince Manjee, 19 Jan 2010 @ 6:14pm

    Those "Educators" are a joke

    This is another case of the student being smarter than the educator and being punished for it. The kid obviously must have put some real work into building his home made motion sensor with photo electric cells and relays etc. The teacher is so dumb to assume its a bomb when in fact they were inviting science fair experiments. He could have built a bomb and it still would have been a science fair project.

    Simply put those school officials are morons and now have the tenacity to tell the parents of the students under their charge that they know whats best for their kids. And to the parents of that kid.. "PRIVATE SCHOOL ASAP"

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

  • icon
    Skout (profile), 20 Jan 2010 @ 8:33am

    As the parent of a student who was threatened with suspension for pretending a broken-off pencil point could turn into a sword, I can only shake my head.

    These morons do serve a valid purpose, however - it teaches us to get our children OUT OF THERE. Private schools don't play these stupid games where families, values, and teaching come last.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2010 @ 10:45am

    thats gay

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2010 @ 2:54pm

    This was my school. That kid was on my bus. He was always bringing weird&cool stuff like that. Wow. I remember that day. The vice principal who got him in trouble? Yea, we always thought he had a mental problem.

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


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