School Can't Take A Joke; Turns Student Over To Cops For Listing The School For Sale On Craigslist

from the adminstrators-stripped-of-human-traits-during-hiring-process dept

Recent school shootings have led to heightened reactions from school officials and law enforcement. An over-correction of sorts -- thanks to the shooter in Florida having been brought to law enforcement's attention several times prior to the shooting -- has resulted in the arrest of hundreds of students across the nation.

The problem isn't so much treating potential threats as credible until proven otherwise. The problem is there's so very little subtlety applied. Things that should not be perceived as threats are, and even when they're determined to be either unfounded or not actually a threat, some schools decide their misperceptions are more important than the reality of the situation. (h/t Reason)

The graduating class of Truman High School in Independence, Missouri brainstormed senior pranks. Kylan Scheele came up with a pretty decent idea. He posted his school for sale on Craigslist.

The ad read:

Truman High School - $12725

Huge 20+ room facility.
Newly build football field.
Baseball Field to the SE.
Newly added 4 modern day rooms.
Has: Centralized air, heating, plumbing.
Next to Walmart for convenience
Huge parking lot, great for partygoers looking for somewhere to park
Bigger than normal dinning room.
Multi stove, oven, fridge and other appliances in the kitchen.
Reason for sale is due to the loss of students coming up.
Named after hometown resident U.S. President Harry S. Truman and his family.

About as innocuous of a prank anyone could have played on the school, one would think. But one would probably not be Truman High School administration. They turned it over to law enforcement.

Detectives with the Independence Police Department investigated the incident and found no probable cause or reason to pursue criminal charges. The had Scheele delete the post and advised him to talk to school adminstrators.

“They [detectives] didn’t see a credible threat,” Clark said. “They all kind of had a little chuckle about it but they wanted him to understand you could see how other people could see it as a threat.”

And how could people see this as a threat? Well, the school seized on one line of the faux ad: "loss of students coming up." Obviously, this referred to the pending graduation. The school, however, somehow read this to mean Scheele planned on harming the student body. That prompted the handover to police. And when it was handed back, the school doubled down on its "seriousness."

We take student safety very seriously and appreciate the students and parents who brought this to our attention. Out of an abundance of caution, administrators and police investigated and determined there was not a credible threat. A student who makes a real or implied threat, whether it is deemed credible or not, will face discipline. Due to the heightened concern nationally with school violence, we have extra police officers for the remainder of the school year and will have additional officers at graduations for all of our high schools.

Good lord. So, the non-threat the police considered non-threatening has resulted in Scheele's suspension and his ban from the graduation ceremony. The "implied threat" the school somehow read into a statement about graduating seniors is keeping one student from getting his diploma with his classmates.

It's also resulted in a lawsuit [PDF]. The ACLU represented Scheele in his demand for a restraining order blocking the school from blocking him from picking up his diploma at the graduation ceremony. Filed May 25th, the court has already ruled in favor of the school.

The school has also refused to back down, claiming the bogus ad caused "substantial disruption" and resulted in multiple parents retrieving their kids from school. (Wonder how much of that was due to the school informing parents it had turned over a "credible" threat to law enforcement?) As the lawsuit pointed out, there's no way the student intended to cause a disruption and no "reasonable" person could have imagined the outcome would have been school officials attempting to turn a satirical "for sale" ad into a criminal offense. The disruption was of the school's own making, but the punishment will be borne solely by the student who posted the ad.


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  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:43am

    You know what the problem is with the kids today? Us. We preach tolerance but practice intolerance. The ones that should be most tolerant (and intelligent) are the ones that seem to be the worst. I am so glad I am not a teen today.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:24am

      Re:

      (Not that I have a problem with it, but) my two year old niece swears a lot...because her parents swear a lot. Whose fault is that? Hint: it's not my niece's fault.

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

      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Funny, my wife swears a lot. I don't so much. My kid never swears. She's 10 now.

        So... at 24 months part of her 20 or so word collection includes profanities? Something doesn't smell right and it's not in her diaper.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:50am

    not surprising

    As both Kelly Sadler and Kylan Scheele recently learned, never make a joke about someone's death.

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

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

      Re: not surprising

      But... he didn't?

      The "loss of students" refers to the senior class graduating, not a shooting.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re: not surprising

        "The "loss of students" refers to the senior class graduating, not a shooting."

        A smaller graduating class due to reasons other than their death?

        Possible but irrelevant.

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

        • icon
          stderric (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:32am

          Re: Re: Re: not surprising

          Are you by any chance a graduate of Truman High?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:42am

          Re: Re: Re: not surprising

          Your sense of humor matches that of the school administration, so I will explain the joke to you, so that maybe next time you see a similar joke you will get it.

          Graduation means a class worth of students are leaving the school.

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

        • icon
          Killercool (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:46am

          Re: Re: Re: not surprising

          I really don't know how to make the words any smaller, so here goes:

          When someone "graduates," they do not need to go to school any more. So there are less students.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

            Perhaps they should also punish the English teachers who failed to teach this student how to be more clear in his grammar.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 11:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

              More like send you to remedial English classes, as loss does not always mean death, and frequently means reduction of numbers, with reason to be specifies or implied by context.

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

            • icon
              Cdaragorn (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

              The fact that human language is incredibly vague and ridiculously easy to misinterpret is not a fault of the person speaking.

              There's nothing wrong with the grammar in that statement. Your (and the school administrations) choice to interpret it in the absolute worst way you can possibly think of is the only problem here.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

                I didn't interpret it the way the school admins did and I think they're fools for having done so. However, if your audience does not understand your message it is *absolutely* your fault as the speaker to be more clear in your speech.

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

                • icon
                  Cdaragorn (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

                  It's that kind of thinking that produced legalese. The fruitless attempt to make something that is inherently unclear somehow become clear.
                  Language is not clear. People are always going to misunderstand what you say. You can't blame the speaker purely based on that metric. It's an impossible standard to ever keep.
                  The real problem here isn't even the fact that they misunderstood him, although I find the direction they chose extreme. It is how they chose to react once they got the chance to talk to him.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:59pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

                  Sorry, could you rephrase your statement? It wasn't very clear.

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

          • icon
            mhajicek (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

            No, there are fewer students. Unless perhaps someone is removing a percentage of each student?

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

          • icon
            Adrian Cherry (profile), 5 Jun 2018 @ 1:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: not surprising

            ahem! - fewer students.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 11:50am

      Re: not surprising

      Srsly? Go get mental treatment. Along with Truman administrators that also hallucinated it was a threat.

      Seems adults in the US are in deep need of marijuana to soften up.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:12pm

        This isn't merely the delusion of threat

        Like the pop-tart chewed into the shape of a gun incident, this is people looking for something they can interpret as a threat even at an extreme stretch.

        The administrators were looking to make an example of the student and were looking for interpretations to bolster their justification.

        In other words, it wasn't stupidity, but actual malice.

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

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

    Idiots

    All the way around. Who would think a SCHOOL is worth less than $13K? Who would read such an ad and think it was real? There's plenty of stupid to go around on this one. And making the idiot miss graduation is a really dick move. They're punishing him because he made them look like the idiots they are.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:09am

      Re: Idiots

      Who would think a SCHOOL is worth less than $13K?

      There's a hefty discount because the buyer will be stuck with the current administrators, who are clearly a net liability. No asset would behave in the asinine way described here.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 11:46am

      Re: Idiots

      And making the idiot miss graduation is a really dick move.

      Based on the grammar and spelling, I can't entirely disagree with them.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

    You're now doing pieces entirely due to snowflakes panicking.

    And incidentally show police with right reaction:

    They all kind of had a little chuckle

    Score: Anti-2nd Amendment Snowflakes: -1,000,001 Small town cops: +1 (Ordinary people doing their jobs don't need inflated numbers, actually only stand out in comparison to wacky snowflakes!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:24am

      Re: You're now doing pieces entirely due to snowflakes panicking.

      ... Said the idiot with a cause.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:26am

      Re: You're now doing pieces entirely due to snowflakes panicking.

      This has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. Way to inject your personal politics in it, Professional Victim Man!

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

      • icon
        Killercool (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: You're now doing pieces entirely due to snowflakes panicking.

        You would almost think he was a... snowflake?

        It's ok, AC! This is a safe space.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:22pm

      Suck that cop cock any deeper you’ll get to the blue balls.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 8:49pm

      Re: You're now doing pieces entirely due to snowflakes panicking.

      Well... yes. This is entirely due to snowflakes panicking, the article said as such. The small town cops were in the right here.

      It's embarrassing how far you'll stretch any mockery of authority to mean that everybody wants anarchy. Seriously, nobody is blaming the small town cops. Sit down, take a chill pill before you hyperventilate yourself.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:06am

    Distruption of their own making

    So the kid pulled a prank, the police thought there was no threat and had a good laugh about it, but the school claimed there was a disruption? So let's see if I have this straight: the school is the only one who thinks there's a "threat" yet they're the ones who keep ratcheting up the penalties?

    Do the school administrators not realize that the entire issue would be a non-issue if they took it as a prank also? Okay, joke's on them, let's move along to a real issue, such as the monthly *real* school shooting.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:16am

      Re: Distruption of their own making

      Imagine if the kid had made a gun firing motion towards the principal and the official goes in for exploratory surgery to locate the bullet. They then charge the teen with attempted murder and for the costs of the surgery, all from their own stupidity.

      These two scenarios are not as different as the school official seem to think they are.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:29am

      Re: Distruption of their own making

      "Do the school administrators not realize that the entire issue would be a non-issue if they took it as a prank also?"

      This is a classic school admin move. When I was in high school, they had rules like having to tuck in your shirt, no unkempt beards, et al. and they were justified by saying the rules were an attempt to reduce disruptions. But then they'd remove you from class, send you home to change, and wouldn't think twice about that being an actual disruption. Only students can be the cause of a disruption apparently.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Distruption of their own making

      It's the same school of thought that leads to kids sleeping in class being kicked out for being a 'disruption'.

      The key is that they view 'disruptions' like a computer views errors.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:17am

    This is amateur hour. A roommate once had to go on a week long conference to Orlando, so the rest of us decided to craigslist her car and put her cell phone number in the ad.

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

  • icon
    firebird2110 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:20am

    and when inevitably professional grade pranksters see this and decide Truman High School is deserving of their attention I for one will laugh!

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

  • icon
    stderric (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:30am

    Kylan Scheele got a great educational bonus thanks to his prank, and it's probably the most important lesson Truman High School ever taught him: this world is full of idiots, and the biggest and most humorless of them all tend to be attracted to positions of authority.

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

  • identicon
    Tater, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:37am

    It will be funny during the graduation ceremony when somebody calls 911 each time a speaker utters a phrase like "moving on" "next stage/step" or "new chapter."

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:48pm

      Re:

      Eh, from the sounds of it the police in that area have a sense of humor, it's just the idiot school administrators that don't and who refuse to admit to screwing up. No reason to cause an actual problem by essentially crank-calling 911 just to tweak the administrators.

      Now, intentionally adding such phrases to any speeches and having everyone dramatically panic any time they are mentioned on the other hand...

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

      • identicon
        Nemo, 18 Jun 2018 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re:

        The Independence PD does have a sense of humor, but considering it included taunting the kid that one of their own Tased* to death, but in a near miracle was revived, I wouldn't say it's a good one.

        *Worth noting that Taser, inc. is now Axon. Maybe their old name started feeling too hot when it started to come out how many people their product had killed, and how they did things to disconnect their Tasers from deaths caused by their use.

        But don't worry, with a new name, they should be plenty trustworthy regarding their police body cam products & services.

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Jun 2018 @ 1:12pm

          Less lethal = torture device.

          I wrote a blog piece a while back regarding the fictional knock-to-the-head. It's a common fictional contrivance that one can smack someone in the back of the head and conveniently knock them out. Games are full of universal tranq-darts that incapacitate anyone (often instantly without knowing what hit them) and bypassing the gritty reality of murder.

          In real life, less lethal weapons are still lethal often enough, and there's no way to wipe the memory of a witness, so in the espionage sector, a witness who knows too much is a liability until he is dead.

          Furthermore, most stun attacks rely on pain compliance hence they often find themselves turned into modern implements of torture. The Taser was invented early on before police science was fully aware that less lethal weapons would be used earlier than guns, and used for back-room interrogations.

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

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 4 Jun 2018 @ 10:38am

    What did he expect?

    The US is a police state where everything is illegal. Of course there's a way to twist the law to cover any action or statement.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 11:29am

    I'm reminded of a bit from Transmetropolitan, I think it was, where a student gets arrested entering school, because his brain scan detected violent imagery. The security guard didn't care that he claimed to have watched an action movie the night before. That doesn't feel very far off from how things are trending now.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      While I get what they're saying, that's such an eye-rollingly heavy-handed message that it borders on neo-luddism.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 11:48am

    Kudos for the police...

    ...for seeing the levity and acting accordingly. Commonly law enforcement sides with the school administration and shows even less of a sense of humor.

    Experimental social-gray-zone humor is a natural hazard of educating adolescents, and a school administration who has no tolerance for such things maybe shouldn't be in the high-school business.

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

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 12:54pm

    Implied/Inferred

    > The "implied threat" the school somehow read into a
    > statement about graduating seniors is keeping one student
    > from getting his diploma with his classmates.

    The administration at that school needs to consult with its own English teachers and have them explain the difference between 'implied' and 'inferred'.

    The idiots in the administration inferred a threat where there was none. The kid implied nothing of the kind.

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

  • icon
    justok (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:15pm

    The real crime

    It should be newly built.
    Kids theze days, want to pwn my lawn

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:55pm

    Fucken SnowFlakes

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 1:57pm

    For Sale
    Public school administration
    Cost ?
    Free , because you can't put a price on assholes

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Jun 2018 @ 7:08pm

    For Sale: Brains, never used.

    "We take student safety very seriously and appreciate the students and parents who brought this to our attention. Out of an abundance of caution, administrators and police investigated and determined there was not a credible threat. A student who makes a real or implied threat, whether it is deemed credible or not, will face discipline. Due to the heightened concern nationally with school violence, we have extra police officers for the remainder of the school year and will have additional officers at graduations for all of our high schools."

    We don't really give a shit about the kids, we give a shit about our asses ending up in a sling because of the 1 in a trillion chance that the most improbable outcome would come to pass. We don't like being sued or the media picking on us so we flipped out.

    We caused the parents to pull their kids b/c we have to inform them when we involve the police.
    We wasted budget money to make sure we brought in more officers to "protect" the ceremony, to make the nervous nellies feel better & lend to the illusion there COULD have been a real threat hidden in the ad.
    We punished the student for being smarter than us, and this is going to bite you all in the ass when we are forced to pay him a large settlement for violating his rights & stripping him of a once in a lifetime event.

    I do hope the settlement is large enough they have to actually sell the school, it would tie this whole thing up in a bow.

    Of course no administrators or board members will end up punished for doing this. They will trot out the improbable outcome & remind people that the boogeymen are everywhere & better to pay millions in settlements than to use rational thought. They will blame the cops for not seeing the "clear" evidence of a threat & manage to kept their petty powers.

    Imagine what would have happened if the student owned a dog when the cops showed up or the pop tart looked like it in the shape of a gun. They hate us for our freedoms, that we refuse to exercise because it might look suspicious to some idiot with power.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2018 @ 9:38pm

    You needs to all grow up ana let the senior grad. Joke go, that's what its all about anyway, that's what senior day has always been about! Fun , its your day its over,12 years worth, you earned it, so wake up admin. An remember back when, or was it to long ago? I think it was a pretty damn good prank, ouviesly, an you can tell l didn't have a good English teacher, anyway, get over it, iam for the graduating senior with a sence of hummer! Don't you agree? We all use to be young, remember? Or not, if not grow up 😃 LOL

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

  • identicon
    jo, 5 Jun 2018 @ 4:53pm

    opinions

    Are you by any chance a graduate of Truman High?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2018 @ 5:29pm

    - Is Walmart near by? - Yes. - Sold!

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

  • identicon
    Truman HS Teacher, 7 Jun 2018 @ 7:04pm

    The rest of the story

    The little whippersnapper didn't get to graduate because the idiot used a preposition on the end of a sentence in his ad and I flunked him.

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


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