The Big Think

June 17, 2013

Vroom Vroom, You’re Dead

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:59 am

What if we looked at cars the same way we look at guns? | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME:

“Some 2,700 teens aged 16-19 died in car crashes in 2010, the most recent year for which the federal agency’s website has figures, and 282,000 were injured. So, the nation’s schools have rightly implemented programs that teach teens to be safer drivers.

Yet, suppose educators instead declared that cars themselves were harmful instruments of death and destruction with no useful purpose.

Then they began punishing students at all ages, even down to kindergarten level, for such ‘offenses’ as drawing pictures of cars, bringing toy cars to school or even mentioning the word ‘car.’

You’d likely think this was an extreme overreaction, a textbook example of irrational behavior that was likely to punish innocent students for harmless words and actions.

Now, substitute the word ‘guns’ for ‘cars,’ and you have a description of what appears to be a widespread mindset on the part of school officials nationwide that one psychologist and family doctor has called ‘psychotic.’ “

The writer goes on to mention some examples:

* Maryland: A 5-year-old boy who brought an orange-tipped cap pistol onto a school bus was interrogated for two hours (not allowed to go to the bathroom, he wet his pants) and then suspended for 10 days; in a different school, a second-grader was suspended for biting a Pop-Tart into a shape resembling a gun (to a teacher’s eyes, at least — others just saw a pastry with a bite missing).

* Massachusetts: A kindergarten boy was punished with detention for bringing a tiny Lego gun the size of a quarter onto a school bus, and was forced to write a note of apology to the driver.

* South Carolina: A 6-year-old girl was expelled for bringing a toy gun to school.

* Pennsylvania: A fifth-grader was scolded in class for accidentally bringing a piece of paper folded into the shape of a gun to school; in another school, a 5-year-old girl was suspended for talking about a Hello Kitty gun that shot soap bubbles.

Other stories around the nation tell of students being disciplined for just saying the word “gun” to another student or drawing a picture of one or wearing clothing with U.S. military symbols and slogans (one boy was sent home for wearing a T-shirt with the National Guard’s Minuteman statue logo showing a farmer holding a musket, long a symbol of American patriotism).

The most frightening part of this is that these responses to normal kid behavior (bang bang!) by our educators.

Read the whole thing

Powered by WordPress