David Thompson
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March 08, 2013

Comments

svh

Our state schools only employ the brightest and best.

David

Perhaps more to the point, it’s worth bearing in mind an obvious yet neglected fact of life. Jobs that involve one having power over others – say, small children, for instance – will often attract a certain kind of person. Say, the kind of person who enjoys tormenting and humiliating small children, given any fraction of an excuse.

rjmadden

While no physical threats were made and no one was harmed, the student had to be removed from the classroom

If his crime was making an imaginary gun shouldn't he have been given an imaginary suspension?

BenSix

Poor kid.

If an arts student had nibbled his breakfast into the form of a Campbell's Soup can and called it Pop (T)Art they would have said he was a genius.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

The children particularly need to learn that lesson, David.

AC1

He might have learnt a valuable lesson.

Subsidy only makes shit.

David

Ted,

The children particularly need to learn that lesson, David.

It seems a common enough experience yet it’s not often acknowledged publicly. There’s a tendency to assume that people in ‘caring’ professions are much nobler than the rest of us and never tempted by lower motives, despite their chosen professions offering endless opportunities. Somewhat related, a commenter at Gawker named slugbug embellishes the story and then acts all righteous about scaring small children. For their own good, of course:

I’m ok with this. I’m sure he was just playing but making a gun out of something and pretending to shoot other kids with it in the cafeteria shouldn’t be “play”. If two kids want to get their nerf guns out and decide together to play manhunt, then fine. I don’t like it but I have two boys and sadly it’s inevitable. But a lone kid pretending to pick off his friends should be punished. I think we need to go overboard a little to show them how unacceptable it is.

Yes, nerf guns are beastly but saying “bang” while clutching a half-chewed Pop-Tart is just going too far.

Rafi

If his crime was making an imaginary gun shouldn't he have been given an imaginary suspension?

The idiots responsible should have imaginary jobs.

Tom

"Jobs that involve one having power over others – say, small children, for instance – will often attract a certain kind of person." You've just described most, not all but most, of the teachers I had in elementary school.

"His Pop-Tart was confiscated..." Snorfl. I hope it's been locked away safely so it doesn't accidentally go off and give someone diabetes. How do you fit a trigger-lock to a Pop-Tart pistol anyway?

JuliaM

Saddest thing I read, in another account of this, was that the kid said 'he knew he was in trouble when he saw the teacher's reaction'...

Wm T Sherman

This appears to be part of a larger game -- I wonder if they committed the theory to paper anywhere. Seriously, I wonder -- they do like to write things down. The objective of course, is to inculcate a Pavlovian aversion to firearms, not to defend against actual danger. This will fail. Not only fail, but backfire. Children have a natural subversive response to these micro-authoritarians. 'Twas ever thus -- it's in the kids' blood. Typically, children learn soon enough that school administrations are populated by a certain percentage of nitwits unworthy of respect. Idiocy like this only reinforces and hastens the lesson they would have learned anyway.

This is actually an NRA future membership drive. A present-day membership drive for adults, come to think of it.

RickC

Wm T Sherman nails it and all I can say is thank god for human nature.

Mark G

Reminds me of a concept I encountered in a novel: Thoughtcrime.

dicentra

The idiots responsible should have imaginary jobs.

I thought they already did.

David

Wm T Sherman,

This appears to be part of a larger game… to inculcate a Pavlovian aversion to firearms, not to defend against actual danger.

I wouldn’t be at all shocked if that were the case in any given instance. Though some people just enjoy exerting power over others, even if the target is a 7-year-old and even if the pretext is a half-eaten pastry. And if it’s done in the name of compassion and concern, some social marker of virtue, for some that makes it sweeter.

Matt

I'm not sure which possibility is more disturbing: that the teacher was deliberately tormenting the kid for their own amusement, or that the teacher honestly believes (as slugbug evidently does) that the kid's behavior actually needs correction.

bunnyboy

Okay okay, I'll be the one to state the obvious - Pop Tart Stress Disorder.

Reed

Would Skittles be considered 'ammo' ?

Some irresponsible child might come into school with a whole magazine's worth!

Wm T Sherman

I'm thinking Pez dispenser, Reed.

David

Matt,

I’m not sure which possibility is more disturbing: that the teacher was deliberately tormenting the kid for their own amusement, or that the teacher honestly believes (as slugbug evidently does) that the kid’s behaviour actually needs correction.

Once you’ve established a kind of bureaucratic bullying, the distinction becomes unclear. What kinds of people will have least objection to enforcing that bureaucracy and be most likely to stick with it and defend it, even when it results in the farce above? One of the first responses to slugbug was this: “Ahh, your utter silliness is so adorable. Now, here’s to hoping you never have the power to influence anything ever.” But the absurd and the sinister aren’t mutually exclusive, and people with similar views do get positions of power over children, indeed they may seek them out. And some of those people are quite unwell. At which point, it’s not so adorable.

Steve

It seems that we are not immune to this sort of thing here in the UK.

http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/03/08/boy-7-who-threatened-to-blow-up-his-teacher-is-suspended-from-school/?icid=maing-grid7|ukt1|dl16|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D161056


Boy, 7, who threatened to 'blow up' his teacher is suspended from school

“...While his mum accepts his behaviour had been problematic, she told reporters that her son is distraught over his suspension.

"You hear of things going on in schools in America and if someone in their teens said it, of course you'd take it seriously," she told the paper. "But he's seven years old. He doesn't know how to light a match. I'm disgusted - they've made him out to be some sort of thug."..."

Joan

And some of those people are quite unwell.

Unbelievable. You have to wonder if any of the parents know what these 'teachers' are up to.

WTP

Well, here's what some teachers are up to:
http://youtu.be/dDeXhmTz_0M

David

Joan,

You have to wonder if any of the parents know what these ‘teachers’ are up to.

Presumably not. If they did, I’d imagine quite a few would object, and with good reason. But filmed in private – away from parents and taxpayers - the arrogance of our communist saviours is a thing to behold. They will carve their utopia on the minds of other people’s children while those minds and soft and yielding. Because they feel entitled. So much so, they’ll disregard the terms of their employment and normal classroom proprieties.

I’ve said this before, but I think it bears repeating: The first speaker, Sarah Knopp, wants to peddle the “enlightenment” of communism to the children in her care. When they believe as she does – and only as she does – then they’ll be “critical thinkers.” Then they’ll be “emancipated.” Just like her. (As well as being economically illiterate and of course an Occupier, Ms Knopp is also an apologist for Hamas and Hizb’allah.) The second speaker, Megan Behrent, merely intends to subvert the proprieties of the classroom in order to propagate her own communist politics at someone else’s expense. The preferences of parents, students and those who her pay her salary are to be circumvented in the name of “social justice.” Again, the students in her care will be “thinking for themselves” when they think and act “radically,” i.e., just like her.

pst314

"To be fair, the phrasing leaves open the possibility that the students would be “troubled” not by the imaginary gun but by the suspension, and by the ensuing realisation that they’re powerless pawns in a vast, incomprehensible game run by madmen."

Much better to traumatize those responsible for the suspension--traumatize them with loss of employment and lifelong exclusion from any job entailing responsibility or power. Traumatize their colleagues with the fear that the same thing could happen to them. It's the least they deserve.

New Guy Cameron

When they believe as she does – and only as she does – then they’ll be “critical thinkers.”

My irony meter just exploded. Good to see my taxes are paying for communist proselytizing.

David

Cameron,

My irony meter just exploded.

Yes, being taught “critical thinking” by an evangelical communist is rather like relying on Aristotle for a lesson in modern chemistry. And I can’t help wondering how Ms Knopp and Ms Behrent would cope with a group of adults talking back and testing their Marxoid boilerplate, rather than a class of impressionable and inexperienced high school kids.

Bart

"His Pop-Tart was confiscated and he was immediately suspended for two days."

He should think himself lucky. A young girl in Pennsylvania got ten days for making a 'terrorist threat' with a pink Hello Kitty bubble gun:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/kindergartner-suspended-over-bubble-gun-threat-174618051--abc-news-topstories.html

Bart

What makes these cases especially pathetic is that strawberry Pop-Tarts and pink Hello Kitty bubble guns have to be the two least menacing ojbects as of yet invented by mankind. Anyone who feels traumatised by their presence really should seek psychiatric help. Just not for the reasons Park Elementary School's Apparatchiks had in mind.

WTP

strawberry Pop-Tarts and pink Hello Kitty bubble guns have to be the two least menacing ojbects as of yet invented by mankind. Anyone who feels traumatised by their presence really should seek psychiatric help.

Of course psychiatrists are, on average, far more menacing than either of the two items mentioned. Hence the problem.

Reed

Look out! Toy soldiers...on cup cakes. When will the violence ever end!

Principal Susan Wright later issued a public statement saying that in the climate of recent events in schools “we walk a delicate balance in teaching non-violence in our buildings and trying to ensure a safe, peaceful atmosphere.”
“On one hand, there are those who advocate arming teachers, having armed security guards and creating a fortress of defense in our schools. On the other hand, there are those who feel that guns create fear in schools and we need to put solid security measures in place plus practice routines to be prepared in case an emergency should ever occur. Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions,” Wright wrote.

http://rt.com/usa/toy-soldiers-censored-cupcakes-034/

Of course, in the world of these over sensitive busy bodies such as Principal Susan Wright, 'respect for opposing opinions' means banning all the things of which she disapproves.

WTP

What would have happened if the children involved in these various instances had decided they were not going to let anyone take their arty pop-tart, cupcakes soldiers, Hello Kitty bubble guns, etc. away from them? Would those items have been taken by force? If, in spite of their suspensions, those children tried to get into their respective schools, how would they have been kept out? Would someone interfere with their will? How would that have been done? I mean if we're all non-violent and such?

JuliaM

It's tempting to laugh at the US and the knicker-wetting panic a pastry 'gun' induces in its teachers, but I fear we aren't that far behind:

A primary school has come under fire after banning its pupils from playing cops and robbers or any playground game which involves 'imaginary weapons'.

School chiefs at Worcesters Primary School in Enfield, north London, outlawed the games over a fear that they will upset other children.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2289552/Primary-school-bans-Cops-Robbers-harmful-effects-imaginary-weapons-young-minds.html

David

Julia,

Again, you have to marvel at the arrogance of these people. They “feel” that playing cops and robbers “can have a harmful effect on young minds” (based on what, they don’t say) and so they “actively discourage” it. Which is a woolly way of saying, they don’t permit it at all for reasons they can’t be bothered to share. They’re also “promoting healthy eating habits” by peering into kid’s lunchboxes and confiscating any fun-size bags of Maltesers.

Yes, were I a parent, these are exactly the kind of people I’d want near my children.

Bart

"What would have happened if the children involved in these various instances had decided they were not going to let anyone take their arty pop-tart, cupcakes soldiers, Hello Kitty bubble guns, etc. away from them?"

Well, the Hello Kitty girl might shower her teachers with bubbles. And if talking about showering people with bubbles is a terrorist threat, I guess actually doing it would be a terrorist act.

David

Tom,

You’ve just described most, not all but most, of the teachers I had in elementary school.

I can’t help thinking that some parents could be a little more realistic about the kinds of people that are often attracted to teaching, at least in state schools. I’m sure some, maybe even the majority, are decent people most of the time and just get sucked into compliance with an unhinged bureaucracy. But the profession does seem to attract a high proportion of people whose behaviour is rather odd and often obnoxious.

At my old comprehensive school we had a sports teacher who was overly interested in the contents of boys’ shorts and occasionally felt a need to ‘supervise’ their showering. We also had a physics teacher who made the girls sit at the back of the lab, where, unlike the boys, they were largely ignored (for reasons that escaped us at the time). We also had a Guardian-reading English teacher who was getting his jollies with a former pupil, a girl who’d left just a couple of years earlier, and who was brought on school trips. And then there was the music teacher who took a very hands-on approach to coaching the younger sister of one of my school friends, and who was promptly punched insensible by her father in the car park with half the school watching. Well, cheering, actually. That the girl’s father faced no charges suggests that more had been going on than was widely known. The teacher in question mysteriously disappeared.

Oh, happy days.

Steve Roberts

I think this incident posed a dilemma for the liberals: Should the kid be reprimanded for the act of (possibly) forming a gun-like shape out of a Pop Tart or should he be punished for heating a Pop Tart in the first place? Which office of the Dept. of Complacence has jurisdiction over his fate? Or maybe he gets consecutive suspensions and all the kids get dual counseling?

David

George Will on our Pop-Tart gunslinger, Hello Kitty bubble guns and similar mishaps:

Government is failing spectacularly at its core functions, such as budgeting and educating. Yet it continues to multiply its peripheral and esoteric responsibilities, tasks that require it to do things for which it has no aptitude, such as thinking and making common-sense judgments.

CIngram

The two young women in that video look like nothing so much as new adepts at a cult meeting. They're not quite sure why they are there or what they actually believe, but their friends (both of them) are doing it and by God it makes them feel good to repeat what they've been told. They are trying to say the right thing, look suitably enthusiastic and impress the elders around them.

David

CIngram,

The two young women in that video look like nothing so much as new adepts at a cult meeting.

Gatherings of pretentious and resentful communists do tend to have a cult dynamic, and this one is no exception. There’s a lot of displaying, a staggering arrogance and a casual acceptance of deceit (of their employers, of taxpayers, and of the parents of the children in their care). But then these are people who believe, or pretend to believe, that regurgitating Marxoid boilerplate is the measure of mental autonomy.

rabbit

How do parents seize control of the schools back from school administrators?

rjmadden

Gatherings of pretentious and resentful communists do tend to have a cult dynamic

'Pretentious' and 'resentful' are redundant, surely?

AC1

> Government is failing spectacularly at its core functions, such as budgeting and educating.

Education is a core government function!?! No wonder we are in this mess.

Personally I think Education and the state go together about as much as using a hammer to tie your shoe laces.

AC1

http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/10/toaster-pastry-gun-freedom-act-proposed-in-maryland/

A Maryland state senator has crafted a bill to curb the zeal of public school officials who are tempted to suspend students as young as kindergarten for having things — or talking about things, or eating things — that represent guns, but aren’t actually anything like real guns.

Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican who represents Baltimore Harford Counties, introduced “The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013″ on Thursday, reports The Star Democrat.

“We really need to re-evaluate how kids are punished,” Jennings told The Star Democrat. “These kids can’t comprehend what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions.”

“These suspensions are going on their permanent records and could have lasting effects on their educations,” he added.

A nationwide flurry of suspensions seemed to reach an absurd level recently when Josh Welch, a second-grader at Park Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a strawberry, pre-baked toaster pastry into something resembling a gun.

WTP

So we have a Republican state senator who thinks the solution to this absurd problem is legislation to mandate common sense. As if.

JuliaM

I'd have more respect for Sen. J. B. Jennings is he didn't go along with the idea that 'what they are doing or the ramifications of their actions' was a problem. He's just quibbling over the method of punishment - msn up, chum, and admit there's no issue here to start with!

Wm T Sherman

The Maryland Pastry Freedom Act is a ploy -- a modest proposal.

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