Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Public Schools Target Boy Scouts Again

Yesterday there was the story of the six year old Cub Scout in Delaware who’s been sentenced to forty-five days in “reform” detention for the crime of bringing his brand new camping utensil to school.

It’s a weapon, see. And schools have their famously stupid rules regarding “zero tolerance” for weapons of any kind, even eating utensils.

Now a new story, this time an Eagle Scout facing the same inquisition and suspension for having a two-inch knife his policeman-grandfather gave him and which he kept locked in a survival kit in his car.

ZERO TOLERANCE!

This sterling young man, who had hoped to go to West Point now has a twenty-day suspension on his record. Fat chance he has for achieving his dream now:

Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School,[upstate New York] says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal - and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.

But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days - and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.

Here’s how the school’s search-and-destroy mission went down:
- - - - - - - - -
“…they said, ‘Do you own a knife?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m a soldier and an Eagle Scout - I own a knife.’ [he completed Army basic training this past summer].

“And they were like, ‘Well, is it in your car or anything?’ And I told them, ‘Yeah, it’s in my car right now.’

“And they asked me to show it to them. I didn’t realize it was going to be a problem. I knew it wasn’t illegal - my police chief grandfather gave the knife to me.”

Whalen said he took school administrators to his car because he thought their fears would be allayed when they saw it was just a 2-inch knife.

“They thought I had a dagger in my car or something like that, so I thought yeah, I’d show it to them,” Whalen said.

“I showed it to them, and they told me I had a knife on school property and had to be suspended.”

But things didn’t end there, Whalen said.

“They brought a cop in, who told them ‘he’s not breaking any laws, so I can’t charge him with anything.’“

Whalen said he asked Macri why a 2-inch pocketknife would be considered more dangerous than other everyday items around the school.

“I said to him, ‘What about a person who has a bat, on a baseball team? That could be a weapon.’ And he said, ‘Well, it’s not the same thing.’“

No, it’s not the same thing at all. Gang bangers regularly use baseball bats in the commission of crimes, but a knife stashed in a survival kit and locked away is obviously a menace. Sorry, son, those school officials are not educated enough to make these fine distinctions.

ZERO TOLERANCE!

These officious pedagogues weren’t satisfied with their pound of flesh. They wanted more. Read his description of the kangaroo court:

“They gave me the five-day suspension, because that is all a principal can suspend a student for,” he said. “And from there, they had a superintendent hearing to see if the superintendent wanted to suspend me for longer.

“But the superintendent wasn’t even at the hearing. It was the principal and the athletic director. The vice principal who originally suspended me wasn’t even there, and neither was the superintendent. They basically asked me, ‘Did you have the knife in your car?’ And I said ‘Yes, I did.’ The meeting was recorded and they told me they were going to play the tape to the superintendent.

“They asked me if I wanted to say anything, and I told them all my accomplishments and what I’ve done, and the principal even admitted that I had no intent to use the knife, that I had no accessibility to the knife.”

But school officials decided to suspend Whalen for an extra 15 days anyway, he said. And unless the decision is changed, he will not be allowed on school grounds until Oct. 21.

Whalen said he does not know why the 15 days were added, but he said a school district employee told him it was because the school wanted to apply its policies consistently.

“I’ve been told by someone who works for the district that they had to do it, because if someone else had a knife and they saw that I didn’t get a suspension, that it would look bad for the school.”

School superintendent George Goodwin and Lansingburg Senior High School Principal Angelina Bergin did not return calls for comment Tuesday morning.

You can bet these school rule fools are hiding in their bunkers.

Whalen says he’s received community support. However, words of reassurance don’t mean a thing. Unless his “supporters” are willing to go through the necessary work to put pressure on the municipality that hired this school superintendent, nothing will change. Other children will be caught in the cross hairs.

These people are scared something violent will happen in their schools someday and with their mindless ZERO TOLERANCE they are playing CYA just in case something of consequence does happen on their watch. Then they can point to their record of harassment of students and wring their hands while whingeing that they did everything they could.

It’s inescapable: zero tolerance is simply code for zero judgment. Before your kid is on the chopping block, check out his or her school’s policy book. Ask questions, make noise. Otherwise these unionized pedagogues will roll over your children with impunity… and then it will be too late to protect your family.

10 comments:

christian soldier said...

Mathew ---WP chaplains - your congressman--and or senator can help you achieve your goal....thomas moore law is also a good place to seek council...

Henrik Ræder said...

Wow. Here in Denmark, people are getting sentences for accidently forgetting knives in their cars, due to a new tough law meant to stem the use of knives for personal defense.

But at least there's a 7 centimeter (just below 3 inches) limit here. That's somewhat less unreasonable than the US system.

Eris said...

I wonder...

if this reminds any one else of "Animal House:" "You **, you trusted us."

why Whalen trusted them enough to tell the authorities the truth. (When someone asks a leading question designed to incriminate-lie at best or answer with a question at worst.) "Animal House," again: "Lie-it's got to work better than the truth."

why Whalen thought the authorities were anything other than malicious and out to get people like him. (Leftists know soldiers can go berserk at any moment!) Is he really so clueless as to how much Democrats, teachers, Obamaniki and the like hate the whole idea of him?

Call Me Mom said...

The school policy book for my son's high school gave a completely different procedure than the school board policy for such events. Guess which one was used when my son was called in to be questioned about something?

laine said...

Educrats lack all common sense and judgment, are mere rule followers and concerned to cover their own butts. They refuse to distinguish between an accomplished Eagle Scout with a knife as part of a survival kit locked in his car (Scout Motto: Be prepared!) and some future gang banger waving or even using his shiv in school hallways because that would be outlawed discrimination.

What fine role models for students of adult wisdom! Just follow rules set by other bureaucrats to the letter and all will be well!

Reason #78 to end the present sytem of government schools. It breeds cowardly educrats who teach kids NOT to exercise even basic judgment.

Chip said...

While I agree that this is stupid, most of you are blaming the wrong groups. In Illinois at least stupid rules like these come from elected school boards, not the teachers or administrations. There is no room to apply judgment unless you like to be unemployed. Make a stand against this stuff and it will be your ass in front of the board explaining why you didn't enforce the rules. And why do we have rules like this, because government is incapable of dealing with individual problems they deal with it by applying the "beatings will continue until morale improves" method.

Call Me Mom said...

Chip,
I agree that we are blaming the wrong groups. We should be blaming the SCOTUS and our legislators. We should be blaming the SCOTUS because in TLO vs New Jersey they ruled that it would be too inconvenient for school administrators to have to notify students of their rights when being questioned for an offense for which they might be charged in a criminal court and that under the aegis of "in loco parentis" they aren't required to notify parents when they are doing so either. This, in effect, means that those administrators may legally interrogate our child for 8 hours -the length of the school day without any notice to the child's parents that they are doing so. During that interrogation, they do not need to tell our child they can remain silent, nor that they may have a parent or lawyer present to advise them how to answer or whether to answer. They may lie to coerce a confession out of the child.

Our legislators could correct this on the state level, but so far, in my experience the consensus is that parents can't be trusted not to interfere with the interrogation process. (One thinks that is the point of having the rights of due process granted by God and affirmed in our Constitution, to make it more difficult to send innocents to jail, but my legislators seem to be a bit mentally challenged on that point.)

In my opinion, what happens is that the administrator gets some notice that a student might have done or planned to do something wrong. This can be anything from nasty gossip to the truth.(And let's not even talk about the possibility that unscrupulous administrators-although it could be argued that anyone who would use this power grant from the SCOTUS without notifying a parent can be nothing but unscrupulous- could use this power to "chill" outspoken parents)
Once the administrator has advanced on this course, they feel it is necessary to find "something" to justify their actions.
That's how we got here and it's absolutely criminal, in my opinion, to send your child to a public school under such circumstances without revoking the right of administrators to act "in loco parentis" in the event that such a situation should ever occur with your child.
As Dymphna knows, this is a subject that is very familiar to me.

Call Me Mom said...

And let's not forget this story where a 13 was suspended for drawing a picture of a gun. These school officials actually believe that the drawing of a gun presented a threat to the other students. This is the natural result of making our school administrators believe they do not have to answer to parents for their actions in these types of cases.
(And before anyone says -but they weren't charged with crimes- young Mr. Whalen was not charged only because the police officer who responded to the school's call refused to arrest him. The school officials wanted him to be charged with a crime-after all they got him to confess to make it that much easier for their fellow government employees to make a case didn't they?)

Dymphna said...

@callmemom--
Here’s the local story about this incident.

Couldn’t get the video to load, *but*…

Is there a pattern here? For a thought experiment:

99% of Zero Tolerance incidents that make the news target boys, white boys.

Why? IIRC, black parents say their children are singled out for discipline. What if, to avoid harassment by various and sundry race and p.c. mongers, school administrations implemment an unofficial white quota?

Is that parent on the video above black or Hispanic? Wait...mother's name is Mosteller...not Hispanic.

If you can see that video, please report back. What we may have here is a cynical pattern targeting white children, particularly boys.

The school won’t release the drawing. The father was permitted to see his son's marginalia. The example he gave the news is a representation of the doodle on the science paper.

The kid's bored. He’d finished his work, began doodling on the edges of his paper, waiting to hand it in...iow, he’s smart and restless but not rowdy. He doodles.

Has this white boy policy *ever* been discussed out loud? Heck, no! Black children are more publicly disruptive in general...there are cultural differences re public behavior (read Lakoff, a real p.c. prof on this). Thus, they more often end up in detention for general discipline, because the kids are disturbing the class.

Black parents complain when they see most of the kids in detention are black. It doesn't occur to them that school administrations, no matter their color, "act white"...they're repressive.

Which is why the white kids end up in the news: because their offenses are so way beyond trivial that they make a good story.

As usual follow the money:

Zero tolerance was first introduced in the Gun Free School Act of 1994. This act, implemented by President Bill Clinton, requires that:

No assistance may be provided to any local educational agency under this Act unless such an agency has in effect a policy requiring expulsion from school for a period of not less than one year of any student who is determined to have brought a weapon to a school.

Do bureaucrats run with this way past common sense? Yes. But they point to the law: “our hands are tied”. Zero Tolerance martinets protecting their federal funding.

Bottom line:

1. if possible, remove your child from public school.

2. barring that, make frequent visits to eat lunch, volunteer, etc. IOW, be a presence with a face and name whatever it takes.

3. strategize how to protect your kid. Liberal applications of cynical brown-nosing. Mold the system to fit your child's needs.

4. educate your kid to be school-wise. Teach him, in kid terms, how to survive.

4. strength in numbers. Join the PTO. Informally connect to other parents via email. Begin with, say, a telephone tree for weather emergencies.

IOW, infiltrate the system.

/end Saul Alinsky channeling

Inalienable Rights said...

As I often do with situations like this, I call the institution and advise them that they have been victims of an unsavory internet hoax claiming they have taken some sort of ridiculous official action. I'm calling, as a concerned citizen, to give them a heads up, and suggest they may want to issue some sort of statement to clarify the situation and prevent damage to their good name. I wouldn't want the general public to believe, based on such internet hoaxes, that trained professionals such as themselves could do such boneheaded things.

It's fun, but they never call back to thank me.