Sunday, October 21, 2007

Is There More to This?

My focus has always been Cyber Safety through Information Literacy. As a result, I've come to the decision to expand the scope of this blog to include other educational issues that are in some ways related and that are, hopefully, of interest to the public.

Part of that decision was prompted by my desire to comment on a short article in today's paper. It might well be a subject for my Truth, Lies, Rumors, and Rumbles blog, but since Internet Safety can't be taught in isolation and this article seems to typify the same kind of paranoia that drives some scholastic decisions about Internet access, I felt that this blog has to take on more than a strict Internet Safety theme.

In Cape May county a 7-year-old was suspended as a result of the school's zero tolerance policy on guns. His crime? Well, it was drawing a stick figure shooting a gun.

In a statement that could well turn this incident into a Saturday Night Live news item, his mother stated that the gun was actually a water pistol.

Humor not withstanding, the idea of suspending a student for drawing a stick figure is ludicrous. Now if there was some sort of history and this incident was a culmination, that might be a mitigating factor, but even then I would question the action.

The job of schools is to educate students. This incident clearly calls for education, not suspension. Punishing a 7-year-old for drawing a picture of something he sees on a daily basis in the news, on TV, and in the movies is ridiculous. Heck, what would have happened if he drew a picture of the now famous Dick Chaney hunting incident. Would he be in juvenile hall?

Using the incident as a teachable moment would have been a far more productive solution. Finding a reading selection that teaches the students about the dangers of guns and discussing it with the class would have been a better course of action.

What next? Will we see a story about a boy who gets suspended for using his hand as a gun and gesturing the actions of committing suicide, only to have his mother tearfully explaining that her son has a nose picking problem.

How about exercising a little common sense when dealing with second graders?

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posted by Art @ 8:24 AM   2 comments


At 8:04 AM, Blogger Jeff Cooper said...

Since when does common sense have a place in today's schools? We've replaced common sense with mandates, low standards curricula, and zero tolerance policies. Where have you been, Art?

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Art said...

How right you are, Jeff. To answer your question, I fought that war for 30 years in the classroom, but lunacy has been around for a looooog time.

I sort of felt that this topic was better suited for Truth, Lies, Rumors, and Rumbles. So thanks to you I think I'll continue this line of thought there. I have a boat load of inane administrator stories to relate. Watch for the first installment at TLR&R.


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