Should Ethics Alarms post on substantially the same ethics stories every time they occur? The news that an Ohio fifth grader has been suspended from school for three days for the offense of making an imaginary gun out of his fingers is just such a repeat. I wrote about a similar no-tolerance episode in Montgomery County a year ago, here and here. What is left to say, and why say it again?
I think you have to say it again, in this case at least, because it didn’t sink in the first time. In Montgomery County, Maryland, the school system was forced to revoke the suspension and even apologized to the boy as a result of the ridicule that showered down on the hapless administrators who inflicted the absurd punishment. Officials at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School, where ten-year-old Nathan Entingh wielded his deadly digits “execution-style,” couldn’t have missed the Maryland fiasco, yet they failed to absorb its lesson, which seems extremely obvious to the reasonable, the fair and the responsible: “This is stupid, cruel and abusive treatment. Don’t do it.”
Why didn’t they heed the lesson? I think one reason may be that such hysterical policies are now less about hysteria than they are about thoughtful anti-gun indoctrination. Continue reading