This day-ruining story jumped ahead of a Todd Akin-related post, but since they both involve near criminal levels of stupidity, I didn’t have to shift gears very much. I should begin by assuring readers, however, that much as I wish I was, I am not making this up.
In Grand Island, Nebraska, the public school system has informed the parents of a deaf three-year-old pre-schooler that he cannot use sign language to communicate his name. You see:
- The young boy’s name is Hunter Spanjer…
- The Signing Exact English gesture for “hunter” is a fist with the forefinger pointing out and the thumb up, like a pistol…
- The Grand Island school system’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 prohibits “any instrument…that looks like a weapon'”, and
- The administrators of that school system are so dumb that they make Todd Akin look like Stephen Hawking.
I don’t really want to write very much more on this story, because if you are reading Ethics Alarms (which is to say, if you can read) you can figure out why telling a deaf pre-schooler that it’s a bad thing to sign his name, why anyone who would do such a thing has sunk below all acceptable levels of judgment, competence, compassion and proportion, and why a school system dominated by such fearful, cruel dim-wits should be dismantled and spread like confetti over the Great Plains, lest it ever re-unite, like the melted bits of Robert Patrick in “Terminator 2,” to cause more misery and educational malpractice. And the story is so stupid that I feel like it’s leaching my IQ points just thinking about it.
By all means, let’s pay our public school educators more. Better yet, let’s just let our kids teach themselves in adult-free mobs, like in “Lord of the Flies.” I don’t see how they could do worse than in the Grand Island school system.*
* You can write the school board to tell them how wrong they are at http://www.gips.org/contact_us. It won’t do any good.
Pointer: tgt (I hate you.)
Facts and Graphic: 1011 Now
Source: Free Range Kids
Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at email@example.com.
45 thoughts on “School No-Tolerance Hits Rock Bottom”
They should change the sign for his name to a fist pointed up with the middle finger extended.
I’m sorely tempted to make this the comment of the day.
On topic, when my cub scout troop was learning sign language, we started signaling each other with our initials, which of course bled into the classroom. My actual initials are KPK. Try displaying my initials quickly without it looking like a gang sign of flicking someone off. I can remember one teacher getting upset by the rude gesture. Then we explained it, and she was just upset that we were silently communicating across the classroom. Ah, for the goode olde dayse.
I had a friend who use to feed me the answers to questions through sign until a teacher caught her. lol
Do it! Comment of the day! Beautiful!
You convinced me, Lianne. It’s up.
LOL That was my first thought, too!
Yet another reason for home-schooling.
This is the result of schools dictating generalized rules with capability to recognize reasonable judgement. Yes, we can probably all agree that guns and things that look like guns should not be allowed in schools. That being said, a little common sense would go a long way, but it is so discouraged among educators because if you use judgement you leave yourself open to being sued, whereas if you do EXACTLY to the letter what the district or school policy is, then you’re safe. This is a rousing combination of an idiotic failure to inject sense into policy and an overwhelming tide of parents who refuse to accept that their child might deserve a punishment so teachers fear using their own judgement.
I warned you, but did you listen? Nooooooo.
Well, they’d better blur the borders of the state of Florida on any map they have at that school, because that state-shape sure looks like a…
Or perhaps better yet, maybe the school should just leave Florida off of all their U.S.maps. Presto! Problem fixed. Ahh…freedom from images suggestive of violence…yeah, that’ll keep everyone kind and gentle.
I just KNEW there was some reason why I especially like Idaho’s state-shape…Oklahoma’s is just plain rude to everyone out west…
Add in West Virginia as it’s flipping everyone off.
Is there a zero tolerance policy on things that look like rude gestures? I think West Virginia’s okay.
Wait, did I just say that West Virginia is okay? Strike that.
This is too perfect. it smells like a hoax to me.
I’d love if it was, but didn’t we also think that about the piece of pizza?
Piece of pizza? Either that didn’t make it into my consciousness, or it made it in and right out.
Here. The question was, Can No-Tolerance Be Dumber? Now we know.
Now that I’m reading it, I like my phrase better if the reference isn’t known.
It’s not a hoax – here’s a link to the local story (I live in Omaha) http://www.1011now.com/home/headlines/Grand-Island-Preschooler-Forbidden-Sign-Language-for-His-Own-Name-167394325.html
And to whoever said blurr the lines of Florida – better blur the lines of Nebraska too – we have a panhandle as well! ARGH!!!!
Jen, that’s the same link as in the post.
Oh thank you, world, that my son is home-schooled. Public schools are run for morons and produce morons. See esp one of “Dr. Z’s Laws —
adapted from Prof. Phillip Zimbardo’s writings and teachings
on ethics and group dynamics],” which Jack has in their entirely if you’re interested. One “law” says:
Rules are abstractions for controlling behavior and eliciting
compliance and conformity – challenge them when necessary.
Ask: Who made the rule? What purpose does it serve? Who
maintains it? Does it make sense in this specific situation?
What happens if you violate it? Insist that the rule be made
explicit, so it cannot be modified and altered over time to suit
the influence agent.
In this case, and with all the hyperbole in the news about making the handicapped (oops, sorry), the “challenged,” accessible to the world at large, this school system is clearly way under the mark, and proves only once again that stupid rules executed by stupid people result only in stupid decisions. Unfortunately, we are there.
Years ago a book called “IQ88” was written, the plot line focusing on a new virus that turned everyone into IQ88 morons. The story is about the scientists who were desperately trying to find a cure before they themselves became IQ88s and had no power to even define their research much less conduct it. I think we’re there.
I am still having a problem with blaming all public schools when many of these are isolated incidents. There are bad things and bad apples in all walks of life. The public schools I attended had a few bad teachers but they were gone as soon as they threatened the quality of education or safety of the kids.
No, Michael, no one ever said ALL public schools do anything this stupid. But I would be very surprised to ever hear of ANY private school doing anything like this. If such an administrator was not immediately fired, parents would be pulling their children out in droves. The school would cease to exist. Good private schools do compete for good students with involved families. No parent who can walk with their pocketbook would stand for this idiocy.
What about the “Loser” sign? Can everyone still put their guns to their foreheads making an “L” shape and call the administrators Losers?
He should just stick up 2 fingers to the school
Can anyone not see the bigger issue here? Why in the world is a young boy named “Hunter” even allowed in public school? Everyone knows that people hunt with…guns. How did any school administrator let that slide?
“Hunter” I knew lots of boys named “Hunter”. They weren’t all hunters either. Plus he could have been a bowhunter like I am. Hunting doesn’t automatically make a person bad or an idiot.
Poe’s law strikes again.
What does the “Raven” have to do with this?
As you should well know, the Raven’s went hunting in the playoffs a couple years ago. Unfortunately, they came up short.
Depends on the private school. For instance- I’d be kind of leary about some Catholic schools. Also I would be somewhat careful on issues like indoctrination. Some public schools are equally guilty.
“[Is] it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls…The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007
That was really eye-opening, Zoe! So much, I had to close my eyes. Next the militias that home-school their own. Where I live, we only have a choice between a public school or a……public school. A school voucher program would be difficult to implement. Wow! That was a hilarious article!
Not really meaning to defend the specific “science” of fire-breathing dragons – Michael and Zoe, did you already know about the Bombardier beetle? I have wondered how many – really, could we tally? – generations of beetles had to transpire, over however many hundreds or thousands or millions of years, to the point of developing such specialized functions as these animals have:
It’s just a theory, but maybe it’s from those beetles where the more highly evolved humans got the phrase, “Blow it out your…”
The AMESLAN for “21” is also forbidden.
I think you’re being too kind to these school “administrators”.
There’s one thing you wrote that was mistaken, Jack.
The school, in the face of thousands of letters from the public and a warning letter from the ACLU (good) and some death threats (bad) has backed off and is saying that no one has to change their name.
I was unclear. I’m not surprised they backed down. I meant that it wouldn’t make them any more sensitive, competent or bright.
I stand corrected!
No, it was my fault. I re-read the piece, and your reading was the most obvious.
Is not the purpose of zero tolerance policies to prevent stuff like this from happening?
In case anybody thinks this was a hoax (as i, cynically, did, it appeared on the front page as lead story in the Omaha World-Herald this morning!
Oh, ye of little faith! Hey, did you hear about the tattoo artist….
My beloved sister-in-law, Helena, teaches ASL (American Sign Language). My brother said after she saw this she is banging her head against the wall.