When “No Tolerance” Meets Anti-Gun Hysteria: How Silly Can School Administrators Get?

I have this sinking feeling that we have not yet seen the worst.

Phil? Is that you?

Phil? Is that you?

In Woody Allen’s oddball satiric masterpiece “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?”, the hero, a dim-bulb Japanese version of James Bond named “Phil Moskowitz,” is being briefed on his quary, a Chinese super-villain named Wing Fat. Pointing to a map, the secret agent’s boss tel’s him, “This is the home of Wing Fat!” “You mean he lives in that little piece of paper?”the agent exclaims.

I always wondered what happened to Phil, considering his, ah, handicap. I should have guessed. He became a school administrator in Tan Valley, Arizona,.

Daniel McClaine, Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School there, made a web photo of an AK 47 against an American flag backdrop  as the desktop background on his school-issued computer and was suspended as a result.

NO, Phil, the piece of paper isn’t the real gun! Won’t you ever learn?

There’s not much more to be said about this, except that it continues a sad trend, and also, “ARRRRRGH!!!!”  This story followed the familiar pattern:  McClaine’s father contacted the  press, people started wondering why Phil Moskowitz was running a public school, and Florence Unified School District officials suddenly lifted the suspension. The District’s policy forbids students from sending or displaying “offensive messages or pictures,” or producing, retrieving, sending or forwarding images that are considered “harassing, threatening or illegal” on school-issued laptops. Offensive today can mean exactly anything, including a photo of a Washington Redskins player, Rush Limbaugh, or “My Little Pony.”  McClaine claims he read the guidelines but did not think that a picture of a gun could threaten or offend anyone. He needs to read more newspapers and Ethics Alarms. Still, his punishment was irresponsible and unfair, and like all such incidents, help teach students to disrespect authority and to regard their elders as not worth listening to, since they are, shall we say, like Phil Moskowitz.

Glenn Reynolds at “Instapundit” comments that he’s “beginning to think putting your kids in a public school is parental malpractice.” What took him so long? “Remember, these are the people who claim that they teach critical thinking,” he writes. What they do, in fact, is practice attitude re-adjustment, political orthodoxy and mind-control. Suspended or not, McClaine and his fellow students have been sent the clear message that the idea of legal firearms is inherently wrong, and by extension, gun ownership, supporters of gun ownership, the Second Amendment, the NRA and the political party whose members ally with all of them.

Which is it, Phil?

Totalitarian methodology, or just good old American school administrator idiocy?

__________________________

Sources: The Daily Caller, Instapundit

12 thoughts on “When “No Tolerance” Meets Anti-Gun Hysteria: How Silly Can School Administrators Get?

  1. I don’t know if I agree with the notion that a picture of a gun “isn’t the real thing.” By that notion then, a picture of a scantilly-clad woman isn’t the real thing either. I do agree that a warning would have been sufficient, however. That a freshman posted a provocative picture is not new. That’s what kids his age do. But there could have been more of a discussion as to why this image is disturbing, especially in the wake of tragedies at Columbine and VT, and the person who ratted the kid could have been the first line in this discussion. As long as there are kids becoming teenagers, they will antagonize, provoke and most often times, will not know how they are doing this; but we will need to have this talk, and it will seem repetitive from our adult view. Suspending the kid was over-the-top, and the subsequent reversal just makes the administrator look like a reactive idiot.

    • But a picture of a scantilly-clad woman isn’t the real thing, it is a picture. Now if he’d brought a scantilly-clad woman to class that would have been the real thing.

      • That’s partly to my point, Errol. Both are pictures that could be deemed offensive and harrassing, but if I had to choose which one I’d rather a kid bring to school, especially if someone say, had a gun to my head, there is one choice that is less of a danger.

    • A scantily clad woman’s photo is sexually provocative and arguably inappropriate for youths, so there really is a difference. What a picture of a gun doesn’t do anything at all—its just depicts something.

  2. The District’s policy forbids students from sending or displaying “offensive messages or pictures,” or producing, retrieving, sending or forwarding images that are considered “harassing, threatening or illegal” on school-issued laptops. Offensive today can mean exactly anything, including a photo of a Washington Redskins player, Rush Limbaugh, or “My Little Pony.”

    Herein lies the problem, which is creative interpretations of broadly-worded rules.

    A similarly-worded rule probably exists in the U.S. military, including the service academies. However, a picture is considered “offensive”, “harassing, threatening or illegal” only if it brings discredit upon the armed forces, and/or is prejudicial to discipline and good order. There is no way that a “photo of an AK 47 against an American flag backdrop” on a military-issued laptop would be considered prejudicial to discipline and good order. The only way a serviceman can get in trouble for having “photo of an AK 47 against an American flag backdrop” is if there existed an explicit order or regulation prohibiting such.

    To be sure, there is conduct that is prejudicial to discipline and good order in a military context, which is tolerated in a civilian context.

    But if an act is not prejudicial to discipline and good order in a military context, it should not be considered “offensive, harassing, or threatening” in a civilian context like a regular public school.

  3. This reminds me of an incident when our son was a 2nd grader in a public school in Phoenix. His favorite movie, watched over and over, was Raiders of the Lost Ark, thus his favorite things to draw were any characters and scenes from this movie. One day while bored after completing an assignment, his teacher had given him permission to sit quietly at his desk and draw. Imagine our horror later upon learning he’d been sent to the principal’s office for drawing swastikas! It seems the teacher was at least disturbed (or uncertain) enough to confiscate the drawing and take it to the principal, who in turn deemed it unacceptable and potentially disturbing to the rest of the class. This egregious act earned our son a “ticket”, three of which would earn him suspension or expulsion! Never mind the fact that no one but the teacher saw the drawing, let alone the fact that our 7-year-old, and probably all the others in the class, had no idea of the real meaning of the symbol.

  4. Pingback: Extreme Political Correctness now in charge of school regulations as student gets suspended for gun wallpaper on a computer. Really??? « Family Survival Protocol

  5. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/2nd-grader-suspended-over-imaginary-grenade-224740937.html

    A seven-year-old boy was suspended from his elementary school for using an imaginary grenade while playing “Rescue the World” on the playground.

    The story was featured on Fox 31 Denver. Second-grader Alex Evans pretended to throw a grenade into a box full of, in his words, “pretend evil forces.”

    “I pretended the box, there’s something shaking in it, and I go pshhh,” Alex explained.

    Unfortunately for Alex, his exploits (heroic as they were) went against Mary Blair Elementary School rules. Those rules include no fighting (real or pretend) and no weapons (real or pretend).

    I think the school administrators should henceforth be paid with imaginary money

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