DOUBLE KABOOM!! Ignorant, Abusive And Incompetent: How Much More Evidence Do We Need That Our Educators And Schools Are Untrustworthy?

double KABOOM

I’m sorry to endanger the integrity of your head—mine may never be reassembled, by the looks of things—but here are two recent high school horror stories, one in Texas and one in Arizona, and they do not even involve sexual predators or kids being suspended for pretending to shoot someone with a finger gun.

I. The Two Dollar Bill

Two dollar bill

I’m going to just summarize this stunningly stupid story, and you can read the details here. 13-year-old eighth grader Danesiah Neal, a student  at Fort Bend Independent School District’s Christa McAuliffe Middle School, attempted to pay for her lunch one day with a two-dollar bill given to her by her grandmother. The lunch lady had never seen a $2 bill, so she alerted the school administrators, who called the police. THEY had apparently never seen a $2 bill, and told the girl that she was being investigated for counterfeiting, a felony, as the school allowed this idiocy to unfold. They called the grandmother, and told her she was under investigation too.

A campus officer traced the bill to where granny got it, a 7-11, and then cleverly traced the bill to…THE BANK, which informed these officious, incompetent morons that the two is a genuine piece of currency, and has been in circulation since 1862.

The school and police returned the bill, and nobody apologized to the child or the family.

Stupid, ignorant and reckless pseudo-professionals like this are not qualified to teach anyone, and the failure of all parties responsible to grovel an  apology and swear never to abuse a student like this again shows they don’t even know how ignorant and incompetent they are.

II. The Yearbook Flash

Believe it or not, this one is even worse.

On a dare from a friend, high school football player Hunter Osborn briefly flashed his naughty bits in the team photo. Because nobody noticed—lets skip the jokes, shall we?—the photo was published in the school yearbook.  Months went by before anyone picked up on the gag. Never mind that the photo was so small that the indiscretion was virtually invisible to the naked eye: Osborn was arrested and charged with 69 counts of indecent exposure.

There is comfort, as I scrape my brains off the ceiling, to know that Jonathan Turley’s head exploded over this too. The usually calm and unflappable law professor blogger was uncharacteristically upset. He wrote in part:

The matter in Arizona is another chilling example of officials, police, and prosecutors showing no judgment or perspective in dealing with a prank…Mesa Public Schools spokeswoman Helen Hollands put the blame on the students…and says that “The district is dismayed by the actions of the students involved in the photograph. Their behavior does not reflect the values of Red Mountain High School or Mesa Public Schools.” Really, how about the “dismay” over treating a prank like it is the equivalent to a serial rape or a homicide? What type of values prompt adults to ruin the life of some dumb kid who commits a prank in a yearbook picture? The draconian values reflected in this response are far more chilling than the juvenile actions of this student.

Osborn did not select the photo for the yearbook, which occurred due to the lack of supervision and review at the school. …Did he deserve punishment? Of course. Suspend him or demand payment for the printing of new yearbooks. Instead the school and the police believe that criminal charges are warranted. It sounds like the school was embarrassed by its own failure to see the problem and everyone then decided to crush this student (and ruin his life) over a prank…

[W]hat is most disturbing is that…there is little effort to hold the adults at the school and the police department accountable for this ridiculous over-reaction. This is a stupid kid in high school. He was wrong but he is a teenager. We are adults. We are supposed to have a sense of perspective and even understanding. That does not mean that we do not punish teenagers for moronic acts but we are also supposed to balance our response with understanding and restraint…Osborne deserves to be disciplined at school but so do these school officials, police, and prosecutors who took an embarrassing prank and force it to an absurd and grotesque conclusion.

Bingo.

I believe Turley’s diagnosis was correct about the school scapegoating the student to obscure the staff’s lack of diligence and oversight. Why wasn’t the Yearbook photo vetted by a supervisor? Wasn’t any teacher or school official watching the photo session? There was a time, not so long ago when the streaking fad was in full swing, that virtually every athletic event had some naked kid running across the field on a dare. Those streakers got detention. Osborne may end up a registered sex offender.

I can’t say “most objectionable of all,” because nothing could be more objectionable than using the law to crush a student for a badly-thought out joke that hurt nobody, but the, uh, key feature in the crime is undetectable, bringing to mind an old law school limerick illustrating the maxim, De minimis non curat lex  (The law does not concern itself with trifles). It went..

There once was a lawyer named Rex
With diminutive organs for sex.
When charged with exposure
He said, with composure
“De minimis non curat lex”

Maybe Hunter should hire Rex to defend him. The argument’s a winner.

Meanwhile, our education system is entrusted to fools and autocrats, and lies in ruins.

UPDATE: The charges were dropped after all 69 “victims” refused to back them.

________________

Double Pointer: Res Ipsa Loquitur

47 thoughts on “DOUBLE KABOOM!! Ignorant, Abusive And Incompetent: How Much More Evidence Do We Need That Our Educators And Schools Are Untrustworthy?

  1. That second case is worse than you realize… part of those 69 charges are indecent exposure to minors… That is his teammates. The police said that number may increase or decrease based on the number of teammates who were 18 at the time, or who decline to press charges.

    Let that sink in.

    The players on his team, who he shares a shower room with, have to be asked how old they are (because apparently no one decided to find out before pressing charges), and whether they want to press charges against their teammate(because they weren’t asked that before charges were pressed either), not for seeing his dick (because they didn’t), but for being put in the tender situation, had they decided to stare at Osbourn’s crotch, of possibly being able to see the ‘offending’ dick.

  2. A majority of Republicans in Indiana voting to nominate an unethical narcissist whose policy positions are much closer to a liberal Democrat, despite a conservative candidate being available?

    • So, with Cruz and Kasich out, does this 100% mean the convention will have to pick Trump? Do they have a way out?

      • Yeah. In theory, voters in the rest of the states write in enough ballots with someone else’s name to deny Trump the nomination in the first round, and then they pick the actual nominee out of a hat.

        No, it’s done.

      • Denying him the nomination at this point would probably lead to civil unrest and certainly do more damage to the Republican party than even a Trump nomination will. No one forced them to hold presidential primaries but having done so, now ignoring both the millions who voted for him and the other candidates who all admitted defeat would send the message that republicans are oathbreakers who ignore the voters. The RNC’s been shafted.

        They should have denied him ballot access from the start like they did to Stephen Colbert’s joke campaign four years ago.

        • Civil unrest? I think you have Trump supporters confused with Bernie-ites. If there’s going to be violence, like real rioting, looting, arsoning, punching violence, it comes from the left. Has for the last decade, if not longer.

          You know what’s frustrating me right now? Bernie’s insistence that this race will go to a contested convention on the Democrat side. Of course it won’t. And when it doesn’t, I’ll bet good money, I’ll give odds, that disgruntled and frustrated Bernie supporters burn shit. There’s going to be punching, screaming violence, and somehow it’s going to be blamed on Trump.

          • You’re right, no one’s ever been attacked by a Trump supporter. What am I thinking? Of course everything bad no matter how small is purely the domain of the left and all those insane people who don’t want to lower taxes for the richest people and want abortion to remain legal and never ever anyone else.

            I was stupid to think that of the millions of angry people supporting a populist who’s spent the past 8 months egging them on there’d be no trouble if what they feel entitled to is taken away by party officials.

            • Whatever it is you think you’re saying, it is buried in impenetrable sarcasm. There may be a constructive observation in there somewhere, but I have no clue what it might be.

              • Two things, it is not unreasonable to expect a large scale bad reaction from Trump supporters if they feel wronged, Trump has encouraged violence at his own rallies and quit that bullshit of attributing all bad behavior to the left and only the left.

                • Much clearer.

                  However, for whatever reason, if we are talking about riots and violent demonstrations, the Left has had a near monopoly in my lifetime and yours. Can you deny it?

                  • Outside of the US I’ll deny it in a heartbeat. Inside the US it gets trickier, when sports fans go nuts I don’t know who they are just where they are.

                    It also doesn’t help that neither of our lifetimes have been very long.

                    Now, can you claim it’s unreasonable to think Trump supporters would riot if he were denied the nomination? Has he, himself, not predicted/encouraged exactly that?

                    • “Outside of the US I’ll deny is in a heartbeat.”

                      How? I’m sorry, I just really can’t think of good examples of conservative riots and protests anywhere. And it’s so much harder in the last hundred years. If someone protested in Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia, Tojo’s Japan, Mussolini’s Italy or Catro’s Cuba, they might have had conservative values, but they would have been quickly taken out back and shot, What the hell are you talking about?

                    • valkygrrl,

                      You wrote: “I was specifically thinking of the neo-nazis who stormed an event in Brussels a couple months ago. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/riot-police-battle-hundreds-right-7637773

                      Comparing Trump and his supporters to Nazis and neo-nazis is incorrect. Neo-Nazis are not conservatives nor, I would assert, Republican. If anything, they are reactionaries asserting a hyper-nationalist belief system. I would assert that most of their ideologies are an outgrowth of Leftist central-statist politics. The Nazis were national socialists. Franco’s Spain was socialist. The USSR was socialist/communist. The Khmer Rouge were communists. China was/is Maoist communist.

                      jvb

                    • I never understood why Neo-nazis get called right wing. Nazis were socialists. They left the party roots behind and morphed into a racial supremacist group… but I just don’t get the connection to conservatism. This hits me as a conformity of thought problem…. “These guys don’t think like me, so I’m going to group them together with everyone else I don’t like.”

                      But even then… These “violent” protesters were seen… making salutes and holding flares. And were dispersed with a water cannon. The horror.

                      Same article:

                      “There was a heavy security presence as hundreds gathered in the Belgian capital to remember the 28 victims who died on Tuesday.

                      Islamic State militants struck at both Maalbeek metro station and Brussels airport.

                      Three suicide bombers also died.”

                      Now if you wanted to assert that ISIS was right-wing… You might almost be getting to something, but you chose the guys making Nazi salutes as your example… My God. Get some perspective.

                    • Did you see that picture near the bottom? “Casuals Against Racism” The caption? “Protest: Right-wing demonstrators protest against terrorism in Brussels, Belgium”

                      The unbridled violence! The property damage! The injuries! Oh wait, what? There wasn’t any of that? Well what did they do? Yell a lot and make offensive gestures? Isn’t that the same thing?

                    • You would have stayed higher in my estimation is you had just admitted that, “you know, when I think about it I can’t think of any right-ward groups rioting.” Because they don’t. Violent protesting is a left habit, be it anti Vietnam, peace, civil rights, globalization, Ferguson, Baltimore, Sanders thugs at Trump rallies, eco-radicals, Occupy Wall Street, A lot of it is Alinsky, who urged left warriors to initiate conflicts with police, get beaten, look sympathetic, and radicalize the rubes who don’t know its part of the game.

                      You know we weren’t talking about foreign culture, and you really know we weren’t talking about drunken sports event riots, but since you mention it, those are always kids. Kids tend to be liberals.

                      Trump says anything that pops into his head. Now your standard for whether a group riots is whether an idiot says they will riot?

                • I disagree almost completely, picking the odd idiot who does something stupid at a Trump rally is useful only if you don’t want to approach the conversation honestly.

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sanders-trump-violence-rallies_us_56f2d32ee4b0c3ef521791c2

                  Huffpo desperately spinning a disturbing (to them) trend: All the violence is at Trump rallies! All the protests are at Trump rallies. Bernie rallies are peaceful!

                  Well… Think about that. That means that Trump supporters leave Bernie rallies alone. That means that Bernie supporters go to Trump rallies and raise hell. They even admit it “So far, most of the arrests at Trump events have been related to protesting. But several Trump supporters have been charged with assaulting protesters” Several, by the way… Includes the Trump supporter who pepper sprayed a teen girl Bernie supporter (Sounds damning doesn’t it?) after she punched an old man in the face (Oops, there goes the other side.).

                  What I see, are two trends…. That of the cry-bully: Someone who shows up looking for a fight, gets it, and plays the victim afterwards. And that of the conflation of words with actions… Trump says a lot of stupid things, maybe even some things that could be construed as calls to violence, but I can’t think of a situation where those words actually incited violence…. Can you?

                  But you don’t have to believe me! We’ll get to see this live. I would like to make a bet: If Bernie loses (Which he almost certainly will, but if not the point is moot) If Bernie loses, I’ll give you 5:1 odds that within 24 hours of his concession speech, his supporters light a building on fire.

                  I’m not even joking. iTunes Gift card? Paypal? I’ll bet 25 bucks, against your 5 that “feel the Bern” goes literal very shortly after he suspends his campaign.

                  • The idea of giving a person something to gain from acts of violence makes me uncomfortable. How about this, if they burn down a building on purpose since every day there’s somewhere that a drunken idiot starts a fire, I’ll donate $5 in the name of Humble Talent to the Make a Wish Foundation. That should be a suitably politically neutral non-profit. If it doesn’t happen you give them $5 in the name of valkygrrl (small v, two r’s.)

        • “Denying him the nomination at this point would probably lead to civil unrest and certainly do more damage to the Republican party than even a Trump nomination will.”

          1. “It will cause idiots to riot” has never been a responsible justification for not doing the right thing. Although it was recently tried in Baltimore…

          2. Wrong. Nothing can damage the Republican Party more than having a demogogue, anti-intellectual, unethical, boorish, unqualified narcissistic idiot representing the party. Nothing. Suspending operation for an election would be less damaging. Changing its name to the Stupidhead Poopy Party would be less damaging.

          3. “They should have denied him ballot access from the start like they did to Stephen Colbert’s joke campaign four years ago.” Gee, where have I read that before? Oh, right—I wrote that in August.

          • 1: a prediction is not a justification. Idiots would riot and…

            2: That’s in your estimation. I don’t want them to nominate him. When a major party nominates someone that means they can win even if it looks like a cakewalk. Walter Mondale lost big time but he could have won. Reagan could have had a stroke in October or any of a hundred other things.

            That being said, who would trust them if he were stopped now? They made rules, they held elections, they awarded delegates. The rules committee can make a rule that no one who’s last name is Trump can be placed in nomination. Then what? Does anyone who participated in the process in good faith ever forgive them?

            3: Did I disagree with you? I don’t think I did. Did I disagree when people wanted to leave him out of the debates? You were right and if I had remembered you specifically mentioning Colbert I’d have found it and linked it.

          • And offtopic. Should I stop emailing you articles that display cases dubious ethics. You never replay to tell me to stop so I don’t know if you’re just more interested in whatever else that week or specially uninterested in what I email you. I’ll stop bugging you if it’s the latter.

            • Keep sending them. I get a lot of these, I read them all, I archive them and often come back to them later. I’m sorry that I haven’t expressed my appreciation clearly. I am very grateful, and they are helpful and important.

              • I don’t require or seek appreciation. It actually makes me somewhat uncomfortable, it’s a self esteem thing, genuine appreciation still feels false. But thank you for letting me know that it’s okay to keep sending things, the lack of response left me wondering if it was a bother.

        • Actually, delegates can opt out of the first vote at the convention based on conviction, and then it goes to the floor for the second vote, because the first person nominated was unable to garner the support of the delegates. Candidates are supposed to be fighting for BOTH, the popular vote and the delegate vote. Trumpster was too lazy to do the work. He could be denied the vote by the delegates, according to a Supreme Court decision. Not that I place much on the decisions of the Supreme Court, but it is the law — at this time. Technically, when you suspend your election, you are not “out”. You are in limbo with your delegates still in play.

  3. “…they don’t even know how ignorant and incompetent they are.”

    The Dunning-Kruger effect seems to be rampant in education

  4. First, if the teenager paid with a suspected counterfeit $5.00, the correct procedure would have been to let her pay for her lunch and let her go. The ADULTS should then take it upon themselves to investigate the proposed fraudulent payment discretely. (Yes, I’m ignoring the fact that the adults here have never heard of a $2 dollar bill.) They probably haven’t even heard of “being gay as a $3 dollar bill.” Yes, it’s OK, I can say that.

    As for case #2, I wonder what would have happened had a high school girl flashed a boob during the photo session? Think any charges would have been filed? Would it have exploded into such chaos? I’m guessing not. I don’t believe Janet Jackson was arrested and that was just tit for tat during a football game.

    My first year of college was at a Christian school. They have rules like: one has to attend “chapel” 3x/wk or you accrue chapel “fines.” $5 per session missed. (that’s two “2” dollar bills + 1 dollar). When one goes to register for their next semester, those fines will keep you from attending school. But I digress. When the men’s football team won and were returning to campus in their bus, they’d “moon” all the girls, since the bus had to drive by the woman’s dorms. I thought that was funny……especially at a Christian collage. No charges filed but we were lectured at chapel. On a side note- I had the largest chapel fines the school had ever seen.

    • “being gay as a $3 dollar bill.”

      I’ve never heard that either — at least not with “gay” in it.

        • One of those ubiquitous phrases whose meaning I had no comprehension of as a little kid. I certainly had no idea what “queer” meant other than “strange.” I’m not even sure I knew there wasn’t a three dollar bill. One of life’s mysteries for an eight year-old.

          As a point of interest, two dollar bills were evidently printed at the behest of the horse racing/betting industry, two dollars being the preferred amount of a horse bet. There were lots of them in Miami where I grew up because of Hialeah and all the other race tracks in the area. Lest we forget Fred Capasella: “The sky is clear, the track is fast, and I talk funny.”

  5. The counterfeit $2,00 bill case happened in my allegorical back yard. I saw the news story when it was reported on the local affiliate of ABC. I had to watch it twice to figure out what happened. I finally pieced together that a 13 year girl got $2.00 bill from her grandma, who previously had gotten it from the bank. Then, I read the article in the local paper and on ABC13’s website and became dismayed for a couple of reasons.

    1. The first involved school officials and law enforcement members oblivious to legitimate currency distributed widely in the US. How is it possible that nobody, from the lunchroom lady to the school principal to the police to the local prosecutor had any idea that a $2.00 bill is legitimate? Didn’t someone think to google $2.00 bill to figure out if it was fake? Who counterfeits $2.00 bills anyway? Who would go to such trouble to counterfeit a $2.00 gill. Such morons forfeit their individual and collective rights to be allowed out of their homes.

    2. The second cause for dismay was the level of reporting in the on-air and print/internet stories. It is shallow, disjointed, unintelligible, and downright incomprehensible. My head exploded when the disparate impact theory was thrown into the mix to show that minorities are subject to more counterfeit investigations than whites. So, not only are the relevant school and law enforcement officials incompetent, they are racists to boot. Well, that’s good to know. The story also relates the trials and tribulations of another 13 year old, this time a boy, who passed off a fake $10.00 bill to the lunch lady, but through stellar detective work was fingered by Inspector Clousseau, and is facing hard time. How did they find out this boy passed off the fake $10.00? That is pretty good stuff right there.

    After reading the news story I saw a significant pattern developing: ne’er-do-well 13 year olds of color have infiltrated the lunch line and are laundering phony currency, which could cause a collapse in the entire monetary system. We must be prepared.

    jvb

    • So much number two. I read the story, and then it moves into the nonsequiter, and I was like, “am I still reading the same story? How does this even apply?”

  6. Uh, why don’t we charge the makers of the novelty Million Dollar Bill with counterfeiting? Because it’s not a replica of a genuine bill! If these administrators thought that a $2 bill was never genuine, then it’s not counterfeiting, it’s a novelty. Counterfeiting is forgery of genuine bills.

    Their logic fails even with hypothetical stipulations.

  7. Re: the second story. Open up a newspaper or go to a news website in Greater Phoenix and find an article about molestation by a school employee, and the dateline is invariably Mesa. Hence the idiotic over-reaction.

  8. Jack, it’s not your fault, or course, and I have no regrets, but your mention of yearbook controversies got me to thinking again about lovely Sydney. Ah, the good old days! When prettier things were at the center of controversies.

  9. When I first heard the year book picture story, it was reported that the team picture also appeared in the program at every football game. It seems the incompetence is much deeper than you realize. Apparently, adults responsible for oversight failed repeatedly for months. I am pleased to read that charges were dropped.

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