This story made my head explode, and thus it will be tagged “Kaboom!” Unlike most such Kaboom! posts, however, this one is likely to make my head explode every time I read it. Or think about it. Forever.
On June 16, a third grader made a comment about the brownies being served to his class during an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey. After another student opined that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department.
Okay, stop. I’m puzzled already, and my head exploded again just writing that:
- How could a comment about brownies be racist? Did the child say, ” As with human beings, the blonde brownies are innately superior to the dark ones”? Somehow, I doubt it.
- Another third grader pronounced the statement as racist. Not a teacher, now. An eight-year old. How can that trigger anything, in a sane world, but a discussion led by the teacher about what is and isn’t racist, and how people shouldn’t leap to such inflammatory observations, because it makes human interaction difficult if not impossible?
- The school called the police department? For what? A threatened brownie massacre? How is this conceivably a police matter? Why did the police come?
“What is the nature of your emergency?” “A third-grader in my class made an inappropriate remark about brownies!” “Calling 911 with prank calls is a crime, ma’am. Don’t do this again.”
It is per se unethical and irresponsible for any police department to treat such trivia seriously.
All right,slogging on… Continue reading
“Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!”
This one is so rich with chewy ethical dilemma goodness that I had to interrupt writing another post to get it to you.
New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has ruled that bars and restaurants that refuse to serve alcohol or raw fish to pregnant women are committing discrimination. Such a policy by bars and restaurants violate protections for pregnant women in the city’s Human Rights Law, and constitute illegal bias.
“While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety,” the commission said, “using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful.”
Interestingly, eighteen other states have laws that declare that the use of alcohol during pregnancy is child abuse.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:
Is it ethical to refuse to sell liquor to a pregnant woman, when the establishment is doing so to protect the fetus from the toxic effects of alcohol, or is it unethical discrimination?
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
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. Continue reading