Tag Archives: school adminsitrators

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/25/18: Your School Shooting Ethics Train Wreck Update [UPDATED]

Good Morning!

1  Addendum to the “Weapons of War” post: I almost included this in the post itself, but it was long enough. During the debates here over the Confederate statue-toppling orgies and the Charlottesville riot, we often heard the defense that Robert E. Lee, et al., were unworthy of statues, monuments and memorials because they were traitors. I always viewed this as a rationalization for the real reason the Confederates are being airbrushed out of our public history, which is that their political and social beliefs don’t measure up to 21st Century ethics. The “traitor” argument is a neat way to distinguish Robert E. Lee from slave-owners like George Washington.  However, as the post explains, the United States was founded on the principle that it is not treason for citizens to seek to create a new government when they concluded that the current one has abused its power and cannot be reformed. That is certainly what the Confederacy believed. Under the Founding documents, they had every right to leave the Union, and would have done so peacefully had Lincoln allowed it. Robert E. Lee was wrong, and he was a racist, but he was no traitor. By Jefferson’s formula that was ratified unanimously by the Continental Congress, he was a patriot.

2. Everybody’s flailing. President Trump floated the much-mocked “arm teachers” suggestion, and then used the cultural DeLorean to retrieve the “popular culture is too violent” explanation. The gun violence in the U.S. is very much driven by our culture, and pop culture both reflects and affects it. Hollywood made some efforts to tone down the violence last year; it also had the worst year at the box office in a quarter of a century, so we’ll see how long that lasts. The President just doesn’t understand the Constitution very well: the government can’t force video games, music, TV shows and movies to be less violent, but it can launch efforts to build a public consensus to dial back the fictional killing.

You know, like Tipper Gore’s effort to get the sex, obscenity and violence out of rap music. That sure worked well. The Obama approach would be to send out a menacing letter saying something like, “We recommend that you tone it down, but of course we can’t make you, but you know there are a lot of ways we could make your life miserable if you displease us, not that we would ever try to muscle you or anything since it you have the right of free speech. Just a word to the wise between friends. Nice little business you have there; it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”

The President’s critics sneered that he is “flailing” on the issue. I don’t see that he is flailing any more than anyone else. To the zealots, “flailing” means “not advocating the repeal of the Second Amendment.”

3. At least Vox is honest. In this article, left-wing Vox argues that the solution to gun violence “isn’t a big mystery,” but then only uses innuendo to explain what the solution is. Guess! here’s the biggest clue (emphasis mine): Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Vote For The 2013 Curmie, Designating The Worst Of Misconduct In The Name Of Education

...and middle school, and elementary school....

…and middle school, and elementary school….

Over at Rick Jones’ Curmudgeon Central, the final nominees for his not-so-coveted 2013 Curmie Award are up, and the winner will be determined by the vote of Rick’s readers. The Curmies memorialize the worst in U.S. conduct by education professionals, and a revoltingly diverse group of miscreants he has assembled. I urge you all to drop by, read Rick’s commentary (and about some of the awful incidents that didn’t make the cut), and vote.

Only three of Rick’s final eight were covered on Ethics Alarms, and while I am confident that the ultimate winner is among them, I am now second guessing my editorial judgment. Rick’s blog is more education-centric than Ethics Alarms ( his work has filled the gap created when the excellent “No Tolerance” blog went down), but I’m trying to recall why I passed on the other six, particularly Alex Evans and his imaginary grenade, and the student suspended for disarming another student. I think I was getting so sick of post-Sandy Hook hysteria when the invisible grenade story came out that I just couldn’t write about another one just then. The other one…well, as Rick notes, there were some complicating factors, but I should have covered it. Luckily Rick Jones was on the case, and did his usual excellent job.

Here, with Rick’s descriptions and links to his commentary, are the nominees:

Principal Greer Phillips of PS 79 (the Horan School) in East Harlem for conducting a completely unannounced (to teachers, to the police…) lockdown drill less than a week after the horrors at Sandy Hook Elementary. In aggravation: outrageous timing and an incompetently run drill complete with contradictory instructions, but also the makeup of the student body (a high percentage of students with emotional or cognitive problems). In mitigation: I can’t think of a thing. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

Principal Valerie Lara-Black of Mary Blair Elementary School in Loveland, Colorado for suspending 2nd-grader Alex Evans for throwing an imaginary grenade into an equally imaginary box containing “something evil.” In aggravation: this is stupid behavior even if there’s something tangible. In mitigation: there’s probably some idiotic zero tolerance policy that purports to justify if not demand these flights of inanity.

Principal Tracey Perkins of Cypress Lake (FL) High School for suspending a 16-year-old student because he disarmed another student, a football player who was threatening a teammate with a loaded gun. You see, he was “involved in an incident in which a weapon was present.” In aggravation: apart from the sheer idiocy the charges, they were changed after the school started being (quite rightly) embarrassed by the publicity. In mitigation: it is possible that the boy was indeed uncooperative with the ensuing investigation.

Principal Carla Scuzzarella of North Andover (MA) High School for stripping Erin Cox from her volleyball team captaincy and suspending her for five games because she went by a party where there was alcohol long enough to drive a drunken friend home. In aggravation: the police statement makes it clear that Ms. Cox had not been drinking, and the policy manual makes a specific point about the folly of guilt by association. In mitigation: there are reports that she was at the party longer than it would have taken just to collect her friend.

Officials at Dietrich (ID) High School for reporting science teacher Tim McDaniel to the school board and the state professional standards commission, allegedly for using the word “vagina.” Yes, in a biology class. In aggravation: Mr. McDaniel seems to be being penalized for the precise reason that he was doing his job. In mitigation: it is unclear to what extent the school per se was responsible for the brouhaha, although they clearly did little to prevent it.

Batavia (IL) High School and their equally incompetent school board for punishing social studies teacher John Dryden. His crime? Reminding his students of their 5th amendment rights while distributing a survey that could indeed have led to self-incrimination. In aggravation: the survey, with students’ name on it, was a clear invasion of student privacy, motivated by the usual nannyish hogwash. In mitigation: Dryden did react without checking with school officials about the intents of the survey. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

The unnamed teacher at Boles Junior High in Arlington, Texas for pouring pencil shavings into the mouth of 8th-grader Marquis Jay, and to the authorities who cravenly gave her a slap on the wrist. In aggravation: you need aggravation??? In mitigation: the boy deserved some punishment—he was at best inattentive—and it seems to have been an unpremeditated and isolated incident. [Ethics Alarms commentary here.]

Principal John Hynes of Grace Brethren High School in Simi Valley, California for the completely unauthorized action of changing the grades of at least one student (possibly several, including his own daughter), and the spineless board who allowed him get by with little punishment. In aggravation: it’s a short step from what has been admitted to and what has been alleged, which would be an outrageous abuse of power. In mitigation: with the exception of the one case, the allegations come almost exclusively from a now-former teacher. This may not be the most objective of sources.

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Filed under Education

Logo Ethics: How Insane Is Campus Political Correctness? A Quiz

Here are four logos from U.S. institutions of learning.  Each was or  is under attack by groups of students or administrators as being “offensive,” and in each case, the school’s administration either spent or is spending time and money to comply with the concerns. You have to guess the reason for the offense in each case.

Ready? Here’s number #1, from Brooklyn College:

Logo1

Give up? Well, back in 2009, we have recently learned, Karen L. Gould, who had just taken over as the first woman president of Brooklyn College, raised $107,000 to replace the old logo (the silhouette of the school’s landmark La Guardia Hall clock tower), because she thought it looked like a giant penis. [An earlier version of the post surmised that she therefore believed the logo was sexist. There is no evidence of that; it was my surmise and my error.]

She would not be happy living in Washington, D.C., clearly.

Ready for the next one? Here’s #2, from the University of Connecticut: Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Education, History, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

The Case of the Sexy Six-Year-Old

To a 6-year-old, this music video is not sexy, because he has no idea what sexy is. And school administrators “know it.”

We haven’t had a jaw-dropping case of  “no-tolerance” idiocy from school administrators in, oh, a week or so, but this one is worth at least three.

D’Avonte Meadows, a first-grader at Sable Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado, was suspended for three days for “sexual harassment” and “disrupting other students.” His offense was singing a portion of the popular song (by hip-hop group LMFAO) “I’m sexy and I know it” to a female student. Sample lyrics: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education

A Journalist’s Integrity: “To Hell With Of Freedom of the Press— MY Interests Are At Risk!”

Andrea, in her alternate "news censorship is bad" persona

Earlier this year, Andrea McCarren, a reporter with D.C.’s WUSA Channel 9 News, did a controversial special report om under-age drinking in the upscale Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, with special focus on how parents excused and facilitated the law-breaking. She was subjected to a deluge of hate mail and online attacks for her story, and her children, who go to a Bethesda high school, were mocked and harassed by other students. The incident and the uproar had finally calmed down, when the school paper at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High, where the McCarren children are enrolled, decided to publish a feature about the episode.

McCarren—journalist, champion of the public’s right to know and the dedicated defender of the First Amendment—called the school’s principal and persuaded her to confiscate issues of the paper that had not yet been distributed, and to demand that students who already had copies return them. Why? Was the story false, libelous, or misleading? No. Was it a legitimate news story with relevance to the school? Of course.

McCarren had the school paper censored because she had the power and influence to do it, and because she felt that the story could have inconvenient and unfortunate consequences for people she cared about. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Journalism & Media

Here’s An Idea: How About Making Teachers Actually Read Their Code of Ethics?

Read the Code, Miss Umbridge!

I don’t believe that the outrageous stories I read almost every day about incompetent, abusive, irresponsible teachers necessarily prove that there is a higher percentage of teachers who got their credentials straight from Hell today than in past generations, though I strongly suspect that is the case. In the days before the internet, horror stories stayed local, and seldom even made the paper. Thus we didn’t hear about the kind of student-terrorizing episodes that have turned up over the last few days, such as….

…..The fourth grade teacher whose brilliant idea to explain the Civil War was to have a slave auction in class, with the white students bidding on the non-white students.

…..The kindergarten teacher who reportedly told students to encircle a classmate, call him a pig and make pig noises because the boy was “messy.” Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Professions, Workplace