Seven unjustified school suspensions

Seven school suspensions that were insane and completely unjustified.

I’ve posted about most of these stories previously, but it is important to read about them again to see how completely ridiculous and oppressive they were. Each one of these actions was a good reason for everyone to pull their kids from these public schools, especially when the school officials who perpetrated these obscenities were not fired.

The first and third were especially egregious, but the third illustrates how best to combat the schools when they act this way.

Fourteen year old Jared Marcum wore a NRA “Protect Your Rights” t-shirt to school with a hunting rifle on it. Despite the fact that the shirt didn’t violate the school’s dress code, a screaming teacher demanded that he turn the shirt inside out. Marcum was then removed from class, suspended, arrested, and faced a year in jail for “obstructing an officer” because he wouldn’t stop protesting his innocence while he was being hauled away. In this case, 100 kids wore the same shirts to school as part of a protest without being challenged and the family lawyered up and got the charges dropped. [emphasis mine]

If one student is suspended for making his pop tart look like a gun, every student in the school should do the same. If one student is suspended for innocently using the word “gun” in conversation, then every student in the school should use the word repeatedly in conversation. If students and parents inundate the school with more examples of the behavior the school was trying to ban, the schools stop this insanity very quickly.

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6 comments

  • DK Williams

    You will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of school administrators. For instance, our local district built a fine new lacrosse stadium complete with grandstand, elevator, lights, snackbar,, and rest rooms. Only one problem. The field was built too small and on a site that could not be expanded. Oops.

  • mike shupp

    Well, it was an over reaction. and in a somewhat better world I’d imagine that the upset teacher would take a time out to visit the principal’s office to express her unhappiness and that the principal would tell her to shrug it off lest her response spark something worse.. As for what the principal did here, I suspect he found himself in a box — a school administrator has to back up his teachers, or they become laughing stocks for their students and the kids cease to learn. Let’s note it was the local police who decided to arrest the kid and press charges with jail time, not school officials. (And that charges have been dropped?)

    Having seen a picture, it didn’t strike me as all that obnoxious a shirt. And looking back, I can recall the Good Old Days, when college kids wore berets and tee shirts with Che Guerara’s face under a REVOLUTION NOW! legend. We all survived the savage experience, as I recall, even the professors. So some things can be laughed off. That said, wearing a tee shirt with a political slogan is … provocative, let’s say. It’s not a totally innocent act. You know darn well that wearing it to junior high school or high school would cause someone to react somehow, whether by quietly wincing or loudly climbing the walls. I think you can guess that Jared anticipated such a reaction when he put the shirt on, and that his parents might have anticipated that as well.

    I.e., this isn’t a case of sweet innocent youth being persecuted out of the blue by maniacs. It’s a nice American story of a set of people deliberately pushing buttons to get a response and then pretending to be surprised by the outcome. Suppose, for the sake of argument, another set of parents had responded the following week by encouraging their daughters to wear sweaters to school with slogans like “LGBT Rights!” or “ABORTION ON DEMAND”? Would that seem quite as amusing?

    Or suppose we really had a perfect world and didn’t use kids to fight their parents’ political battles.

    • mpthompson

      Suppose, for the sake of argument, another set of parents had responded the following week by encouraging their daughters to wear sweaters to school with slogans like “LGBT Rights!” or “ABORTION ON DEMAND”? Would that seem quite as amusing?

      Why not? The best outcome would be that we would all just learn to get along even if we find the ideas expressed by the other person to be abhorrent to our own preferences and predilections. Isn’t tolerance in its pure form what we want?

      Or suppose we really had a perfect world and didn’t use kids to fight their parents’ political battles.

      By age 14 some kids, but not all, are already forming their own ideas on what is right and wrong and which ideas are worth making a stand on. In such instances, I would say that it is more harmful to society to suppress such feelings and force kids into the conformity of non-expression of anything that might be provocative or controversial.

  • mike shupp

    Hmm… I’m not so convinced it’s reasonable to expect everyone at a junior high school, teachers and students, to be quite so open minded as you seem to hope. And it’s not unreasonable to hope that such an environment could be depoliticized as much as possible.

    There have to be SOME sort of limits, somewhere. Look. Jared’s tee shirt wasn’t there — it was a nondescript gray and brown shirt, not at all flamboyant, and sensible adults should have shrugged it off, and most kids would never have paid much attention, until it started off a big fuss. Other hand — suppose this had been the 1930’s, and some kid wore a tee shirt with a big red swastika and a slogan like “Jews — Get Out!” Maybe his parents would have felt really deeply that that was a wonderful principle for running society, and that America ought to follow the example set by our German cousins. Free expression of ideas, yadda yadda yadda, all that. Would it be — from a adult viewpoint in 2014 — acceptable for a 9th grade kid to wear such a shirt around, displaying it to 7th and 8th grade kids, and having the school’s adults just put up with it?

    I’m picking an extreme example, I realize. I’m trying to make the argument that there is SOME point at which adult censorship of student political activity is justified, not that it’s always justified. FWIW, my dad was a high school principal, so I’ve sat through my share of hearing The Adults make big deals out of things that were pretty silly, and sometimes tried to inject a modicum of sense (usually without much success, I admit).

    • mpthompson

      I agree, some sort of limits should be in place. Censorship does indeed make sense when students test the boundaries of taste and civil discourse — as they are apt to do. In the past, it seems that adult thinking and common sense prevailed and issues were generally handled according to community standards. Now, it seems that it’s a situation of everything or nothing. Therefore schools don’t permit anything and even the slightest deviation is treated like a federal offense by small minded people. This is just the type of environment that allows the PC police to run amok. Something I’m sure that most followers of this blog detest.

  • Pzatchok

    Our school system banned any and all camouflage clothing. No matter if it said anything or not.

    The reason was that it intimidated some students.
    I don’t see how, unless they themselves had a preconceived and biased opinion of those who might wear those styles.
    Don’t we have openly gay members of the military now? Don’t they wear camo on duty? I bet there are even a few gay hunters out there.

    But they most certainly allowed people the wear the rainbow colors in support of LGBT. For pretty much the whole of the school year.

    But some people are allowed to have and display a prejudice as long as its the correct type I guess.

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