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An award winning science teacher was suspended when an unnamed school employee thought two student science projects looked too much like weapons.

Idiocracy: An award winning science teacher was suspended when an unnamed school employee thought two student science projects looked too much like weapons.

Schiller got into trouble after two of his students turned in science projects designed to shoot little projectiles, reports the Los Angeles Times. One of the projects used compressed air (but was not actually connected to any air). The other one was coil gun: a tube surrounded by a coil and powered by a standard AA battery.

An unidentified school employee saw the air-pressure projectile device and got scared because, to her, it looked like a fearsome weapon. The amount of knowledge the employee has concerning science – if any – is unclear.

As a result of the unnamed employee’s fears, Schiller – who actually never got to see either the air-pressure project or the coil project except in photos – was dismissed from the classroom indefinitely. School officials impounded both projects as “evidence,” according to the mother of the kid who did the coil project.

Why am I reminded of this movie scene?

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. All editions can also be purchased direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Edward

    It is becoming easier and easier to be the smartest person in the room.

    Unfortunately, when you are dealing with school administrators, being the smartest person in the room does not always help, you can still end up suspended for months.

    Ever since junior high, I have realized that administrators have no clue how to handle kids or stop bullying. I thought that they were idiots then, and I haven’t changed that opinion. Apparently, child psychology is not even on the ‘desired skills’ list for these positions.

    And there was no hint of needing any knowledge of science, or even common sense, for that matter. Our schools are being run by idiots. We spend more and more for administrators, but we aren’t getting value for our money.

    “Zero tolerance” is a concept that is needed in order for idiots to be able to handle common sense situations, such as a student who makes a tiny marshmallow thrower or unintentionally bites a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun (somebody might get hurt?).

    Are these administrators and unidentified school employees merely projecting their own violent thoughts onto others?

    It is a sad, sorry day when the students are smarter than the administrators and unidentified school employees. It is too bad that being smart is detrimental to attending — or teaching — school.

  • Cotour

    A kid just flipped out yesterday in a school and stabbed 20 or so young people with two kitchen knives. The solution of course is for the government to now confiscate all knives from the homes of the citizens in America and replace them with plastic pic nick knives to protect the children. And to have no reference to knives or any sharp tool or implement in any material or science demonstrations. This is how dopey the American bureaucracy has become.

    An adult tackled the disturbed young man and stopped his rampage, it probably would have ended sooner and with less damage done to innocent school children if a trained adult had a concealed firearm and was able to back him down or if need be to shoot him. How many parents would opt to have a trained adult somewhere in the school be able to protect their child from harm in such an extreme situation?

    You all know that the answer to that question is not the slam dunk as many might assume.

  • Edward

    Just when I think it is safe to hit “Submit Comment”, I come across more supporting evidence of the lack of psychological training and the idiocy of zero tolerance:
    “We never know what’s percolating in the mind of children, okay, and when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”

    What didn’t they tolerate? Twirling a pencil.

    Plus, they assisted a bully in bullying another student.

    He doesn’t know what’s percolating there because he lacks child psychology training AND the common sense to understand who is the bully and who is the bullied.

    So, school administrators: 1) are idiots, 2) lack common sense, 3) lack child psychology training, 4) are increasing in number like a cancer in the education system’s body, 5) are intolerant, 6) are paranoid, 7) lack knowledge of what is being taught in their own schools, 8) , and N) are bullies; bullying not just the students, but the teachers, too.

  • Pzatchok

    When my mother went to high school in Texas it was common for a student or even a teacher to have a shotgun or rifle in the gun rack of their truck. Unlocked.
    It was common to see a student wank across the football field before school with a shotgun going to class after hunting in the morning.

    No one was afraid.

    When I went to school we had a student copy and build, piece by piece, a 38spl revolver in metal shop. All except the barrel and crane which he bought by catalog.
    He was not suspended, fined, arrested, or anything of that nature. When it was finished the instructor confiscated it and handed it over to the local police who eventually destroyed it. But not until after they tested it out with a few hundred rounds and told the instructor it worked.
    The student got an A for the year and was asked by the police to not do that again until after he was 21.

    No one got nervous.

    Today my friend would have been in a federal prison for even asking the instructor if he could do a project like that.

    I really do feel sad for my son. He will never get a chance to live in a world that free and safe.

  • Not to be sentimental about ‘the good old days’ (high school for me was anything but), but I shared your experiences with guns at school. I went to high school in a rural area, and gun racks (with guns) were not uncommon in the student parking lot. One student ran a muskrat trapline before class. The horror that would cause today.

    When I was in the fifth grade I built a working model of a catapult. Praise all around. For my junior project in Chemistry I built a still, and produced a small batch of alcohol (under supervision) to prove it worked. I got an A. As you noted, American society used to be much freer and safer. I have more in common with my parents who grew up in the 40’s and 50’s than kids today have with my generation who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.

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