Now, I’m certainly not in favor of kids shooting up the schools, ghod knows.
I personally think that taking responsibility for cracking down on bullying and rotten behavior in the schools is a good idea. Way too often in the past, administrators and teachers have simply let students abuse each other, for a variety of reasons ranging from “we can’t do anything about it,” to “not our job, man.”
But this new case bugs me.
The short version: A high school freshman wrote in her personal journal. The story goes like this: student falls asleep. Student dreams she kills her math teacher. Studetn wakes up. Student sees live math teacher. Oh, it was all a dream.
This was not written as an assignment, nor was it intended for public consumption. It was written in a private journal.
Kid made the mistake of bringing it to school, and showing it to a classmate. Teacher takes an interest, confiscates it, glances at it… and the circus begins.
The teen is now appealing her expulsion.
For writing something in a private journal.
THIS bugs me.
The school waves its hands and goes, “Hey, zero-tolerance policy. Don’t blame us. Take it to the school board.”
If the kid was making bomb threats, or sending notes, or leaving anonymous phone calls, or MAYBE even turning weird stuff like this in as part of an English assignment… I could see MAYBE investigating the situation.
But what the hell is this? And what purpose does it serve? As far as I can determine, the message being sent here is “Some thoughts will NOT be expressed on school grounds, in any way, shape, or form. Violators will be expelled, no matter what.”
This creeps me WAY out. I know teenagers. I’ve worked with them for years. Teenagers are GOING to think what they think. They are GOING to write what they write. Teenagers push boundaries and test limits. It’s what they DO. It’s how they’re WIRED.
Admittedly, some boundaries ought not to be pushed. Bringing guns to school is certainly out of line.
But what are we teaching them by saying, “You can’t even MENTION death or murder in ANY form, even though we teach it in stuff like “Hamlet,” because you’re kids and we’re not.”
Seems to me that what we’re teaching them is this: The Grownups Are Hypocrites. They Should Not Be Trusted. Don’t Believe All That Crap About Freedom Of Speech; It’s Meaningless.
Is this what we wanna be teaching the kids who’ll be caring for us when we’re old?
I mean, I expect I’m going to draw some fire, here, for this opinion. Again, I say this: if it had been in any way threatening, I might think differently… but as written, it seems to be a work of fiction, a thought, nothing more.
Which is worse: kids shooting up schools… or schools attempting to practice thought control?