Saturday, May 15, 2010
Terrorism? Really??? Or "Get Out of Our School!"
If this wasn't so over the top ridiculous, it might be funny.
A 14 year old Georgia boy has been charged with a felony (making terrorist threats) for a small (about 1 inch high) set of stick figures he drew on a paper in class. The stick figures depict one figure (labeled "me") shooting another stick figure (labeled with his teacher's name).
There is no question that his drawing the picture was both inappropriate and wrong. There is also no question in my mind that the school's response is so wildly disproportionate as to make me question why they would do such a thing. There has been no allegation of the boy attacking his teacher, bringing a weapon to class, or even of having formed a definite plan as to how he would accomplish the task in his drawing. There has been no mention of the school consulting with anyone else (the boy's doctor, their own psychologists, the police) to evaluate the situation as to how likely it was for the boy to be able to carry out his threat, much less evaluate the seriousness of the situation.
Many people threaten to kill their spouses every day. They very seldom get arrested, much less charged with making "terrorist threats".
So why would a school do such a thing?
My guess (and it is a guess, as there's been no statement I've seen from the school) is that this charter school where the boy is enrolled wants to dump this "problem student" from their school, and that they are using this as a convenient excuse. Many charter schools don't want to spend the time and money it takes to properly educate children with special needs.
This could end up as a case of "zero tolerance" gone wild, but I suspect that, in the end, the school will come up with some "compromise" that will entail dropping or lessening the charge, as long as the boy withdraws from the school (or accepts another placement they have suggested).