Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Second Grade 'Tool Time' Gets Chicago Teacher Suspended

Teacher Sues School over Suspension for 'Weapons' Charge: Showing Students Garden Tools

The headline writer appears not to actually have read what the reporter wrote (again); the tools in question appear to be hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers, not garden tools.  He appears to have gotten "garden tool" from the reporter writing "garden variety tool".  Layers of fact checkers....
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a civil rights lawsuit against a Chicago public school district on behalf of a second-grade teacher who was suspended after he displayed garden-variety tools such as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of a "tool discussion" in his class.

Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students' reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. Bartlett was subsequently penalized with a four-day suspension without pay - charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon.

The complaint charges that Bartlett "suffered humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering, and lost wages, and was suspended for four days" - and asks for "nominal and compensatory damages" and for the suspension to be expunged from the teacher's record.

"This school district's gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration on basic tools such as wrenches and pliers underscores exactly what is wrong with our nation's schools," said Rutherford Institute Pres. John Whitehead.
I'm of two minds here.  In so many of these stupid zero-tolerance episodes in schools, it's teacher that initiate the insanity, as we say with the recent NRA T-shirt story. So while I'm tempted to snicker that the teacher had it coming, I have to remember that not all teachers commit such offenses, most are rather sensible and level headed about such matters.

In an update on the NRA T-shirt episode, the student returned to school today, in the same NRA T-shirt, along with numerous other students wearing the same T-shirt:
Disciplined 8th-grader Jared Marcum returned to class on Monday after being suspended from school and arrested for refusing to change his NRA t-shirt at the request of one of his teachers. The shirt apparently pictured a firearm and the words “protect your rights.”

However, he apparently hasn’t learned his lesson — assuming that there was even any lesson to be learned. Fresh off his suspension, Marcum showed up to school on Monday wearing the exact same NRA shirt that sparked what many have labeled “t-shirt control.”

There were also other people wearing matching shirts in support of Marcum, WOWK-TV reports.

“There’s a lot of people wearing this same exact shirt, showing great, great support and I really appreciate it,” the student said Monday before going to school.

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