Monday, December 27, 2004

School Daze: "Lethal" Weapon Banned In Some Schools

Ammo For Bullies
The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that rubber bands are now being forbidden at school because students are using them to propel pieces of wadded paper that the kids refer to as: birdies, tweeters, zombie darts, microshooters, and wasps, at high speed. The intended targets are other students. The danger, of course, is to students' eyes.

Duh. I don't guess anyone has yet told the newspaper (what many teachers know) that aluminum foil makes an even more efficient missile in the hands of the shooter.

At our California junior high school, students often dispense with the missile altogether and shoot the rubber bands themselves.

And apparently the St. Pete Times doesn't know anything about kids using plastic straws as blowguns, and, most dangerously of all, the shooting of straightened staples by using the action of a mechanical pencil as the source of energy to push the projectile toward its intended victim.

As a classroom teacher, it has been my observation that the students who most often engage in this dangerous behavior are bullies. They know that the victims of their assaults will almost never dare to report them, due to fear of later retaliation by the bully.

And when a kid gets hit in the eye with one of those projectiles, it's not the assailant or the assailant's parents that are on the receiving end of the lawsuit. It's almost always the school that is found negligent and required to pay monetary damages. And it's the taxpayer that foots the bill.

And what about the classroom teacher that happened to be present at the time of the attack? In true scapegoat fashion, he or she is usually disciplined for failing to control the little miscreant student that caused the injury in the first place.

Mortarboard Tip: