Originally published April 26 2013
Government paranoia: Teacher suspended after showing students garden tools
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The intemperate, extreme nature of today's education establishment just keeps getting more and more absurd, as evidenced by details of a recently filed lawsuit surrounding claims that a teacher was suspended after bringing garden-variety tools to class.
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute, a civil rights-oriented public interest legal organization, filed the suit on behalf of Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran teacher, after he was suspended by officials at the Washington Irving Elementary School in Chicago for bringing wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers to class as part of a "tool discussion," CNSNews.com reports.
Those tools, according to school officials, are weapons, you see, and as such, are not permitted on campus grounds.
'Overreaction to a simple teaching demonstrationFrom the news site:
Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students' reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed...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.
Again, you just can't make this stuff up.
According to his complaint, Bartlett says he "suffered humiliation, embarrassment, mental suffering, and lost wages." He is seeking "nominal compensatory damages," as well as the removal of the suspension from his employment 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 President John Whitehead. "What makes this case stand out from the rest is that this latest victim of zero tolerance policies run amok happens to be a veteran school teacher."
As stated, none of the students had any access to the tools. When they were not being used, they were secured in a toolbox on a high shelf that was clearly out of the reach of students. Bartlett's only purpose in bringing them was to have a discussion with his students about their proper use.
Shame on him for wanting to teach kids how a screwdriver works.
"This is a suit for violation for Plaintiff's constitutional due process rights resulting from the overzealous application of political correctness," says the complaint, which also notes that two of the "tools" Bartlett brought with him were a pocket knife and box cutter - the "weapons," per the school.
On August 8, 2011, in connection with a required "tool discussion" included in his teaching curriculum, Plaintiff displayed to his second-grade students several garden-variety tools, including a box cutter, a 2.25" pocketknife, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers," the complain says. "The visual aids were used in an effort to facilitate student understanding and remembrance of the curriculum. As he displayed the box cutter and pocketknife, Plaintiff specifically described the proper uses of these tools. Neither of these items was made accessible to the students."
Be afraid. Be very afraid, kids.It goes onto say that a complaint against Bartlett was lodged Aug. 19. He "was charged with possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon; negligently supervising children; inattention to duty; violating school rules; and repeated flagrant acts."
The school's definition of a weapon is extremely broad. According to the complaint, which quoted from the Student Handbook, a weapon is described as:
Any object that is commonly used to inflict bodily harm, and/or an object that is used or intended to be used in a manner that may inflict bodily harm, even though its normal use is not as a weapon.
Bartlett said he never had any intention of using any of his tools as weapons, nor did he think he was subject to suspension and other disciplinary action for bringing tools to his class for what turns out to be a mandatory part of school curriculum, according to the suit.
But in today's breathless, hyper-paranoid "learning environment," all we are really teaching our kids is to be afraid. Of everything.
That's the real crime.
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