5 Ridiculous School Security Scares

There's keeping kids safe, and then there's just acting crazy.

Kids face plenty of hazards at school, from bullies to boredom. But the chances they'll be killed there are tiny: Homicides on school grounds are not just rare but far more rare than they used to be. Nonetheless, when a terrible crime like the Sandy Hook massacre happens, people have a natural tendency to worry that something similar will hurt the children they love. Sometimes that leads to unobjectionable safety measures, such as a basic review of a school's emergency procedures. And sometimes it just makes people crazy.

Below we'll count down five of the worst school security scares of 2013: four that we know about, and one whose pending presence we can infer. Just as important, you'll read about the policies that have allowed so many over-the-top overreactions to happen.

5. The Fresh Prince. Ambridge, Pennsylvania, February 28, 2013: An eye doctor's receptionist calls Travis Clawson to remind him he has an appointment. The high school senior doesn't answer the phone, so she hears his voice mail message, in which Clawson performs a part of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When she gets to the line shooting some b-ball outside of the school, she mishears it as shooting some people outside of the school. And things just escalate from there.

By the day's end, Clawson's school had gone into lockdown and police had arrested the teen. "District Attorney Anthony Berosh said it was determined after listening to the message closely that it did follow the Quincy Jones-penned song and Clawson was released," the Beaver, Pennsylvania, Times reports. Clawson wasn't charged, but the acting police chief "said he urged Clawson's parents to have him change the message." Because you never know when another caller might hear a line from the most innocuous sitcom this side of Saved by the Bell and construe it as a criminal threat.

OK, you say, that story is pretty ludicrous. But you can see why everyone snapped into action after they heard the receptionist's report, and they didn't do any serious harm. Better safe than sorry, right?

Seems to me the cops could have saved everyone some trouble if they'd listened "closely" to the message before descending on Clawson, who was sitting unarmed in the school counselor's office when police arrived to arrest him. But I agree that there are worse ways to behave when a rumor of a security threat is afoot. There is, for example, our next incident...

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  • Ron||

    No comments Yet
    The Stupidity of the actions of these schools is so self evident that comments aren't needed.

  • Gunblitz66||

    Seems like we just to take a deep breath, buy a gun, and leave everyone alone.

  • izzyabby||

    Pardon my cynicism, but I smell a useful tool to make the teachers and administrators workday much easier with the club of suspension, expulsion or incarceration for minor or assinine reasons. Incompetent control freak also comes to mind. Schools would be an awesome place to work if it weren't for the damned kids and all their problems.

  • Loki||

    Zero tolerance policies also have the nice side effect of conditioning the little urchins to RESPECT (arbitrary and misused) AUTHORITAY!!!!!!

    I know, I know, feature not bug.

  • Taggart||

    "Guarna was also subjected to a series of interviews, including an evaluation by a counselor, who concluded that that girl did not display any psychological problems." Well, check back AFTER the interrogation. Because that sort of Kafkaesque experience can mess with your mind.

  • The Last American Hero||

    In my town, there is a sheriff parked in front of the local high school, about 25' from the front door, every morning. However, there are at least half a dozen entrances around the building, which has 2 floors. If someone goes in the side, up the stairs and starts shooting, it will still be a bloodbath before he can get there, and that's assuming he doesn't stay outside and call for backup. Posting one of these guys at every school would do nothing to prevent in the event of a tragedy like Columbine.

  • LarryA||

    Our local SRO always parks his cruiser in the same place in front of the school, which tells "perps" he's there and deters trouble. I didn't have the heart to ask him what the "perps" would conclude whenever his cruiser isn't there.

  • BlogimiDei||

    It's not about safety.

    It's about FEELING safe.

    Reality, how does it work?

    These statists have forgotten that there IS a difference.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    You mean, kinda like 'security theater'?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    School Administrators like Zero Tolerance policies because they give them the authority to bully children without the responsibility that could get them in trouble when somebody objects. Frankly I think what needs to be dome is the imposition of a rule or law whereby the parents of a student caught up in this kind of idiocy are given golf clubs and the administrator responsible are given a five second head start.

  • ||

    One of the odd little things I've picked up over the years is knife-throwing. I learned it from a friend way back in 5th grade. We got curious if other things could be thrown that way, and discovered that school scissors were quite effective as throwing weapons. I kept a pair of scissors as part of my school supplies through all grades, K-12.

    If someone had run through my high school shooting a gun, he'd have discovered my fight/flight reflex is pegged rather hard into the fight end of things. And would probably have needed a paramedic in short order.

    What I wonder though, is if a student did fight back, would they get expelled for attacking a teacher?

  • John Galt||

    Congratulations to my fellow Americans, you are now the world's biggest pussies. And that's not pussy like good pussy.

  • ||

    And how long will it be before we hear a yell-fest about the purported need for "zero-tolerance" truancy laws? With this kind of overkill, "self-suspension" seems almost rational.

  • Agreenweed||

    This article is absurd. You have made me hypertensive now, damn you Reason magazine.

  • Agreenweed||

    I mean, I agree with Reason here 100%, but this is just fucking insane.

  • SiliconDoc||

    " She and her classmates listened to the fake shots and banging and rattling of doors in the simulation.
    She said the drill felt similar to a tornado or fire drill and better prepared her in the event of a real emergency.
    "I didn't feel scared," Dietzel said. "I feel like more prepared now to know where to go and what to do if it was really happening."
    Keaton May, 15, a freshman, was in Spanish class when the simulation began.
    "The teachers said to stay in the corner and try to keep quiet," said May, adding that the gunshots were not very loud. "It was a track pistol. No one was really scared by it."

    http://articles.chicagotribune.....ary-police

    His mother, Joni May, compared it to "intruder drills" she experienced as an elementary school student in Detroit during the 1960s, though they did not have the gunshot noises.
    "

    Seems to me the psychologists, media machine, idiots, and other assorted goofballs don't like it when a single school does a good job taking "the extreme national security risk" seriously.

    Frankly I think the fallout will be banned track pistols, nationwide, soon.

    I'd much prefer the teachers and the eldest grade students go to the shooting range and learn how to handle a gun, then some of them be prepared.

  • ||

    These are all crazy, but no crazier than the gun fetishists who haunt these boards insisting that the next school shooting could be prevented if he armed:
    security guards
    teachers
    students

    I'm afraid the nuttiness will go over their heads.

  • Bob Smith||

    Yes, there's lots of craziness and paranoia on all sides with this one.

  • Firstname||

    "Paranoia strikes deep ... into your life it will creep."

  • Lincoln||

    "Zero Tolerance" is typically an engineering term indicating that an object must be made to fit precisely the mold or design to which it is attributed.

    So, I guess the real issue here is: What mold are we trying to conform our children to? Who picked it? What is it's purpose? Why is it such a terrible thing to allow people and personalities the leisure of having varying personalities and traits?

    If we would simply pay attention to the vocabulary used, we would know what a policy is going to do, or what it's intended purpose is even if we don't know why or how.

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Do you really want to know the answer to these questions?
    I thought not...

  • RonRonDoRon||

    In about 2000, my 3rd-grade son was disciplined (not suspended, but I think that was threatened if there was another incident) at his public school in Pasadena (in a very safe, middle-class neighborhood). His offense was bringing to school a 2-inch plastic replica of a flintlock pistol. I don't think he even played with it, just showed it to friends.

    I had to go to the school, pick up the toy, and was told to give him a lecture on this. It was hard to explain things to him without telling him the people at school were paranoid fools. (I'm sure he did get the message that I thought the whole thing was kind of silly.)

  • godzleaf||

    This is my rifle, this is my gun. One is for shooting, the other is for fun.

  • zanike||

    Seems to me the cops could have saved everyone some trouble if they'd listened "closely" to http://www.celinebagsaleuk.com/ the message before descending on Clawson,

  • zanike||

    This is my rifle, this is http://www.tomsshoesoutletv.com/ my gun. One is for shooting, the other is for fun.

  • zanike||

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  • GroundTruth||

    "As Carol Gall of Mental Health America told the Tribune, the result might just be "to instill more fear and anxiety" instead."

    Duh!

    How many Ph.D's did it take figure this out?

  • Radioactive||

    better to ask how many angels can dance on the head of a pin...

  • JohnD||

    Unfortunately, you can't fix stupid.

  • BeBraveUSA||

    No surprising to me that our children's schools have become the front line for the nanny state. After all this is where indoctrination to the socialist-utopian ideal begins.

  • amiga||

    It's becoming obvious that this is not simply a case of scatterbrained 'zero tolerance' nonsense. This is a determined effort on the part of our public indoctrinators to demonize guns to kids. Guns must be seen as evil - as the cause of punishment and humiliation - in order to prepare the next generation for the elimination of these evil tools via confiscation

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