Voodoo Education

A sketched image of something that, if it were the actual item represented, could be a threat, or could be used to threaten, is the same thing as an actual threat, say Arizona's Chandler school district officials. They suspend a kid for drawing a gun.

That's not "draw" in the old West "draw, pard'ner!" sense--that's "draw" as in creating an image on paper.

[Link via Rational Review.] 

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  • Fluffy||

    Wouldn't this mean that anyone carrying a biology textbook containing a picture of the ebola virus should also be suspended? Ebola viruses are threatening, so the image of an ebola virus is also threatening.

    And the people carrying physics textbooks containing pictures of nuclear weapons are REALLY threatening! They're not just threatening the students at the school, they're threatening people for miles around!

  • ||

    This is retarded. What about an illustrated edition of the Red Badge of Courage, if they are reading that at school and it shows a Colt will they be suspended? Great jeebus, some common sense here and a little dealing with gunaphobia would be nice...

  • ||

    C'mon guys, IFTC.

  • ||

    Just imagine if he had doodled a mushroom cloud.

  • Mud||

    Good grief! I am so glad I am not in school in this day and age. I would have been locked in a mental ward (for my own protection of course) a long time ago.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else recall spending a considerable portion of their childhood running around the neighborhood playing "guns" or "soldier" or "cops & robbers" or "cowboys & indians" etc?

  • ||

    This one time I drew this monster that had like 13 eyes and big badass X-men arms and he had a big club with nails in the end. Do I get suspended?

    It's like the goddamn Neverending story.

  • ||

    Next time he just has to write "This is not a gun" under the drawing.

  • Billy Awesome||

    When I was 7 or so I brought a toy gun to a D.C. Public School. This was back in the '80's when toy guns looked completely like real guns, no blaze orange barrels or anything. I think the teacher shook her head in an "ah these crazy boys" way and took it away from me for the duration of recess. Lordy, lordy can you imagine the what would go down if a kid did that nowadays?

    The same teacher also took and did not give back, on a different occasion, a nice little collection of Garbage Pail Kids cards.

  • ||

    Todd:

    IFTC? International Fire Training Centre?

  • ||

    I can't help but think that something is missing from the story. The breitbart.com link would have us believe that some kid was doodling something on notebook paper and out of the blue a bunch of those crazy education types decided it was a serious threat.

    I suspect there might be a little more to it.

  • ||

    Remember that Bugs Bunny where he was going agains Yosemite Sam in draw poker? And he drew a fireplace poker.

    Ah...Looney Toones.

  • Seitz||

    he breitbart.com link would have us believe

    If only there was some tool that one could use to "search" the "internet" for other articles about this same incident. Just imagine it. Then one could compare the articles and see if the AP story in the link is ommitting key facts. What a wonderous day it will be when someone invents such a product.

    Until then, however, people like Dan will just have to come to hit and run and bitch about the possibility that they aren't getting the whole story.

  • ||

    IFTC. Institute Finger and Thumb Control. Like if you snip them off, you can't make that pointy gun gesture. Just a thought.

  • ||

    guessing...IFTC = It's For The Children.

  • ||

    If only there was some tool that one could use to "search" the "internet" for other articles about this same incident. Just imagine it. Then one could compare the articles and see if the AP story in the link is ommitting key facts. What a wonderous day it will be when someone invents such a product.

    Until then, however, people like Dan will just have to come to hit and run and bitch about the possibility that they aren't getting the whole story.


    The AP story is basically the same on as the breitbart story. We get the parents' side (of course they think their kid is the victim) without much of anything from the school. Probably because school officials can't legally talk too much about individual student situations.

  • Tym||

    Is it just me, or does anyone else recall spending a considerable portion of their childhood running around the neighborhood playing "guns" or "soldier" or "cops & robbers" or "cowboys & indians" etc?

    Me too, usually soldier.

    Next time he just has to write "This is not a gun" under the drawing.

    Kind of like This is not a pipe

    The same teacher also took and did not give back, on a different occasion, a nice little collection of Garbage Pail Kids cards.

    I am still pissed, over 30 years later, at my 3rd grade teacher for taking away my commemorative Hank Aaron baseball card, promising to give it back at the end of the year, and losing it.

  • Rhywun||

    I can't help but think that something is missing from the story.

    Like what?! Maybe he cut the drawing out and pointed it at somebody? Ooh, scary! There's nothing you can "leave out" of a story like this that would justify the school's reaction, without turning it into a different story entirely.

    I'd like to see the kid draw a raised middle finger and show it to these clowns.

  • Seitz||


    The AP story is basically the same on as the breitbart story. We get the parents' side (of course they think their kid is the victim) without much of anything from the school. Probably because school officials can't legally talk too much about individual student situations.


    Well, first of all, the Breitbart story IS the AP story, genius. Second, if you actually click the link, you can read, for example, the Arizona Republic's story, along with many others. Hell, you can even the (god forgive me) WorldNet Daily story that includes the freaking picture.

    Damn, you are one lazy sonofabitch.

  • ||

    Maybe one of the other kids at school was wearing a shirt with a baseball bat on it - that would make it self-defense, wouldn't it?

  • ||

    wow, that is one shitty drawing

  • ||

    Hey, remember that guy that escaped from a courtromm by making a phony gun out of cardboard? Maybe the teachers were just heading off a similar incident. We really should be thanking them.

  • Seitz||

    wow, that is one shitty drawing

    Seriously. It even has happy faces on it.

    Actually, if you crane your neck a little and squint, it kind of looks like an airplane. A really shitty airplane.

  • lunchstealer||

    Seitz,

    You're assuming that Dan T has any interest in anything but being a dick.

  • Rhywun||

    wow, that is one shitty drawing

    It looks like random, bored sketching--not even an attempt at drawing anything. My school notes got covered with similar doodles--albeit without the smiley faces and stick-figures.

  • ||

    Ever since I read this I have been furiously drawing pictures of shapely naked ladies. For the life of me I do not see how a picture of a naked lady is the same as an actual naked lady but who am I to doubt the collective wisdom of school district officials. So I guess I will keep trying and see what comes of it.

  • ||

    Had to link this after seeing the kid's drawing. What's with all the people on it? I would have guessed it was half an airplane.
    -J.R.

  • Russ 2000||

    wow, that is one shitty drawing

    I'll say. I thought it was a picture of the giant Airbus plane.

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    ....Red Badge of Courage....

    Oh, you should have seen the administration's collective head explode when my daughter brought a plastic toy 30 30 rifle to school on the day of the play (which was about the westward migration of America) so that the kid playing Daniel Boone could carry a rifle. I might add that it was at the teacher's request [teacher got a week's detention :-)]. I spoke with the principal by phone and you can imagine how that went.

    Do they realize how shrill and hysterical they sound? not on my watch, Columbine, can't be too safe, not acceptable, she could be expelled....

    I sent Mrs TWC to get the gun because she just rolls her eyes--I tend to get mouthy. She said the staff handled that orange tipped plastic toy like it was a live grenade with the pin pulled.

    Sorry if I told that tale before.

  • ||

    My 3- and 4-year-old pay very close attention to the details in their older brothers' first-person-shooter games. Consequently, I love to take them to McDonalds to play "shoot the bad guys" using the Happy Meal Toy du jour as a firearm. I then watch with glee the looks of horror on mommies' faces as my tykes duck behind cover to reload, with all the proper sound effects and actions.

    I am so fucked when they finally start school.

  • Seitz||

    You're assuming that Dan T has any interest in anything but being a dick.

    That was my first mistake.

  • Russ 2000||

    I love to take them to McDonalds to play "shoot the bad guys" using the Happy Meal Toy du jour as a firearm.

    I imagine most public schools have outlawed rubber bands by now.

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    Hey, remember that guy that escaped from a courtromm by making a phony gun out of cardboard?

    Hey, remember when John Dillinger escaped from the state pen by carving a gun out of soap?

    Or was that a fireplace poker. God I love Looney Tunes. So does the House Blond. Got her a box set. I still LOL and I've seen those things a billion times.

  • ||

    Anecdotes lead to slippery slopes.

  • lunchstealer||

    I can pretty much imagine how it went.

    Teacher - "Billy, have you drawn a gun? That's inappropriate!"
    Billy - "Uh, are you kidding? It's just a drawing."
    Teacher - "You'd better take this seriously - you could be threatening your fellow students with that."
    Billy - "With this? You're crazy."
    Teacher - long rant basically overreacting because the kid didn't bow to her authority.
    Principal - longer rant employing what can only be described as insane troll logic where kid continues to refrain from knuckling under, so principal suspends kid because to just back down and say it wasn't that big a deal would show weakness to a kid.

  • ||

    You're assuming that Dan T has any interest in anything but being a dick.

    But of course all I did is point out that there are two sides to any story and these media accounts are only giving one side, mostly based on the view of the parents.

    I suppose it was dickish of me to expose the confirmation bias around here of everyone who took the story as gospel, but somebody's gotta do it.

  • lunchstealer||

    I'll say. I thought it was a picture of the giant Airbus plane.

    Well, you can tell it's not an Airbus because it's not crashing into the Paris Air Show. Also shows that it's not a Tupolev

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    Ah...Looney Toones.

    Sage, I've seen the Goldilocks and the Three Bears cartoon dozens of times in my life, the one with the lame bears where the Papa Bear is short and grumpy and the Baby Bear is big and dumb. Papa Bear is constantly smacking Baby Bear for being lame.

    In this one, the scam is to get something for dinner by acting out the Goldilocks story and then nabbing something to eat when it (Bugs Bunny) comes looking for porridge.

    I'm watching this with Katie (the House Blond) and I see something I never noticed before. On the wall of the bears house is a 1940's style pin-up girl calendar.

    And the girl is naked.

    And it's a human girl standing by a lake with trees.

    Of course, the drawing isn't explicit and you can't really see anything except it is very obvious that she isn't wearing clothes.

    Gave me a big chuckle.

  • lunchstealer||

    Attempting to expose confirmation bias was your method of dicking.

    If you were truly interested in exposing confirmation bias you'd have actually googled the story to get some facts that balanced the story. But you're a lazy dick, not an actual voice of reason or conscientious devil's advocate.

  • ||

    I notice that the parents defend their child and themselves by pointing out that the drawing is of a laser gun and that they are not gun people. In other words, they avoid the "It's a fucking doodle. Doodles of guns are not dangerous, and it's stupid and hysterical to suggest that they are" argument. The s

  • ||

    CECI N'EST PAS UNE PIPE!

  • ||

    TWC,

    I can remember watching those on Saturday morning and my dad coming in between chores to sit down and watch them too...and laughing. I though that was so weird. Not anymore. That's timeless humor.

  • ||

    If you were truly interested in exposing confirmation bias you'd have actually googled the story to get some facts that balanced the story. But you're a lazy dick, not an actual voice of reason or conscientious devil's advocate.

    Hey, all I said is that I think there is probably more to the story that what's being reported. If you consider that kind of statement as "being a dick" then I guess I'll leave you alone to enjoy your uncritical view of the media.

  • Tym||

    Reminds me of the story when a toddler could not bring his 1 INCH toy plastic GI Joe rifle on an airplane.

  • ||

    Dan-You're familiar with the term prima facie, right? Suspending a child for drawing a picture of a gun is prima facie stupid.

    If the kid had done other things the district considered threatening and scary, then obtaining some sort of counselling would be appropriate. Suggesting that the kid has a history of this sort of thing also makes little sense because the family just moved there and the school year just started.

    You accuse us of confirmation bias, and, as is the case with any group, that can be a problem here. But it strikes me that you have a bias towards supporting whatever people with authority do, even if it is self-evidently stupid.

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    I am so fucked when they finally start school.

    I was worried about that too but the kids adapt quickly. Maybe it's because it's my kids but they inherently understand how ridiculous all of this stuff is. They also seem to comprehend that as idiotic as it is that it just IS how it is.

    At my kid's school, you get benched for the entire recess for using a finger gun at recess. They know this is stupid.

    One hot tip: You should periodically remind your kids not to take pocket knives or other contraband to school. Judging by what I see in the pants pockets as they go into the wash, it's sound advice.

  • The Wine Commonsewer-Reg US Pa||

    When I was in elementary school I used to draw pictures of buildings on fire with people leaping from the windows. When I was done, I'd flip the paper over and draw the aftermath.

    I shudder sometimes at what would come of that behavior in today's system. My teachers paid absolutely zero attention to what I was drawing. Maybe because it was about the same quality as Junior's gun drawing in Chandler.

  • Iguana||

    Think about this: Arizona is a GUN RIGHTS state.

    That tells a lot about the state of the nation.

  • lunchstealer||

    BTW - did anybody else immediately have the River-holding-the-stick scene from "Objects in Space"* pop into their head when they read this post?

    (* Firefly, for those less geeky)

  • ||

    At my kid's school, you get benched for the entire recess for using a finger gun at recess.

    Great googley moogely. What's going to happen when these kids grow up and start running things?

    Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night... That when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me...

  • ||

    lunchstealer,

    She understands. She doesn't comprehend.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Warren, I know it sounds scarey but the thing is that these kids know that benching a kid for using a finger gun is crap. Certainly, your fears are well-founded (the Republic is doomed anyway) but enough of them realize what a farce this stuff is that there will be agitation in the future. The lock-steppers will win but my kid will go to the guillotine screaming down with the king. Others will fight from behind rocks and tress.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    TREES dammit, TREES.

  • x,y||

    If you've seen Superbad, you'd know kids could be drawing a lot funnier/worse things (which depends on your perspective).

  • Russ 2000||

    I know it sounds scarey but the thing is that these kids know that benching a kid for using a finger gun is crap.

    And then they go into American History class and learn all about freedom.

  • ||

    TWC-God, I hope so. My wife thinks I'm kidding when I say I'm going to raise our kids to be anti-authoritarian rebels.

  • de stijl||

    That was drawn by a 13 year old? Is he a special ed kid? Why would a gun have little stick figures drawn standing on it.

  • Jennifer||

    But it strikes me that you have a bias towards supporting whatever people with authority do, even if it is self-evidently stupid.

    No, his bias is toward assuming anything any Reason staff member or Hit and Run poster complains about is actually a good idea, only we can't appreciate that fact because we're all brain-dead Randroids.

  • x,y||

    wow, that is one shitty drawing

    Reinmoose, meet Maddox here and here.

  • ||

    When I was little I had one authoritarian parent and one anti-authoritarian parent. If I didn't want to go to school, my parents would agree that I had to go, but they disagreed on the reasons.
    Mom: Because I said so.
    Dad: Because they'd come lock us up if you never went to school.

  • ||

    x,y
    I haven't clicked on those links, but I think I know where they lead. I haven't seen those in years. :) :) :)

  • x,y||

    Reinmoose,

    Yeah, they date back to his good stuff. He's been all downhill since 2003 or so. And The Alphabet of Manliness was one of the worst reads ever.

  • VM||

    destijl:

    maybe cuz it's MONKEY ART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    What is it about the mindset of teachers and civil servants that allow for no common sense exceptions to be made, nor allow for common sense to guide any decisions to be made whatsoever?

  • ||

    All I know if I had gone to high school in this day and age I would have been locked away for the entirety of my teen years.

    My senior science project was the effects of different calibers of bullets on a flak vest. Included were pictures of me and my friends (other students) blazing away with guns we were to young to even own. What's funny is, not only did I present it to the class, I was picked to present it for the school wide science fair.

    My how things have changed.

  • Jennifer||

    What is it about the mindset of teachers and civil servants that allow for no common sense exceptions to be made, nor allow for common sense to guide any decisions to be made whatsoever?

    Based upon my own (anecdotal) experience, it's the administrators, not the teachers, who are to blame. I remember once, when I was teaching, I saw out of the corner of my eye a girl swallow an aspirin. I pulled her aside later and told her, privately, that I know damned well aspirin use doesn't lead to drug addiction, but in the future if she needs to take an aspirin she needs to ask for a bathroom pass and take the pill there, because if anybody in the administration knew I saw a student take a pill and didn't report it, I could be fired same as if I didn't turn in a kid snorting cocaine at her desk.

    (I can say this with impunity now, as I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations for not reporting aspirin use by an 18-year-old has passed.)

  • ||

    Looking at the bigger picture, one might ask what bias is revealed in the mainstream media when some kid being suspended from school for three days becomes a story deemed worthy of national attention.

  • ||

    No, his bias is toward assuming anything any Reason staff member or Hit and Run poster complains about is actually a good idea, only we can't appreciate that fact because we're all brain-dead Randroids.

    This is an unfair comment - while I often disagree with Reason writers and H&R posters you'll never find me insulting others simply for holding differing opinions.

  • robc||

    what bias is revealed in the mainstream media when some kid being suspended from school for three days becomes a story deemed worthy of national attention.

    Its America's Funniest Home Videos - News Division. I think the school principal wins 10k.

  • Jennifer||

    one might ask what bias is revealed in the mainstream media when some kid being suspended from school for three days becomes a story deemed worthy of national attention.

    A bias in favor of common sense, or the idea that people given authority over children should be able to distinguish between a threat and a doodle.

  • ||

    a story deemed worthy of national attention

    Has it indeed received national attention? AP runs all kinds of stories that are purely local in nature. Has this been picked up by the NYT, the LAT, the WSJ, USA Today? Is it on CNN, CNBC, Fox News? That's what makes it "national" -- not the fact that we can find it on the internet.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Six, it is pretty absurd. Jennifer reminded me of the few times I've sent Motrin to school with my kids. They're scared of getting in trouble. I just say, don't make a spectacle of it, just quietly take it if you're hurting.

    Yesterday I sent a Quaker Granola bar with The House Blond who hadn't eaten much breakfast. She said:

    HB: Can't eat it until 11:00 recess.

    TWC: That's crazy, you'll be starving by then. You eat it if you're hungry.

    HB: What if I get in trouble?

    TWC: Ask them to call me and we'll discuss it.

    TWC: Just be discreet about it and you'll be okay.

    Subversion!

    My favorite thing about the school is the three foot square white signs proclaiming that WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS A TOBACCO FREE SCHOOL!

    Well, gee I can't tell you how good I feel that my kids are not permitted an after lunch smoke before heading out to the playground.

    Idiots.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Dammit, don't get me started. I have actual work to do.

  • ||

    It looks like it's been picked up by USA Today, Fox, and CBS, at the very least.

  • ||

    I will give Jennifer props for her ability to identify that a pill is an aspirin even if she just sees someone taking it out of the corner of her eye.

  • Fluffy||

    Maybe the media bias being revealed here is the desire to humiliate and punish public school officials who do idiotic things.

    We could use a lot more of that bias. Let's hope that the media embraces this further, maybe even starts to revel in it a little.

  • ||

    "My favorite thing about the school is the three foot square white signs proclaiming that WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS A TOBACCO FREE SCHOOL!"


    TWC,

    I make it a point to never visit my sons' high school without a dip packed in my lip and a snuff can visible in my back pocket. No teacher, administrator or school cop has ever said anything about it, which I think speaks more about the pussified suburban culture we live in (I'm not recognized as using/carrying/possessing tobacco) than any reluctance to enforce the "law".

    My one small act of defiance.......

  • ||

    I recently had a close friend/sort of relative's son (almost 4) over to play with my daughter (5.5). I hadn't seen the kid in a while - he's a great kid - his new thing was "They call me..." as in "They call me the monster killer" or "they call me the bad guy killer" and so on. And then he'd aim his finger and shriek "Kill! Kill! Kill"

    Mind you, he's been going to preschool in the UK for almost a year now!

    My daughter and I thought it was hilarious. And when I mentioned it to his mom, she said "oh, he's such a boy." And I agree.

    They are coming home this year and I'm certain that if he goes to public school, knickers will get into a twist pretty quickly. I can't wait to see how his two attorney parents, both very conservative and one a very successful litigator, will handle it. I wouldn't want to be the principal.

  • ||

    Damn, he is a dick, ain't he?

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    (I can say this with impunity now, as I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations for not reporting aspirin use by an 18-year-old has passed.)

    Jennifer, I'm afraid you've now exposed us all to RICO prosecution by sharing your story.

  • M. Simon||

    All the guys I knew in grade school loved to draw war scenes. esp. aircraft strafing the bad guys.

    We did it in school. No one cared.

    It got really hot when guys would write about (imagined - no experience) sex. That kind of stuff had to be passed on the sly. American Samizdata.

  • Jennifer||

    Jennifer, I'm afraid you've now exposed us all to RICO prosecution by sharing your story.

    Oops. My bad. If the cops come for me, though, I'll tell them I made up the whole story because I wanted to impress you all into thinking I'm the type of badass rebel who does nothing in the face of blatant aspirin use.

    Don't even get me started on the time I ripped that tag off my mattress.

  • lunchstealer||

    Don't even get me started on the time I ripped that tag off my mattress.

    Which isn't a problem as long as you don't sell it as 'new'. The whole "removal of this tag is illegal" thing is aimed at sellers, not buyers. Once you own it, remove with great vengence.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    That's cool. But if they come for me I'm flipping faster than Big Pussy.

  • ||

    Think about this: Arizona is a GUN RIGHTS state.

    That tells a lot about the state of the nation.


    My wife has a cousin who was an officer in the U.S. Army. His son was in a pre-school on base, and even though there were real live soldiers carrying automatic weapons right outside the fricking window, the kids were strictly forbidden to draw "violent pictures," like ones of soldiers carrying rifles.

    I'm convinced that teachers of all kinds must just be weak in the head (well, maybe not Jennifer--though I notice she got out of the "profession"). (Have I mentioned that we homeschool?)

  • ||

    "all I said is that I think there is probably more to the story that what's being reported."

    That's not all you wrote, nor is it all you implied. You suggested, and assumed, that --very likely -- some manner of rational justification exists for the school's action. The reason you jumped to that conclusion (w/out evidence) is b/c you have a bias. Of course, your assumption might prove to be 100% correct. I have no idea. But people object to the pro-authority prejudice underlying your assumption. It is a fact that, sometimes at least, no rational justification can be found for what school administrators do.

  • Ska||

    Yeah, when I was a kid I'd always draw stick figure war scenes, complete with swastikas and American flags, like a good little boy in the '80s who played War and Manhunt, and tactical games like Squad Leader. Caught the teacher off guard when I explained (as well as a 9 yr old can) what my little drawings meant.

    Even better was when the teacher would find your Mad Libs. "So, what exactly is a....mother fucker??"

  • Robert||

    Obviously the perpetrator of this michigos knew damn well that the drawing was no kind of threat. The whomever would certainly have not felt threatened by the sight of an adult painting a picture of a pistol. Therefore it must be a matter of proving exactly how much of a hardass over kids you can be. Perhaps none of the kids were misbehaving, which gave no opp'ty to establish so early (?) in the school year (?) (It's August; what kind of calendar are they on?) the teacher/administrator/whoever's hardassedness over junior high schoolers, so as to prevent misbehavior in the future, so this "example" was seized on to show that this functionary can be extremely tough over anything coming within 100 miles of a violation.

    At least that's what I think. I'm coaching youth football, which for very young kids is like herding cats, and there are times I might bend over backwards or forwards or some way to see something wrong to show that we mean business.

  • ||

    Wow and to think I got a A for the drawing of a Thompson Contender I did in high school art class. That same drawing will now get you in trouble. Amazing.

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