Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2009 December 22-31

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Worse Than a Jab to the Eye

When a group of teens threw rocks at Renate Bowling's Lancashire, England, home, the 71-year-old went out to confront them. During the exchange, she poked one 17-year-old boy in the chest with her finger. The government charged Bowling with common assault. Prosecutors say a police officer arrived in time to see Bowling attack the young man but had no evidence the gang threw stones at her house. A court ordered Bowling to pay £50 court costs.

Presumed Guilty

Britain's Office of Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) has proposed that parents who wish to homeschool their children be forced to undergo a criminal background check. The move is part of a proposal to force homeschoolers to register with the government and tell it what they are teaching.

I Don't Feel Truant

A District of Columbia truancy officer stopped several students who attend a private Catholic school and asked why they weren't in school. They explained that classes weren't in session that day. She didn't believe them, so they offered to call their parents and let one of them talk to her. That wasn't good enough. She forced them into a van and drove them home. The parents weren't happy about that, especially after they found the van didn't have enough seatbelts for all the children.


Palm Beach County, Florida, school bus driver Andre Caldwell has been charged with two counts of cruelty to a child and one count of culpable negligence for allegedly instigating a fight between two groups of students on his bus. Caldwell reportedly told two Hispanic students "If the black kids whoop your white ass, I ain't going to say nothing" before covering the bus's security camera with his hat so the fight wouldn't be recorded.

I'm A Believer

Cecil Bothwell was sworn into the Asheville, North Carolina, City Council just a few weeks ago, and some folks are already threatening to go to court to get him ousted. Has he been accused of corruption? Been caught with an underage girl? No, he's an avowed atheist, and the state constitution bars those who "deny the being of Almighty god" from holding office. The provision conflicts with the U.S. Constitution and can't be enforced. But some opponents say they'll try to have Bothwell ousted anyway.