Zero Tolerance

Drawing of Cartoon Bomb Gets Middle School Student Suspended in South Carolina

Kapow

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doesn't take a rocket scientist
WHNS

That student told his classmates he had a bomb and showed them a drawing of one from a 90s era video game, he should be suspended—that was the line of thinking at Hillcrest Middle School in Simpsonville, South Carolina where 13-year-old special needs student Rhett Parham was reportedly suspended for just that.

The school, and "education advocates," defended the decision, as relayed by GamePolitics.com:

Greenville County Schools issued a statement that reads in part, "This investigation began when threatening comments were made, resulting in the responsible removal of the student from the school to ensure everyone's safety while the incident and intent were assessed."

"Principals are in a very difficult spot with this. They have a lot of interests that they're trying to juggle," said Janet Stein, Director of the South Carolina Education Association's member advocacy program.

She claims that the Hillcrest Middle School's Principal did what he had to do in order to protect the school and its students.

"If he had not done what he did and had decided that student didn't mean it, it doesn't mean anything—if something had happened, the district would have been accountable for that," said Stein.

You have to do something. Better "safe" than sued.

Parham is diagnosed with autism, so if the school decides that caused his behavior, his suspension will be overturned. Because a 13-year-old should know better than to draw things he's seen in Bomberman 64.

More Reason on zero tolerance.

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  1. I have no tolerance for zero tolerance.

    1. It’s practically worth monitoring these clowns for public mis-steps:

      “You said BE GUN! No pension for *you*!”

      “You were humming LA BOMBA! Turn in your resignation!”

  2. There shall be no resisting, citizens. Please retire now to your state assigned dwelling, and wait for the next announcement from our dear leader.

  3. Just to put things is perspective, me and every boy I can remember drew scenes of war, guns, ICBMs, B-52s, starships firing phasers, etc. We also played that game where you each draw tanks on one side of the paper, make a pencil mark on your side, fold the paper in half, and make a mark on the other side. If you hit one of the other tanks, it was destroyed.

    Not to mention playing various pretend war games outside during free time. Usually involving guns of some sort.

    All that, and no real gun or bomb violence at all. None.

    1. Remember that tank game where you folded the paper in half and drew over the dark pencil spots you ‘target estimated’ on the front side?

      1. That’s it. I was having trouble describing it.

    2. All that, and no real gun or bomb violence at all. None.

      Yet.

      /zero tolerance proponent

    3. I distinctly remember in third grade drawing a plane that was a gun, and also dropping bombs that were guns. All of them were shooting an endless stream of bullets.

      1. This is why there are no female libertarians.

      2. Spoonman.|10.18.13 @ 4:08PM|#

        I distinctly remember in third grade drawing a plane that was a gun

        THE BOY FORESAW THE DRONES!!

        John…. John CONNOR! YOU ARE THE ONE. COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE.

    4. And that led to all of us playing violent video games! And you see what that led to! Ok, wel…, it will lead to something…, something bad! It has to!, because damnit, that’s part of our agenda!

    5. Dirt clod hand grenades.

      1. The current issue of the International Plastic Modelers Society journal has an article about Renwal’s Atomic Cannon. I distinctly remember building that model (I remember I couldn’t get the mounting of the carriers right, and that problem persists in the Revell reissue).

        I guess today I’d end up in Gitmo for making terrorist threats…

  4. I’m actually sympathetic to the argument being made. “Better safe than sued” is a completely true statement. Assuming that’s why the principal did what they did, and aren’t just an authoritarian dickweed (big assumption, I know), then the problem is not the school’s reaction, but rather the legal climate which makes them legally liable for every bad thing that could possibly happen.

    If the district could be successfully sued, then the taxpayers foot the bill for that payout.

    1. I mean, if a judge or jury would just say, “Sorry, these are the actions of a disturbed individual, and the school had no way of knowing to stop them beforehand”, then this crap wouldn’t get out of control.

      Instead it’s, “I find that the district owes 1 million dollars to every individual in the country who even heard about this incident, and was mentally traumatized by it, thus impairing their ability to live a full life. That is a direct harm. Maybe next time you’ll take threats more seriously!”

    2. But don’t you think that “Better Safe than sued” is better justified if the kid were making non-contextual threats?

      If the kid called in a bomb threat, ok. But if a kid says to another student, “I have a bomb!” then pulls out a marker drawing of an ACME bomb that the Coyote would have used against Road Runner, don’t you apply some context to it?

      1. Absolutely not. It goes to mindset.

        /zero tolerance proponent

      2. I would. A judge and jury? I honestly don’t think so.

        The tort system should be punitive enough to dissuade people from taking patently unsafe actions (unsafe for others). Instead it’s become a sledgehammer that various people and groups use to threaten utter annihilation to anyone who ever hurt someone else’s feelings.

        And that’s not just a problem of “liberal activist judges” or some other bogeyman. Juries have been completely complicit in that development.

    3. If the district could be successfully sued, then the taxpayers foot the bill for that payout.

      Then the safest, smartest thing is to not have public schools.

      1. Absolutely agreed. I should have put the *SLD in there. My comments apply to school districts as currently constituted.

    4. I’m actually sympathetic to the argument being made. “Better safe than sued” is a completely true statement. Assuming that’s why the principal did what they did, and aren’t just an authoritarian dickweed (big assumption, I know), then the problem is not the school’s reaction, but rather the legal climate which makes them legally liable for every bad thing that could possibly happen.

      If the district could be successfully sued, then the taxpayers foot the bill for that payout.

      I say this to you, Jim: “????”

    5. I’m usually on the fuck zero tolerance side, but according to the piece, he SAID he HAD a bomb. Sure he was joking, or kidding or whatever, but saying “I have a bomb” and having a drawing of a bomb are two different things.

      1. No. No. No.

        He said he had a bomb, then pulled out the picture of the Merrie Melodies WMD. Hardy-hars were had by all present who did not have iron rods up their asses.

        At most, a teacher could have explained that the joke wasn’t wasn’t appropriate in that setting and asked him to stop.

  5. Parham is diagnosed with autism, so if the school decides that caused his behavior, his suspension will be overturned.

    1) But if it turns out “mental illness” caused it — Book him, Danno!

    2) Aren’t we *all* on the autism spectrum?

    1. What if HE argues the SCHOOL caused his behavior? That’s how utterly stupid the whole thing is. The adults are in charge. What a sad joke.

  6. I guess Israeli leader Bibi Netanyahu will not be speaking there anytime soon.

    1. That’s pretty good!

    2. I think a thread winner…..

  7. “If he had not done what he did and had decided that student didn’t mean it, it doesn’t mean anything — if something had happened, the district would have been accountable for that,” said Stein.

    If “something had happened”?

    ??? Like… a paper cut?

    Or the picture of the bomb blowing up?

    1. The teacher could have had a *heart attack*!

    2. Or the picture of the bomb blowing up?

      I’m unable to express how awesome that sounds.

  8. BUT THE FUSE IS LIT!

  9. Leci n’est pas une pipe bomb.

    1. Ceci! Ceci! Stupid typo. My kingdom for an edit button.

      1. Fuckin’ no Magrittes!

      2. WHY ISN’T THIS THE ALT TEXT?!

  10. Needz moar lab… oops, never mind.

  11. was the sheet of paper in danger of exploding? Trying to understand the mental gymnastics required to paint this as a threat requires a level of derpitude understanding I don’t have.

    Probably need more re-ed camp time.

    1. The argument is that if this child were to harm others later the school would fear suit by the victims who would use this as evidence that the school had not lived up to the ‘duty of care’ it has regarding the children at the school. This way they can point to the disciplinary as proof that they ‘did something’ in an attempt to show they took ‘reasonable steps’ to live up to that duty.

    2. Once you realize that progressivism = puritianism, the understanding is easy.

      1. Why do you assume ‘progressivism’ is to blame here? Greenville County went to Romney with 63% of the vote there.

        http://www.politico.com/2012-e…..-carolina/

        1. Because rethuglikkkans don’t care about depictions of guns and bombs, Tulpa Esq.

          They’d have gone ape if he had drawn two big tits, maybe, but not a bomb.

          AMIRITE?

        2. I would classify Romney as a progressive. Besides, the history of this country is the Northeast Puritans vs. the Southeast Puritans.

          And puritans of all flavors love their compulsory brainwashing systems.

        3. How’d Romney do with the government employee/education major demographic?

        4. Because public “educators” tend to be progs, even in Romney Country.

        5. One thing is certain: those school administrators think of themselves as “progressive”.

  12. He should get suspended. That’s stolen intellectual property he has there.

    1. ^^thread winner

  13. I remember a game we used to play, which involved throwing an imaginary bomb in the air, and when it “fell” everybody would get “blown up” and fall to the ground.

    I suppose today they would hand out suspensions for that, too.

    1. Oh, there was that Hot Potato game, which we always viewed as a grenade.

      1. In Elementary School (mid-late 80s for me), we would always refer to it as a grenade.

        I’ve long since discovered that every single one of my friends (and me too, obviously) would have been suspended or expelled by today’s standards.

  14. I am curious as to whether the same result would have occurred had he drawn a picture of one of our US military deadly drones raining down on some Pakistani child about his age.

    1. If he drew Obama smiling in the clouds so the teacher knew it was drone murder occurring during the right top man’s administration it would’ve been okay.

      1. I want that on a shirt.

        1. Something like this?

          http://www.flickr.com/photos/e…../lightbox/

  15. NEEDS MORE MUHAMMED HEAD ATTACHED TO IT

  16. To protect the school and its students? Good call, because that cartoon bomb could have leveled the entire school.

    1. WELL YOU OVERLOOK THAT IT MAY BE A PAPER SCHOOL

  17. The bigger question is: Did he get an F in art?

    1. Fart?

  18. No, they’re right. Just like dollars are money. That is a very dangerous device that can kill people! SAAAFEETY FIIIRST!

  19. This is another example of why we need massive tort reform. I don’t blame the principal for his actions. I decry a “free” nation that measure your amount of freedom by how much lawyer you can afford.

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