Public schools

Student's Art Project Deemed 'Harassment' of School Officials


The petty totalitarianism of public education strikes again. Lucero Tovar, a 14-year-old girl who attends high school in Santa Maria Independent Schools in Texas, was accused of harassing administrators and threatened with a four day suspension.

What did Tovar actually do? Nothing of the sort.

Action 4 News / Youtube

Tovar was given an assignment for her criminal justice class that required her to create a mini-courtroom. She took the art project a step further, using pictures of school officials, her family, and even celebrities to pack the courtroom. She glued real people's faces onto the bodies of the prosecutor, judge, jury, etc.

That seems harmless enough, but the school's principal said it amounted to harassment, according to

"The principal just looks at me and is like 'you know why you're in here right?'" she explained.  "I said no.  She said 'you're harassing people.'  And I was like 'huh?'  For me, I was like 'what?'"

Her school project, which she said portrayed a completely fake courtroom setting, was apparently damaging to the reputations of district personnel as detailed in a school notice of a suspension.

Action 4 News obtained copies of the school notices from Tovar.

"She just told me that I was harassing and that she's going to suspend me for 4 days," Tovar said.

Local reporter Ryan Wolf took up Tovar's case. He eventually spoke with the district superintendent, who noted that Tovar's punishment was ultimately just a 1-day suspension.

She will never serve it; Tovar's parents decided to enroll her in a different school.

Hopefully, the kid learned a valuable lesson about criminal justice: Don't make fun of entrenched bureaucrats, even in unintentional and inoffensive ways, lest they crush you with their evil powers.

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  1. If it is, good. They need more of it.

  2. Since this affects this girl’s life, it is a serious issue. That aside, however, there are few things funnier than watching adults try to deal with children when they are less mature than the children. You really have to be a pathetic and sad person to allow a 14 year old kid to get under your skin. I feel bad for this girl and the situation is outrageous. And even though the principal here is loathsome, I can’t help but feel sorry for him a bit. He must lead a horrible and miserable life. I can’t imagine going through life being this big of an immature, thin skinned idiot.

    1. This is great. Now everyone in that class will associate the arbitrariness of school administrators with courts. No better life lesson they could learn, really.

    2. John, I’d bet that principal is happier than many of us here. Strikes me as a cop without a gun.

      Which makes me think — maybe we should not arm school officials after all.

      1. Maybe. I would bet he is just as likely to be a miserable asshole. If this bothered him this much, how many other things do you think bothered him? I have no doubt he makes the kids in the school miserable. The problem with power is that like everything else in the world there is never enough of it. No matter how big of a thrill this asshole gets from stomping on the faces of his students, he is likely to be utterly miserable over the ways he can’t stomp on them and how no matter how hard he tries they still won’t do exactly as he wants them too.

      2. If he was happy, this wouldn’t have bothered him.

  3. Don’t make fun of entrenched bureaucrats,

    She wasn’t making fun of them. The entrenched bureaucrats are just paranoid. And as such should not be allowed within 5,000 feet of any children.

    1. Oh she was certainly being offensive.

      How dare she suggest that school bureaucrats are interested in justice?

  4. Punish the creative to make them all drones for the system.

  5. A few Clarence Thomas strip-searches will shut that little gadfly right up.

  6. DAMN, just…..Damn!

  7. Tovar’s parents decided to enroll her in a different school.

    Good thing that was a viable option for them.

    1. And I was like ‘huh?’ For me, I was like ‘what?'”

      Hopefully they have a better English department.

      1. Certainly you used perfect king’s english as a child. I know I did.

        1. And I think she is totally tubular.

        2. I didn’t say anything about perfect. When I was younger I did manage to speak without sounding like (ha!) that.

          Do you think she communicated effectively?

          1. Like, fer shur. You’re just grody to the max. 😉

            We’ve become our fathers.

            GET OFF MY LAWN!

          2. Seems like she was probably genuinely confused. If I were accused out of the blue of something like that, I’d probably be like “wut?” as well until I figured out what was going on.

            1. The reporter, and the author, here at Reason, failed to state whose face was used for the orange-jump-suited defendant.
              If it was one of the teachers, or administrators of the school, there was smoke to go with the fire.
              Sounds like the kid was making fun of someone, known at the school, and she knew darn well what she had done.

  8. How benevolent. They reduced the king’s sentence from 4 days to 1 for doing nothing wrong. Long live the king.

  9. She should do a mural of this using superimp0osed images of the school administrators.

  10. This reminds me of the mock trial I did in high school. We had to come up with fake civil suits and then we had a fake trial. The local police chief sat in as the mock judge.
    My group came up with a scenario where a cop did something really stupid (I can’t remember what exactly) and crashed his car and injured someone. I got to play the cop. The actual cop playing the judge did not seem amused. But no one tried to suspend me.

  11. No power is exercised more vigorously than petty power.

  12. Now just a doggone minute. Whose picture is on the “defendant”?

    Seriously, I’d have withdrawn my kid just for being given such an assignment in *high school*.

    1. A “criminal justice” class in high school. Since I have had HS graduates applying for jobs that could barely write their name, this seems like wrongly directed education.

  13. Ms. Tovar learned a valuable life lesson: When dealing with petty bureaucrats, not only must you abide by the black letter of the legislation, but you must also steer clear of anything that the bureaucrat’s lizard brain might interpret as offensive, harassment, or disrespect of their AUTHORITAH.

    1. I was about to post something similar and am glad I looked at this comment. My favorite part is describing the bureaucrat’s “lizard brain”. Quite apt.

  14. If you use state-granted authority in a vindictive way like this, you should get one warning. The second time, you should be taken out in an alley and shot.

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