Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the heel of news that a seven year old Cub Scout was suspended for bringing his eating utensil to school comes news that a 17 year old Eagle Scout was suspended for having a 2 inch pocketknife in a survival kit locked in his car in the school parking lot.

While school administrators claim the purpose of these rules is to 'protect the students', the reality is that they're looking to protect themselves.

They're looking to protect themselves against any possibility of fingers being pointed at them in the event a student is hurt by another student with a weapon at school. By suspending everybody found in violation of the rules - even in, and especially in, cases such as these - administrators are declaring that they take school violence seriously... and if there does occur a case where one student hurts another, the administrators can argue that the violence took place despite their best efforts, that they did all they could be expected to do. Administrators, for all of their incompetence at actually educating kids, are no dummies, they know their jobs are at risk if they're deemed to have not taken school violence as seriously as possible.

They're also looking to protect themselves against claims that they're racist, that they don't discipline white kids as harshly as they do black and other minority kids. The administrators know that if they take away all discretion to go (pun alert!) lightly on a kid that they can never be accused of racism (another career killer). To administrators, tis better to overly punish a white kid than risk losing their jobs after being accused of treating black kids more harshly.

It is somewhat akin to businesses choosing to take disciplinary action against
every guy who gets accused of sexual harassment, no matter whether his actions actually rose to a level where a 'reasonable' woman would be offended. Tis far better to punish some guy for making some silly, stupid crack to an overly sensitive or vindictive woman than to not do so and risk the major damage award from the inevitable lawsuit claiming the company didn't do enough to clamp down on such abhorrent behavior.