Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Texas School Principal Needs To Get Out More

In the small town of Kermit, Texas, just West of Odessa in the panhandle, 9 year old Aiden Steward enjoys fantasy. He and his family recently watched "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies," and Aiden enjoyed it so much that he took his own "ring of power forged in the fires of Mount Doom in Middle Earth" to school with him. In his mind it was "the one ring to rule them all."

Those who haven't read J.R.R. Tokein's incredible book series "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Ring"s won't understand unless you've seen the movies which, for movies that detail a book series, are very well done. The ring of power is a theme all the way through all four books.

Aiden showed off his ring, talked about the movie and, at one point, told a classmate that with his ring of power he could make the classmate disappear.

That's when things got crazy. The school principal, Roxanne Greer, suspended Aiden from school for threatening another student. Seriously?

“It sounded unbelievable,” the boy’s father, Jason Steward, said in an interview. "He didn’t mean anything by it.”

Aiden told his classmate that if he put the ring on the other boy's head he would disappear, just like it made Bilbo Baggins disappear in the movie.

“Kids act out movies that they see. When I watched Superman as a kid, I went outside and tried to fly,” Aiden's dad said.

Careful with that kind of talk there, Mr. Steward. These days trying to fly might get your kid suspended as well.

“I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” the boy's father said in an e-mail. "If he did, I'm sure he'd bring him right back."

Principal Greer had no comment when reporters contacted her. Go figure.

Apparently the school has no tolerance for anything. It seems Aiden has been suspended twice before in the six months that he has been there. The first time was for calling another student "black" - no other details provided. The second was for bringing a book to school called "The Big Book of Knowledge," the children's encyclopedia. 

“He loves that book. They were studying the solar system and he took it to school. He thought his teacher would be impressed,” Steward said.

Apparently Aiden's teacher was less than thrilled by the book. She discovered it contained a section on pregnancy and had graphic illustrations of a pregnant woman. Aiden was suspended again.

I can't help but think of the 7 year old in Maryland who was suspended a couple of years ago for eating his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. The boy was suspended for "continued classroom disruption." School officials, citing zero tolerance, said the boy had a gun in class and suspended him. 

I can't help but wonder, given that zero tolerance has now replaced common sense and sound discipline in our public school systems, if the boy had put the "barrel" of his Pop Tart gun into his mouth for another bite and his teacher had witnessed it would he have been referred to a psychologist for evaluation of his "suicidal thoughts" prior to being suspended? 

Makes about as much sense as suspending a kid for saying his ring could make his classmate invisible...

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