“Send Him To Juvie”: Student Suspended After He Allegedly Twirled A Pencil And Another Student Said That He Felt Threatened

310px-Pencils_hbIn New Jersey, Glen Meadow Middle School has added its own bizarre entry in the ever-lengthening list of zero tolerance insanity. According to Ethan Chaplin, he was suspended for twirling a pencil in math class. He says that a student (who had been allegedly bullying him) yelled to the teacher that “He’s making gun motions, send him to juvie.” The school responded by suspending Chaplin and the Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano insists that it is the only appropriate response because he must investigate any time that a student claims to be uncomfortable or threatened by another student.

Chaplin’s father, Michael Chaplin, was so outraged that he took the step of recording a conversation between himself, the school’s principal and guidance counselor — and then posted it on YouTube. It is not clear from the article if this was done with consent but the absence of any allegation of unlawful recording suggests that it was a legal or consensual taping.

Michael Chaplin said that he was told that his son would have to be evaluated by a therapist and cleared as a threat before being able to be around students. This resulted in a five-hour physical and psychological evaluation and allegedly his son being required to strip give blood and urine samples. He says that a social worker actually only spoke with him for a few minutes after the tests and cleared him.

I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here, here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Even a student who prevented another student from continuing to cut himself was suspended for taking possession of the razor and dispensing it. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversals, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child.

What I am unclear about is the absence of any discussion of witnesses. Surely, despite the superintendent’s statement, there is some basic duty of inquiry – particularly when the act allegedly occurs in a classroom. There is also no word on what the obligations of a school might be when there is a false allegation. My assumption is that no actions are taken to encourage students to come forward to report bullying. However, if this is true, then there should be greater emphasis on an initial investigation.

Putting aside these issues, one towering problem remains. The allegation, according to the family, was that Chaplin was using a pencil in a mock gun movement. We have seen a slew of finger gun cases resulting in suspensions under the same strained logic. Even if you believe the other student, is that really a cause for suspension?

Source: NJ

82 thoughts on ““Send Him To Juvie”: Student Suspended After He Allegedly Twirled A Pencil And Another Student Said That He Felt Threatened

  1. “I feel threatened” are magic words in schools now. It is the rape whistle of that venue and all the education industry morons jump into action.

  2. A person may be smart;
    but most “peoples” tend to be less than.

    Thirst for melodrama fosters the inanity beyond the mind-boggling.

    My son got tossed out of school for defending the truth (saying Santa is fake);
    and the girl, during the crying about it – popped out (much later)

    that my son said the “n” word.

    That was it – 30 day suspension – accused, hung out to dry;
    and permanent mark on the record as racist.

  3. I would say that given this day and age you have no expectation of privacy as far as the recording goes. Any privacy rights there might be would belong to the student and his parent.

    I will tell you, as a former teacher, whose ever classroom this was does not have control of his or her classroom. I have taken a loaded gun away from a student and caused less of fuss.

  4. There is an effort in the elementary system to emasculate little boys. They want to make little boys into little girls. This effort has been going on for some time. Little boys play cops-and-robber, cowboys-and-Indians, etc. They make guns with their fingers, it is all part of free play. They have taken dodge-ball out of many schools because it is too rough. Running on the playground is not allowed. I am surprised they allow recess anymore.

    Now, let’s be honest here. We know it is not conservative or the Religious Right who is behind suspending this boy. We all know who it is. We just have to be honest with ourselves.

  5. Paul Schulte;

    I’m coerced to forgo my simple “BS” retort (to your 1st para);
    because of your ending remarks.

    Perhaps you come to “that” (preposterous) gaggle of conclusions;
    because no RWNJ would suspend a boy for wheeling a gun!


  6. Laser – if you can disprove my remarks (other than saying BS) do so. I hope I am not assuming too much when I say that I seem to have touched a nerve?

  7. Paul;

    First of all (from legal perspective) your logic makes an assumption of facts not in evidence. We have no indication of the leanings of the administrators.

    Secondly, your logic infers that (had it not been a liberal making the ruling and/or rules) – a Righty might have ruled another way (also another presumption of facts not in evidence).

    Finally, it is protocols in discussion here;
    and the absurdity of the extremist view.

    It is highly unfathomable (and again a presumption) that the majority of our schools administrators who design the protocols, aren’t religious.

    Be that as it may, religion has NO place in our schools – PERIOD!

    And I’m a G-d fearing (former hardline GOP) reformed to progressiveness.

  8. Laser wrote: “Be that as it may, religion has NO place in our schools – PERIOD!”

    Thomas Jefferson certainly had a very different vision for schools than you do. Have you studied how he setup the University of Virginia?

    Your viewpoint is unconstitutional so you may want to re-examine it.

  9. It doesn’t matter what the political affiliations of the persons involved in making these asinine decisions. They are not conservative or liberal, but idiotic and cruel.

  10. Let ’em keep their zero tolerance policy. Just modify it so that both the accuser and the accused are suspended. That will stop this nonsense.

  11. Paul,
    Please tell us who is behind this alleged emasculating of little boys?
    This school superintendent needs to be looking for a new career, along with the school board that allows this nonsense.

  12. Hi. The wonderful blog Legal Insurrection (http://legalinsurrection.com/) has picked up your story. Just to tell you though, you should fix a minor error. You have “He says that a student, who been allegedly bullying him”. It should be of course. Thank you.

  13. Required to give blood and urine samples for holding a pencil?! While in school?!
    I used to think warrants were needed for that.

  14. Thanks Barry. I made the correction. I am afraid that between an aggressive spell corrector and early morning blogging I am prone to such errors. I really appreciate the help. Our late weekend contributor (and friend) David Drumm would often catch such mistakes. I miss him greatly and the blog has suffered from his absence in this and a myriad of other ways.

    Thanks again.

  15. There is no effort to emasculate little boys in elementary schools. The issue is runaway authoritarianism.

  16. Au contraire davidm2575;

    I can solve this argument by 1 simple question.

    Which religion would you have in a school?

    Though there are arguments that there are 20 or so “major” one’s; they can’t “Constitutionally” take precedent over purported minor ones (such as Scientology/Mormonism).

  17. Laser wrote: “I can solve this argument by 1 simple question. Which religion would you have in a school?”

    I like the way Thomas Jefferson answered this question. He got rid of the normal Professor of Divinity so there would not be an official religion of the university, next he established a Professor of Ethics to teach about God, the Bible, Hebrew, Greek, the proofs of a Creator, morality and ethics, etc. After that he set aside land for all the religions to come and establish a presence on campus so that the university could enjoy the varied teachings and practices of worship of the various religious sects.

    I think most public schools could better the present situation by being open to all religious sects that exist in their community. Is there a muslim mosque down the road? When they have open house, let the students know. Invite the imams to come tell the students what their religion is about. Invite the Baptists, the Lutherans, the Catholics, the Methodists, the Mormons, etc. all to do the same. Let them establish after school organizations for the students just like other extra curricular activities. It really is not that hard.

    Your perspective of “religion has NO place in our schools – PERIOD!” is contrary to all the Supreme Court cases that have continued to argue that students maintain their constitutional rights to freedom of religion.

  18. BTW davidm2575;

    Your premise (should facts arise to the validity) that “religion {per Thomas Jefferson’s logic} – does play a part”

    brings to the fore another legal doctrine of “in pari delicto”

    2 wrongs don’t make a right – even if (3/4 persons) is IN the Constitution.

  19. WordPress doesn’t like me today. My post to Laser would not go through. If someone can rescue it, that would be nice. Otherwise, laser has the last word.

  20. Paul, Female teachers are constantly recommending drugging little boys who don’t act like little girls, the drug is Ritalin, and it’s frightening the number of normal boys on this amphetamine.

  21. This comment from Superintendent Charles Maranzano is pretty scary:

    “We never know what’s percolating in the minds of children,” Maranzano told the station. “And when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”

    How do people get like that?

    Another thing that Jon touched on is that there is no mention, in any of several articles that I read, of a teacher, or any adult for that matter, witnessing the supposed threatening behavior.

    I remember from my own school years that there were always some students, usually the bullies, that would make ridiculous accusations against other students in a taunting way. Such as, “Hey, Jane. What were you doing in the closet with John.” No one, including teachers, took these comments seriously. Was this accuser some kind of teacher’s pet that must be believed?

  22. simms, My son was not a docile boy. He was the only Hispanic kid in his class when he was young and the shortest boy. He could be a problem, although male teachers never had a problem w/ him. I was called to the school urgently. A very quiet boy had an eraser stuck way up his nose and had to do to the hospital to get it removed. I knew this kid very well. He had a domineering mother and docile father. Anyway, the principal was considering calling the police. I asked what investigation had been done regarding the allegation. My son tearfully denied doing anything. The principal said, “Brian said he did it.” I took deep breaths and asked, “Were there any witnesses?” This allegedly occurred during class[3rd grade]. As we were talking a call came from the hospital ER. Brian was now tearful. He had stuck the eraser up his nose and was afraid his mom would be mad @ him so he blamed it on the kid he knew their teacher would believe would have done it. Kids are sharp! Well, the principal apologized profusely. In the middle of his mea culpa I just took my son’s hand and walked out disgustedly. Blame the spic!!

  23. davidm2575;

    In Yiddish realms, we have a term of one up
    (having the upper hand in an issue).

    When we know we are at that plateau;
    no other advantage is needed.

    If you need to – change some of the words (or links by putting in (dot) v (.))

    Or you can email me at my name (with a (.) in between at Yahoo.

  24. Annie;

    You’ve enlightened me this day, to a whole new culture not known heretofore
    (by moi).

    Neat concept (as I’m a Marley fan).

    {btw – the Rastafari frown on “ism”)

  25. Nick,

    Didn’t you know that you always have to call the police on an Hispanic third grader because he is just two years away from joining a Medellín Cartel successor?

  26. Simms, Maybe you’ve read me talking of my son, but he is indeed from Medellin and this shit occurred during Pablo Escobar’s reign!! Oh, this ignorant 3rd grade teacher spelled his country, “Columbia,” as did 2 subsequent teachers. The dimmest bulbs teach grammar school, w/ a few exceptions.

  27. Simms, I went on to coach Brian and my son in baseball and they were good teammates. My son was good @ getting kids to come out of their shell. I never had one ounce of anger @ Brian, I focused it on the education industry idiots, and a little on his mom.

  28. Nick,

    The Medellín mention was just a coincidence. If that principal was behaving that mindlessly way back then he was ahead of his time. Maybe he was a prototype for today’s batch of witless administrators.

  29. Simms, I went to Medillin in January 1987 to adopt our son. It was a war zone! Also had to go to our embassy in Bogota. It looked just like a prison from the exterior. The principal was a big, fat, lazy, stupid, glad handing, idiot. Other than that a good guy! Classic education industry pogue.

  30. With respect to recordings, NJ is a one party consent state. I know this because I had to record a plethora of instances between myself and my pathological baby momma, as well as school officials she manipulated in her attempts to medicate my child (so she wouldn’t have to actually parent him).

    Stories like this boil the blood a bit. I was no stranger to bullying growing up, but adults need to let kids me kids without imposing draconian measures on misplaced emotions or careless actions of children.

  31. You should know too that psychological evaluations are run by dangerous drug pushing psychiatrists who are much better at destroying child’s spirit than helping. Even where the evaluators are not psychiatrists, you can follow the money and chain of command to them and big pharma. Unfortunately, Turley, while good in principle in locating injustice and attacks on liberty, has a great big button on those who could help him on such matters, such as the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights.

  32. I had a principal fifty years ago who was a total jerk. He would discipline kids for offenses which were unproven or in which the kid was in fact a victim. If he is still alive I hope he reads this. His last name was Beethoven’s first name and the school will not be mentioned.

    Kids today need a public defenders office in their schools. And an ACLU lawyer available to sue the principals (none dare call them Pals) and the school boards.

  33. Ya gotta home-school those boys by real men to keep them from influences like feminization and other eminence fronts. You stick your boys in there, well then you should expect the worst. This is a private country–mind your own business means to mind your own business.

  34. What is happening to our schools and nation? Bullying has been around since the days of Cain and Able. Our school districts are in a state of paranoia.

    This is nonsense, and the reason why our kids aren’t learning anything these days. Teachers and administrators are too busy dealing with these absurdities.

    BTW, didn’t the Nazi’s tell kids to report the slightest little thing–and people where dragged into the office of the Gestapo for interrogation, jail time, etc? Is that what this country is coming to? Lord spare us!

  35. More quotes from the lovely Superintendent Charles Maranzano:

    “Our actions are always based on what’s best for the health safety and welfare of all the students,” Maranzano said. “We’re responsible for their mental and physical health and safety and security. When a student misbehaves or displays actions that are non-conforming or don’t meet our expectations, it causes us some concerns.”

    Mmmmm……..Yes in deed, we must put a stop to those non-conforming, percolating young minds. At all costs. Now.

  36. I have never been able to devise a system dynamics model of any intrinsically and inextricably purely adversarial mechanism, using, for example Vensim as a system dynamics modeling computer program, which does not eventually self-escalate into its inescapable self-destruction.

    In every model I have attempted to explore, including every thought experiment I have ever been able to dream up, every adversarial process I have explored has, without exception, eventually become its own best adversary, thereby generating escalating self-retaliation to the eventual limit of its own destruction.

    Perhaps someone else is vastly more competent in bioengineering and in biological pattern recognition than I am and that someone else can demonstrate a system dynamics model of an adversarial process which does not become its own greatest adversary. I have been completely unable to do that.

    I entreat anyone who can accomplish the feat of system dynamics modeling of an inextricably adversarial mechanism that does not end with its effective self-destruction to share that model with human society so that said model can be tested with scientific rigor. Methinks whosoever can accomplish that would merit formidable social recognition.

    On the other hand, if there is never anyone who can achieve the demonstration of an actually tangible system that is inextricably and relentlessly adversarial and which does not escalate to its self-destruction, perhaps such a system can only exist in the form of a false hypothetical.

    Is there a useful distinction between an intransigently held false hypothetical and a psychotic delusion? If so, I have yet to find it, or to find anyone else who found it.

    Please refute with an actually tangible physical demonstration that is scientifically reproducible…

  37. davidm2575;

    Glad your comment was revived.

    As to the contents thereof, you still make my case for me
    (btw – Romney’s counsels just did the same thing in our case)

    Having the policy that “permits” freedom of religion;
    doesn’t equate to freedom to pounce upon another’s liberty.

    You can have your Church of G-d, Southern/Northern Baptist, Mosque and/or Shul on whatever land you are free to purchase by our schools.

    But you are NOT to be EVER permitted to demand a presence in our schools.

    In Thomas Jefferson’s time, land was a plenty (OK territory giving each 160 acres). In this day and age, square footage has great costs.

    Can I bring my religion to your Profession
    and demand an office space therein?

  38. Laser – at Arizona State University the Muslim students insisted on and got a foot bathing area in the student union (their is a multi-use chapel there). It is placed right outside the doors to the chapel now. It appears you can demand your religion in my office space.

  39. With all of the sandals I see @ ASU, I would encourage ALL students to take part in that foot bath. Maybe it’s Muslim only?

  40. When the temperature in the shade reaches 125 it is 135 to 145 on the mall at ASU. You wear the least amount of clothing you can legally get away with. :)

  41. RE: davidm2575 on 1, April 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    It may be worthwhile looking up the Reformed Druids of North America, perhaps on wikipedia, for those yet unaware of that religion.

    Coercive, personally-objectionable, religious indoctrination and servitude can sometimes, in safe enough places, be successfully overcome.

    For ethical honesty purposes, I was a Carleton student during 1957-1960.

  42. I was unaware there were either enough druids or they were contentious enough to have a Reformed division. How very interesting.

  43. The Reformed Druids of America have little, if anything, in common with the Druids of old, in Europe.

    Some Carleton students found the required religious services at Carleton objectionable and came up with their own religion to render the required Carleton services a ridiculous absurdity, and the students prevailed.

    Read the stuff to be found on wikipedia.org and on the Carleton College web site, there is ample documentation there to be easily found.

    In effect, some Carleton students acted out a drama of administrative hypocrisy, and the college administration, recognizing that the Carleton students had well-mastered a Carleton education, avowed that the students had been correct in their protest of religious abuses.

    In my view, it is always right and proper to vehemently and effectively protest abuses done for the sake of entrapment of people within any form of coercive religious authoritarian despotic tyranny.

    Don’t take my word about Carleton, required religious services, and the Reformed Druids of America; valid information is easily found on the Internet, and especially on carleton.edu web pages.

  44. Dr. Harris–well done! I always enjoy a bit of irreverent subversion. Some of the other commenters should do a bit more research on ADHD. I do believe it is over-diagnosed, but it doesn’t make every teacher who suggests evaluation for ADHD some kind of crusader to feminize and drug the boys. What professor Turley points out is a spate of administrators taking things too far. What is equally disturbing is that the accuser in this instance may have been bullying the kid who ended up with the suspension. I have often seen kids caught bullying turn themselves into the victim. They’re clever and highly manipulative. Some might even call them sociopaths. To suggest that bullying has always existed and so what? is as irresponsible as the arm-flappers in administration who are suspending kids for almost no reason.

  45. That’s my point Michael Adams;

    You could (long ago) find “three-fifths” a person in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution – which read (in the 1700’s) that:

    Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

    Fortunately, such draconian and evil arrogance of man was laid waste, in full; and can no longer be found as the law of the land.

    But it “use” to be the Law…..

  46. Any of you who care to actually do some research could google Mr. Chaplin and see what kind of person he really is. He has a record of frivolous lawsuits or legal threats and a history of swindling people online. Do the research.
    Just let the poor kid get back to a normal life and stop trying to get all this media hype.

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