“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. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. 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. 🙂

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. 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.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/ethan-chaplin-student-suspended-twirling-pencil_n_5106069.html

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

  9. 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!

  10. Kids are being trained to exist in a society where people are “kept safe” by force.

  11. 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.

  12. Paul, They really just need involved parents who won’t be pushed around.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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