I saw three depressing examples of the kind of toolchests that are serving as authority figures in schools last week. I’ve noticed them ever since it took a supreme court to decide that strip searching that kid over ibuprofen was not ok. I’ve been meaning to write about them all week, but they kept getting pushed back.
Our first prick is principal Steve Vampran of Maurepas High School. He said that kids in the school could swap out their school uniform shirts for Saints colours in support of the New Orleans Saints before the super Bowl. Brandon Frost thought that meant that he could support the opposing team if he so chose. So he wore a Colts Jersey, and was swiftly dragged out of class and ordered to change or go home. The principal went so far as to say “If you like Indiana so much, why don’t you go back?”
Excuse me? Excuse…me? Thankfully, after the ACLU got involved, and the story hit national news, the principal had to admit he overreacted and apologize to Frost. What I didn’t like was that Frost had to apologize too for not checking with him first about wearing the Colts jersey. Frost has nothing to apologize for, and he probably did it as a gesture of good will, but I don’t think he should have had to.
Next up are police and school officials for the way they treated Alexa Gonzalez. She got dragged from school in handcuffs for, *gasp*, doodling on her desk. Whatever happened to “stay after school and scrub the desks”? I’d hate to be a kid in this school district. It sounds like this is the third kid to get cuffed and taken downtown for doodling, and a five-year-old boy was cuffed and taken to the psych ward for throwing a fit in kindergarten. The psych ward? Are you for real?
And finally, we have school principal Evelyn Mastroianni who apparently works in the same area as our young doodler lives. Nine-year-old Patrick Timoney and a friend were playing with lego figures, and Timoney pulled out a two-inch toy lego gun and slipped it into the hands of a toy policeman. His dad is a retired cop, so he likes that figure. Bang bang boom, he’s being dragged into Mastroianni’s office and being made to sign a statement saying he had a gun at school. After Timoney’s parents, along with others, got angry, the principal agreed not to discipline the kid. But the kid’s already been scared, and wanted to stay home from school the next day because he was afraid of the principal. Mom is thinking about suing. Maybe she should.
And this is what our kids are growing up in today. This is the place where they’re getting their education and learning lessons about fairness and life. This is the system that is shaping our future.