Over-reaching teachers?

April 26, 2013 

I don’t know what Jared Marcum did in the cafeteria, what kind of language he used or if he was threatening at all to the local police.

What we do know, though, is that we have (again) lost our PC minds.

Marcum is the 14-year-old, eighth grade student out of West Virginia that was recently arrested and suspended for a day from school for wearing a T-shirt with a hunting rifle that promoted the National Rifle Association.

Keep in mind that none of this is technically “banned” or otherwise seen as offensive to the school district he attends in Logan County.

Marcum came to school in the shirt and coasted through lunch with it on without anyone calling it into question.

But when a teacher spotted it, according to news reports, it all unraveled.

Marcum was hauled off, and the local police chief said he nearly caused a riot in the process. The 14-year-old was arrested for causing a disturbance. He refused to remove the shirt or turn it inside out.

This ludicrous moment is only one of many following a pattern nation-wide of over-reaction regarding guns in schools.

Here are a few examples in the news recently:

In Michigan, a third-graders’ batch of cupcakes was seized because they had toy soldiers on top of them.

In Illinois, an eighth-grader was nearly suspended for wearing a shirt that had interlocking rifles – the symbol of the United States Marine Corps.

And at an Arizona high school, a freshman was suspended – a punishment that was reversed – when a teacher spotted that he had changed the desktop computer background image to one of a gun.

There are many more examples of PC madness, but hopefully the point here is clear.

Holding students accountable for “insensitive” behavior is a slippery slope and one that is hard to justify and even more difficult to equally monitor.

What is tactless or thoughtless to one teacher (Marcum’s T-shirt for example) may be no big deal to many others (all the other teachers and students he encountered that day).

Please don’t mistake this call to be sensible as an endorsement of the NRA or that of all guns or gun laws. Making that leap is unfair too.

Honestly, I don’t like the high-capacity magazines.

But squashing this type of free speech and taking these measures seems like a waste of good resources.

By the way, Marcum returned from his suspension wearing the same shirt. And other students wore a similar shirt, too.

Which is all further proof that if you are going to enact silly rules on kids, they will most certainly throw your absurdity back at you.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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