‘Zero tolerance’ idiocy is harming education

Steve Watson
April 11, 2014

Students at a public high school in Los Angeles are campaigning for Unified School District officials to reinstate a popular teacher after he was suspended when two of his students submitted science projects that administrators said resembled guns.

The LA Times reports that Greg Schiller, was sentence to “teacher jail” (with pay) in February from the Grand Arts High School for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons,” according to administrators.

As part of a science fair, one student created an “air cannon” that was capable of propelling small objects, while another put together an electromagnetic battery powered “coil gun”. The former was designed to be operated using air pressure. However, no source of air pressure was ever connected to the device, so it could not have been “fired”.

The device was reportedly similar to one that fired marshmallows in 2012 as part of a White House Science Fair. The horror. When administrators investigated, they impounded the device as “evidence,” and also confiscated the “coil gun”.

Mr Schiller was removed from his position after a school employee saw the air pressure project and told officials that it looked like a scary weapon. Schiller himself says that he never saw the completed project and had only seen blueprints and photos.

“As far as we can tell, he’s being punished for teaching science,” said Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.

Students and parents have taken to social media to organise a rally and a petition to get Schiller back into the classroom.

“The class is now essentially a free period,” Advanced Placement psychology student Liana Kleinman told reporters. “The sub does not have a psych background and can’t help us with the work.”

Schiller himself, who says he has not received an official explanation for his suspension, has warned that his students are suffering from the knee jerk reaction by administrators. “This is really hurting my students more than anything else,” he said. “I would never do anything to set up a situation where a student could be harmed.”

This is another example of ludicrous ‘zero telerance’ policy in action. In schools around the country, students continue to be suspended for doing anything that can be remotely related to weapons, including pointing fingers like a gun, using a pencil to imitate a gun, or even biting food into a gun-like shape. Legislation to prevent such over the top reactions has been gaining ground in several states.


Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, andPrisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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