There’s a good reason for the maxim, stercus accidit. Despite best efforts, careful preparation and thoughtfulness, sometimes something undesired, unanticipated occurs. And the honorable thing to do is to come clean, acknowledge that it happened and follow the rules. And for being honorable, for having no improper intent, for doing absolutely, positively nothing wrong, yet honoring he compact, you will be thanked, appreciated and, in a perfect world, get a balloon or some similar reward, right?
Not in Buford, Georgia. Via 11 Alive (not the dead one, but the living one):
Thirteen-year-old Jack Persyn was at chess club before the start of classes at Lanier Middle School in Gwinnett County when he discovered an inch-and-a-half long knife in a bag he brought to school. The military style bag was given to him as a Christmas gift from his aunt, who bought it at a yard sale.
The disciplinary report written by administrators at Lanier Middle states that the 8th grader “accidentally” brought the knife to school and that he “immediately self-reported” the weapon to his teacher.
Still, Jack was punished with four days of in-school suspension.
It’s always the quiet ones in the chess club. But it’s not like Jack wasn’t “rewarded” for his honesty, coming forward to tell his teacher that he found a tiny pen knife in the bag he was given for Christmas.
Several years ago, the Gwinnett School System altered its policy to allow consideration of self-reporting. Prior to that, cases such as this one would result in a minimum 10-day out-of-school suspension.
That’s six days saved by self-reporting. Kinda warms your heart to know how much the school appreciates its students doing the right thing.
So is this yet another example of the mindlessness of schools adopting a “zero tolerance” policy toward weapons, the sort of policy designed to thrill grocery clerks at the expense of anything remotely resembling reason? Absolutely not, the school proudly proclaims.
The Gwinnett School System insists their policy on weapons in school is not zero tolerance, yet a school spokesperson said any student found to have a weapon at school will face punishment even when a student self-reports accidently having that weapon.
“We can’t ignore the fact that there is a weapon on campus somewhere that someone can use,” said system spokesperson Jorge Quintana. “This is obviously to keep the safety of our students in our schools.”
“Obviously,” a student who accidentally brings a tiny pen knife to school, through no fault of his own, and immediately gives it up, tells his teacher, must be punished for the safety of the students. Obviously.
Of course, schools are all about teaching children important lessons, and what happened here most assuredly taught Jack some big ones. Never, but never, trust your teacher or school officials. Never give yourself up. Never admit to anything, even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Never expect life to be fair or to be rewarded for honesty.
The only surprise here is that the school administrators haven’t applauded their diligence and efficacy for finally teaching a student critical life lessons, that they aren’t to be trusted with the care of students. If they had given this greater thought, and figured out how to turn this absurdity around and take credit for teaching Jack a thing or two about how to deal with grocery clerks and school administrators, they could throw a party and give themselves balloons for a job well done.
H/T Radley Balko