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View Diary: Update on Florida teen arrested for doing science while Black (268 comments)

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  •  Prom attendance is not some sort of right. (0+ / 0-)

    I have to take issue with this:

    That no prom. No yearbook. No walking with her friends at graduation, and quite possibly no university is an acceptable consequence for an accidental experiment.
    Again, I think that the school went WAY overboard in its reaction to this incident; furthermore, there no reason for this girl to face criminal charges.

    Having said that, however, there's no reason that "social probation" (e.g. a prohibition on extracurricular activities like prom) cannot be a completely reasonable disciplinary measure.  She knowingly broke school rules, and--despite the fact that no one was injured--put her fellow students at risk by bringing that stuff to school.  SOME formal consequences should be expected.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 09:33:47 AM PDT

    •  I'm curious... (13+ / 0-)

      Why is it so important to you that she be punished?
      Why not schedule a meeting with her family and someone from the school and use this incident to nudge her back to what seems like a promising young adulthood?

      And why would you want to deny her a chance to go to the prom?
      That's mean-spirited and odd.

      •  Two anwers - safety and rules (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical, Rick Aucoin

        Most of the folks arguing for little (or no) punishment in this case seem to see this as a "little thing," or that "no one was hurt."

        That isn't the criterion.  If a kid brings a gun to school, are we all going to say, "well, no one was hurt, so no big deal"?  (Yes, I know that some here would say that, but I suspect that many would not.)

        Her action was in direct violation of school rules (my kids' school has similar prohibitions in its Code of Conduct, of which we received printed copies each year), and she put other students at risk just by bringing the stuff to school.  Her unsupervised, unapproved 'experiment' could have resulted in injuries to other students; the ignition of hydrogen gas could have started a fire as well.

        Hey, a kid in Portland did the exact same thing--brought chemicals to school and mixed them in a bottle--except HIS chemicals were ammonia and chlorine bleach, and six people wound up in the hospital.  (Hint to readers: DON'T MIX BLEACH WITH ANYTHING CONTAININS AMMONIA OR AMMONIUM COMPOUNDS - we're talking about a possibility of permanent lung damage as a result.)  Do we really want school administrators to make student safety decisions (or disciplinary decisions) with a "no harm, no foul" approach?

        Finally, some punishment is in order simply to teach the lesson that you can't just ignore the rules when it suits your purposes.  Isn't that part of "growing up" as well?  Personally, I don't care if it's a brief in-school suspension, service within the school (peer tutoring, if she's a strong student, perhaps?), or whatever - but the idea of just allowing students to walk away from explicitly and intentionally breaking the rules is NOT the way to go.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:35:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Strawman... (5+ / 0-)

          you keep arguing against imaginary people who want to "let it slide". The school isn't suspending her the school is expelling her beyond that she is being charged as an adult with a felony. No one, not one person is advocating that the student be allowed to walk away.

          This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

          by Tonedevil on Fri May 10, 2013 at 10:43:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  diary doesn't even say that. even lists (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, LSophia, SilentBrook, fuzzyguy

            consequences.

          •  Diarist recommends detention and a research paper (0+ / 0-)

            No way he is going to let it slide.

          •  Go read the comments... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rick Aucoin

            The diarist suggests nothing more than detention and extra homework.

            The comments have suggested:

            * Just tell her 'don't do that again'
            * Not even suspension
            * "Three days' suspension for...doing a science experiment that didn't hurt anyone?"
            * "a slap on the wrist....detention maybe"
            * "it is criminal to punish this young woman beyond your recommended detention and research paper"
            * "Maybe an hour cleaning glassware to make it up to the teacher, followed by an offer to supervise her next experiment."
            * "Writing a paper would be an eminently appropriate consequence for this action."

            I'd say that "oh, spend an hour washing glassware" or "just write a paper" or "not even suspension/detention" are pretty darned close to "just walk away."

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 12:05:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You suggest detention, (0+ / 0-)

              I mean in-school suspension, what more do you want done to her?

              This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

              by Tonedevil on Fri May 10, 2013 at 12:13:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nothing! (0+ / 0-)

                I'd say that, from what we know of the matter, an in-school suspension would be completely appropriate.  (Yes, I signed the change.org petition...)

                I take exception when other disciplinary measures are discounted.  For instance, the diarist suggested that "no prom" was a life-changing event on a par with expulsion.   Such a penalty can be a good deterrent, as part of the graduated discipline we desperately need to see replace 'zero-tolerance' nonsense, and I don't think it productive to throw them all in the same bucket.

                I'll shut up now.

                The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

                by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 12:20:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I suppose... (0+ / 0-)

              the inclusion of * Not even suspension proves my blanket statement that no one is arguing against some punishment to be incorrect. So there's that.

              This makes about as much sense as Mike Huckabee on mescaline. - Prodigal 2-6-2008

              by Tonedevil on Fri May 10, 2013 at 12:20:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Every one of your hypotheticals is (4+ / 0-)

          nonsense.  She didn't bring a gun to school.  What she did bring -- a mixture of chemicals that go "pop" with a puff of smoke and which could hypothetically cause burns if they were to spatter on her or anyone else -- wasn't even brought to "school" as such, but rather to empty school grounds.

          She didn't put anyone else at risk because she deliberately -- and you can question whether her caution was for her own sake or that of other people, but nevertheless she was cautious -- kept it away from everyone else.  She also used far smaller amounts of everything than you see on those internet videos, and in a safe container.  She could hypothetically have hurt herself, though she didn't, but its' dishonest to talk about the possibility of her hurting someone else as if that were an expected potential consequence of her actions, because it wasn't!

          Finally, you of course use these exaggerated and dishonest comparisons and hypotheticals to make your point that she should expect punishment, a point against which nobody is even particularly arguing.  The diary is about the severity of the punishment that was actually chosen -- if you have no beef with that I fail to see the point of your comments at all.

        •  No one is arguing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil, SilentBrook

          against some sort of punishment.  In the original diary, I suggested that a few days suspension (preferably in-school), coupled with having to write a research paper about the dangerous nature of explosives would be a far more suitable punishment than expulsion and felony charges.

          What people are arguing against is this massive overkill.

    •  Seriously? (8+ / 0-)

      A long list of things that this girl will be unjustly denied if she's expelled, and the one you latch onto is prom?

      •  Yes - and with good reason. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rick Aucoin

        Both the diarist and many of the commenters seem to think that nothing more than "extra homework" is a suitable disciplinary measure for an explicit, premeditated and intentional violation of school rules.  I don't think that we should handwave away such actions just because "no one got hurt."

        Second, school discipline NEEDS to be a graduated process.  Think about it; if we want them to make distinctions among individual cases, then we pretty much have to give them the ability to make distinctions among disciplinary measures as well.  Our public high school has 5 levels of formal school discipline, and the various rules are tied to specific minimum and maximum discipline levels.  This allows the school a fairly wide latitude in administering discipline on a case-by-case basis.  (For the record, there is only one offense that goes straight to level 5 expulsion--a bomb threat--and even that requires approval of the principal, the district superintendent and the full Board of Education.)  The all-or-nothing approach suggested by many in this discussion is what leads directly to the "zero tolerance" policie we claim to oppose, because it doesn't give school administrators ANY room in which to maneuver.

        Third, "social probation" (if I may call it that) can be an effective deterrent.   At our high school, that means no participation in extracurricular activities, which covers everything from athletic events, team practices, and the like to homecoming parades, school dances and, yes, prom.  Basically, it's the school's equivalent of being grounded.  Does it work?  Well, our school district was (unsuccessfully) sued, just a year or two ago, by parents whose kids had been convicted on criminal charges and diverted to the alternative school - because they wouldn't get to attend the HS prom or walk the aisle at HS graduation.  Sounds like a good deterrent to me...

        Apparently, the diarist seems to think that missing prom is a life-changing event, on a par with being expelled - which illustrates just how silly the all-or-nothing approach can be.  If you want the schools to evaluate such things on a case-by-case basis, you have to give them case-by-case disciplinary measures to employ in response.

        So, yeah, I take exception to the notion that students who intentionally and explicitly violate school safety rules--and she KNEW it was against the rules--should be allowed to just walk away with a little extra homework.  There is such a thing as being held responsible for one's actions - and aren't we supposed to be teaching that?

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 11:07:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who are you even arguing with? (7+ / 0-)

          Nobody in this thread is saying she should get away with no consequences.  Nobody in this thread is advocating an all-or-nothing approach.

          You're saying "oh come on, being denied going to prom isn't that big a deal and is in fact a suitable punishment for the offense," as though anyone had brought it up as a sole punishment.  The diarist listed "no prom" not as on a par with being expelled, but as one of the many, many losses that would come along with being expelled.  Along with "quite possibly no university."

          •  Just a different perspective, I guess... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Batya the Toon, Rick Aucoin

            For the record, there have been more than a few comments, especially in the original diary, that argued for no punishment at all.

            It also jumped out at me because those particular things--"no prom," "no graduation ceremony"--are part of our district's graduated disciplinary policy.  (We don't have zero-tolerance stuff)

            We're in violent agreement on the key point--that criminal charges and expulsion are absurd--so I'll shut up now.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Fri May 10, 2013 at 12:23:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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