Skip to comments.3rd Circuit: N.J. school can punish boy for playtime threat(zero tolerance MEGA barf alert)
Posted on 06/23/2003 12:37:05 PM PDT by freepatriot32
SAYREVILLE, N.J. The Sayreville school district did not violate the rights of a kindergartner it suspended three years ago for threatening to shoot his friends as they played a game during recess, a federal appeals court ruled.
The June 19 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal judges decision last year that dismissed a lawsuit filed by the boys parents.
Scot and Cassandra Garrick sued the Middlesex County school district after their son and three other students were suspended following the March 15, 2000, incident in which their child told his friends, Im going to shoot you.
The children were playing at the time, pretending their fingers were guns and saying to one another, I want to shoot you, the Home News Tribune of East Brunswick reported. Their words were overheard by classmates, who told teachers.
The Garricks were the only parents to bring civil action against the district, claiming their sons free-speech and due-process rights had been violated. They sought unspecified damages and asked that the suspension be removed from their sons school record. The child was enrolled in private school following the incident.
Students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate, the court said. But, the panel said, there has to be a balance between the freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in the classroom and societys countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior.
Sayrevilles superintendent of schools, Dennis Fyffe, termed the federal appeals court ruling a very nice victory for the district.
Fyffe said the four boys were suspended under the districts zero-tolerance policy.
These students were suspended under the school policy that deals with general school behavior, Fyffe told the newspaper. This was not cops and robbers.
Nisha Mohammed, a spokeswoman for the Rutherford Institute, the Virginia-based nonprofit group that is representing the Garricks, said the parents were outraged by the ruling and are determined to appeal.
The groups founder, John Whitehead, said parental notification could become a central issue on appeal since the Garricks were not notified and therefore could not attend the hearing that led to their sons suspension.
This was overreaction and over-punishment, Whitehead said. Its part of the zero-tolerance mentality of no questions asked and you just throw (students) out.
Court records show that school principal Georgia Baumann, who was named in the civil suit, did attempt to contact parents before holding the hearing.
There is no need to delay between the time the notice is given and the time of the hearing, court papers say.
The fact that the boys admitted to the principal that they were playing guns, fulfilled the requirements of due process which can be satisfied in a case like this by informal procedure, the court ruled.
I hate to break this to you, but yea. Most schools have effectivley banned that game, and many more have banned games that involve other forms of competition.
Of course, if he had said,"I'm going to fu** you up the a**." it would have been OK because that's a "socially acceptable lifestyle" comment...
My wife, who happens to work for the justice system, now tells me that overworked District Justices now have to dispense jurisprudence in such inane things as "Smoking Court" (yep, smoke a damn cigarette, go to court) "Fighting Court" (a real good name if I ever saw one, and this is actually for the fighting that DOESNT happen in court) and when all else is left, "Zero Tolerance" court (anything left out of the first two.) Sounds a bit like The Gulag Archipelago doesn't it????
We have become such a wimped out, hand wringing bunch of nothing that these "Zero Tolerance" laws get passed faster and faster, simply because previous "Zero Tolerance" laws have created a condition equivalent to caging wild animals in small cage, and letting them pace aimlessly in circles 24/7 until something snaps, violence occurs, creating an immediate need for further "Zero Tolerance" laws. Self perpetuating insanity, pure and simple, with a real hefty dose of Communism/Leftism/Liberalism mixed in, dosed with heavy amounts of Ritalin, and stirred with the shrill rhetoric of the anti-self defense bunch. Parents are not allowed to discipline their children any more, and the kids damn well know it... parents have been sent to jail for spanking their obstreperous youngster, as a matter of fact, in a lot of this "Zero tolerance" s**t, parents have been sent to jail for the actions of their children, and the children have simply been released, scot free, to do whatever the hell kids do nowadays when the parents aren't around. Great justice Huh?
I wish I knew what the answer was. First, repeal all the "Zero Tolerance" laws and let kids socialize the way they have for all eternity, by interaction with other kids. Those who do sure don't pile up a bunch of inner hostility because they are arbitrarily restrained from harmless activity. Second, the NEA has got to be broken, and broken well, so we don't have the proverbial 800 lb (Demoncratic/Communist/Leftist/Liberal) gorilla basically running all the educational process. Third, we have to restore some legitimacy to parental dicipline, and not make criminals out of parents who have a hard enough time trying to "tame" their youngsters, who have been caged and forbidden enough to make crazed the most docile being.
Can we do this without universal homeschooling, which in today's economic conditions is not really feasable? I don't know, but there has to be a fundamental shift in education, to remove the insidious slide of the last 35 years (note, I set the "watershed" year for the start of the nonsense as '68, which would be basically, the first year Colleges and Universities graduated a "counterculture" class, the year of the 2nd original sin, the GCA'68, and the height of the looting, burning, and insanity which damn near burned the heart out of this Republic. (Note: I feel fortunate that I was able to "witness this from outside, as I spent that particular period of my life serving in the military, and only found out the real truth much later, after my return home).
At any rate, the insanity will simply continue to get worse, unless immediate measures are taken to stop this silly PC crap in the bud. I realize NJ is a liberal infested state, of the first water, but then so is much of the Northeast, and I see no real movement down the sane and correct path as long as the people get their "bread and circuses" (Zero Tolerance). It is just too simple to pass blame off on others when the laws enable same, and most parents just don't give a damn what their kids do, or don't do any more. What is seen coming into the justice system earlier and earlier, proves this point, and the untenability of the hopeless "Zero Tolerance" escalation.
Keep the Faith For Freedom & GOD BLESS AMERICA.
I'm with you. I shot imaginary guns at all sorts of people, threw imaginary grenades into the classrooms of teachers that drove me crazy, and (only in grade school) stole kisses from cute girls.
I guess that means I'm violent, a warmonger, and a sexual predator. Sheesh.