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3rd Circuit: N.J. school can punish boy for playtime threat(zero tolerance MEGA barf alert)
freedom forum ^ | 6.23.03 | associated press

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 judge’s decision last year that dismissed a lawsuit filed by the boy’s 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, “I’m 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 son’s free-speech and due-process rights had been violated. They sought unspecified damages and asked that the suspension be removed from their son’s 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 “society’s countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior.”

Sayreville’s 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 district’s 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 group’s 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 son’s suspension.

“This was overreaction and over-punishment,” Whitehead said. “It’s 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.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: 3rd; against; board; boy; can; circuit; corrupt; education; for; nj; playtime; punish; school; threat; tolerance; war; zero; zerotolerance
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To: baseballfanjm
his kid=this kid. Oh yes, that post was sarcastic if you didn't get it the first time 'round. You never know what people will take seriously.
41 posted on 06/23/2003 3:29:59 PM PDT by baseballfanjm
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To: OldFriend
And doubts left that the courts in NJ are out of their minds

This was a U.S. Court of Appeals, not a New Jersey court.

42 posted on 06/23/2003 3:31:57 PM PDT by Sandy
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To: Numbers Guy


43 posted on 06/23/2003 3:34:54 PM PDT by Sandy
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To: longtermmemmory
If I had a child in that school system and I found out that he/she squealed on those kids, I'd smack him/her into next week.
44 posted on 06/23/2003 4:16:12 PM PDT by ladylib
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To: gwmoore
The problem is that one can't move away from this PC crap.

Yes you can.

It's called withdrawing the kids from the POS system (that would be "Public Operated Schools" system...) and homeschooling them.

45 posted on 06/23/2003 4:43:45 PM PDT by Luke Skyfreeper
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To: MineralMan
PC is making it impossible for kids to pretend to be a cowboy or cowgirl shooting the bad guys with our handy dandy six gun, or cops v. robbers. No wonder H'weirdo makes few westerns.
46 posted on 06/23/2003 4:47:51 PM PDT by lilylangtree
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To: freepatriot32
I'm glad I escaped a lot of this BS when I was in grade school.
47 posted on 06/23/2003 5:56:51 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("Say Hey! Hey! Damn Yankee!")
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To: MineralMan
Do not threaten what you are not willing to carry out. That's what my Dad taught me.

Your Dad sounds like a very wise man.
My father taught me the same thing.
I had my own 20 gauge shotgun and 13 shot .22 pump rifle at the age of 12 and have never shot anything I did not mean to shoot.

48 posted on 06/23/2003 6:04:09 PM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: OldFriend
"And doubts left that the courts people in NJ are out of their minds........."

Any doubt that based on who their Senators and other politicians are, that that state belongs more in Canada than the U.S.?
49 posted on 06/23/2003 7:26:14 PM PDT by Beck_isright (When Senator Byrd landed on an aircraft carrier, the blacks were forced below shoveling coal...)
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To: freepatriot32
zero tolerance = zero responsibility = zero brains
50 posted on 06/23/2003 7:38:06 PM PDT by Just another Joe (FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: freepatriot32
“I’m going to shoot you.”

Where does a kid come up with such things? Movies, TV, Parents? He got it from somewhere. If I were his parents, I'd be a little concerned about it.
51 posted on 06/23/2003 7:44:35 PM PDT by rs79bm (Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence)
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To: phasma proeliator
Did you by chance have the G.I. Joe assault rifle with the grenade launcher? The best.

It's actually pretty tough to find your son a good toy gun. We finally found one this year on a marine base. Before that he used pastel water guns, sticks, lincoln logs, pencils watever.

Did you hear Annapolis, MD is attempting to outlaw toy guns? What idiocy. The police have already said they won't comply.
52 posted on 06/23/2003 9:43:25 PM PDT by lizma
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To: gwmoore
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.

Separation of School and State. End compulsory education, government certification of teachers - all of it.

53 posted on 06/23/2003 10:17:34 PM PDT by secretagent
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To: secretagent
Darn right. Best idea I have heard in a long time.

Thanks much


54 posted on 06/23/2003 10:25:49 PM PDT by gwmoore (As the Russian manual for the Nagant Revolver states: "Target Practice: "at the deserter, FIRE")
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To: freepatriot32
Maybe idiot judges and school officials should read this article:
55 posted on 06/24/2003 5:36:08 AM PDT by ladylib
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To: Sonny M
We shouldn't be surprised when many in the schools are commie bastards who won't even keep score during PE for fear of hurting some kid's feelings.
56 posted on 06/24/2003 6:09:00 AM PDT by ohioman
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To: Dan from Michigan
I'm glad I escaped a lot of this BS when I was in grade school.

Yep. I frequently ooze jealousy when I see all the goodies that the young ones have today (internet, motorized Big Wheels, more discretionary spending dollars than we could ever have dreamed of, power over teachers, hitting adolesence during a time of exceedingly casual sexual contact, etc), but things like this remind me of just how good we had it.

Give me a tennis ball and a curb, and I could make 15 games to spend entire afternoons perfecting. I could go anywhere, show up at anyone's door and get invited inside, I could say anything that wouldn't get my Dad's belt off of his waist, I could enjoy youth without focusing on adult relations, I could pretend-shoot the enemy in a game and not be sanctioned, I could shoot a BB gun in my yard, I could open a lemonade stand and not get harassed by policemen, I could Trick-or-Treat door-to-door for a MILE in every direction, and I could spend HOURS outside just looking around (nowadays, most kids aren't outside for more than 1 hour straight on any given WEEK!)

In short, we wuz free. Now we are wards of the Nanny-state... and that beast's appetites are showing no signs of ever slowing their increasing size.

57 posted on 06/24/2003 9:48:22 AM PDT by Teacher317
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To: freepatriot32; Blue Jays; Calpernia; Freemeorkillme; dbwz; Huck; Leto
Posted Here
58 posted on 06/24/2003 9:22:56 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight and gave an innate predisposition for self-preservation and protection)
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