Thought Number One: What IS the REAL story??
At first glance, the story out of Loveland, CO would have us all shaking our heads thinking it is a case of gross overreaction to harmless school yard play. As new facts emerge, however, there seems to be some confusion what exactly happened.
Initially, Mandie Watkins, a mother of a second grader, Alex Watkins, said she received a phone call from the principle of Mary Blair Elementary saying that her son had received a suspension for throwing an IMAGINARY grenade on the playground. According to Alex he did throw the make-believe grenade to "save the world" and he included the sound effects of psssshhh. As you might imagine, with the release of that story...Moms were losing their minds. (not just moms for that matter, Kiddo #2 AKA my son called with his comments as well.) WHAT the WHAT...we are talking IMAGINARY grenade, right?
The story spread through the media with the speed akin to a lighted fuse that was laced with an accelerant. The personnel of Mary Blair, however, said they were unable to comment due to privacy issues. The pesky rules that come with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act were causing the school to remain "mum" on the subject.
Now after nearly two weeks of having the media and the general population bombarding them with "What the Hell is wrong with you people?", the school district is making limited statements. A statement was sent to the Coloradoan stating that Alex was taken to the principle's office after the alleged actions. (there seems to now be varying accounts as to what those actions were) but he wasn't ever removed from the school grounds.
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So now the story takes another change. He did get a suspension but for what?? In yet another meeting the school says he was seen throwing rocks. Mandie Watkins claims that the school changed it's story because of the negative public reaction. She is adamant that the only thing her son threw was an imaginary grenade.
BUT WAIT...not so fast.....Channel 7 News ran a story with an indepth analysis pertaining to the fact that Alex's mom has a rather extensive criminal history. She has been convicted of several felonies, charged with others and pleaded no contest to a couple more. The news report asks the question " is Mrs. Watkin's version credible?"
For her part, Mrs. Watkins says that she would be glad to discuss her past mistakes but she isn't lying about this.She says she was clearly told her son was suspended for the IMAGINARY grenade launch...ppppsssshhhh. She has removed her children from the school and has asked for changes in the Absolutes. She and others believe the wording of the rules inhibit imagination and creativity.
|YES, Crabby realizes there isn't camphor in moth balls sold in the U.S. anymore but she has her sources.|
Thought Number Two: No matter who did what, said what,....should there be rules that make imaginary play an offense that could lead to suspension or expulsion???
One of the other aspects of this particular story, deals with Colorado's laws that deal with zero-tolerance. After the Columbine shooting many schools enacted very strict, zero-tolerance rules. However, last year Senate Bill 12-45 was passed. The bill which is known as Smart School Discipline Act, requires school districts to implement "proportionate" discipline in addition prevention strategies, counseling, restorative justice and peer mentoring programs.
The idea behind the bill was to reduce the number of unnecessary suspensions. Following the bill's guidelines the schools are supposed to consider the child's age, whether they have a disability, their disciplinary history, the seriousness of the violation, other punishment options, and whether the action threatened the safety of another student or teacher.
The Thompson School District which the district that Mary Blair Elementary is part of believes the Absolutes are in compliance with Bill 12-45.
Thought Number 2.5....What is the real story behind any news release? After all the dramatizing, sensationalizing, pandering to the public's desire for exciting stories... how newsworthy is the news? How often are the initial news releases full of misinformation?
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