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Students Banned From Bringing Pencils To School

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the watch-how-you-play dept.

Education 426

mernilio writes "According to UPI: 'A Massachusetts school district superintendent said a memo banning sixth graders from carrying pencils was written without district approval. North Brookfield School District interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy said Wendy Scott, one of two sixth-grade teachers at North Brookfield Elementary School, did not get approval from administrators before sending the memo to all sixth-grade parents, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday. The memo said students would no longer be allowed to bring writing implements to school. It said pencils would be provided for students in class and any students caught with pencils or pens after Nov. 15 would face disciplinary action for having materials 'to build weapons.'"

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Fear mongering 101 (4, Insightful)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330644)

Sure why not when I could just break a chair leg off and bludgeon someone.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (3, Interesting)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330692)

I'm not sure a sixth-grader has the arm strength required for such a feat. What I'm curious about though, is why the teacher felt this memo was necessary in the first place; TFA doesn't mention this.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330768)

I'm not sure a sixth-grader has the arm strength required for such a feat.

I managed to break/take apart just about anything at that age (and still do). Don't underestimate them.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (3, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330862)

I was able to completely dismantle a cot while still being young enough to actually sleep in it.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (4, Interesting)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331002)

What I'm curious about though, is why the teacher felt this memo was necessary in the first place; TFA doesn't mention this.

When I was in grade school, we used to fling sharpened pencils like crossbow bolts, using several rubber bands for higher tension. It wasn't uncommon to draw blood from these toys... and there would be quite a firefight whenever the teacher turned his or her back toward the class to write on the board. So, I think that's why the summary mentions "materials to build weapons," but it's still a stupid idea to ban pencils.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (2, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331194)

We used bent over paper clips and rubber bands to see how many we could get stuck in the ceiling... and other things.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331004)

In reception class (age 5) we wrote with those thick (1cm) artists pencils.

On the first day of Year 1, age 5-and-a-bit-more, the teacher explained that since we were now big boys and girls we could write with thin pencils, and put a box on every desk. The boy opposite me took one, stood up, walked round to me, and stuck it up my nose. I remember having a bad nosebleed, but fortunately nothing worse. The boy was forced to use a thick pencil for some time.

This has nothing to do with personal pencils or sixth graders. By year 6 (10-11?) we were all writing with fountain pens anyway.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (3, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331032)

If you take apart the cheap-ass Bic mechanical pencils, use a rubber band in a slit in the eraser and then wrapped to the pencil clip, you have yourself a pocket "gun". [instructables.com]

I'm betting the teacher was tired of that.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331068)

What I'm curious about though, is why the teacher felt this memo was necessary in the first place; TFA doesn't mention this.

Isn't it obvious, they're worried about weapons. If they bring in pencils they have graphite. All they need to do is purify uranium and they can use this to moderate an atomic pile. Next thing they will have weapons-grade plutonium.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331204)


Good job at helping Teh Terrists, freedom-hater!

Re:Fear mongering 101 (0, Troll)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331280)

Teachers as a demographic of college graduates represent the lower half of the GPA pool. In short, while there are thankfully notable exceptions, they are generally the dumber of our nation's college students. I give you this article as yet another clear illustration. As Boortz has said, sending your children to a government school in the U.S. is tantamount to child abuse.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (3, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331396)

As Boortz has said, sending your children to a government school in the U.S. is tantamount to child abuse.
... and the public-educated pupils from American schools are the clever ones. Private schools in America appear to just exist to take money from parents, and store the children during the day.

A while ago I used to help out with an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class - we had American exchange students. Students who had made their way to university from state schools in the US read and wrote at about the equivalent of a UK 14- to 15-year-old. Students from a private school background were essentially retarded. They managed to read at a UK high-school level with some encouragement, and struggled to write at that level.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331358)

Heh, my wife got in trouble for sending home a similar "unauthorized memo", saying that if they felt the gang violence at school was too dangerous, they should stay home.

This was after several kids got knives and guns pulled on them by the library... and somewhat after some gangstas pulled a fire alarm to distract administration while they had a little gangwar to beat up some kids behind the school. She went to the administration first, a few days later the security guy gives the kids a self-defense seminar explaining that common objects like keys and pencils could be used to fend off attackers. That's when she and another teacher decided to send a note home. They both got disciplined for insubordination :-P Thanks to the teachers' union, though, she eventually got it taken off her permanent record...

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

i41Overlord (829913) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330978)

Whoa, you're right about that! We need to ban wooden chairs immediately. I'd glad that someone is thinking about the children. Thank you for your patriotism, citizen.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331166)

Conflict is an evil word. You need to stop using it. There is no such thing as true conflict. It is just people misunderstanding people.

Can't we all just get along.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (3, Funny)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331232)

Comment/signature synergy bonus!

Too complicated. (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331000)

Why take the trouble to break off a leg when using the whole chair is almost as effective? Even most student desks nowadays are light enough to be effective, if rather awkward, weapons.

But this is little more than the next logical step proceeding forward from a paralyzing, irrational fear of weapons and conflict.

Re:Fear mongering 101 (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331198)

You know, I remember having conversations exactly like this in sixth grade. "Anything can be a weapon! Heck, my pencil could be a weapon!"

I'm assuming the teacher overheard such a conversation, and decided to react in the classic way that only a buffoon can.

As the old saying goes: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330648)

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Re:As the old saying goes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330956)

And back when I was a kid I made some seriously cool catapults, knives, arrows, etc out of pencils. They were great building material and kept me from going insane with boring work. Course my grades showed it too... Maybe I should have paid more attention instead of building cool toy weapons.:)

Re:As the old saying goes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331062)

Sean Connery: I've got to ask you about the Penis Mightier.
Alex Trebek: What? No. No, no, that is The Pen is Mightier.
Sean Connery: Gussy it up however you want, Trebek. What matters is does it work? Will it really mighty my penis, man?
Alex Trebek: It's not a product, Mr. Connery.
Sean Connery: Because I've ordered devices like that before - wasted a pretty penny, I don't mind telling you. And if The Penis Mightier works, I'll order a dozen.
Alex Trebek: It's not a Penis Mightier, Mr. Connery. There's no such thing!
Nicholas Cage: Wait, wait, wait.. are you selling Penis Mightiers?
Alex Trebek: No! No, I'm not.

Re:As the old saying goes: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331118)

I thought the TSA would come up with this first, I hope they don't read this site...

You know... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330660)

I really thought the UK would do something like this first, but you yanks just had to one up us on paranoid didn't you?

Re:You know... (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330798)

You've never visited Nannychusetts, have you? State motto: "We're not happy until you're not happy."

Re:You know... (4, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331042)

You've never visited Nannychusetts, have you? State motto: "We're not happy until you're not happy."

As long as everybody is equally unhappy, then things are fair. What would be unfair is for certain people to be happy when others are not.

It is easier to force everyone down a level then try to give people the means to raise themselves a level.

Since people are so envious of what others have, this also gives the ones taking happiness a power base.

Re:You know... (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330844)

you guys have been doing it longer, but we're all in on this. just like we have (had) the no. 1 economy in the world, we're not gonna stop until we lead the globe in governing by fear.

Re:You know... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330876)

As far as I'm aware, most UK schools don't have metal detectors to check for guns.

Re:You know... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331022)

As far as I'm aware, most UK schools don't have metal detectors to check for guns.

Probably because British school kids would shoot you if you tried to make them go through a metal detector.

Re:You know... (1)

sifi (170630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331390)

No, but they have banned paintbrushes... [bbc.co.uk] A sad story, but really, why not wrap our kids up in cotton wool and let them do nothing?...

Wrong headline (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330664)

Maybe it's me, but isn't the proper headline "Students NOT banned from bringing pencils to school"?

After all, the district said that the teacher sent the memo without permission of the superintendent and that it did not reflect district policy. So we got an overzealous and whacked out teacher, which is certainly not news.

Re:Wrong headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330818)

Perfect example of Fark.

Re:Wrong headline (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330830)

Sure, then the district disciplines this teacher for excessive nuttery and everyone goes back to their day to day lives. Several weeks later, some kid stabs another kid with a pencil on the way to school and the victim ends up with a piece of graphite permanently lodged under his skin. Now you have someone with a PERMANENT DISFIGUREMENT because this teacher's sage warning wasn't heeded. That kid becomes a poster child for our schools' failure to keep our children safe, and before you know it we have the TSA moving in and strip-searching the kids to look for pencils before they can enter the school building. Meanwhile, the disciplined teacher goes on to a successful career as a security consultant working with the Department of Homeland Security to help prevent future attacks using graphite-based WMDs (Writing implements of Minor Disturbance). After that, it's only a matter of time before the Department of Education gets absorbed into the DHS.

All of this could have been avoided if we had just taken this warning seriously and immediately banned all sharp writing implements from schools. All pencils and pens should be replaced with nice blunt magic markers. For math classes or other times when frequent erasing is needed, they can use an Etch-a-Sketch (tm). This seems like a minor sacrifice to ensure the safety of our children.

Re:Wrong headline (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331098)

I have some graphite permanently lodged under my skin. It's been there since I was 15. In a pretty relaxed lesson someone on the other side of the room said "catch, Xaxa". I didn't catch it very well, and the over-sharpened tip hit my hand. I couldn't get the graphite out then, let alone now.

I've assumed it's not dangerous.

Re:Wrong headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331398)

I sat on a pencil when I was 10. 24 years later I still have a bluish gray spot on my butt.

Re:Wrong headline (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331150)

All pencils and pens should be replaced with nice blunt magic markers.

Have to disagree with you there. You ever smell those things? There's some sort of mind altering chemicals in those things and we don't want our kids huffing Magic Markers and getting high! Just say No to Drugs!!

For math classes or other times when frequent erasing is needed, they can use an Etch-a-Sketch (tm).

Again, I disagree. The plastic can be smashed to make sharp implements to stab other students and that powder inside can be used to cause respiratory failure in a child, which will kill him or her.

Then there's the bus ride. We all know that traffic accidents are the major cause of death among you people, so they can't be driven to school or take the bus. They'll have to stay at home.

It's unfortunate, but school is just too deadly for our children.

Will someone think of the children and close our schools!

Re:Wrong headline (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330924)

So we got an overzealous and whacked out teacher, which is certainly not news.

That is what Slashdot is all about . . . good, clean, wholesome fun for the family . . . let's get outraged at news, that isn't news!

First stab! (3, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330670)

Wew!

The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330674)

And we can't have weapons in school now can we? Actually, I am pretty sure that measure is to counter violence, but since when has "weapons control" laws ever resulted in decreased violence? Look at Japan! Sure, they have probably the most strict gun control laws of any place -- even police rarely carry guns. But does that stop murders and mayhem? Nope! It just making the killings more gruesome and painful.

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (2, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330720)

I remember some time ago when it was the rage to fold paper and shoot it at each other with rubber bands. For awhile rubber bands were considered a "regulated" item, and getting caught with a piece of rolled up paper could get you in trouble.

But ya, mental teachers here I think.

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330952)

We used to make slingshots with rubber bands and paperclips, and shoot bent staples.

It was a lot of fun until one stuck in my arm one day and all the other kids realized it was actually dangerous. I pulled it out like nothing, but nobody else wanted to play any more. -sigh-

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (1)

jlf278 (1022347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331206)

I remember some time ago when it was the rage to fold paper and shoot it at each other with rubber bands. For awhile rubber bands were considered a "regulated" item...p>

I was given a detention for possessing a rubber band when i was in 6th grade. Crazy, right? Well here's the really unbelievable part: we were allowed to have and USE pencils all the time. Talk about living in a backward society.

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331268)

"V" darts shot by rubber bands and whatever that thing was called when you twisted a loop of paper over the end of a pencil and flicked it as if you were playing "pencil break"... ah yes the memories...

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330940)

And we can't have weapons in school now can we? Actually, I am pretty sure that measure is to counter violence, but since when has "weapons control" laws ever resulted in decreased violence? Look at Japan! Sure, they have probably the most strict gun control laws of any place -- even police rarely carry guns. But does that stop murders and mayhem? Nope! It just making the killings more gruesome and painful.

Rather than the quick and painless use of firearms and weapon blades.

Drat! I just realized the parent message is a weapon control troll! Fell for it again.

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (5, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331044)

Erm, well, according to the fount of all knowledge [wikipedia.org] , Japan has a murder rate of 0.44 per 100,000, less than one tenth the rate in the US.

Still, never let facts get in the way of good old ideology, what?

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331242)

Don't forget harder. It's one thing to shoot someone and another to stab them with a knife or hit them with a tire iron.

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (1)

Inoen (590519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331298)

Look at Japan! Sure, they have probably the most strict gun control laws of any place -- even police rarely carry guns. But does that stop murders and mayhem? Nope! It just making the killings more gruesome and painful.

The statistics seem to disagree with that statement:

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita [nationmaster.com] (Japan is 3rd from the bottom)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_murder_rate [wikipedia.org] (4th from the bottom)

Re:The pen[cil] is mightier than the sword! (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331354)

It doesn't stop murder and mayhem, but it stops murder and mayhem that involves guns. Guns serve to increase violent incidences because pissed off people can end fights as quick as they need to with them, rather than resorting to (slightly) more sane things like yelling. Would you rather have someone offend you deeply, or end up in the hospital (if you're lucky) as opposed to the morgue? Every country that controls firearms has lower incidences of crime than those that don't. Have you never seen Fahrenheit 9/11?

You have got to be kidding me? (1)

xystren (522982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330680)

What is next? No steel rulers because they can be used as a knife and sword? What about paper? It can be used to give paper cuts. What about a winter scarf, it could be used as a weapon to strangle someone.

What is next? TSA screening before children enter the school? ohh, wait, that's already happened

first post?

Re:You have got to be kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330890)

Actually, they're probably trying to figure out how to ban kids from bringing fists to school.

Re:You have got to be kidding me? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331240)

Maybe we should just ban the kids from school? online instructor lead learning for all? Just think of the saving in facility costs and bussing alone (if it were done right, in reality burocrats would make it an overbudget ineffective waste of time)

Re:You have got to be kidding me? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331078)

They are probably wondering when they can chop the arms off the kids to keep them safe without making the parent protest too much.

Your title is not a question? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331246)

I'm getting all vengeful on one of my greatest pet-peeves and perennial nemeses.

Oh for chrissakes! (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330684)

That can't possibly be the whole story.

Re:Oh for chrissakes! (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331364)

Sure enough, it wasn't: http://www.telegram.com/article/20101116/NEWS/101119746 [telegram.com]

The memo explained that students would be issued a pencil for use in class that would be collected at the end of the school day.

The memo cited behavior problems and said any student found in possession of a pen or mechanical pencil after Nov. 15 would be assumed to have the implement “to build weapons,” or to have stolen it from the classroom art supply basket.

and...

“This was an attempt to by a fairly new sixth-grade teacher to make changes that were not warranted. The student who was found with an altered pen was suspended and as far as administrators were concerned, the matter was put to rest,” Mr. Noseworthy said.

So yeah, the teacher had what she believed was a genuine problem with a certain privilege, and attempted to revoke it. She was overruled. Nothing all that insane here at all...

One stupid teacher (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330688)

At least it's just a single moron teacher that's responsible for this asshatery, not the principal or the school board.

Promotion ! (3, Insightful)

burgessms (464499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330690)

A warm welcome to the future head of TSA.

Trustworthy (3, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330698)

Wendy is too uptight, one night with me she will loosen up, and she might even provide the students with switchblades.

Yeah, THIS site is a respectable, trustworthy source of news.

Ok, seriously (1)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330706)

Ok, seriously seriously. I ask this honest question: Is a big percentage of American people really stupid and paranoid like that? Students can't bring pencils to schools? What should they bring, then, their PSPs?

Re:Ok, seriously (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330730)

It's not the district, it's not the administrators, it's just one teacher who sent it off without permission. Let's not judge all Americans by a singular nutcase.

Re:Ok, seriously (1)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330802)

Probably. Excuse my slashdotness for not RTFA. But the fact that somebody even suggested it..

Re:Ok, seriously (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330872)

If only this were a singular case of nuttery in this profession.

Re:Ok, seriously (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331130)

Let's not judge all Americans by a singular nutcase.

But that's how they judge us!

I think I just died a little... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330708)

It really is time to join the "what next brigade".

What next children banned from school for having long-ish nails.

Olga (1)

swarov (1945466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330710)

Should we also cut their hands because they can hurt with them? http://myhappywindow.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Keeping Children Safe (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330722)

Pencils are certainly dangerous weapons, and books are hazardous too. I suggest a technical approach to child safety. Encase each child in a special pod that takes care of feeding and waste while connecting their minds to a central instruction program that provides enhanced virtual instruction. The excess body heat could even be recovered to provide energy to the school.

Called this one (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330724)

My school system published a no weapons policy in the early 90s. If I'd been a bit more of a troublemaker, I would have shown up one day with no books or pencils, because any of them could be used as a weapon.

It's nice to see that the bureaucracy has finally fulfilled its own stupidity.

How about a magic trick? (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330728)

"I'm going to make this pencil disappear.. TA-DA, IT'S GONE!"

Hog Tie and Gag (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330750)

Students really should be hog tied and gagged. This will stop them from using their bodies as weapons (fists, feet, teeth, sheer mass pushing another mass, etc). Also, put each child into a little divider/cubicle so none of them can give "evil glances" that might emotionally harm another student. Completely immobilize and segregate each child, no harm can be passed from one to another!

Re:Hog Tie and Gag (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331182)

That's not necessary. Just make straitjackets part of the school uniform. Let the kids show some pride with their letterman straitjacket!

The Pencil is mightier than the Sword (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330756)

But North Brookfield is too cowardly to use either

Me thinks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330762)

a teacher heard about the Pen15 club and was afraid that the students would try to start a Pencil15 club...

Cheap schools (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330778)

This is a step up. I've heard NJ schools basically make families buy everything the kids need for school. At least when I went in the 70s and 80s, they would provide us paper and art supplies; send you kid in with pencils, pens, and a trapper-keeper and you were good to go. It looks like basically the entire budget goes to paying teachers' and administrator's salaries now. They sure aren't using it to keep up the buildings, and the students have to beg for donations just to pay the bus driver to take them on a field trip to the other side of town.

Re:Cheap schools (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330794)

At least when I went in the 70s and 80s

ur old. lol

Drop that Ticongeroga number two! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330780)

Sure why not when I could just break a chair leg off and bludgeon someone.

You let your pupils sit!, in chairs?!?!? When I was a schoolboy, our classroom was in a paper bag, by the side of the road . . . etc.

Wake me when this story is confirmed as real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330782)

and I might feign outrage and fury toward our teacher overlords...

Hands now forbidden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330788)

Any student caught bringing their hands to school will have them cut off and will be expelled, as those pose a hazard to them and others.

Addressing the last threat, not the next threat (1)

You Don't Know Me (265497) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330792)

Someone gets poked with a pencil, ban pencils and so on. This sort of "generals preparing to fight the last war" problem comes from a reactive posture rather than moving to address the real problem.

If you're worried about violence in the school get a really good security professional to watch the kids as they come in. Focus on the ones who "look like trouble".

Profiling has become a bad word in the US when it should be the focus of much of the security push. Profile, focus on behavior and get ahead of the threat.

Re:Addressing the last threat, not the next threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331048)

The reason profiling got a bad name is because in a place as culturally diverse as the US the ones who "look like trouble" end up just being those who aren't from the culture the profiler hapens to come from. This is because it's very difficult to make a proper behavioral profile (requires lots of data, the expertice of statisticians and psychologists, and must be continiously updated). So what hapens is some cop who doesn't know anything about the underlying proscess just makes a judgment call based on what he/she thinks is "wierd" or "suspicious". In the past this has led to things like people being pulled over and questioned because they were black and driving a fancy car, arab men with beards being detained for questioning at airports, men with long hair and colorful clothes being searched for drugs, etc.

What's more it gives the police a level of leeway to harass whoever they choose by claiming they "fit the profile", since these profiles have to be kept fairly seceret (lest someone who knows the profile game the system) and thus the general public has no way to verify the accuracy of the officer's claim.

Re:Addressing the last threat, not the next threat (2)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331106)

The problem with profiling is that it leads to a self perpetuating loop.

Drag aside and search everyone who fits the profile of those caught trying to smuggle weapons in the most in the last 6 months.

Lets say 80 year olds grandmothers.

now 80% of the people you search are old grannies, a few of them will have weapons and a few will have what look like weapons.

so 6 months later you decide to see if your profiling has worked: IT HAS! look! see over 50% of the people caught with weapons(in this case long sharp metal spikes which they claimed were merely for making clothes, as if you could make clothes with metal spikes! Ha!) in the last 6 months were grannies! LETS PROFILE HARDER!

of course the people you don't drag aside and search might be more likely to be carrying weapons but since we're basing our choices of who to search on the number of people caught it quickly begins to spiral and you catch less and less of anyone else and more and more from the group you profile.

Airport? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330796)

Sometimes, the line between a school and an airport with a looming terror phobia is paper thin.

Weapons? (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330812)

Maybe if we didn't teach the kids to build weapons out of the pencils / pens we wouldn't have an issue.

OK, its more than 10 years ago ... (1)

Hougaard (163563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330828)

that I lived in the US, but have you completely lost your minds ? Have you become so paranoid that kids with pencils are a threat ?

Imagine, 1000 kids, each with 10-20 pencils ... OMG A weapon of mass destruction :)

Re:OK, its more than 10 years ago ... (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331312)

Yes, all sanity has been lost. I'm waiting for Emperor Palpatine to take office any day now; he will surely save us from this and provide safety to all.

Get to the root of the problem ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330838)

... and ban students from schools. But then hordes of them will be hanging out on the streets, sharpening their pencils, and finding some trouble to get themselves into . . .

Education, by idiots. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330846)

Yet another FINE example of intellectually stunted individuals being put in a position of educating our children.
And another FINE example of said intellectual amoeba eschewing proper channels, or even common sense in implementing something that's utterly pointless and only generates an aura of fear and distrust in what is, ostensibly, an educational institution.

I suppose swords are fine then ... (1)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330866)

... the pen(cil) is mightier than the sword after all.

Could work both ways there... (1)

gh0st1nth3mach1n3 (554152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330920)

Well, the parents could always turn this around on the superintendent's precedent and claim that the school board is contributing to the delinquency of minors by providing the material to make weapons in the classroom. It's all pretty silly when we start making rules around what people *might* do with something rather than what they *do* with something.

I herd the TSA offered to install body scanners (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34330962)

I herd the TSA has offered the school to install full body scanners at the gates. Apparently a class room was almost hijacked the other week by six year old terrorists carrying sticks of grey plasticine and safety scissors.

Beware! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34330982)

Weapons of Mass Education!

People love to be outraged. (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331036)

So much so that they'd rather take some dudgeon mongering website's word for what happened than to google the original sources and find out this is a non-story. Well, I don't mind being wet blanket, so I did it for you.

If you must know, a couple of sixth grade teachers got fed up with students playing with toy pens, then losing them and disrupting the class looking for them. So they decided to ban student owned writing instruments altogether, but rather than come right out and tell parents that their kids are badly behaved, they used a pen modified by one of the students to shoot spitballs as an excuse for the ban. Since using a writing instrument as a "weapon" conjures images of students stabbing each other in the eye with a pencil, that naturally garnered a lot more attention than the teachers expected. The acting superintendent stepped in, reversed the policy and wrote a memo explaining everything and suggesting everybody calm down.

But of course the story of a couple of beleaguered teachers being too timid to tell parents they'd raised a mob of brats isn't as much fun for people who like to complain about the nanny state.

when pencils are illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331082)

only outlaws will have pencils

I have wondered for years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331088)

Why pens are allowed on airplanes. Without effort, I can think of at least 6 ways to kill someone with a pen. I cannot think of any way to kill someone with a pair of nail clippers.

For the record, when I was in grade school I was twice stabbed by classmates, once with a pencil, once with a pen. Minor injuries in both cases. First incident in the 60s, second in the 70s. This is not a new concept.

Re:I have wondered for years... (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331290)

It's very simple, really. First, you give them a pedicure. Then, while they're admiring their feet, have someone bash them in the head.

Are they going be like banks and chain pens to des (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331102)

Are they going be like banks and chain pens to desk's?

whats next no forks or spoons in the lunch room?

EVEN PEOPLE IN PRISON GET PENS AND PENCILS.

I feel sorry for you, Americans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331152)

So much fear...

Built lots of pencil-based weapons (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331238)

Take a couple rulers, one with that groove in the middle and the holes. Add some braided rubber bands and a firing mechanism using the holes, and you have a quite dangerous pencil crossbow.

Fine, I don't need a stinking pencil (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331346)

Who writes in pencil in sixth grade anyway. I recommend they all bring in a pen. [ammoland.com] }B^>

D@mn, people.

--
Toro

Johnny is staying home from school today principal, he told me, "My body is a weapon."

Pointless (1)

aneroid (856995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34331352)

Apart from the fact that the idea is silly, by giving them school-issued pencils it's also pointless.

Teach? Not necessary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34331362)

Clearly you've never had a male child of your own. A boy as young as 18 months will pick up anything he can lift and beat/stab everything (person, animal, or vegetable) that he sees. It is not necessary to teach a boy to be violent; it is necessary to teach him how NOT to be.

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