Saturday, January 12, 2002

The Principals' Principles
So, the educationist bureaucrats have taken a good long look at their schools, and they've figured out what the problem is. It's all those students. Goodness knows what we could accomplish if not for them.

For instance, new Mason (Ohio) High School principal Gerald Cox thinks that every student should know the school fight song. He also plans to tighten up the dress code, make the halls one-way, and increase student parking passes from $40 to $100. (They pay to park at high school?)

Dress code violations seem to be epidemic. In Causey Middle School (Mobile, AL), during December's finals, a 13-year-old scofflaw was given an ultimatum: You're going to let us rip the rivets out of your pants pockets (the khaki corduroys were "too jeans-like"), or we're going to suspend you. So far, the administrators are hiding behind "She gave us permission to remove the rivets: We would never have done such a thing without permission." But if you buy that permission with the threat of suspension, is it freely given?

And in Hancock County, Mississippi:

The superintendent of Hancock County schools says he is prepared to strip search students to find drugs, if necessary.

"They're pretty creative about how they hide their drugs," Superintendent Mike Ladner said. "It may be in their crotch area, where we're not patting them down . . . We're dealing with criminals here."

Silly me. I thought you were dealing with children.

Ladner said he is launching an �all-out war� on drugs after a high school student overdosed on prescription sleeping pills before the Christmas holiday.

Tragic, certainly. Criminal?

But the law is with the superintendent. The Mississippi state Attorney General's office says that while police need probable cause, school officials need only have "reasonable suspicion."

He said he is prepared to have students stripped naked, if they are suspected of having drugs...

Ladner said he would strip search a student only if he was confident the student had drugs and there was a possibility that harm could be done, either to that child or to others.

But [special assistant attorney general Jeff] Klingfuss said that, by law, it need not be an emergency for a student to be searched by school officials because of the importance of schools being drug-free environments.

I'm trying to be understanding. I know that many schools have gotten into the habit of being "parental" in ways that shock me, because so many parents are afraid to say "no" to their children.

Let me put it this way: If it isn't an emergency when you strip-search my child, it will be when she comes home and tells me about it.

Just be sure. Be damned sure.

[LATER: I hope my use of the word "scofflaw" above is seen for the sarcasm it is meant to be. Are things going so well at Causey that pants pocket rivets are their biggest problem?]

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