Saturday, November 24, 2007

Being Able to Tie a Noose: Not Really a Crime for an Eagle Scout

Wow, political correctness gone wild in the holiday season and it's not even about Santa Claus or anything. Amazing!

Travis Grigsby isn't an Eagle Scout, but he's close, according to his mother Kim. Naturally he knows how to tie a ton of different knots. And he's in the band. So when some kids on the drum line started talking about the best knots to use to tie up the drum equipment, it doesn't seem racist that one might ask if someone knew how to tie a noose.

In fact, Travis said he did but that he wouldn't because he could get in trouble for that. So, he knew about possible consequences and refused. Consequences! That's refreshing, actually.

Later, however, an African-American student on the drum line told the teacher he was offended. Apparently there's been some racial tension in the band at Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri.

Now, I might understand that if they were making racial comments, but in this case? This doesn't seem to be a "Jena Six" case, and seems overly sensitive. The school's response: a 10-day suspension for Travis and his friend Alex Coday, with the charge of "having a racially charged conversation about nooses."

Travis and Alex insist this was not the case, and the suspension was reduced to five days. But still, assuming the boys are telling the truth (and Travis' mother said the boys didn't get a chance to tell their side), is this political correctness gone wild again?


Anonymous said...

What's next, book burning, with the Scout manual first on the fire? What idiots! No wonder the great apes are throwing things at "humans"

Steven Ashley said...

As a parent in the Lees Summit District it is inconceivable to me that our children have to watch their conversations so closely that using the word "Noose" is grounds for a 2 week suspension. What other words are out there that carry similar penalties.

A two week suspension carries serious consequences to any student trying their best to qualify for scholarships or to just get accepted into a good college, that said, shouldn't the School District publish which words carry such stiff penalties in advance so that both students and parents are aware of them.

That of course will never happen, because the Lee's Summit School District wants to maintain the illusion that their schools are places of learning where differing opinions are openly discussed for the purpose of educating our children. In such an environment a list of words that bring a 2 week suspension for their mere mention in conversation could not exist, as the freedom of speech is essential to a quality learning environment.

And it frustrates me to no end that the school administrators hide behind their blanket policies, this time, "We cannot comment because of privacy issues". I personally experienced these outlandish blanket policies when I had a conversation with a school administrator at Lee's Summit North. I found what she was telling me was so outrageous that I felt the need to get it down on tape.

When I told her I wanted to tape what she was telling me, she said they could not allow me to because she didn't want a record of the conversation. But for the record, the Lee's Summit North School Administrator told me, is that in student disputes, there is no such thing as an innocent party.

This incident boils down to a single word, "FEAR". After the wide spread "Jena 6" news coverage where there was a nationwide outcry about a noose being hung in a tree, the Lee's Summit School District is afraid of being perceived as racist if they ignore this use of the word "Noose" in the boy's benign conversation. Remember, in student disputes, the School Administrators don't believe there are any innocent parties.

In this case, the school district is more afraid of the legal consequences of not acting than the effect of their actions on these unfortunate students.

What are the limits of Political Correctness? As a high school student, I know I found the word "Homework" offensive, I bet I'm not alone, can it be added to the district's taboo word list?