10 Shocking Times That Schools Went Too Far
The vast majority of schools are safe and welcoming places for children, allowing them to socialize and learn in harmless environment. Usually they are governed with a degree of common sense, as children are not the most logical of people. However, with an ever increasing scrutiny on health and safety as well as a need to avoid lawsuits, some schools have introduced bizarre zero tolerance policies or downright strange ways of dealing with unruly students. These range from banning certain things from being taken into the school premises to punishing children for things they have done outside of school.
Banning Physical Contact
Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in the Canadian region of British Columbia took the unusual step in 2013 of banning any physical contact between students. They had intended for the policy to help protect the children and prevent any injuries, although parents complained that the measure was far too extreme. Any students caught taking part in unstructured play or even holding hands would face disciplinary measures such as missing recess or being sent to the principal.
Suspending Students For Hand Gestures
Two 10-year-old students were suspended from school and had to face other disciplinary measures in 2013 when they pretended they had a gun and a bow and arrow. The pair were making gestures with their hands as if they were really holding the imaginary weapons and this was considered by school officials to be threatening and aggressive behavior, despite the fact that no one was hurt or alarmed during the entire incident.
Out A Gay Student
The Kilgore School District was taken to court in 2014 after an event that occurred five years previously. Gym teachers had called an unscheduled softball practice session but sent away everyone on the team apart from Skye Wyatt, who they then locked in the changing room and accused her of being a homosexual. When Skye refused to answer their questions, they threatened her with legal action and called her mother to inform her that Sky was gay. The suit was settled out of court for $77,500, although the district defended the teachers and has not changed any polices.
Banning Students From Using ChapStick
Stuart Draft Elementary School banned a fifth grader from bringing ChapStick to school in 2014, despite the fact that the girl needed it to ensure her lips did not dry out during the day. The school said they considered it to be a form of medication, meaning it was banned under a strict zero-tolerance policy, even though Grace Karaffa’s lips were bleeding during classes.
Having A Girl Arrested For Drawing On A Desk
After writing a small message on her desk at Junior High School 190 in New York, 12-year-old Alexa Gonzalez was arrested by police at the request of the school. This was the result of a strict anti-graffiti policy. Having been marched through the school in handcuffs, Alexa took the incident to the education department who then said that she should never have been arrested. They later issued an official apology and the suspension from school was lifted.
Spying On Students
Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District became embroiled in legal troubles in 2010 when it emerged that school laptops that had been given to students to take home were actually spying on some of them. Court documents revealed that the school authorities were able to remotely turn on the computer’s webcams and take photographs. Although they claimed that this was an anti-theft measure, students and parents were shocked to find out their thousands of photos had been captured of them at home.
Sharing Candid Photographs
During an assembly to students about the dangers of posting photographs online and not indulging in drugs or alcohol while underage, an administrator took a picture of one of the students from Facebook and showed it during a presentation. The slide implied that Chelsea Chaney was drunk and the photograph was used without permission, leaving the 17-year-old feeling abused and embarrassed. Chaney and her parents are now suing the school district for $2 million.
Crazy Rules For Going To The Toilet
One of the greatest pains for teachers in schools is when students go to the toilet during lessons. It can be especially problematic with younger children as it can seriously disrupt the class. To try and solve this problem, the Australian Kew Primary School decided to implement a new rule that meant that the whole class had to go to the toilet if one person wanted to go. Unfortunately, this had several unintended effects. Some children were so embarrassed about going to the toilet that they would simply not go and wet themselves, while others refused to drink any liquids so that they wouldn’t need to urinate, causing dehydration.
Suspended For Calling A Teacher Cute
Emanyea Lockett, a 9-year-old student in North Carolina was suspended from school for two days due to what the principal considered sexual harassment. The child had described his teacher as cute to a classmate and another teacher had overhead this and reported it to school officials. Emanyea’s parents took the matter to the school district who investigated the incident, finding that he had done nothing wrong. They then removed the suspension and offered an official apology to both the student and his parents.
Outrageous Weapon Policies
Almost no one will argue with the fact that schools should have tight controls and policies over students bringing any sort of weapons into school, especially in the wake of tragic massacres at Columbine and Sandy Hook. One school went a little too far though when they suspended a 7-year-old student who had pointed a breakfast pastry that looked gun-shaped at a classmate. Not only that, but the incident was also put into the boy’s permanent record.