Dangerously Irresponsible School Administrators

–Richard E. Vatz

     There is a quite disturbing phenomenon occurring, respecting grade school administrators and their treatment of small children, exemplified by Donna St. George’s description of Calvert County school officials’ appallingly inappropriate behaviors in The Washington Post in a June 1, 2013 article titled, “5-year-old’s suspension over cap gun is shortened.”

     To summarize the situation, a kindergarten boy was suspended initially for ten days for “taking his cowboy-style cap gun onto a school bus.”  The suspension was cut to three days, or “time served” in the criminal justice vernacular.

     Oh, and there is a not so very well-thought-out bureaucratic complication wherein the family’s request for having the young man’s record of miscreancy expunged must be “considered separately” by the Calvert County overseers.

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     And there is, unbelievably enough, more recklessness by these school administrators:  Kim Roof, the executive director of administration for Calvert schools could not or would not explain why the parents of this hyper-dangerous little tyke were not informed of his interrogation for nearly two-and-one-half hours following the discovery of the cap gun.

  The measured criticism of the mother makes perfect sense: she said only that the school administrators could have reacted in “more effective ways.”

  Why not indicate how appalling was their dereliction of duty? Because they have the power to further humiliate and punish this child, and by extension, this family.

  The inquisition and lengthy suspension of a 5-year-old make sense — if the administrators are children themselves.  The judgment deficiencies of those entrusted with the supervision of our youngest citizens warrant their removal, especially given their utter lack of contrition in this outrage’s aftermath.  

Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion, Kendall Hunt, 2013

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