In other words, the objects were tubular, like guns. Anything that’s remotely close to being cylindrical are banned in schools because of their strong resemblance to firearms. Like pencils and fingers. And Pop Tarts.
The LA Times reports that Greg Schiller was sentenced to “teacher jail” (with pay) in February from the Grand Arts High School for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons,” according to administrators.
As part of a science fair, one student created an “air cannon” that was capable of propelling small objects, while another put together an electromagnetic battery powered “coil gun”. The former was designed to be operated using air pressure. However, no source of air pressure was ever connected to the device, so it could not have been “fired”.
The device was reportedly similar to one that fired marshmallows in 2012 as part of a White House Science Fair. The horror. When administrators investigated, they impounded the device as “evidence,” and also confiscated the “coil gun”.
Mr Schiller was removed from his position after a school employee saw the air pressure project and told officials that it looked like a scary weapon. Schiller himself says that he never saw the completed project and had only seen blueprints and photos.
“As far as we can tell, he’s being punished for teaching science,” said Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
Students and parents have taken to social media to organize a rally and a petition to get Schiller back into the classroom.
“The class is now essentially a free period,” Advanced Placement psychology student Liana Kleinman told reporters. “The sub does not have a psych background and can’t help us with the work.”
Schiller himself, who says he has not received an official explanation for his suspension, has warned that his students are suffering from the knee jerk reaction by administrators. “This is really hurting my students more than anything else,” he said. “I would never do anything to set up a situation where a student could be harmed.”
This isn’t the first time a teacher’s gotten in trouble for something having to do with “weapons.” As part of a curriculum-required “tool discussion” at a Chicago elementary school, 2nd grade teacher and 17-year veteran of the school system Douglas Bartlett thought it would be a good idea to bring a toolbox to class to teach his students about screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers and even…a pocketknife.
The teacher was careful not to let any of the students handle the tools, and when the show and tell demonstration was over, Mr. Bartlett placed the tools securely in their box and placed it on a high shelf, out of reach of little ones.
When school administrators found out about this atrocity, they suspended Mr. Bartlett for 4 days without pay. You see, they had a “no tolerance” policy with regards to weapons. No one’s allowed to bring knives to school. Not even the teachers. Never mind the fact that it was a small pocketknife, and he brought it for purely educational purposes. Remember, no tolerance.