We’ve all heard stories of abject stupidity where schools’ zero-tolerance policies are concerned. Our favorite has always been the Rutherford County School’s prohibition on gnawing a slice of pizza into the shape of a pistol. But pants-wetting hoplophobia apparently knows no bounds, especially where public officials are involved. Thus, we have a new contender in the heavyweight division of the zero tolerance idiocy hall of fame. In this corner, exhibiting an appalling absence of common sense combined with a willful lack of concern for a three-year-old deaf child, please welcome the Grand Island, Nebraska Public Schools . . .
The problem: the district has a student named Hunter Spanjer. Hunter, being deaf, has to sign his name and he’s been taught to use official S.E.E. signs to communicate. Betcha can’t guess what the official sign for Hunter is. Thaaaaat’s right, two hands held like pistols, shaken up and down.
This from 1011now.com:
“He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” explained Hunter’s father, Brian Spanjer.
Grand Island’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon,” But a three year-old’s hands?
Well, if it’s a board policy their hand are tied, right? If they make an exception for one little deaf child, next thing you know they’ll have gang signs flashed in the second grade cloak room! Pizza guns brandished in the cafeteria. It’ll be bedlam I tell you, bedlam!
So what’s the district’s carefully considered solution for a kid who only wants to be able to say his name the only way he knows how? Apparently unencumbered by anything remotely resembling the thought process, the school wants the tyke reeducated.
“We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” said Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson.
What’s really amazing is that Sheard managed to get that out, on camera, with a straight face. Just to be clear, by “best solution,” they mean making the poor kid learn his name all over again by crossing his little fingers while singing. Because that will make it all much better.
Meantime, Hunter’s parents aren’t sitting back and taking it. They’re getting lawyers from the National Association for the Deaf involved. While that process is grinding its way toward resolution, we’re hoping the concerned citizens of Grand Island express their displeasure with the current state of affairs in a measured and appropriate manner. Tarring and feathering the district’s numbnuts superintendent, Dr. Robert Winter (above) — the man ultimately in charge and who’s allowed this situation to get this far — immediately comes to mind.
[h/t Mike, whose son is named Gunnar and is really glad he’s not a Grand Island resident]