Monday, June 03, 2013

MD: Little boy harassed and upset over a cap gun

A five-year-old Maryland boy was interrogated until he wet himself and suspended for 10 days after school officials caught with playing with a “cowboy-style cap gun,” the Washington Post reports, citing the child’s family and lawyer.

School officials interrogated the boy for two whole hours until he “uncharacteristically” wet his pants, the boy’s mother said.  He’s “all bugs and frogs and cowboys,” she said.

“I have no problem that he had a consequence to his behavior,” said the mother, who has requested anonymity to protect the boy’s identity.  “What I have a problem with is the severity,” she said, adding that the school’s handling of the situation was unacceptable.

The family’s attorney has asked for the school to reverse its suspension decision and to expunge the boy’s record.

“If the punishment stands, it would become part of the boy’s permanent school record and keep him out of classes the rest of the school year,” the WaPo notes, citing the family. “He would miss his end-of-year kindergarten program at Dowell Elementary School in Lusby.”

According to the family, the boy’s friend had brought a water gun on the bus a day earlier. On Wednesday, unbeknown to his parents, the boy stowed his cap gun — from Frontier Town near Ocean City — inside his backpack as he left for school.

He told his mother after the incident that he had “really, really” wanted to show his friend.

The mother was called by the principal at 10:50 a.m. and was told that her son had the cap gun and pretended to shoot someone on the bus. She said that both the kindergartner and his first-grade sister, sitting nearby on the bus, disputed that account.

The mother said the principal told her that if the cap gun had been loaded with caps, it would have been deemed an explosive and police would have been called in.

School officials said the boy was suspended for being in possession of  a “look-alike gun.”

The boy’s mother is a high school teacher in Calvert who “strongly supports the school system and loves the teachers at her son’s school” and she and her husband are active in the community.

But support for the school aside, she says the interrogation process was over the line. “The school was quite obviously taking it very seriously, and he’s 5 years old,” she said. “Why were we not immediately contacted?”

“Kids play cowboys and Indians,” the family’s attorney added, saying the boy’s age is important in this situation. “They play cops and robbers. You’re talking about a little 5-year-old here.”


Sick Canada:  Heroic Canadian schoolboy disciplined for disarming knife-wielding classmate because it broke school rules

A schoolboy who bravely tackled a knife-wielding pupil who was threatening a classmate was punished because such heroic actions are strictly banned.

Briar MacLean, 13, stepped in after he spotted an argument was quickly beginning to escalate between two boys at Sir John A. Macdonald school in Alberta, Canada.

Suddenly one of the boys pulled out a knife and began to threaten the other turning an scuffle into a potentially deadly situation.

The heroic teenager charged and tackled the knife-brandishing youngster into a wall sending both attacker and knife falling to the floor.

But for his bravery the pupil received not a commendation but a stern telling off from staff for ignoring school rules.  According to the Calgary Board of Education, Briar should have left the scene to find a teacher - abandoning the unarmed student.

Instead instinct kicked in and he chose to act - meaning there were no cuts, no stab wounds, and no need to call an ambulance.

Briar said: 'He pulled out his flip knife so I came in and pushed him into the wall. 'It was just to help the other kid so he wouldn't get hurt.'

Briar's reward for his bravery was a day in the school office, removed from the other students, and a stern lecture about not playing the hero.

His mother Leah O'Donnell was furious at the dressing down.  She said: 'I received a call from the school vice-principal indicating there was an incident at the school and that my son had been involved.  'They my son was in trouble for being a part of it.

'They told him they don't condone heroics in the school and he wasn't allowed to go back to class for the day. Isn't that horrible?

'We've taught him to do the right thing and to step in - in our family we teach our children that they need to stand up for others and not run from danger out of self-preservation.

'When did we decide as a society to allow our children to grow up without spines? Without a decent sense of the difference between right and wrong?  'We're coddling kids and that doesn't make for strong individuals when they grow up - what are we teaching these children?'

A spokeswoman for the Calgary Board of Education said details of the incident could not be discussed due to privacy regulations.

But the Calgary Police Service confirmed they were called to the school where a student had pulled a knife while fighting with another, and a third boy had intervened to disarm the student.

The student with the knife has apparently been suspended and police are still investigating, meaning charges have not been ruled out.


No financial gain for British female graduates with first-class degrees

Any chance that women tend to take useless degrees in things like Art History?  Might that not affect how seriously their degrees are taken?

Women who leave university with a first class degree see little difference in their salary, but their male counterparts receive a clear financial advantage, a study has found.

As female students across the country prepare to sit their exams, the London School of Economics has discovered that the future salary difference for those walking away with a first and those gaining a 2:1 is small.

In contrast first-class male graduates are likely to be paid six percent more than their peers who obtained a lower grade.

The report was carried out by Professors Andy Feng and Georg Graetz who found that, on average, a first-class degree adds roughly 3 per cent to earnings in the first year of employment

“In cash terms, this means that the men get a bonus for a first of about £1,780 in today’s money,” the report’s authors conclude. “If this difference remains over a 40-year career, this would be worth about £71,000.”

The authors claim that the differences may wear off over time, but they cannot explain the gender pay discrepancies.

“The difference between monetary gains for men and women is a puzzle. Perhaps men are more likely to ask for or be given a higher wage offer. We honestly don’t know,” the authors said.

The findings come as increasing attention is being given to the lack of women in senior positions in British industry and a European drive to place more women on corporate boards of directors, the FT reported.

They are likely to fuel the debate about gender inequality in the workplace.

However, the researchers found that, regardless of gender, those gaining either a first or a 2:1 did considerably better in the workplace immediately after graduation than those with lower grades.

There is a bigger difference between a 2:1 and 2:2 - a 2:1 is worth about 7 per cent higher wages.

“‘Our study is probably the best evidence available that exam results matter, but there’s a lot more work to be done in understanding what drives the gender split and figuring out if the differences in pay-offs by degree result eventually go away,” the authors wrote.


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