7 Outrageous Consequences for Students Committing Minor Offenses

Education, News

Getting suspended or kicked out of school for crude or violent behavior is a given, but what about for lesser offenses? Some elementary, middle and high schools have taken policies a little too far, banning everything from hugging to red ink. In many cases, parents are fighting back, hoping to make things right and to prevent suspensions and expulsions from permanently marring their child’s school record.

Sensitivity to Gun Violence

Schools are particularly sensitive when it comes to matters of violence, for understandable reasons. Sometimes this hyper vigilance means stopping a potential tragedy, as with the case of a New Jersey boy whose plot to kill 40 students was discovered by school administrators. Too often, though, students with no bad intentions are unduly punished.

Take a Pop Tart, for starters. In March, an elementary school student in Maryland was suspended for two days for biting his Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. The attorney of second grader Josh Welch asked to have the suspension expunged from his school record, but officials denied the request. The National Rifle Association (NRA) offered Welch a lifetime membership after hearing of the incident.

A West Virginia high schooler made national headlines in April when he was suspended and arrested for wearing an NRA t-shirt in school and refusing to change. Officials said 14-year-old Jared Marcum started a frenzy at the school, but Marcum says he was merely exercising his right to speech. Marcum faced jail time but in June, the criminal charges against him were dropped.

Last month, a special needs student in South Carolina was suspended for bringing a drawing of a bomb to school. They boy’s mother said that the administrators admitted that they knew her son was not violent, but that they had to make an example of him. They boy is a fan of “Bomber Man,” a video game, and the drawing was not intended as a threat.

Tolerance? What Tolerance?

Schools these days stress diversity and tolerance, but that didn’t seem to be the case in a Kansas school recently where a boy was suspended for carrying a purse. The boy’s mother was upset because girls can carry purses, and she believed the school was discriminating against her son.

Students had better make sure their hair passes muster, too. Oklahoma elementary school girl Tiana Parker was sent home for her dreadlocks. Officials said her hair was not “presentable” and that her hairstyle went against stated school policy. In response, her father enrolled her in a different school. Another student, 14-year old Fern Burke, was banned from school for her brightly colored hair, which was deemed “unnatural.” Burke, who lives and attends school in England, dyed her hair red over summer holidays but it did not fade enough by the time school started.

And if your lunchbox contains unfamiliar items, watch out. A California elementary school suspended a boy for bringing kombucha, a fermented sweet black tea drink, in his lunchbox. The drink violated the school district’s drug and alcohol policy, administration said. The Vice Principle said the child might have to transfer schools, but had the child sign a 5-day suspension agreement instead.