By Mark David Blum, Esq.
Class, today I want you to go outside, look up at the clouds, and then write down what you saw. It doesnt matter you are only second graders with limited perception of much more than the self. So, go outside and when you come back, you can tell me what did the clouds look like. I warn you kids though; make sure your answers and what you see is fully aligned with the PC movement. Otherwise, we will go all loco parentis on you. This is, after all, a place of learning.
But, be careful. A second grader from Colordado did exactlly what he was told. He went outside, looked at the clouds, came back and wrote that one cloud he saw looked like a gun. He was force marched into the principle's office and subjected to a behavioral report included in his permanent record.
This morning while locked in the very early morning cold with a hot butt smoldering between my lips, I could not help but give too much thought to the essay. Aside from the vulgar horror of his harassment, I pondered what else he might have seen.
Maybe we can all do that; go outside and write down our thoughts. Just remember, never share them with your teachers.
So let me plunge my creative mind into overdrive and test the boundaries. How about this for an idea for a new national holiday. Imagine … one day a year, you get a free pass to kill one person. Call it "Killer Day" and each of us gets one tag. How many of us would be alive next year? Perhaps we could have this day on the day after Xmas … so we can give out t-shirts with a bulls-eye printed on it to our favorite target. From Hallmark: “Roses are Red, and so is your blood. Violets are blue, and you are dead, motherfucker.”
Seriously … such a day could, nay dare I say WOULD, change our relationships to each other. I bet we would all find ways to be very nice to each other, not screw each other in business, not harm or annoy our neighbors. Life would be very edgy at times. I would rather face Santa’s naughty list than be in someone’s Killer Day shopping cart.
There would obviously not be a requirement that you killed someone on Killer Day. Not many of us celebrate our Veterans on Veterans Day or the trees on Arbor Day. So you do not have to kill. Would we all be on vacation that day and hiding deep in a bunker somewhere? Could you even trust your own spouse or children or parents? Would there be exemptions? How about a two-for-one sale?
OK, enough of that.
What irks me so about this whole event is how this young man, in a place of learning and socialization, following the instructions of his teacher, wrote what the image that was conjured up by the esoteric shape of the cloud. Now his permanent record is besmearched. (Dont let anybody tell you there is no such thing as a "permanent record" as i have seen many). While his creative mind may have been age appropriate, it was not punishable. Neither is mine posted above. Even if the boy's perception was over the top, it was not worthy of punishment. Hey, check this out, right now, I am looking at a cloud that appears to be a lawyer bribing a judge and Ii think I sholud up a pretty picture. Will I get in trouble if I tell someone what I think?
This young man is a student in school. If his observation is somehow deemed "warped", then the school is the place for learning. If he needs better social skills, a school is the place for that training. These are not children but rather adults-in-training. They are supposed to make mistakes, errors in judgment, wrong calls, associate with the wrong people, and do stupid things -- like see clouds shaped like a gun. That is how they learn. ‘Tis better they learn now in school than later when the penalties and risks are far more severe.
When you ask a child in school to follow instructions and the child performs, you do not punish that child. Engaging in content based scrutiny on an open subject writing assignment reeks of censorship of the worst order. It also is the fault of the teacher for not setting parameters beyond which no student can go. in thought or discussion.
What lessons does this boy take from this experience? What about his peers? Whom among them would ever put a pen to paper in that teacher’s class again? Those who do remain in that school and under the supervision of this teacher and principal will be broken. Their minds will remain locked and their focus will be on generic benign mediocre performance. Whom among them would be willing to take a creative risk?
Shame on that teacher. Shame on that school. Shame on the government for prosecuting this child.
Clean this boy''s record!