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Criminal Spitballing Threatens Public Education

Written by Gary North on June 7, 2012

Our tax-funded schools are at the forefront of ferreting out crime. They may not teach students very well. Test scores may be falling, as they have since 1963. But one thing is sure: the schools are alert to major infractions.

Spitballs are one. In earlier days, little boys made them out of paper and spit. But not today. High-tech spitballs have entered the sacred halls of learning. New measures are required to deal with this.

My old colleague, Constitutional lawyer John Whitehead, has explained the situation. A 14-year-old honor student — scratch that: ex-honor student — has been suspended for shooting plastic spitwads.

In December 2010, freshman Andrew Mikel II was kicked out of Spotsylvania High School for the remainder of the school year under a charge that the “spitwad” incident constituted “violent criminal conduct” and possession of a weapon. School officials also referred the matter to local law enforcement for criminal prosecution. Although no one was harmed, the Spotsylvania County Circuit Court upheld the disciplinary action in May 2011.

This may sound like an over-reaction to you. You may think it is another example of North’s first law of bureaucracy: “Some bureaucrat will eventually enforce an official rule to the point of utter absurdity.” Actually, this case does conform to this law.

Whitehead’s pubic interest law firm, the Rutherford Institute, has taken the case.

The Rutherford Institute has filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on behalf of Andrew Mikel, asking the Court to find that Andrew’s conduct did not constitute “violent criminal conduct” and that the school’s actions were irrational and violated the constitutional guarantee of due process of law.

“Andrew Mikel is merely the latest in a long line of victims whose educations have been senselessly derailed by school administrators lacking in both common sense and compassion,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “We have moved into a new paradigm in America where young people are increasingly viewed as suspects and treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike. It is our hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will recognize the need to right the wrongs being perpetrated against young people today in the name of zero tolerance.”

Here are the facts.

On December 10, 2010, Andrew Mikel, a freshman at Spotsylvania High School, was sent to the principal’s office after shooting a handful of small, hollow pellets akin to plastic spitwads at fellow students during lunch period. Andrew, an honor student active in Junior ROTC and in his church, was initially suspended for 10 days and charged with criminal assault and possession of a weapon under the school’s Student Code of Conduct. The Spotsylvania County School Board later upheld the suspension of Mikel for the remainder of the school year. School officials also referred the matter to local law enforcement, which initiated juvenile criminal proceedings for assault. Andrew was then placed in a diversion program, and had to take substance abuse and anger management counseling.

The Rutherford Institute sued. The circuit court ruled in favor of the school board. The Rutherford Institute has appealed to the Supreme Court.

I hope the Supremes take the case. This would make a great headline. “Supreme Court De-Criminalizes Spitballs.” Or even better, “Supreme Court Criminalizes Spitballs.”

With those two possible outcomes, I think the Court will decline to hear the case. A pity.

If you think it’s time to consider homeschooling, you’re right. When some students carry guns to school, while others are charged with criminal spitballing, it’s time to leave tax-funded education behind. “Stick a fork into it. It’s done.”

Continue Reading on www.rutherford.org

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30 thoughts on “Criminal Spitballing Threatens Public Education

  1. DockyWocky says:

    Sooner or later, folks are going to revolt against Political Correctness, and it is supercilious BullCrap like this that will cause it.

  2. What did people think would happen when we have liberal nuts in charge of our public education system? Learning does not matter to these people. They are on a holy mission of instituting a communist government control over every small aspect of our children.

  3. OK, Reality Check.
    First, these little hollow plastic balls are sold in stores under toys, not ammunition because they are toy ammunition for a toy gun. They are truly innocuous by definition because they are designed to be so light that they might hurt if they struck an open eye but not injure.
    Second, did the school forewarn the students that any kind of spitball, paper, plastic or otherwise would be considered a weapon and using such would be a suspend-able violation? If so they have a case. If not they have nothing.
    Third, If they classify spitballing as use of a dangerous weapon, are they going to arrest the Cafeteria contractor for providing "dangerous weapons" when they supply straws to the students?
    Last, I wish they had these little hollow plastic bee bees when I was a kid. They are so much nicer to get hit by than a hard wad of paper covered with someone's spit! Of course in my day spit wasn't a potentially lethal HIV transmitting weapon.

  4. Taquoshi says:

    Zero tolerance at its finest!

    People have been criminalize others for innocent acts for years. I just can't wait until they start reaping what they have sown.

  5. Doris Carman says:

    Ridiculous in the extreme. I dont know where this is all going all I know for sure is I am glad I am not in school nor my daughter.Where will it end.Just in the last 3 years children have reported on parents drug use, spitballs get you arrested,teachers raping students(sometims I think the opposite) and our prez indoctrinating or kids with garbage.Even his wife calling Oprah fat when her own butt is way big.

  6. lilbear68 says:

    i already feel safer with that lil turd locked up

  7. gunner48 says:

    Corparal punishment in school made more sense! And kids held to task at home was expected in a two parent family! And now our parents, and educators dont know when to split the baby! Where is Solomon when you need him??????

  8. Neal Boy says:

    Andrew must be a white boy. If he was a black gangbanger the authorities would be afraid they might offend our new black masters.

  9. James Burnham says:

    Over the past 60 years, spending on education in America has increased by approximately 800. For example, the Washington, D.C. public school system, the one President Obama refused to enroll his children in and cancelled the charter schools in his 1st week in office, spends more per pupil on education than almost any other school system in America but still produces some of the worst results.

    The United states spends more per pupil on education than almost any industrialized nation in the world.

    How do other nations spending less per pupil achieve better student performance? The answer is simple. They require their schools to focus on student performance and intellectual discipline with an emphasis on STEM curriculums of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, while American schools focus on indoctrination, socialization, and, as a result, remediation. Education is a less expensive endeavor when schools focus on helping students become intellectually-disciplined, critical-thinkers who can form their own opinions, solve problems, and think for themselves.

  10. I've been wondering more and more who would want to put their kids in these places. I've kept mine home from the beginning and homeschooled them and I've never regretted avoiding the whole mess. My oldest will graduate next year. We've managed on one income, but I've know people who worked and homeschooled. It can be done, and it's worth it.

  11. websmith44 says:

    This is why I am leaving the country.

  12. Dr. Barbara says:

    I like your reality check. When I was in school, about 150 years ago, the worst things that were done was chewing gum in class, talking in class, boys wearing their shirt-tails not tucked in, girls wearing skirts 3 inches above the knee, not doing homework, etc. Of course, in 1963 when prayer was "outlawed," grades began to slip, dress codes began to relax, learning began to be not so important, chewing gum was allowed–so was talking in class, students were no longer disciplined by a swift paddle to the backside, teachers could no longer teach Christian values, and bullying began to be a real problem. That's what happened when God was kicked out of the school system.

  13. jammin2011 says:

    Amen. Why can't people see this?. The "progressives" have infiltrated our education systems and are deliberatly "dumbing" down our kids. You don't go from number 1 to number 14, 27 or whatever it is for no reason. And the teachers unions and universities keep wanting more and more money meanwhile, our education standards have gone way down. I notice that written and spoken English from young people is horrible, especially the black community but even in the white community. It's like they never went past 5th grade. And they cannot do math without a calculator.
    I know our school books have changed content over the years, we're waking up to that. People were actually re-writing the history of our country. Just makes me sick.

  14. AD Roberts says:

    Why can't pressure be put on the school board to fire these bureaucratic idiots. Maybe the problem is the the principal is black and the student was white. If they FORCE the idiot to back down, they will be accused of racism.

    Society and civilization are in full decay.

  15. (We already are!)

  16. maybe wisconsin is the start on the road back

  17. like a rat leaving a sinking ship?

  18. I can see him getting in trouble for this but taken WAY too far… a weapon?? Criminal charges?? Diversion program??

  19. EHeassler, USN-Ret. says:

    It is supercilious BS like this that is causing school administrators and courts to lose all credibility. Who can respect them or the law when the results are idiotic? This is essentially the result of fear generated by tort lawyers suing at the drop of a hat for every wrong or slight, real or imagined. The authorities are afraid of their own shadows except, of course, when meting out punishment or fines to the defenseless. If you are a parent and can homeschool, do it. The state run schools have become nothing more than propaganda factories teaching political correctness and revisionist history that suits the liberal progressive agenda. Truth no longer matters. Get your children out while you can still teach them to think for themselves.

  20. FRENCHIE says:

    UTTER COMMUNISTIC, POLICE STATE, BUREAUCRAT BULLS#!T !!! HOW LONG BEFORE WE GET TIRED OF THIS OVER-REACHING OVER-ENFORCEMENT & BUREAUCRATIC STUPIDITY TO THE POINT THAT WE FIND A WAY TO PUT A STOP TO IT ONCE & FOR ALL ? IT'S PAST TIME FOR IT IF YOU ASK ME. I MEAN, REALLY ??? CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR PLASTIC SPITBALLS ? TAKING AN HONOR STUDENT OUT OF SCHOOL FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR & TAKING HIM OFF THE HONOR ROLL FOR SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY NO MORE THAN NORMAL HORSEPLAY AMONGST SCHOOL CHILDREN THAT DOESN'T HURT ANYBODY & IS ONLY MINIMALLY DISRUPTIVE, AT ABSOLUTE WORST ? IT'S ALL ABOUT TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO ACCEPT ABSOLUTE CONTROL BY THE SYSTEM WITHOUT QUESTION & BLIND, MILITANT OBEDIENCE FOR FEAR OF SEVERE CONSEQUENCES. THIS IS A SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHY LIBERALS SHOULDN'T BE IN CHARGE OF EDUCATION (OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THAT MATTER) !!! HOME SCHOOLING IS REALLY STARTING TO SOUND LIKE A VIABLE OPTION FOR MY KIDS. IF THEY ABSOLUTELY HAD TO DO SOMETHING OTHER THAN TELL THE KID TO STOP & TAKE THE STRAW FROM HIM, WOULDN'T 3 DAYS DETENTION HAVE MADE MORE SENSE THAN EXPULSION, TAKING HIM OFF THE HONOR ROLL & CRIMINAL CHARGES ? THIS IS A SYSTEM GONE POWER-MAD & IT HAS TO BE STOPPED…..NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Bill McCroskey says:

    I think I was in school with you … if shooting spitwads gets this kind of punishment today …. I would have gotten life without parole and (in capital punishment states) the DEATH penalty !! I used several rubber bands trung together as a slingshot and aero bent paper clips for ammo ….but instead I had to stand in front of 100 students for the whole study hall period with a heavy book in each hand with my arms out. If I dropped my arms, I got swatted with Mr. Burton's (study hall moniter) paddle….. odd for some reason I never did that again …damned liberal 'courts' even in the 60's !!
    p.s. This was actually minor in comparison to having Mr. Juan (7th grade math) throw me against a wooden locker so hard it broke it … never told a soul at home or in te school office … why ??? 'cause my old man woulda thrown me thru our front door if he found out I was needing discipline from ANY teacher and our front door was built much heavier than a cheap wooden locker.

  22. PrincessPhilly says:

    These moron school administrators have a mental brain disease and need to be put into a mental institute.

  23. Why can't good citizens run for the school board and kick stupid-ass administrators out on their…well…asses!

  24. USA Born & Raised says:

    What are you waiting for? Anyone can run for a school board position if they live in that school district. We need to be standing up and owning this.

  25. Rooster says:

    The Economist needs a better editor: "Whitehead’s pubic interest"? But I digress.

    We have allowed political correctness to replace ethics, morals and common sense. Public education is on the verge of insanity. Teachers' unions? Seniority rather than performance? Schools have become an extension of law enforcement; law enforcement has become more intrusive, invasive and fascist. The easy answer has always been to kick the bums out (of Congress, the city council, the school board, etc.). Unfortunately, stupid people get to vote. Obama is proof of that.

    It requires a grass roots uprising, especially to include those who are too passive or too religious or to uninformed to believe they can make a difference. So, they stay home and "stupid" wins the day. People who have any moral or ethical fiber at all need to become informed and begin to speak out and speak up! Otherwise we are all at the mercy of the half of America on food stamps and the illegal aliens that vote.

  26. madmemere says:

    Perhaps it's more about "training teachers" to demand respect and attention from their students, create an interest in "real learning" and take the time and trouble to "acquaint" themselves with their students and the students families! These same "educators" might also "learn" to exhibit "some patience" with those who want to be disruptive, simply because they're "bored"- -and that does happen. We wonder why more and more students are diagnosed with ADHD – -from first hand experience, it's because a particular teacher, or subject is "boring", so the student "fidgets", or worse. Most teachers, immediately, react to this, accuse the student of being a "troublemaker" and start making demands about the parents taking the student to a "counselor", who then diagnoses "ADHD", or something else; next thing you know, said student is on Ritalyn and turns into a "walking zombie" – -all because of a teacher's "impatience" and counselor's "compliance"! The problem could have, easily, been solved, if the teacher had been "interested enough" to find out what the problem was and give that particular student, either, "advanced assignments, or a few "extra chores", to do! In other words, try to instill a bit of "common sense" in the educators- -a "lost art" I fear!

  27. Mitchina says:

    These ahoels have no respect for LIFE for Pete's sake, they murder them before they have a chance, so it is only the natural "progression" of these libertards to continue to treat them like dirt… until they become useful idiots for their agenda. THEN all of a sudden, they want to give them all our money for a leisure lifestyle.

  28. With the possible exception of some members of Congress, it would be difficult to find a dumber, more inept, and may I say, patently stupid and unqualified group of bureaucratic dunderheads than those that infest many public school administrations.It seems that their primary interest has little or nothing to do with education, but rather in furthering their own authority, and the power of their unions, the NEA, ans the Democratic Party. Home schooling and/or charter schools are the only hope of educational salvation that our children have.

  29. HadEnuf says:

    I suggest the former rather than the latter. We are expriencing what and why this country was founded. There is no other way to explain it other than tyranny is "reigning" down on the people and it has to be stopped; for starters, I suggest that states start forming militias to send a message to the despots that are robbing us of our freedom by the day. The sheeple have better start standing up to the ongoing oppresion. The tyrants have lost the respect and FEAR of the electorate and that must change!

  30. or a muslim by all means do not offend a muslim or a black then you will have jessie jackson and sharpton down your mouth for being a racist