The utter insanity of bureaucratic public education got international attention recently. A 13-year-old California girl was threatened with expulsion because she had a photo of her older brother in his military uniform on her school notebook. She also had a photo of her after-school softball team.
The story got picked up by local TV station KTLA in Los Angeles. Then it got picked up by Britain’s Daily Mail. And why not? Any time a bonehead decision is made by some bureaucrat, the public enjoys seeing the bureaucracy put on the spot.
The girl is in middle school, better known as junior high school. She is in a program to promote better academics. She is black. In short, she is part of the educational bureaucracy’s target student population. “Save these kids” How? “By prohibiting photos on their notebooks.”
So, they threatened her with expulsion.
They made up a rule on not allowing photos on a notebook. Then, when her mother complained, they sent the mother a list of rules. There was nothing about photos on a notebook.
After KTLA sent a reporter to find out what was going on, the school decided that the bureaucrat who was making trouble had gone too far, since this was now making trouble for the school.
The school compromised. She could keep the photo of her brother, but the softball team picture had to go. She complied.
So, what’s the problem? Nobody mentions it. Gangs. If the school does not prohibit all photos, some kid is going to put a gang symbol on his notebook. So, the school bans all photos.
It’s like the TSA at airports. If the TSA frisks only people who look like Arabs, it’s racial-religious profiling. The Israelis do it, but we’re not Israelis. So, we all go through the scanning machines. They pull aside some 80-year-old great grandmother. This keeps the ACLU happy, as long as granny is not an Arab.
The school dares not say, “We’ve got dozens of gang members attending, and we will not expel them. So, we don’t let a girl have a photo of her softball team on her notebook.” That would be bad for PR. Parents might say: “Then expel the thugs.” But the school district gets money from the state for all students enrolled. “We need the thugs. They are free money.” This is true, but it’s bad PR. So, the district bans photos of softball teams.
This is public education in America. It is run for the convenience of bureaucrats and thugs. It is not run for the sake of 13-year-old honor students.