It’s high time someone coined a name for the sickness that is running rampant through our nation’s school, skewing the judgment of teachers and administrators. How does Overreactive Non-Weapon Syndrome sound?
The latest person to be afflicted with ONWS is a teacher in California, and his victim is the 15-year-old son of actor Joseph C. Phillips, best known for his role as Lt. Martin Kendall on The Cosby Show.
Phillips, who was a guest on The Tony Katz (Radio) Show, said that his son was showing off a photo of an Airsoft BB gun in a class at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, when his teacher, James DeLarme, walked by. Katz writes at his website that the teacher “snatched” the digital camera out of the boy’s hand and told him that the police would have to be notified.
DeLarme also allegedly asked the boy in earshot of the entire class, “Do you have any animosity toward your classmates? Are you angry at anyone at school?”
If the answer to either question was yes, it’s not obvious how the teacher believed that a two-dimensional image of the weapon was going to take out an eye. But there are larger issues involved. As Katz notes:
Gun hysteria has reached such fanatical heights that teachers now feel empowered to confiscate student property, disregard their privacy, question their mental state and threaten police action – in front of other students.
Then there’s the matter in this instance that the school never bothered to notify Phillips or his wife about the incident. The two learned about from their son five days later. Furious over the school’s treatment, Phillips dashed off a letter to the school’s principal, David Fehte, who handed it off to a vice principal. The bottom line, according to El Camino Real’s administration, is that the teacher had done the right thing to “secure the safety of the 3,000 students and the 250 faculty members at the school.”
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