Last month, I aggregated a story for our Web Crawler about a Tennessee school district that was requiring parents to sign forms pledging not to eavesdrop on their children’s virtual classes. The demand struck me as outrageous, prompting me to wonder what the school planned to teach that was unfit for adult eyes. Now it turns out that dangers lurk on both sides of the Zoom experience.
According to Colorado Fox affiliate KDVR, a 12-year-old was suspended after a teacher spotted a toy gun in his home during an online class. The boy, identified as Isaiah Elliott, is described as having merely “flash[ed] the … gun across his computer screen,” but that was enough to set off an alarm inside the teacher. She notified the principal, who suspended Isaiah for five days.
But it doesn’t stop there. The principal also phoned the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted a welfare check on the boy without notifying his parents first.
To add complexity to idiocy, the boy’s father, Curtis Elliott told reporters, “It was really frightening and upsetting for me as a parent, especially as the parent of an African-American young man, especially given what’s going on in our country right now.”
Forgive me for asking, but what does the boy’s blackness or “what’s going on in our country right now” have anything to do with the school or county’s overreaction? Is the father genuinely concerned that the sheriff is going to show up armed at his front door demanding that the child come out with his hands raised? Or is he merely accusing the school of racism?
Life used to be so much simpler. I’m old enough to remember when bringing a toy gun to school could get you arrested and when ever talking about a toy gun could get you suspended. But this is just too much to process.