Teacher suspended because school employee thought science project looked like a weapon
Not quite as loony as suspending a kid because he ate a pop tart into the shape of a gun, this incident at an LA high school is instructive because:
1. The school employee who "turned in" the teacher who oversaw the science projects is a scientific illiterate; and
2. Hysterical overreactions to anything remotely resembling a weapon are a nationwide problem, but can only be addressed locally. School boards must be forced into developing clear guidelines as to what constitutes a "threat" and what doesn't.
A beloved science teacher at a public high school in downtown Los Angeles has been suspended because a school employee was afraid that a kid’s air pressure-related science project looked too much like a weapon.
The teacher, Greg Schiller, was suspended (with pay) back in February. He teaches – or taught – at the brutally futuristic-looking $232 million Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts (also called Grand Arts High School).
Schiller got into trouble after two of his students turned in science projects designed to shoot little projectiles, reports the Los Angeles Times. One of the projects used compressed air (but was not actually connected to any air). The other one was coil gun: a tube surrounded by a coil and powered by a standard AA battery.
An unidentified school employee saw the air-pressure projectile device and got scared because, to her, it looked like a fearsome weapon.
The amount of knowledge the employee has concerning science – if any – is unclear.
As a result of the unnamed employee’s fears, Schiller – who actually never got to see either the air-pressure project or the coil project except in photos – was dismissed from the classroom indefinitely.
School officials impounded both projects as “evidence,” according to the mother of the kid who did the coil project.
Neither "weapon" posed a threat to anyone. And any scientist could explain the value of kids investigating the science of propulsion, as well as overcoming engineering problems to make a workable device.
The school obviously doesn't want kids to learn. Much better to instill hysterical, unreasoning fear rather than teach them basic scientific principles/