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Posted: 5/21/2001 8:54:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/21/2001 8:54:29 AM EDT by Imbroglio]
Let no good deed go unpunished. [url]wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=22890[/url] Boy hero appeals suspension School punished 8th-grader for taking knife from suicidal friend By Julie Foster © 2001 WorldNetDaily.com A junior-high boy who prevented a friend from slitting her wrists by taking away her knife is fighting his automatic suspension from school for possessing a weapon. Ben Ratner and his mother, Beth Haney, made their appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia last week, saying a lower court erred in dismissing the case. In October 1999, Ratner, an eighth-grader from Loudoun County, Va., received a note in class from a friend who said she was contemplating suicide and had brought a knife to school in her binder. Ratner was familiar with the girl's personal troubles and knew she had been hospitalized for psychiatric problems. When he asked for the knife, the girl refused, so Ratner took the binder from her and locked it in his locker. He intended to take the knife home to his mother, a nurse, who could determine an appropriate course of action. School officials found out about the knife and asked Ratner if he had it. The boy said he did and gave the knife to Fanny Kellogg, a dean at Blue Ridge Middle School, upon Kellogg's request. Though Kellogg said she understood the boy's reasons for taking the knife and stated her belief that he was not a threat to anyone, school officials still proceeded to suspend the boy for 10 days. The suspension was quickly amended to be "indefinite," pending review by the school board, which decided the boy should remain out of school for four months. Ratner had believed subjecting his friend to school authorities would be too much pressure for the girl, and he was right. The Sunday following the incident, the girl slit her wrists. Her suicide attempt, however, was unsuccessful. Although officials for the Loudoun County Public Schools also acknowledged that Ben's actions were "noble" and "admirable" and admitted that he posed no threat to himself or others, they nevertheless upheld the long-term suspension, which lasted from Oct. 8, 1999, until Jan. 25, 2000.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 8:55:23 AM EDT
(continued) Ratner and Haney secured legal counsel through the Rutherford Institute, which appealed the long-term suspension to the school board in December 1999, but the board upheld the suspension. That decision prompted Ratner's lawsuit against the school district for violation of his civil rights and challenging the district's "zero-tolerance" policy on its face. The policy states in part, "No student shall possess any weapon for any reason while under school control or supervision. The term weapon is intended to be construed broadly to cover and include any instrument which could injure, harm or endanger the physical well-being of another person." Rutherford Institute Chief Litigation Counsel Steven H. Aden, who represented Ratner and Haney in court, claims the zero-tolerance policy is too broad. "Strict adherence to this policy would prohibit the possession of a sharpened pencil, pen, ruler, compass or scissors. If intent is not to be considered, then every student in the Loudoun County Schools is in violation of school policy (as are most of the teachers) for using all the normal tools employed in a learning environment," Aden wrote in his appeal. Speaking to WorldNetDaily, Aden emphasized the personal impact the policy had on Ratner, who was denied his right to be heard, he said. "When we feel the school has to suspend a student for technically possessing a knife even though he saved a friend's life, we've forgotten the human element. We've also accepted trampling on the rights and feelings of young people in order to force them to stay in line. I'm very concerned about that," he remarked.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 8:55:57 AM EDT
(continued) Many school have established zero-tolerance policies for various actions, including drug use or possession, violence or threats of violence and weapons possession. But effort to make schools safe has backfired in many cases. As reported by WND, there are numerous cases of "good" kids being punished as a result of the policies intended to weed out "bad seeds." The Rutherford Institute hopes to bring common sense back to discussions about school safety. "I think the path to safety in our schools is understanding where students are coming from and hearing them out -- not kicking them out of school for technical violations of draconian zero-tolerance policies," said Aden. "We've gone down the wrong road since Columbine." Indeed, more than 87,000 students were expelled nationwide in the 1997-98 school year, the latest statistics available from the Office for Civil Rights, a part of the U.S. Department of Education. There were more than 3.1 million children suspended that year, up from 1.7 million in the 1974-75 school year and 2.4 million in 1991-92. "School officials who enforce 'zero-tolerance' policies without regard for the individual student's motives are only reinforcing intolerance in our schoolchildren," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. "We hope that the federal appeals court will intervene and restore a sense of justice and fair play that Loudoun County denied Ben Ratner and his family." Ratner, who was home-schooled by a tutor during his suspension, is asking that his permanent record be expunged and that he be compensated for tutorial costs. Attorney John Easton, who represents the school district in the case, was not available for comment, though a secretary said, "He probably wouldn't have a comment anyway."
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 8:59:49 AM EDT
Absolutely ridiculous. Common sense is dead. radioman
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 9:01:44 AM EDT
I can't even begin to express my rage after reading the article.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 9:08:12 AM EDT
it pisses me off so much, I want to slit my wrists...oh wait, I might get suspended...
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 9:08:30 AM EDT
What a bunch of BS, I hope the kid can sue for emotional distress too. Rew
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 9:24:44 AM EDT
No good deed goes unpunished.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 10:14:28 AM EDT
Imbro-What is the track record of WorldNet Newsas far as them being a legitimate news source?
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 10:54:31 AM EDT
If I had a child that got suspended for 4 months for something like this. It would make me very seriously consider taking actions into my own hands with some of these "we know better than you" assholes. This IMHO this nearly equivalent to raping my child....after all, they have scarred him/her forever..... If this keeps up, someday someone will. When you cause UNJUST injury to my child, you leave me little choice. Bow
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 10:56:22 AM EDT
What a total bunch of CRAP!!!
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 11:20:01 AM EDT
Blatant stupidity, what a joke.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 11:24:20 AM EDT
"The Westeren world, it is exploding......." Can't rember who sang that,probaly some draft dodging hippie.But it kinda seems fitting now.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 11:43:50 AM EDT
The legacy of Bill CLINTON lives on..... Augie
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 11:50:15 AM EDT
"School officials who enforce 'zero-tolerance' policies without regard for the individual student's motives are only reinforcing intolerance in our schoolchildren," said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute."
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Unintended consequences strikes again.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 11:56:54 AM EDT
Good Bejesus! I'm kinda used to reading crap like this though.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:07:27 PM EDT
If the child can be suspended for a significant period of time for confiscating the weapon from a distraught individual, why can't the school authorities be charged with attempted murder for their part in the harm that came to the girl. A few felony convictions, ruined careers and resulting suicides might wake up some of the zero-tolerance weenies. If doing irreparable harm to children is ok, lets be fair and use the same rules with the adults who cause this mess.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:16:40 PM EDT
NO KIDDING, Rew. If people nowadays can sue McD's for millions of dollars over a "hot cup of coffee", and the emotional distress it probably brought them to, and if we're forced to live with the "Zero Tolerance" policy with strict adherence... ...then yes, he should sue the school, the school system, the board, etc etc. Lawsuits for emotional damage, financial compensation, educational losses due to missed school days, the friggin' works. Hell, let's make it a class action lawsuit while we're at it: gather all the school-children who were too emotionally distraught to "functionably learn" anything because of the little girl wanting to slit her wrists, and squeeze the system for as much cash as their cold, black hearts can distribute. If Political Correctness and Zero Tolerance is the wave of the future, then I say Fight Fire w/ F'king Fire. Jewbroni~
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:31:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Rich314: Imbro-What is the track record of WorldNet Newsas far as them being a legitimate news source?
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BROG, this is the second time I have seen someone on this board question the veracity of World Net Daily and I find it incomprehensible. With writers like Farah, Williams, Gertz et al how can anyone who possess an open mind and is not part of the kintonkommieklick doubt that WND is the antithesis to cnnabcnpretc.....?
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:50:01 PM EDT
Maybe because WND doesn't tow the gop line?
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:53:51 PM EDT
Imbro- You`re going to pass my post count today, go shooting.[;)] I`ve seen some stuff on that site that makes me wonder.
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 12:56:01 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/21/2001 1:01:02 PM EDT
thats why i homeschool i learned the horror of school (unconstitional)law when i went.
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