First-Graders Suspended for... Conspiring to Murder Classmate?!
Not actual first-graders who plotted murder.
Kids go through phases. Typically the worst of these is striking up an odd fascination with catching bugs or obsessing over the latest Disney-Pixar film. What's not to love about animated fish? But murder? That's not exactly something you chalk up to growing pains.
Three first-graders at an Alaska charter school have been suspended for allegedly plotting to poison a classmate. The girls at Winterberry Charter School in Anchorage allegedly planned to use silica gel packets... to poison and kill another student.
Apparently these first-graders took a page out of the Palestinian's book: Becoming A Child-Murderer for Dummies.
Fortunately for the would-be victim, another student intervened and ruined their plans. Also... silica gel packets aren't poisonous. But they can still be harmful -- they're a potential choking hazard. Like Zoey Tur.
Their scheme was foiled when another student heard about the "poison packets" and alerted administrators. No chargers were filed, but a school resource officer spoke with each of the students about the seriousness of their plot.
I get that we're talking tiny gel beads here. Sure, not exactly AK-47's. Or clock bombs. (see Dear President Obama: Can You finally Admit it Now? Clock Boy Punk'd You...) But these kids still legitimately planned to hurt someone. Reminder? First-graders. Still learning to read. Doesn't plotting demise call for a little more than a stern talking to?
Winterberry is an "arts-integrated K-8 public school inspired by Waldorf educational methods." Waldorf teaching is a holistic approach to education that de-emphasizes standardized tests, instead incorporated the arts and imagination.
In other words, arithmetic isn't as important as expressing how you feel via finger paint. See, these girls were just using their imagination.
No harm, no foul, right? The real crime here may just be that art takes precedence over technical skills. Then again, if this school pushed a high standard curriculum... maybe these girls would have known that silica isn't poisonous. Maybe they would have found a more efficient alternative. Ah well. At least they tried. Everyone gets a medal for trying, right?
Allow me to go macro here for a tweensy second. Again we're talking first graders here. They're still learning how to read. Sure, kids get ticked off at other kids. Sure, kids get angry. While it's been quite a few years since I was in first grade, I do not remember EVER trying to poison someone with anything. There was never a student I hated enough to kill off. Or even think about killing off.
Which begs the question. WTF?
Pardon my obvious soapbox, but do you think maybe we should teach children morals? Like right and wrong? Perhaps we should sit little Johnny/Maria/Deshawn/Ahmed/Jordan/Kim (multiculturalism) down for a chat about not offing a fellow SIX YEAR OLD?
What do you think? Is it time to bring back morality into the classroom? Or should we keep on with this "use your imagination to think up a plot to kill someone" track?