Doodling In School Lands Student Behind Bars
January 20, 2014 3:36pm PST
As many teachers will tell you, children doodle all the time during a lesson. Whether it’s to occupy their hands, or to pass time during something they consider boring, it’s a tradition as old as time. Two students recently found themselves charged after their pastimes—one of which was even arrested and thrown behind bars.
12-year-old Alexa Gonzalez would have never imagined when she wrote, “Alexa was here 2/1/10,” and “I love my friends Abby and Faith,” that anything would come of it. On the contrary however, her doodle got her a pair of shiny new handcuffs and a ride in the back of a police cruiser. Once at the jail, she was charged, booked and despite her parents protest, wasn’t released for several hours.
Education Department spokesman, David Canton, explained, “(It) shouldn’t have happened. (C)ommon sense should prevail.” In other words, why waste all that time and resources in order to apprehend a twelve year old for drawing—what if a real emergency required that police officer’s presence?
Alexa was eventually ordered to some community service and to write a book report and an essay about what she had learned from her experience.
Another 13-year-old student was suspended after his doodling was interpreted as threatening. He had drawn something that resembled a gun, and even though did not display any violence, bullets, blood, or people, it was deemed inappropriate.
School officials ended up suspending the student for five days because of his life threatening doodle. The boy’s mother explained to reporters, “My son is a very good boy [who] doesn’t get into trouble. There was nothing on the paper that would signify that it was a threat of any form. He was just basically doodling and not thinking a lot about it.”
Of course the school said they couldn’t comment on it because they didn’t want to violate anyone’s privacy.
The media outlet that reported on the incident wrote:
“There’s nothing in a portion of the student handbook that addresses conduct to indicate the drawing of a weapon poses threat. There is, however, a rule that says students should not engage in ‘threatening an educational institution by interference with or disruption of the school.’”
In other words, the school justified its actions by claiming that the drawing was actually a threat to the school. Apparently the gun was going to crawl off of the paper and begin killing random students—you know, what all guns do, they kill people.
The boy’s suspension was reduced to 3 days after the father of the student went in and negotiated with the principle—it was still an unacceptable response to a doodle.
What do you guys think—are adults becoming too sensitive to things even as simple as a doodle, or is this something to show concern over? Let us know in a comment below!
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