The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
Vol. 12/No. 8 - 394th issue - September 6, 2003
Bathroom Bandit, editor-in-chief - serving Bellevue, KY, from New America
email@example.com - http://members.iglou.com/bandit
blog blogga blog at http://bandit73.pitas.com
Our 11th Annual Back-to-School Issue!
Since 1993 our back-to-school extravaganza has been a Last Word tradition. Enjoy this issue so you won't become an
DELAWARE PROGRESSES WHILE TRI-STATE LAGS
This spring, tiny Delaware joined more than 25 U.S. states and almost all foreign countries in abolishing the hickory dickory stick (as Ned Flanders calls it) in public schools.
At long last, lawmakers in the First State approved by overpowering margins a bill to prohibit corporal punishment in schools. A similar bill against student battering in Missouri was awaiting hearings by legislators.
Yet Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana lag behind most of the world by permitting principals to angrily beat schoolchildren. The two conservative bozos running for Kentucky governor won't confront the problem, because they're too busy extolling how great they think involuntary servitude as a high school graduation requirement is. (It's not as if school itself isn't a form of slavery: If it wasn't, people who worked their asses off for 17+ years to get a college diploma wouldn't be stuck in minimum wage jobs for 70 hours a week flipping burgers and burning themselves - and having to skip 2 out of 3 meals because they're so underpaid.)
DOES PENDLETON HIGH LIKE BEING SUED?
The hodgepodge Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 dealt a fatal blow to the democratic process and local autonomy when it gave unelected "site-based decision-making councils" rather than elected school boards power over public schools. A recent scandal at Pendleton County High School proves even more what a disaster this so-called "reform" is.
The site-based council that dictates how the school operates recommended - rather, demanded - a new dress code that would have among other things banned students from wearing (gasp!) jeans.
That's unconstitutional, of course. Clothing items are a statement, and the First Amendment protects students from public schools robbing their freedom of expression. But the Bill of Rights means nothing to the elites of the Far Right who dominate positions of power in postdemocratic America.
Our view is clearly in the majority among the public - even in good ol' Pendleton County, where the proposal was met with near-unanimous disapproval from parents, many of whom cited the fact that they could not afford to buy khaki pants just to appease some stupid dress code. One said, "You're forcing something on someone that they would never wear in a hundred years."
The outcry forced the council to soften the ukase against denim, but the council was so smug that it did not change the parts of the dress code that ban piercings and require shirts to have collars.
I guess Pendleton County High School likes being sued.
One suspects the reason Kentucky has been eaten by that parasitic affliction known as dress codes perhaps more rapidly than any other state in the past decade is that anyone who is known to oppose dress codes isn't appointed to the council in the first place.
Some people need their faces farted in.
BILL WOULD BAN FORCED DRUGGING
The Child Medication Safety Act of 2003 - a bill which would ban schools from requiring students to obtain a prescription for some mind control drugs as a condition for being allowed to attend school - was introduced in Congress earlier this year, despite opposition from conservatives.
Apologists for forced drugging and the designer disorder racket shrug off such bills as unnecessary because, according to them, only psychiatrists - not schools - can prescribe ADHD drugs. But in fact, schools coerce parents into drugging their kids - and these poisons can be fatal.
Just ask the family of an Auburn Hills, MI, teenager who died of a sudden heart ailment after being prescribed Ritalin - a drug that has also been proven to cause cancer. His parents had been threatened with child abuse charges by the school if they didn't feed him the drug.
Or the mother of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who died in 2001 from coronary arrest caused by Disipramine that her school had forced her to take. If she did not take Disipramine, school administrators would remove her from class and make her sit in the hall and humiliate her by dumping out her desk in front of the class. The parent in this case urged Congress to support the expansion of the proposed Child Medication Safety Act to include Disipramine.
It's unclear whether the bill passed or whether Bush, whose family owns part of a pharmaceutical corporation that manufactures some of the poisons covered by the bill, signed it into law - but we think we can guess at whether that happened.
Like many other newfangled "disorders", ADHD - attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - is a spindrome, an ailment invented by elites. Schools use ADHD as an excuse to discriminate. The pharmaceutical industry uses it as a way to reap profit. ADHD is a designer diagnosis for normal childhood behavior - especially in children who refuse to have their spirits broken by the increasing pressures at school to conform.
As alluded to above, not only are some children barred from school for refusing to be drugged, but schools have now begun reporting parents to social service agencies for failing to drug their kids - as what happened in 2000 outside Albany, NY. That same yeat in Millbrook, NY, another parent was similarly cajoled by right-wing school authorities because she refused to drug her son who earlier had been sickened by such toxins. The drugs had caused the child to hallucinate and gnaw at his clothing. A lengthy investigation concluded that the parent was innocent of neglect or abuse and that the symptoms were indeed caused by the drugs. The boy was later found to have a heart murmur - which can be caused by poisons such as Ritalin.
Expect this form of coercion to increase unless the Child Medication Safety Act becomes law.
Incidentally, a noisome organization called Children And Adults With Attention Deficit Disorder (CHADD), which claims to represent people with ADHD, opposes the bill. As it turns out, according to CHADD's own financial statement, the group received over $500,000 last year alone from Novartis, which makes Ritalin.
(Anyone else ever notice the inconsistency of public school systems banning certain students from attending, even though school is compulsory? I once read a book by a priest from the U.S. who was held as a political prisoner in China that points out the inconsistency of the Chinese government requiring him to leave the country while at the same time prohibiting him from leaving. The contradiction of American school systems banning students from going to school despite being required to do so is no less irreconcilable than the actions of a tyrannical regime in China.)
GRADUATION RUINED FOR MANY
We used to think that as long as you graduate it's your right to attend your own high school graduation - but around here schools don't seem to think so anymore.
Both Campbell County and Boone County - in the name of combating what they call "senioritis" - decided at the last minute that some students who missed too many days of school wouldn't be allowed to be in their ceremony, even though they actually did graduate because they passed all the required classes.
Is that assholey OR WHAT?!
Graduates labored thanklessly since at least the age of 5 for this once-in-a-lifetime moment they'll never get back, and the school just decides to rob it from them.
One student whose graduation was ruined at the last minute because personal issues she had no control over caused her to miss several days of school was quoted as saying, "Something that you have worked 12 years for shouldn't be able to be taken away with one year's disciplines."
At Campbell County about 15 graduates were banned from their own ceremony after the unelected site-based council barked out the new rule.
Cincinnati Public Schools has adopted a similar right-wing policy that more or less extorts money by prohibiting graduates from attending their ceremony if the school claims they owe them money. (It's like what happened to me at Cline back in 1985 when they wouldn't let me move on to 7th grade unless my parents paid them a substantial sum of cash, using the excuse that I had damaged some textbooks, although I hadn't.)
There's no policy at any of these schools against schoolmongering bullies from being at their own graduation ceremony - but students who they harass and force to miss school are banned instead?! Innocent students are punished for missing school - but heaven forbid they ever punish some spoiled Nazi who gets their rocks off from harassing everyone else. America has become a completely upside-down society where school abusers not only avoid punishment but also receive special rights.
"Senioritis" is a fabricated crisis that exists only in the minds of scowling school board members and media talking heads. School harassment is a REAL crisis that perversely is presumed to not exist by those same elites (even when they deliberately encourage it).
COLORADO VOUCHER RIP-OFF
The concept of school vouchers championed by neorightists and the right-wing media is one that has never failed to fail in communities where it has been enacted.
Under this scheme governments spend the taxpayers' money to give out vouchers to send students to private schools. What this really amounts is corporate welfare - since the vouchers can only be used at schools, many of which are unwilling to accept students from low income groups, so as a result they raise the tuition enough to offset the vouchers. It is not charitable assistance for poor families to spend at their own discretion (which is something conservatves oppose).
Private schools usually have a religious affiliation, so these programs also raise red flags with the First Amendment's guarantee of separation of church and state. But perhaps worst of all, private schools - in the experience of us and many others - usually lag far behind public schools in terms of academic offerings and discipline, something never acknowledged by the media. Those who still think of private schools as providing perfection in discipline have never attended both private and public schools to make a firsthand comparison.
It was recently said of one local private school that students who were expelled from it became more successful than those who graduated. While this may not be the case with every private school, it does ream an ungainly bazooka hole through the image of perfection that some associate with private schools.
Let's not dodge the issue of some private schools practicing racial discrimination. In rural Mississippi, for example, private schools are constructed for this very purpose.
The Supreme Court doesn't understand the First Amendment's safeguard of religious freedom, so last year in a Cleveland case they approved voucher scams - and Colorado, under the unpopular and scandal-tainted Gov. Bill Owens, has now created the first statewide voucher rip-off in America since the rogue Supreme Court ruling.
Colorado voters have quite smartly rejected vouchers twice. But you can't expect a frothing scuzzmouth like Owens to give a celery green shit what the public thinks. Nor can you expect him to give a soaring fuck that it will cost public schools $200,000,000.
Despite ceaseless veneration by the media, vouchers have failed in the Milwaukee "experiment" that was launched in 1990 and in the Florida program that began in 1999 but was later struck down by a state court because it violated the state's provision on church and state separation. In Florida, the state's federation of teachers, the NAACP, and the League of Women Voters all strongly opposed vouchers.
There is no doubt that American public schools are blundering more spectacularly than at any other point in my lifetime. But it's not as if private schools are any better. More importantly, vouchers siphon money from public schools that are already cash-strapped.
What should be done is to allow students to attend public schools outside their district free of charge. It's such a simple idea, but it is our experience that schools are insistent on maintaining a captive audience, so they won't do anything this sensible.
DOES THE HOMESTEAD ACT APPLY TO BOOKS?
Bishop Brossart High School - a small Catholic school in Alexandria, KY - is a bizarro world just hankerin' to be poked fun at.
Bro$$art is a perfect example of the way things ought not to be. But the school's calculating efforts to destroy lives is no reason why we shouldn't have a little fun by humiliating it, even if only to a fraction of the degree that it does with unsuspecting students.
Here at our underground media empire there's a lot of discussion about how to use the Homestead Act to legally acquire items from Brossfart free of charge. The Homestead Act is a 19th Century law passed by Congress that allows folks to own land once they've lived on it and farmed it for 5 years. Settlers used this law to acquire land. But lawyers and law students who we've consulted disagree on whether this law also applies to books.
Schools reconcile their anti-book worldview with extreme academic rigor by assigning books, short stories, plays, and poems not as works of literary art but as things to picked apart and analyzed until they lose their meaning. Brossart was certainly no exception during my 3 years in that squalid hell from 1987-90, prior to my expulsion (which was apparently the school's way of celebrating Hitler's birthday). During my final year at Brossart, I was isolated in the library for almost half of every school day. They forbade me to touch the books in the libe - but by defying their capricious fiat I learned far more than I would have in the regular classes, which consisted primarily of brats hurling things across the room (or one of my teachers saying "ruin" really funny). (I read the chapter of Howard Cosell's biography that describes when he threw up on Don Meredith's cowboy boots.)
The elderly nun who served as librarian at the time enjoyed blaring the TV at top volume, but I shut out this distraction. She once grieved that pages of a book were "pasted" together when really it was a booger, but that's another topic for another day. Eventually I was able to borrow several books.
But when I was expelled the school never asked for the books to be returned. The amount of money the school extorted from me over those 3 years probably exceeded the value of the books times 10. So I kept those library books. Fair is fair.
Eventually I sold most of the books, and the one I recall keeping later became lost. I shall not mention this volume by name, because I don't have the stomach to tolerate the sanctimonious eeping that would be sure to follow. The fact that its author's head was shaped like a candy corn was a source of much amusement despite the tome's superserious subject matter.
Despite agreeing on our right to recoup money stolen by Brossart, there's no consensus among our dream team of legal experts over whether the fact that we had the book for well over 5 years before it was lost makes it our property under the Homestead Act. Some say yes. Some say no. Our initial impulse would be yes - but it's a slippery slope, for Bro$$art can just as easily claim that those hundreds of dollars it extorted are legally theirs. Brossart's claim might be a stretch, because money can be just a number in a ledger and not necessarily cash, but the school has stretched things like this before. If we thought the law applies to our benefit but not to somebody else's it would be stooping to the school's level.
If a neighbor of the school had their fence line on Brossart's land, and Brossart knew of it but failed to act against it for 5 years, then that neighbor would acquire the land for free, according to the Homestead Act. But a book isn't land - unless maybe you tear all the pages out and jab them into the ground with a pair of hedge clippers.
Regardless of the Homestead Act, of course, there is no question that because the school stole money and more, I had a right to repossess property from it. If Bishop Brossart High School files a suit to gain back the library books in any court presided over by a judge with even a shred of common sense, my defense would quickly lay hulk to their case.
FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST TEACHER
A few years back a small group of right-wing zealots in Utah filed a lawsuit in an attempt to fire an award-winning high school teacher because she is a lesbian.
So much for conservatives' nonstop grumbling about frivolous lawsuits! While Ernie Fletcher, the nasty Republican candidate for Kentucky governor, snarls about victims of medical malpractice being awarded what he views as excessive amounts of money for their pain and suffering, you never hear him or his political allies moan about lawsuits that actually are baseless.
The Taliban needs to learn to keep its snout out of everybody's bedroom. What consenting adults do in private is none of anyone's fucking business.
This lawsuit was dismissed, but the dour plaintiffs weren't finished. They then tried obtaining a declaration from the Utah Supreme Court saying that the instructor was unfit to teach - which would have forced the school system to fire her.
The Taliban lost that round as well. Recently the Utah Supreme Court refused to buy their arguments for firing the teacher, saying the plaintiffs "lack a legally protectible interest in this controversy" - or in plain English, the complainants need to mind their own business. The court also ruled that complaints against teachers must instead be taken up with the local or state school board.
So the bigots who filed the suit just wasted 6 years of the court system's time just to badger one person - only to end up losing and causing themselves to be laughed at. The Utah Supreme Court ought to fine the living dickens out of the fanatics for filing such a ridiculous action.
SCANDAL-PLAGUED NKU SLAMS DOOR ON MANY
Northern Kentucky University - which is currently awash in a plagiarism scandal surrounding professors' research papers - aroused derision recently when it dashed to smithereens its so-called open admisisons policy.
It's not like it was very open to begin with - even with 4 years of math in high school (all of which I passed with flying colors in the face of almost unparalleled adversity) I was forced to take a "remedial" math class at NKU that didn't even count for credit - but now it's even more exclusionary. Campus oldsters boo-hooed that some prospective students - for instance, those who did not take "college preparatory" classes in high school - are simply unfit for college.
What a Big Lie.
The labeling of "college preparatory" classes by high schools is a joke. All this does is create an atmosphere of elitism and discourage students who opt to take other classes from going on to college.
You're always hearing about how important it is to stay in school, study hard, and keep your nose clean. How can one do this when it's so hard to get into a public university (and when there are no others in this region of the state)? Isn't the entire idea behind schools supposed to be to teach people subjects that they will value?
Not for the first time NKU is barking up the wrong tree. Experience shows that it only takes a few spoiled brats to infect a school, and if the university lacks advanced sensibilites in dealing with this economically privileged plutocracy, look out. There are children in poor nations like Haiti who will never set foot inside a school in their lives - while a privileged few in America have absolutely no appreciation for the limitless educational opportunities they enjoy by being born into wealth. This society of young elites surely won't be among those who NKU excludes under the new policy.
We'd like to see the spawns of privilege trade places for a while with a poor child in Haiti who lives in absolute servitude.
HIGH-STAKES TESTING: ANOTHER JOKE
A study by Arizona State University confirms what we predicted all along: High-stakes testing by schools not only fails to deliver on its unending boasts about improved academic success but also creates higher rates of dropping out of school.
The study also finds that high-stakes testing has forced many schools to cut back on science, social studies, art, and other classes because those subjects usually aren't covered on the tests. So immense is the pressure to perform impeccably on the tests that some schools had to bend the rules a bit to make sure students passed - which of course is not very honest, but it's no more fishy than the tests themselves.
Researchers Audrey Amrein and David Berliner reported that "after states implement high-stakes tests, academic achievement continues to look much like it did before high-stakes tests were implemented. In addition, negative or unintended consequences emerge as students, teachers, and schools attempt to reconcile learning and the attachment of serious consequences to test performance."
Out of 16 states with high-stakes tests required to graudate, 11 have suffered a drop in the graduation rate.
We'd like to see more rallying against state tests, like the boycott in Massachusetts that resulted when more than half of students statewide failed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System because it was too difficult. The several thousand boycotters were threatened with suspension and being forced to write favorably of the test, but they held their ground. And in Ohio, an organization of parents called OPT-OUT formed to boycott and circulate a petition against mandatory proficiency tests. (If the state's rule on detaining 4th graders who did not pass the test was in force in 1999, over two-thirds of 4th graders in Cincinnati would have been forced to repeat 4th grade.)
Under a new federal law, the Bush regime is forcing states to do even more testing. Considering that Kentucky now wastes up to 2 weeks of each year on standardized tests, don't expect people to be jumping for joy when they move the start of the school year up to the second week in July instead of the fourth week like it is now.
CRYBABIES COMPLAIN OVER GETTING HAND SLAP IN HAZING SCANDAL
In the wake of the Glenbrook, IL, high school hazing scandal - in which students were beaten mercilessly and slathered with shit by older schoolmates, resulting in 5 students being injured so severely that they were hospitalized - you'd think the perpetrators would graciously accept being suspended from school for their actions.
It amazes you. It really does. Someone could get expelled for nail clippers or powdered Kool-Aid - or even ARRESTED for writing a story - and heaven forbid anyone even suggest contesting it. But a mere 10-day suspension over a crime that is far more evil results in a lawsuit by one of the 32 suspended students.
Suspension. That's all they got. And still they sue.
We'd be the first to support a lawsuit against a school over, say, a dress code or forced drug tests or other "zero tolerance" fascism. But the hazing incident was actually a criminal act, which the school punished only mildly in comparison to the act's severity, yet the school gets sued for being too harsh on the perpetrators?!
Isn't that positively the st00pidest thing you've ever heard of?!
STUDENTS ATTACKED FOR NOT HAVING RELIGION CRAMMED DOWN THEIR THROATS
The First Amendment.
What is so difficult to understand about the First Amendment?
It means what it says. Man, does it ever mean it! I'd be lying if I said it didn't mean it like a dictionary (to use a time-honored expression of ours).
And that includes the part about separation of church and state. Lately conservatives have - almost in unison - huffed out a Big Lie that denies church and state separation is even mentioned in the Constitution. Maybe it doesn't use the words "separation of church and state", but it does use words that mean the same thing. The First Amendment's support of freedom of religion was intended to protect the public from not just the federal government establishing a religion but also from state and local governments doing the same.
When it says "no law", it means NO LAW!
School officials in Union County, TN, don't seem to grasp this. The school system has become the target of a federal lawsuit for allowing students to be harassed and physically injured for not participating in school-sponsored religious activities.
The school district sponsors organized prayer over the loudspeakers (which of course was ruled unconstitutional over 40 years ago), distribution of Bibles in class, proselytizing, and even an annual Baptist revival meeting. The school system denies funding the revival, but in fact it is treated like any field trip, and teachers even accompany students at the event.
A student who did not attend the revival because of her religious beliefs became the victim of a campaign of harassment and violence for 3 years. She was falsely accused of being a Satan worshiper and eating babies, found insults painted on her locker, and was seriously injured when her head was smashed into a locker by classmates. The victim was also ganged up on by 3 thugs at the school, who told her, "You better change your religion or we'll change it for you." The school refused to punish the perpetrators - and then in response to the lawsuit the school lied and denied the attacks took place at all.
The victim of these attacks, who had been a straight-"A" student, was eventually forced out of school and denied her right to an education.
This series of attacks, like other schoolmongering campaigns, is an open-and-shut case of terrorism. We're waiting for Pat Robertson to pollute the scene with his fart-like vapors. Judging by Robertson's reliable support of terrorism - his followers lobbied the Washington State legislature to oppose a bill against this type of violence, and Robertson himself concurred with Jerry Falwell's gloating over 9/11 - he's bound to show his vicious sneer sooner or later.
Terrorism in the name of religion was likely fanned higher than before by the Bush regime's support of mandatory school prayer. A new law withholds federal dollars from schools unless they show they do not prohibit prayer that is protected under federal guidelines, but we all know what that means. After all it's Bush's appointees who write the guidelines. In Ohio alone, schools wasted over $500,000 in an effort to please the election-stealing Bush regime.
The law itself isn't the biggest sponsor of terrorism. Rather, Bush's attitude is. Throughout America's history there has never before been an administration that in both its public pronouncements and its deeds has been so theocratic and so contemptuous of church and state separation. This only encourages fanatics to use violence to force their beliefs on others - and regime officials know it.
SCHOOL SILENCES ANTIWAR TEACHERS
At Evanston Township High School in Evanston, IL, during this year's failed war against Iraq, teachers were ordered not to wear "NO WAR" and "PEACE" buttons.
Not surprisingly, there was no ukase against wearing pro-war buttons.
MONTHLY MORON MOTORIST
One rare sunny day in August, my mom wanted to see the spot on Bromley-Crescent Springs Road where an SUV ran my bike off the roadway and nearly detached my lower left leg from its socket. Oddly, a new official road map of Kentucky marks this road as one of very few bike routes in the whole state, as if to rub our noses in it. To add injury to insult, after it was declared a bike route, the highway department closed the road for most hours of the day during August to make cosmetic repairs on a 50-foot stretch of the road, making even the sides of the road impassable and leaving NO alternative for bicyclists.
Anyway, my mom and I went on a brief car trip to pay respects to this holy site. On the hill down Amsterdam from Lookout Heights (where people have lots of right-wing signs on the front lawns of their mansions), a woman who was about 60 years old who was driving in front of us kept sticking her arms out her car window and flapping them wildly. My mom and I both burst into laughter at the woman's strange conduct. The crazed motorist also kept inexplicably slowing down and speeding up again.
Finally, at the bottom of the hill, the woman stopped and got out of her car, letting it idle and causing traffic to back up. She walked towards our car and began chitchatting about a deer she saw WAAAAAY up at the top of the hill.
That's like if somebody walks up to you now and warns you not to vote for Bob Dole in 1996: If we were going to crash into the deer, wouldn't it have happened a full mile back up the road? She was warning us of a danger that had already passed!
TEENS DETAINED FOR CRITICIZING BUSH
In Oakland, CA, two students at Oakland High School were detained and interrogated by Secret Service because a teacher reported them for daring to criticize dictator Bush in a class discussion.
Other teachers defended the detained students, and one observed, "What we're concerned about is academic freedom and that students have the right to free expression in the classroom." He said that the Secret Service agents told the students, "We own you. You don't have any legal rights." The questioning took place without the presence of an attorney - although the teachers' union requires students to receive legal counsel before being interrogated for any reason.
Don't you just LOVE living in a democ...uh, never mind.
PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR RIGHTS VIOLATED SOME MORE
The Plumsted, NJ, school system is a trailblazer for fascism, as its 3 schools have become the test site for an "experiment" in eye scanning technology.
In the name of "security" the system uses a video camera to record the iris of a person's eye. The federal Justice Defartment is starting with this school system to build a national database of eye scans.
Biometrics expert Paul Robertson warns of possible violations of the right to privacy for individuals whose data is stored by the schools.
Get ready to have your rights violated amidst media praise.
SENIORS FORCED TO RETAKE TEST BECAUSE OF SOMEONE ELSE'S FUCK-UP
Not for the first time, many local high school students were forced to retake a standardized test because someone else fucked up.
Kentucky has a state religion: standardized testing. Educrats pity us fools (to use the expression as Mr. T would) who don't bow at the altar of filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil for hours on end and being extra careful not to accidentally crease the test sheet on the edge of the desk and causing it to be chewed up in the machine. Some tests (such as the high school entrance exam) are always on a weekend - because heaven forbid they actually use school time for something related to school.
This spring, 5% of high school seniors in Kentucky - about 1,800 students - were dragged out of class to retake a 90-minute portion of the mandatory Commonwealth Accountability Testing System all because a few questions on the test were released ahead of time.
Whose fucking fault is that?
Last November, a Denver company called eCollege had used some of the questions in a test of a new online testing system for disabled students - when they were supposed to use questions from an older test. It couldn't be because state education officials gave them the wrong questions, could it?
And why wasn't the mistake "discovered" until the spring? Could it be because the state wanted to waste everyone's time? Nah, they wouldn't do anything like that now, would they? Why, that would just be making high school seniors a captive audience to school bullshit, and surely they'd NEVER do that! (Yeah, right.)
Even if it wasn't intentional, do you really think the results of the first taking of the test are skewed any more than the results of the second taking are from the increased pressure of taking the test twice?
Students should have been given the option of retaking the test in the bathroom and using a different kind of Number Two in their pencils. But if I was one who was forced to retake it, I would have promptly torn the test into tiny pieces in full view of the school community and flipped the scraps into the air (like in Motley Crue's "Smokin' In The Boys Room" video). (Everybody knows that bastin' ain't allowed in school. Ooh, an Allowed Cloud!)
NKU CHANNEL ACCIDENTALLY SHOWS PORN
NKU's fragile sensibilities were shattered one morning recently when a soft-core porn flick was shown on its cable TV channel A-18, which is supposed to show educational shows and programs about the university.
When images featuring full frontal nudity from the movie began popping up unexpectedly, viewers of the channel began calling up the cable company and various news outlets to complain. One angry viewer was quoted as saying, "My 86-year-old mother just saw two women going at it. Now they've got two men on there."
The flub was blamed on the accidental switching of satellite feeds.
While the porn may have offended a few viewers, this gray cloud has a silver lining: It appeared on a channel run by a university that is so stodgy about potentially offensive material that it forced the student newspaper to censor the word "beer" in an article about a banner someone hung in University Center. NKU mucketymucks are getting what they deserved by having porn on their channel.
OOPS! Some copies of some recent issues of The Last Word Surprise incorrectly list the volume number as 15. Researching the origins of this newsletter, the volume number should be 12.
SCHOOL SUED OVER FORCED HAIRCUT
Not long ago at the seemingly misnamed Progress Village Middle School in Tampa, FL, a teenage student was summoned from social studies class to the "time out room" (solitary confinement). He was confronted by an instructor and a teacher's aide, who then forced him to the ground and informed him his hair was too long. They pinned him to the floor as they cut his hair with a pair of scissors.
The school system has no policy against students having long hair, and even if they did, our friends James Madison and Thomas Jefferson would have something to say about it in that thing they wrote called the First Amendment.
A lawsuit quickly got under way, and school district officials launched an investigation of one of the aggressing employees.
10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR BEING CREATIVE
In 2001, in the midst of school shootings nationwide, lawmakers in Oklahoma used the deadly events as an excuse to stiffify laws against so-called planning of violent acts - which apparently doesn't mean actions but writings.
Last year a senior at Moore High School in Moore, OK, wrote a tall tale of masked commandos offing a school principal, students detonating bombs about the school, and snipers gunning down police officers from the roof. But the guardians of thought policing can't distinguish fact from fiction, and criminal charges against the student for daring to write this story were quickly lodged by the district attorney - but not after police detectives pounded on his door in a search for weapons.
The sentence if he's convicted of planning a violent act? Up to 10 years in prison. For NOTHING!
Prosecutors admit that the cadaverous but creative story was not intended to plan a violent act, but they say intent is not required to prosecute someone under this law.
The ACLU is trying to get the case tossed because the law is unconstitutionally vague and a violation of the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.
The victim of the stormtrooper raid by police lost his job at a restaurant because of all the biased media coverage - which falsely reported that he had sent an e-mail containing instructions for a terrorst plot - and he was kicked out of school and forced to complete high school via mail-in courses.
Well, that'll teach ya to be creative now, won't it?
Right before press time we received word that the charge was dropped - but the felony arrest remains on his record.
"ZERO TOLERANCE" NAZIS WRECK GRADUATION
The "zero tolerance" thought police that fills America's schools like the shit that distends their diaper has ravaged yet another life - this time by barring an honors student at Estero High School in Estero, FL, from her own graduation ceremony because a kitchen knife was found in her car. (The knife had fallen out of a box while the student was moving.)
What was the school doing by pawing through her car anyway? We've seen a couple of schools around here posting signs on the roads leading to the school bragging that they have a right to search any vehicle without a warrant - but the Fourth Amendment says otherwise.
Unbelievably, a right-wing federal judge waited until 2 hours before the ceremony to reject the student's argument that she had been denied a hearing by the school system.
The arrest that accompanied the suspension and disownment from graduation also jeopardized her state-sponsored university scholarship.
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(Copywrong 2003. Online edition best suited to be viewed with Internet Exploder 5.)
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