The Daily Caller presents: The first annual Elementary and Middle School Stupidity Awards

The Daily Caller

The dog days of summer have provided a nice opportunity to commemorate the academic year that was in various ways. For example, The Daily Caller’s College Stupidity Awards provided an impressive collection of folly and futility. The High School Stupidity Awards also offered sad-but-comical amusement.

However nothing — nothing — compares to the lunacy and outrageously cringe-worthy poor judgment on display, mostly by teachers and administrators, at America’s elementary schools and middle schools in 2012-13.

Park Elementary School (Baltimore, Md.): Dumbest suspension for a breakfast pastry that isn’t a gun

Second-grader Josh Welch was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a poptart into something resembling a gun. Welch’s goal had been to turn it into a mountain, but that didn’t materialize. Mo one was hurt during the incident. School officials later denied an appeal to have the suspension expunged from the boy’s permanent record. There is good news, though. The National Rifle Association granted the seven-year-old a free lifetime membership. (RELATED: Second-grader suspended for having breakfast pastry shaped like a gun)

Chicago Public Schools: Most officious use of little kids as props by Michelle Obama

Courageous Chicago fifth-grade teacher Lisa Putnam wrote a scathing critique of the almost comical misery her students endured during a massive February 28 event kicking off Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools campaign. There was a three-hour wait — in straight lines — in the morning, Putnam explained. “Then imagine after one hour of ‘fun’ that they have to sit around and wait for three more hours that bus to pick them up. Oh, did I mention that are not allowed to have a morsel of food the entire time?” On the bright side, Obama’s crack staff gave the 10-year-olds free “XL men’s t-shirts.” (RELATED: Let’s starve! Kids forced to go hungry for hours during Michelle Obama media event)

Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School (Silver Spring, Md.): Dumbest suspension for a kid using an opposable thumb

A suburban Washington, D.C. family retained legal counsel after their six-year-old son was suspended from school for one day for making a gun gesture with his thumb and forefinger, pointing at another student and saying “pow.” The boy made the universal kid sign for a gun a week after 20-year-old Adam Lanza massacred 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. School officials later reversed and expunged the suspension from the kid’s permanent record. (RELATED: Maryland school suspends six-year-old boy for making gun gesture, saying ‘pow’)

Mount Carmel Area Elementary School (Mt. Carmel, Pa.): Dumbest suspension for a toy Hello Kitty gun gun that never actually materialized

A rural Pennsylvania kindergartener was suspended after she told another girl she planned to shoot her with a pink Hello Kitty toy gun that bombards targets with soapy bubbles. Events unfolded when the five-year-old was waiting at a bus stop with other students. The girl reportedly did not have the Hello Kitty gun or any other weapon with her. Nevertheless, she was originally suspended for 10 days for issuing a “terroristic threat.” The charge and the suspension were later reduced, but the girl had to submit to psychological testing before school officials allowed her to return to school. (RELATED: Kindergartener suspended for making ‘terroristic threat’ with Hello Kitty bubble gun)

St. Mary’s County Public Schools (Maryland): Most bizarrely oppressive school district in America and possibly the world

Officials with St. Mary’s County Public Schools in southern Maryland instituted a policy banning hugging and homemade food. Parents must also register to enter the playground and they can’t push anyone except their own kids on the swings. The distribution of birthday invitations on school grounds is also now verboten. Officials say the new rules are necessary to provide a generally safe environment. “We think it’s the right balance between safety and parental involvement,” school district representative Kelly Hall explained. (RELATED: Maryland school district outlaws hugging, homemade food, pushing kids on swings)

Logan Middle School (Logan County, West Va.): Dumbest suspension for something that isn’t a gun, clothing category

Eighth-grader Jared Marcum was suspended and arrested after he refused to remove a t-shirt supporting the National Rifle Association. In a move The Daily Caller can only characterize as courageous, the 14-year-old then returned to school wearing exactly the same shirt, which depicts a hunting rifle with the statement “protect your right.” Despite intense national mockery, prosecutors pressed forward with a criminal charge of obstructing an officer against Marcum. In legal documents, arresting officer James Adkins asserted that the boy did not follow his orders to stop talking. About 10 weeks after the incident occurred, prosecutors withdrew the charges. (RELATED: Charges finally dropped against eighth-grader who wore NRA shirt to school)

D. Newlin Fell School (Philadelphia, Pa.): Most awful search of a fifth-grade girl because she had a paper gun her grandfather made for her

An official at D. Newlin Fell School searched fifth-grader Melody Valentin in front of her entire class after she made the mistake of pulling out a gun constructed wholly from paper. Her grandfather had made it and given it to her the day before. After the search failed to turn any more weapons (paper or non-paper), the staffer intensely scolded the little girl — also in front of the whole class. “He yelled at me and said I shouldn’t have brought the gun to school and I kept telling him it was a paper gun but he wouldn’t listen,” the girl explained. (RELATED: Philadelphia girl searched, berated for having a gun made of paper at school)

The whole state of New Jersey: Most poorly-conceived and anti-American attempt to stop bullying

The state of New Jersey boasts some of the strictest anti-bullying law in the country and must now hold trials for kids who call each other names on the playground. An eighth-grader in the village of Ridgewood who allegedly called a girl “horse,” “fat” and “fat ass” is one of many students facing criminal prosecution under the 2011 law. The boy denied calling his classmate any name other than “horse.” (RELATED: Under strict bullying law, kid who called classmate ‘horse’ and ‘fat ass’ goes to court)

Dowell Elementary School (Lusby, Md.): Dumbest suspension for a toy gun and also interrogating a kid until he peed his pants

A Maryland kindergartener was suspended from school for 10 days because he showed a friend his cowboy-style cap gun on the bus on the way to school. School officials at Dowell Elementary then interrogated the five-year-old. During the ordeal, he peed his pants. The boy’s mother was not notified for two hours. Principal Jennifer L. Young reportedly told the kindergartener’s mother that things would have been even worse had the toy gun been loaded with caps. In that case, the school would have regarded the plaything as an explosive and called police. School officials later reduced the suspension but refused to expunge it from the boy’s permanent record. (RELATED: Kindergartener interrogated over cap gun until he pees his pants, then suspended 10 days)

Public School 59 (New York, N.Y.): Worst story problems for fourth-graders involving slave whippings

Fourth-grade teacher Jane Youn decided it would be a good idea to give her charges homework questions that combine basic math with the whipping and mutiny-related deaths of slaves. Another teacher had copied the offensive questions and was going to assign them before common sense somehow intervened. Sample question: “One slave got whipped five times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month (31 days)?” (RELATED: NYC public school teacher’s math homework asks students about whipping, killing slaves)

Mission Viejo Elementary School (Aurora, Colo.): Most obliviously racist principal

Andre C. Pearson, the principal at Mission Viejo Elementary, sent letters home to parents informing them that only students of color were eligible for an after-school tutoring initiative. Some shocked parents of students at the public school alleged discrimination and segregation. Pearson left a voicemail with one parent saying, “It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs.” (RELATED: Elementary school bans white kids from tutoring)

Schall Elementary School (Caro, Mich.): Most fascist, anti-American confiscation of soldier-festooned cupcakes

Administrators at Schall Elementary impounded a third-grader boy’s batch of 30 homemade birthday cupcakes because they were adorned with green plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers. The school principal, Susan Wright, branded the military-themed cupcakes “insensitive” in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. “It disgusted me,” the boy’s father said. “It’s vile they lump true American heroes with psychopathic killers.” The principal actually responded by saying, “Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions.” (RELATED: School confiscates third-grader’s cupcakes topped with toy soldiers)

J.O. Davis Elementary (Irving, Tex.): Cruelest economic incentive for second-graders

A seven-year-old boy at at J.O. Davis Elementary wet his pants in class because he hadn’t accumulated enough good behavior credits to secure a trip to the bathroom. His teacher had a reward system using “Boyd Bucks.” The cost of an unscheduled bathroom visit was two Boyd Bucks. Unfortunately, the boy was fresh out of Boyd Bucks when nature called urgently. “He tried to hold it as much as he could, but he just couldn’t,” the boy’s mother said. “He came home from school, and he was crying and really upset.” (RELATED: Second-grade teacher charges good-behavior ‘bucks’ for bathroom breaks; empty-pocketed boy wets pants)

Strobridge Elementary School (Hayward, Calif.): Silliest gun buyback program

The toy gun trade-in at Strobridge Elementary allowed kids to swap their harmless toy weapons for a raffle ticket and a chance to win a shiny, new bicycle. “Playing with toys guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun,” said Chris Hill, the school principal. The trade-in occurred on the school’s “Safety Day” which also featured safety tips from police officers and firefighters. Fingerprinting for participation in a real government database was also available. (RELATED: School asks kids to trade in toy guns for a bicycle)

Driver Elementary School (Suffolk, Va.): Dumbest suspension for a pencil that isn’t a gun

A seven-year-old student in Suffolk, Virginia, was playing a game with another student when his teacher noticed him pretending to shoot his pencil like a gun. Consequently, both students were given two-day suspensions. “A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,” lectured school district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw. The student, Christopher Marshall, said he was pretending to be a Marine, just like his father. (RELATED: Suspension for boy who held pencil like gun)

Cedar Hills Elementary School (Jacksonville, Fla.): Most appalling political statement foisted upon a fourth grader who wrote in crayon

A teacher in Duval County, Florida allegedly instructed students to express — in crayon — their desire to trade rights guaranteed in the Constitution for a feeling of added security. The incident occurred in a civics lesson. “I am willing to give up some of my constitution rights in order to be safer or more secure,” one student wrote (in tri-color), according to his parents. The purported goal of the overall lesson was to “create an awareness” of constitutional rights and help the free-thinking fourth graders “determine their opinions on which rights they value most and least.” (RELATED: Florida fourth graders allegedly told to write down desire to give up constitutional rights)

Mary Blair Elementary School (Loveland, Colo.): Dumbest suspension for an entirely make-believe hand grenade

Seven-year-old Alex Evans hurled an imaginary grenade — probably heroically far — at a bunch of make-believe bad guys on the playground of Mary Blair Elementary. For his attempts to fight imaginary bad guys, Evans was suspended. School officials reportedly told his mother that his creative play broke two crucial rules. The school’s list of “absolutes” includes no real or pretend fighting and no real or pretend weapons. School officials allegedly changed their stories a few times, but suggested that Evans was not suspended merely for pretending to throw a grenade. (RELATED: Seven-year-old boy lobs pretend grenade during recess, gets suspended)

Old Mill Pond Elementary School (Palmer, Mass.): Dumbest detention for a tiny LEGO toy that looks like a gun

A six-year-old boy on the way to Old Mill Pond Elementary brought a plastic Lego gun roughly the size of a quarter on the bus. Another student on the bus spotted the tiny toy and promptly shouted to the driver. The boy was forced to apologize to the bus driver and had to serve detention. There was also talk of a temporary suspension from riding the bus. School officials also promptly sent a letter home to all parents explaining that there was no real gun, only a very small molded piece of plastic. (RELATED: Kindergartener gets detention, forced to apologize for Lego gun the size of a quarter)

Hurricane Middle School (Hurricane, Utah): Most deliberate and hostile ginger discrimination

Hurricane Middle School student Rylee McKay was suspended for dying her hair red. The school’s dress code policies stipulate that students can only dye their hair within a range of “normal” colors. School authorities determined that McKay’s hair was too pink when examined under certain lighting, and suspended her until she changed it back. (RELATED: Student, kicked out of school for having red hair, returns to class)

Follow Eric on Twitter and send education-related story tips to erico@dailycaller.com.

Robby Soave contributed to this piece.
Join the conversation on The Daily Caller

Read more stories from The Daily Caller

Green energy companies accused of ripping off poor, minority customers

The Daily Caller presents: The first annual Elementary and Middle School Stupidity Awards

House Republicans no more confident in immigration enforcement with Napolitano resignation

Texas Department of Public Safety confiscates jars of feces from pro-abortion protestors

Holder releases new rules for media surveillance

View Comments (496)