Teacher Bans Pencils: School Safety the TSA Way?

pencilsHelicopter parents have met their match. A teacher who allegedly banned students from bringing pencils to school because ... wait for it ... they might be used as weapons has convinced us schools may be headed in a direction even more invasive than a TSA pat down.

Remember pencils? Those bitty writing instruments that were a requirement in just about every classroom in every school in America when we were kids? Wendy Scott, the sixth grade teacher who allegedly started this mess, decided it would be safer if the kids did not carry them to school. Instead she planned to provide them during class time, then take them away.

Kids caught with them out of the classroom would suffer immediate punishment.

Because nothing screams danger like a sixth-grader daring to do homework on the bus with a pencil? Heck, we may as well call it quits on public education entirely.


Seriously, Mom and Dad. Have you gotten a look at your kid's textbooks lately? Those big hardcovers are just begging to be taken out of the classroom -- a child might pick it up and beat a tablemate over the head with it.

And forget crayons. They're fatter than Q-tips, so we can just imagine what sort of damage they'd do if a child decided to stick one in a classmate's ear.

While we're at it, maybe the TSA can help. Backscatter machines in every school in America would keep out the contraband 6-year-olds are hiding in those Toy Story and Barbie backpacks.

Of course, if we just told the kids to leave their clothes at home, we'd never have to worry about anything being hidden. Although a guy and a girl doing cavity checks at the front door may not be a bad idea?

At some point, America, we have to give up the ghost on making everything safe. The real world has pointy tables, and if you wear a helmet to work, I'm pretty sure you will never be chosen to make the big presentation in front of a client. Ever.

Let's talk degrees of danger. You could bump your head getting out of the elevator in your office. But is that worse than losing out on every future promotion by looking like a moron?

When it comes down to it, Scott is absolutely right. Pencils are dangerous. I still have a gray spot on my cheek from the time my little brother jumped off the wooden chest in our dining room as I was walking by, driving the pencil in his hand into my flesh. But he could have just as easily been holding a toothbrush.

In fact, a sharpened toothbrush makes a pretty mean shiv if you sharpen it just right. But the American Dental Association is markedly more concerned about your kids' teeth rotting out of their heads than they are about a rash of toothbrush slashings.

If only parents shared that big picture view.

The North Brookfield School District in Massachusetts is backpedaling like crazy, claiming Scott had no authority to make such an edict, but with other schools' bans on the likes of baked goods and hugs, something tells me we haven't seen the end of the TSA approach to education.

What are the bizarre bans in your district?

Image via orangeacid/Flickr

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