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

education, bullies, independence


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meatb... meatball77

Eeh, if the teacher had a good reason to ban pencils in her class based on past behavior by the students in the class then I have no problem with it.

However, saying that the child would be disciplined for bringing a weapon to school is obsessive.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Seriously, Meatball?  BAN pencils in a school?  Why not deal with the offender?  If a kid is using a pencil as a weapon, or a projectile, or whatever else, DEAL WITH THE KID!!!  Don't ban the object! 

Honestly, this is why we have so many problems with bullies in this country.  We're afraid to discipline, sometimes harshly, when some kid is out of line.  We don't want to hurt their feelings.  So we end up doing stupid things like making zero tolerance rules that cause kids to be suspended for having a plastic knife in school.  And allowing teachers to be stupid and ban pencils in a classroom.

A little common sense goes a long way. 

Scout... ScoutsHonorHMR

Gah!  I am going to go with---Don't teachers have better things to do than obsess over writing implements??  Sheesh!


Suri2010 Suri2010

I think its a load of crap to ban a pencil in school. Kids have gone generations bringing pencils to school and doing homework on the bus. I don't think anyone has ever died of being hit with a pencil. Next they will ban pens, markers, and rulers. Seriously! Enough is enough. Kids will b kids with or without a pencil. They can just as easily get a plastic knife from the cafeteria or a stick off the ground

AMom29 AMom29

I think they should ban homework all together -- I mean they could get a paper cut, or like you said hit each other with a book.  Pens are just as dangerous -- and PERMANENT!  {gasp!}

This teacher is a little off her nut. 

Kate Sandberg

Heck.  I'm gonna take a sharpened pencil onto the plane next time I fly....

san3 san3

I can see both sides really. We've had teachers ban rubber bands, staples, push pins, permanent markers and rulers through out the years. Most of the time these were temporary bans and only in certain classes until the teacher could find a real solution to the problem or the kids lost interest in inflicting that particular type of punishments to their class mates.  I know it sounds crazy but I'm sure you would change your mind when you see the marks each can leave, both physical and mental. There have always been bullies in schools. However, they are getting more creative with their torture. I can't say that the teacher's ban on pencils is out of line without knowing why she did it. Yet I do think it is going overboard for entire schools to ban them. I'm sure teachers have better things to spend their money or even their class money on than providing writing instruments.

Diann Perio

I still have a scar on my hand from being stabbed with a pencil and this still seems extreme. If you really want to hurt some one you can figure out a way. especially if they give you the pencils in class any ways.  

kswyo kswyo

This reminds me of  "guns don't kill people, people kill people". The pencils aren't the problem, it's the kid choosing to use it as a weapon. That kid/adult could use any number of other objects or *gasp* his/her hands/elbows/feet/head/etc. How is taking away random objects still thought of as an acceptable solution?!

AngiDas AngiDas

It is stuff like this that makes me want to homeschool.eye rolling

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