Defining a School “Gun Threat”

One reason I react so strongly to the lack of common sense in school administrators is because I had a personal experience with an expulsion threat over the issue when I was in high school. Yes, the “Goody Two-Shoes” honor student was called in to the principal’s office and threatened with expulsion over an issue regarding guns. It didn’t happen because I knew enough to know that I wasn’t breaking any rules; the situation that sparked the “report” to the administrator was a clear case of protected speech. The fear of a lawsuit and enough bad PR to cost the new principal his job was enough to convince him that he really didn’t want to go down that path.

What was my crime? It was having a discussion about a fairly new (only a couple of years old at the time) concealed carry law enacted in Oklahoma after I was asked to give a speech in class on the topic of gun control. In other words, I was having a reasonable, non-threatening discussion with peers in the library (our “class” for those of us in the academic competition programs) on a timely political topic relevant to assigned school work. (For the record, I read my first Dave Kopel article in preparation for that speech.) Yeah, try throwing me out of school for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he came to his senses. Regardless, I still get pissy over the incident because shouldn’t he have come to his senses when the “report” was made? Common sense would tell a person to ask some probing questions about the incident, especially since the report was coming from a student with some issues getting along with others against one of the top students who had literally never been punished in her entire time at the school.

It bothers me because if the principal had threatened any of the other people at the table in my discussion group, some of them may not have known to fight back. They would not have known that such speech did not give them the right to kick you out of a public school. I don’t believe he would have expelled them, but I do think he would have tried to hold the threat over their heads and left them believing that he was doing them a favor. That bothers me, especially in a public school we were required to attend. It shouldn’t be up to students to stand up to administrative bullying.

10 thoughts on “Defining a School “Gun Threat””

  1. How dare you have any independent and/or unapproved thoughts or opinions! We’re not sending you to a public school to learn how to think!

    Please refer to the “Politically-Correct Guide for High School Students, 5th edition” published by the Department of Education for your talking points. No deviations allowed. [end sarcasm]

  2. Another way to look at things, to make lemonade out of lemons, is that it is often — maybe usually — the stupid tyrants of our youth that turn us into advocates for individual liberty, as adults. If it weren’t for them, we’d be like everyone else, growing up believing what our civics books said. Chances are your dippy principal was one of the most important contributors to your continuing education.

  3. Bitter,

    What district was this in, may I ask? (Edmond memorial 1987 here…never had anything remotely like that come up that I can recall).

    1. It was a small town in the southern part of the state. I graduated in ’99, and they still had not accepted basic gender equality, either.

  4. Public schools have their priorities set:

    Priority #1: Health of the Union, and comfort of its members.
    Priority #2: Brainwashing
    Priority Distant 3rd: Teaching usable life-skills.

    I’m dead set on homeschooling.

    1. You’re assuming way too much in this statement. The school couldn’t possibly make “health of the union” a priority since there was no union. All contracts were negotiated with individual teachers and the elected school board.

      I don’t believe “brainwashing” was on the agenda, either. I had teachers who consistently encouraged me to challenge the system. Hell, one of them introduced me to Ayn Rand. That went so well that she now teaches Rand as part of the senior curriculum.

      As for making “usable life-skills” a distant third, that’s hard to argue since they abolished all of the AP classes (since every student who took the exams bombed them) and prioritized vo-tech style classes. Sure, it hurts the kids looking at that they no longer value the college-prep curriculum, but since most are headed towards skilled labor jobs, it’s hard to argue that they aren’t focusing on useful (for the area) skills.

  5. Public schools have one, and only one, purpose…

    To indoctrinate kids to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and do exactly as told by their authority figures.

  6. You buried the lead just a little bit there. I would really like to know just what combination of words you used to make the principle back down. That event is far to rare to let pass without scrutiny. Well done!

    Print those words out on a wallet sized card, and it would make a great stocking stuffer.

    Make a video, and title it “Things Students Must Not Learn” and pretty soon, principles all across the nation will be backing down constantly.

    On the back side of the card, you could tell the difference between “Protected” speech, and the other, normal, everyday kind.

  7. My high school’s JROTC program had a rifle team and a range behind the baseball field. Of course, I graduated in 1989, and I assume it is long gone by now.

    I do remember one classmate that got suspended for a week because of a rifle he left in the rack of his truck (remember when people could do that without worrying about it getting stolen?). The fact of the matter is that guns were not uncommon at my school, they just were all hidden in our vehicles so we could go hunting before or after school.

    My, how times have changed…

  8. I was all set to reminisce about the good old days of JROTC rifle teams, and guys who forgot to take their hunting knives off before coming back to school, and rumors that, in certain schools in town, as long as you left your pistol in your locker no one cared…
    …but not only did I go to school in Detroit, my experience may have been even more unique, since I attended the same high school as Ted Nugent…

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