Patterico's Pontifications

4/1/2008

A Third Grade Conspiracy

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 1:29 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Police in Waycross, Georgia, uncovered a plot by up to nine third-graders to attack their teacher:

“A group of third-graders plotted to attack their teacher, bringing a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape and other items for the job and assigning children tasks including covering the windows and cleaning up afterward, police said Tuesday.

The plot by as many as nine boys and girls at Center Elementary School in south Georgia was a serious threat, Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said.

“We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her, but could they have accidentally killed her? Absolutely,” Tanner said. “We feel like if they weren’t interrupted, there would have been an attempt. Would they have been successful? We don’t know.

The children, ages 8 and 9, were apparently mad at the teacher because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair, Tanner said.”

The children have been suspended but cannot be charged with a crime under Georgia law because they are under 13, although they may be subject to sanctions under school district and juvenile law provisions.

The teacher is described as a “veteran educator” who teaches learning disabled children. The scheme to attack her was fairly complicated:

“The scheme involved a division of roles, Tanner said. One child’s job was to cover windows so no one could see outside, he said. Another was supposed to clean up after the attack.

“We’re not sure at this point in the investigation how many of the students actually knew the intent was to hurt the teacher,” Tanner said. “

The school principal defended her students:

“This is an isolated incident, an aberration. … We have good kids,” Center Principal Angie Coleman told the newspaper.”

The police remain unconvinced. Pictures of the steak knife and accessories are here.

— DRJ

41 Responses to “A Third Grade Conspiracy”

  1. How much you wanna bet the local cops knew the parents of these kids already?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  2. Yikes.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  3. The purported target is a veteran educator who teaches third-grade students with learning disabilities including attention deficit disorder, delayed development and hyperactivity, friends and parents said.

    In other words, relabeling troublemakers doesn’t change their behavior and may even help them to rationalize it?

    ras (fc54bb)

  4. Are you certain this isn’t related to April Fool’s Day? I’ve tried to ignore most of the more outlandish stories today. It may be true, but it’s pretty out there and I’m not sure I buy it yet.

    Stashiu3 (c8e98a)

  5. I work at a public school. I buy it. Without a second thought.

    Dana (fba430)

  6. Those tiny gloves are particularly creepy.

    Tom (ad8087)

  7. As for the creepy tiny gloves – When this case is tried 5 years from now, we all need to remember that if they don’t fit, you must acquit.

    Apogee (4e1b69)

  8. I buy it. My mother was/is a special education teacher. Her first job was at a middle school and within 3 months, a student had pulled a knife on her and another had stolen her purse.

    Techie (ed20d9)

  9. I’m sorry, I can’t help it – April 1 and all – The article mentions that the teacher helps students with attention deficit disorder. If these students were able to focus on their goal and organize to this extent, the teacher must be doing a great job!

    Apogee (4e1b69)

  10. If it’s a joke, it’s an elaborate one. The story has been reported by the AP and local news, and I provided links to both sources just to be safe.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  11. These so called “children” are obviously terrorists! Look at all the terrorist hostage taking stuff they had on em. Ship every one of the little snot nosed thugs off to Guantanamo I say. Give it a few years and eventually they’ll tell us which parent or older sibling was the criminal mastermind behind this plot to destroy the greatest education system in the world.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  12. Gee Ed, I was going to say send them to Guantanamo, but as interrogators. Go figure.

    Stashiu3 (c8e98a)

  13. Where are the parents? It take a family, village.
    Reason why my great grandchildren are being home schooled and doing very well.happy

    Dimples (56a0a8)

  14. I was sent to “special education” when I was a kid for “reading difficulty”– basically, they required that you read through *each* level in order to be allowed to check out books in the next level, and I was a second grader reading at a seventh grade level…yes, I was a stubborn little brat of a kid, too.

    I was the only kid in the special ed group that wasn’t more suited to a psychiatric evaluation than education. (I got a lot of knowledge of the other kids, because I ended up being the teacher’s aid after a week.)

    I don’t WANT to believe this…but yeah, I do.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  15. Stashiu3,
    Haw haw haw. Excellent.

    EdWood (bdec1c)

  16. heh scooped ya! :)

    This is a crazy story that I really wish were an April Fool :(

    [EDIT: You certainly did, Verlin. Good post. — DRJ]

    Verlin Martin (f359ef)

  17. Its VERY scarey that nothing will be done to any of them…they are too young…..What will they be doing in 5 years, or planning to do? What kind of parents do they have??

    Jack (14dd34)

  18. they started by crushing the spirit of man.

    When we grew up and went to school there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could.
    By pouring their derision upon anything we did, exposing every weakness, however carefully hid, by the kids.
    Butta, butta, butta, butta, butta, butta,
    But the whole town knew that when they went home at nights, their fat psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives.

    That was my generation. Now these children are raised and taught by fat psychopathic ex-wives – society has cut out the middleman.

    We don’t need no education.
    We don’t need no thought control.
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom,
    teacher leave those kids alone.
    HEY TEACHER! Leave those kids alone.

    ritalin, ADD, learning disability,
    delayed development and hyperactivity,
    that’s just the psycho teacher,
    sidestepping her accountability.

    I don’t need no walls around me.
    I don’t need no drugs to calm me.
    I have read the writing on the wall.
    Can you read the writing on the wall?
    All and all it’s just another brick in the wall.
    All in all it’s just more bricks in the wall.

    I recommend they send the kids to bed without any pudding and call it good.

    papertiger (894e4f)

  19. they started by crushing the spirit of boys.

    When we grew up and went to school there were certain teachers who would hurt the children anyway they could.
    By pouring their derision upon anything we did, exposing every weakness, however carefully hid by the kids.
    Butta, butta, butta, butta, butta, butta,
    But in the town it was well known, when they got home at night their fat and psychopathic wives would thrash them within inches of their lives.

    A whole generation left behind.

    We don’t need no education.
    We don’t need no thought control.
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom.
    Teachers leave those kids alone.
    Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone.

    Attention deficit disorder, delayed development, hyperactivity, ritalin. Then you graduate and find out that your job is being done by an illegal.

    I don’t need no walls around me.
    I don’t need no drugs to calm me.
    I have seen the writing on the wall.
    Don’t think I need anything at all.
    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
    All in all your just another brick in the wall.

    These kids know the score.
    I recommend sending them to bed without their pudding and calling it good.

    papertiger (ab2f41)

  20. Chickens

    coming
    home

    to roost.

    papertiger (ab2f41)

  21. I am training to be an early childhood education teacher and I have two more years. At our college, we actually go into the classrooms for 100 hours per semester and we see how different teachers teach and discipline. I have been fortunate to be placed with great teachers, but some people have teachers who yell at the students and give cold stares. This incident happened less than one hour away from my college and I really am shocked. This is ridiculous! Obviously, these kids were ready to kill that poor woman. I also have to ask exactly what she said to the students that provoked this. What would have happened had the administration not been notified? She probably would have had to fight off nine children. This was too organized.

    DJ Davis (ff60e0)

  22. I wonder what kind of junk they have been reading in their text books or have they been watching movies like HOOT where three adolecent brats commit such crimes against land developers

    krazy kagu (6a69d6)

  23. I also have to ask exactly what she said to the students that provoked this.

    You’re kidding, right?

    Stashiu3 (c8e98a)

  24. Davis, speaking from the male perspective (although I can’t imagine it doesn’t twist the girls minds in a dangerous direction also), you might remember that with these kids, the divorce rate being such as it is, the workplace being all consuming of a father’s time as it is, and school hiring practices being what they are, the only positive male role model these children are likely to see is the janitor.
    The rest of life will be one giant PC Oprahpalosa, telling them that they are just no damn good.
    The message will be reinforced by an endless stream of sitcoms, movies, newspaper headlines, the whales share of advertisement, and, I imagine in this case, their teacher.
    In a war you can have both your legs blown off and still have a respected, productive, fulfilling life, but there is no prosthetic for an amputated spirit. That’s not something you can put a bandaid on.

    papertiger (3b614c)

  25. I dated a third grade teacher once who had scars on her thighs from being stabbed by a student….thigh high was as high as he could reach. She told me that all kinds of relatively sophisticated attacks took place but in all cases the parents were actually worse.

    She quit LA Unified and I think moved to a Madrassa in Marin County…..

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

  26. Papertiger,

    I share your concern for boys in the education system, but in this case the one who brought the knife to school was a girl.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  27. Good point DRJ.

    So do you believe these kids were born monsters?

    papertiger (81e410)

  28. No, papertiger. I think who we are is a combination of nature and nurture. Since I don’t know any more about these children than what I read in the articles, I don’t have an opinion why it happened.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  29. DRJ I agree.
    But I also believe our culture is good at molding monsters. I think it starts with the distruction of boys/men and spreads from there. Men are degraded, told that they are inconsequential and unnecessary. We are forced out of school. We are forced out of the blue collar jobs by imported labor. Forced out of life.
    What happens to the children? They get raised by grandma and grandpa, if they are lucky. Ask Obama.

    papertiger (f08c5d)

  30. Sorry to disagree, paper tiger. Ask any prosecutor in paternity court and he’ll tell you that there are as many paternity cases filed because daddy wants visitation as there are because mommy wants child support. Men don’t have to be forced out of taking care of their children unless they want to.

    nk (34c5da)

  31. Papertiger,

    Dr. Helen frequently addresses the way society makes it harder for boys and men and she makes many good points, but I also believe in people’s ability and desire to rise above hardship. I don’t want people to have hardship but I think it can mold character.

    I also think society expects today’s children to be advanced beyond their years and, basically, little adults. Children have greater access than ever before to things and activities that were previously reserved to adults and there are few limits on what they can hear, read, or see in the media.

    Whether we like it or not, this is the way things are and the way they probably will continue to be in the future. I think access to information is a good thing, and I believe American society is generally good at balancing freedom with values. Thus, I’m not overly concerned by this even though it may be a hard time to be a kid. But every generation faces challenges, don’t you think?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  32. I have been obsessing over this topic the last few days because I saw a line in a news article. It was a story about a lady out jogging and she stepped on a rattlesnake. It bit her and she spent a week in the hospital.

    The thing that set me off was the writer of the piece opened it like this, “She’s not a knucklehead. She’s a careful and considerate person. Unlike most snakebite victims, who are young drunk males showing off for their friends by teasing a snake, she was just following her usual exersize routine…”

    That was a last straw kind of thing for me. It was just such a gratuitus slam on men for no particular reason. I had to comment back – and so I have.

    Thanks for indulging my vent.

    The Pink Floyd lyric fit this post – don’t you think?

    BTW here’s a follow up to the 3rd grader plot. Experts doubt they meant any real harm.

    papertiger (fbc22c)

  33. My mother in law was an elementary school teacher my wife told me she was attacked by a student with a knife, but rescued by another student, so this does happen in real life, it is not just an April full joke, I think she taught third grade also.

    Avion (59a2e3)

  34. Not all the kids in special ed are idiots, they don’t make students behave these days, so if a kid misbehaves they either put on ridalin or put in special ed, I knew a kid who had been in special ed, but later was out of special ed, and used computer and did Algebra. The Schools need to get there act together, hold kids accountable for their actions or they will get another Columbine or Virginia Tech. Type of attack or maybe even worse.

    Avion (59a2e3)

  35. Papertiger,

    I’ve been thinking about this, too. Before I had kids, I would never have thought 8-year-old kids could do something like this but over the intervening years I’ve been around lots of children. Eight-year-olds can definitely hatch malevolent plots and carry through on them. In fact, I’ve seen a child as young as 4 intentionally and repeatedly hurt other children and animals, and not surprisingly he continued to have problems throughout his childhood and young adulthood.

    That doesn’t mean 8-year-olds should be punished like adults, but they can certainly intend and carry out a plot like this.

    As for your snake article, I don’t blame you for being upset at such a gratuitous insult, and I’m glad you shared it here.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  36. The principle being in denial is the exact reason why kids are the way they are today. Even though they can’t be charged with a crime, you better watch out because if these kids are thinking about this at this YOUNG of an age what will happen when the get older. What happened to the innocence in youth? I guess it doesn’t exist anymore.

    PA (98720c)

  37. Remember that 4 year old, DRJ. That kid will be famous some day.

    Granted, it’ll be as a serial killer, but still, you’ll be able to say “I knew them way back when…”

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  38. holy crap those kids are pshyco ……..their awesome jk tehe<3

    Sayshaaaa (452a82)

  39. I worked at an elementary school. One of my students made a conncoction at home out of poisonous stuff in his garage and brought it to school with some crackers. He offered it to another teacher during recess. She became violently ill.

    Another time I was teaching music to a group of 4th graders with learning disabilities (ADD, etc) Their every-day classroom teacher was in the room. One of the students threw a plastic coke bottle across the room. The teacher ran over and screamed in the student’s face and violently shook him. Then the teacher ran out of the room. I gathered all the children into a circle so we could talk about what happened. Then I reported it to the prinicipal. This teacher, a substitute, was a retired principal.

    Everyone wants to blame the teachers or the parents. But we are all responsible…we all have to change our behavior and learn a new loving way to communicate.

    Number one brainwashing activity: The Media!!! Protect yourself and your children from the media…visual images = experience = thoughts = feelings = behavior.

    Tanya (7b0f7e)

  40. we all have to change our behavior and learn a new loving way to communicate.

    Um, no.

    Maybe you wanna coddle the plotting like shits, but you feel free. When you tell on not to jump on the couch, and they then kock you out, cuff you, and the stab you while you are unable to defend yourself, you’ll understand.

    These kids have been “loving new ways to comunicate”‘d into sociopathic behavior. Why shouldn;t they do as they like, they never have any actual consequeces…

    The teacher didn’t shake the chair-standing little shit, she scolded them.

    And that you BUY the whole “TV = violence in kids” really doesn’t surprise me…

    After all, you do seem to be kinda stupid…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)


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