Patterico's Pontifications


The Price Of Fear And Ignorance

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:34 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Greg Schiller, a highly regarded teacher who teaches Advanced Placement biology and psychology as well as regular and honors biology in Los Angeles Unified School District, has been suspended pending further investigation.

From the Los Angeles Times,

Students and parents have rallied around Greg Schiller after his suspension in February from the downtown Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts. Supporters have organized a rally on his behalf at the campus for Thursday, gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition calling for his reinstatement and set up a social media page

Schiller was ordered to report daily to a district administrative office pending an investigation after two students turned in science-fair projects that were designed to shoot small projectiles.

One project used compressed air to propel a small object but it was not connected to a source of air pressure, so it could not have been fired.

Ironically, “in 2012, President Obama tried out a more powerful air-pressure device at a White House Science Fair that could launch a marshmallow 175 feet.”


Another project used the power from an AA battery to charge a tube surrounded by a coil. When the ninth-grader proposed it, Schiller told him to be more scientific, to construct and test different coils and to draw graphs and conduct additional analysis, said his parents, who also are Los Angeles teachers.

A school employee saw the air-pressure project and raised concerns about what looked to her like a weapon, according to the teachers union and supporters. Schiller, who said he never saw the completed projects except in photos, was summoned and sent home. Both projects were confiscated as “evidence,” said Susan Ferguson, whose son did the coil.

L.A. Unified School District administrators have told Schiller that he was removed from his classroom for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons,” said union representative Roger Scott.

At this point in time it would appear that a serious teacher is being punished while another employee’s fear and ignorance are being rewarded. One hopes common sense prevails as this is certainly not the lesson one wants to see young people taught.


44 Responses to “The Price Of Fear And Ignorance”

  1. …but Iran can develop a nuclear weapon without any opposition from The Left !

    Or whatever.

    Elephant Stone (8a7f08)

  2. If this teacher had been a student from a, uh, “disadvantaged” background, then this whole situation would be characterized as a “cultural” idiosyncracy.
    Or something.

    Elephant Stone (8a7f08)

  3. Unclear on the concept:

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  4. Obama’s federal government using the IRS, the NSA, the FBI, and the Bureau of Land Management makes me feel threatened.

    So how come they never get suspended ?

    Elephant Stone (8a7f08)

  5. I’ve said it many times before. Zero tolerance is merely a mechanism that allows people to take an action without any responsibility for that action. Therefore they cannot err. Therefore, they cannot be held accountable. Ever.

    Gazzer (6ac6ee)

  6. 6. Notable, memorable even.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  7. I’m not sure how those projects apply to biology… But this is pc stupidity at its worst

    Auntie Fraud (55b953)

  8. Auntie Fraud,

    While the teacher teaches biology, the students apparently did this as part of a general science fair—not a biology class.

    Elephant Stone (8a7f08)

  9. none of this proves that Greg Schiller isn’t himself an anti-gun moonbat

    does it?

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  10. Thanks gg.

    Gazzer (6ac6ee)

  11. #2
    Kids are still allowed to use pencils???

    My 1970 era physics teacher made a potato gun…

    steveg (794291)

  12. mister happy, none of this disproves that the suspended teacher isn’t a martian.

    Elephant Stone (8a7f08)

  13. silly twits…

    they better ban tables & chairs from classrooms, and windows, pens, pencils, rulers, books, and everything else i can use as a weapon, or at least arrest & prosecuted the people who allow these deadly weapons in the schools with our chilrens!

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  14. “Ignorance is bliss, and i’m surrounded by happy people.”


    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  15. Who is teaching the archery class?

    mg (31009b)

  16. Who needs archery class?

    Excalibur Crossbows

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  17. That second project…Another project used the power from an AA battery to charge a tube surrounded by a coil…sounds like the basis of a “rail gun”, a model of which the Navy has been working on for years and is finally deploying.
    A gun that can hurl a non-explosive, very dense, projectile up to 100 miles, at velocities approaching 7K/mph.
    They used to grant full-ride scholarships to places like CalTech and MIT to students that submitted science-fair projects such as these (see: Homer Hickam/”October Sky”).
    These alleged educators need to find – if they can – other forms of employment.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  18. The type of utter moron we have allowed to take over our schools are doing permanent damage to our society and our children.

    SPQR (768505)

  19. Crossbow classes should be required in high school, Steve57.

    mg (31009b)

  20. now the full rides go to “Public Policy” and “Environmental Studies” majors instead…

    (true story!) 😎

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  21. I read someplace that the complaining employee is an invention of the school administration.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  22. My high school ended marksmanship and boxing classes in my sophomore year and archery ended in my junior year.
    I remember a seagull landed on one of the archery targets and we all started shooting at it… pissed the teacher off. I’m pretty sure a working crossbow would have been worth at least a B in woodshop

    steveg (794291)

  23. If we let them continue they can stifle innovation and knowledge for a generation. It is well on its way.

    sdharms (f76bf1)

  24. “Complaining employee” could be a member of the administration who has a personal grudge against the teacher, or be a fellow teacher who is jealous for any number of reasons.

    Hell, it could be the lunch lady who is mad because the teacher doesn’t notice her come-hither looks.

    Zero-tolerance policies allow the continued employment and promotion of the maximum number of dues-paying union fools.

    Pious Agnostic (ac89e5)

  25. The Whigs want to be dominant like the Dhimmicrats.

    Reaching for extinction.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  26. 20. Crossbow classes should be required in high school, Steve57.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 4/12/2014 @ 11:56 pm


    Chinese cops buy American

    I don’t know if that pic is 100% legit. I don’t see why the Chinese who have mastered crossbow technology for thousands of years would need to turn to outsiders for crossbows.

    Also, after Tiananmen I’m uncomfortable siding with the Chinese police on any issue.

    But this is like saying if the Chinese cops use them, then Glocks can’t be good guns.

    Well, Glocks are good guns. Much as it pains me to say it as the Colt .45 Government model is my choice but even I can see it’s not the future. And Lord knows I see the value in killing silently. Hence, crossbows.

    Why you need to do that in domestic policing operations I’m more than a bit confused about, but should the need arise, crossbows!

    My problem with the Chinese isn’t that they’re Chinese. If the PRC went libertarian tomorrow, their cops would still be using crossbows.

    My problem with the Chinese results from their designs on the Senkakus and in the Spratleys.

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  27. And these leftists tools say Republicans are anti-science?

    Sean (69ccc8)

  28. Ok, maybe my issues with the Chinese run deeper than I let on.

    Shaolin master does one finger hand stand

    What’s up with this? Seriously, who wants to do this?

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  29. This blog entry should have been directly connected to the one on “Stupid Democrats,” because probably most of, if not all, the people involved are exactly that.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ones quite bothered by the teacher and his students designing air-pressure devices are the same “stupid Democrats” who get all warm and happy about public schools in California now being required to have textbooks that talk about famous gays and lesbians, and presumably bisexuals and transgendered folks too.

    Moreover, the so-called “zero tolerance” policy is truly ironic since it originates from mainly knuckled-headed liberals who, at the same time, inculcate a culture of “if it feels good, do it!” and compassion for compassion’s sake.

    We live in the age of stupid.

    Mark (14c5d3)

  30. “Crossbow classes should be required in high school, Steve57.”

    I once had the interesting experience, back when I was a thoracic surgery resident, of operating on a woman with a crossbow bolt through the heart. She survived because we were able to fix each hole as we drew the bolt out. A gunshot wound in the same spot would have been fatal.

    You can’t pull a crossbow bolt out no matter how hard you try because they have a barb that lies flat on the way in and springs out when the bolt is pulled back.

    MikeK (cd7278)

  31. Here is your message, Rand:

    Corporate welfare should once and for all be ended” because voters will not take Republicans seriously if they vouch for spending cuts to programs except those programs impacting wall street and corporations.

    Hit it hard, do not veer to the left or right.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  32. IL Policy Institute:

    Gov. Pat Quinn is in a bind.

    He’s being asked to sign a Chicago pension bill that he knows has no real reforms and no way to pay for itself. By signing the bill, Quinn will give Mayor Rahm Emanuel his blessing to raise Chicago property taxes by $750 million over five years.

    But that’s just the beginning.

    If the Legislature uses the same blueprint to “fix” the city and Cook County’s other pension funds, Quinn will be blessing billions more in tax hikes.

    The problem for Quinn is that he promised property tax relief to all Illinoisans in his state budget address just two weeks ago. Here’s what he said:

    “My comprehensive tax reform plan starts with providing every homeowner in Illinois with a guaranteed $500 property tax refund every year.

    In Illinois, more is collected in property taxes every year than in the state income tax and state sales tax combined. In fact, Illinois has one of the highest property tax burdens on homeowners in the nation – more than 20 percent above the national average. The property tax is not based on ability to pay. The property tax is a complicated, unfair tax, hitting middle-class families the hardest.

    For too long, Illinois has … overburdened its property taxpayers.”

    By signing a pension bill that helps Emanuel raise property taxes, Quinn will break yet another promise. The governor has already asked the Legislature to make the 2011 tax hike permanent, even though he originally promised it would be temporary.

    But Quinn has a way out of his predicament. Besides the obvious political reasons to oppose the bill, Quinn has three good policy reasons not to sign it:

    1. Property tax hikes won’t solve Chicago’s pension problem. Emanuel needs more taxes because his plan doesn’t reform the broken pension system. Instead, it just props up a failed system run by the same politicians who bankrupted it in the first place.

    What Emanuel and supporters of his pension bill won’t tell you is that they’ll be back for even more tax hikes. Emanuel’s current plan calls for additional city contributions (above what the city pays today) to the municipal pension fund totaling $4.1 billion through 2025. But his proposed property tax hikes will raise only an additional $2.25 billion during that time period.

    That means the mayor’s tax hike will be $1.9 billion short of the extra contributions needed through 2025. Without real reforms, he’ll be back for more.

    2. People and businesses will flee. Avoiding real reforms and raising taxes is a failed strategy. People and businesses will flee Chicago, just as they’ve been doing for years. Taxpayers will leave because they’ll be paying more money for fewer services.

    Each Chicago household is already on the hook for more than $61,000 in future taxes to pay down the massive long-term debt – more than $63 billion in bonds and pension shortfalls – that their city and county governments have racked up.

    Tax hikes mean fewer people will stick around to pay a growing bill.

    3. There is a plan to fix Chicago without tax hikes. The Illinois Policy Institute offers a reform plan that avoids tax hikes and immediately cuts Chicago’s pension shortfall in half. The core of its solution is a hybrid retirement plan for city workers that gives them a self-managed plan and fixed, monthly Social Security-like benefits at retirement.

    The plan makes the tough choices necessary to bring about real retirement security for Chicago’s city workers.

    Quinn and Emanuel’s goal must be to end Chicago’s pension crisis and to preserve Chicago’s status as a world-class city.

    Massive property tax hikes will do just the opposite and push Chicago further in the direction of Detroit.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  33. Someone in the comments asked the same question I was thinking.

    The guy was also the union rep for the school. I wonder how much a desire to remove and effective union rep had to do with this imbecility?

    Smock Puppet, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." (225d0d)

  34. Both projects were confiscated as “evidence,”

    I must be missing something. Unless there is a crime alleged and reported to the police, what authority does the school have to “confiscate” any private property? Sounds like a theft to me.

    Labcatcher (61737c)

  35. 31. …You can’t pull a crossbow bolt out no matter how hard you try because they have a barb that lies flat on the way in and springs out when the bolt is pulled back.

    Comment by MikeK (cd7278) — 4/13/2014 @ 9:42 am

    Crossbow bolts are kind of like Porcupine spines. They are only going through one way.

    I hope you haven’t soured based on the experience. Because my colleageus joking about teaching crossbows in high school have a point. Whether thye realize it or not.

    Math will be involved.

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  36. One hopes common sense prevails as this is certainly not the lesson one wants to see young people taught.

    Are you sure about that?

    Ken (92f263)

  37. Wait. Your hope is that “common sense will prevail” in the LA County public schools?

    Might as well hope for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus to deliver the exoneration personally…

    WarEagle82 (b18ccf)

  38. Crossbow classes should be required in high school.

    Turned out handy at Sunnydale High. Although not so well for the principal.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  39. ‘Twould be awesome if this teacher were to quit promptly for an engineering job paying him double or triple his current salary. “Thanks for the favor, LAUSD! Good luck with your next teacher.”

    Mitch (341ca0)

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