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Author Topic: Wisconsin Democrats take the next step
Pyrtolin
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quote:
The 14 year old boy had a suspicious device in his possession.
No he didn't. He had a clock in his possession, and no one in the entire proceeding was, at any point actually suspected it of being anything but a clock. That it was was remotely possible that someone might have thought it suspicious was just a post-fact justification for the harassment, not an reflection on the actual reaction of anyone who saw it.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
The 14 year old boy had a suspicious device in his possession.
No he didn't. He had a clock in his possession, and no one in the entire proceeding was, at any point actually suspected it of being anything but a clock. That it was was remotely possible that someone might have thought it suspicious was just a post-fact justification for the harassment, not an reflection on the actual reaction of anyone who saw it.
Are you aware of how non sequitor this point is? The actual fact of a thing being a bomb or not is not the only criterion in whether it's suspicious, and whether or not it's legal to carry around and bring such a thing into a school. A gun facsimile that is obviously not capable of firing real bullets is nevertheless completely forbidden from school grounds, and it would be very peculiar to try to argue that this standard shouldn't apply to other kinds of destructive devices.

As D.W. mentioned, to what extent people think it appears 'bombish' is apparently quite subjective, and thankfully not at all colored by previous political convictions [Razz] To assert that it simply wasn't suspicious amounts to telling people that their perception of reality is wrong and yours is right.

Your continued framing of the case as one of "harassment" only shows how much preconceived bias you bring to your interpretation. Even granting fully that the teacher reacted incorrectly and that the police likewise did, this still would not make a case that their foolishness amounted to "harassment" (by which we know you mean race-based harassment). You dismiss the possibility that they just screwed up royally, or even that they thought they were doing the right thing but that they're just idiots. It's even possible they thought there was a certain protocol to be followed in this type of case and that they were wrong about what the correct response was.

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kmbboots
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Nobody thought it was a bomb. For the nth time, if anyone had thought it was a bomb, they would have evacuated the building. If anyone had even suspected that it was a bomb and reacted the way they did, they are even more egregiously stupid than we think and should not be in charge of children.
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D.W.
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All of that is true kmbboots. It's also not really relevant to most of this discussion.

What is at question, for the nth time, is if the device was suspicious or appeared as if it may have been created to intentionally mimic the appearance of a bomb (or Hollywood cartoonization of an explosive device) to cause a disruption in the school.

They are very different standards and should call for different reactions by those involved.

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Wayward Son
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Except that bringing in what is obviously (or quickly determined to be) a toy gun does not warrant being lead out in handcuffs and interrogated by the police. The same should apply to something mistaken for a bomb and quickly determined (even before the police arrived) not to be.
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kmbboots
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"Oooh! That looks like a bomb except it is so clearly doesn't look like a bomb that I am certain that it isn't."

How does that even make sense?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The actual fact of a thing being a bomb or not is not the only criterion in whether it's suspicious, and whether or not it's legal to carry around and bring such a thing into a school. A gun facsimile that is obviously not capable of firing real bullets is nevertheless completely forbidden from school grounds, and it would be very peculiar to try to argue that this standard shouldn't apply to other kinds of destructive devices.
Except that the policy for a gun is "a gun or something that resembles it" while the policy for a bomb is not "something that might resemble a bomb, but "something that arouses suspicion that it might be a bomb" if everyone who sees it is clear on what it is, then it doesn't qualify. It only qualifies if it actualyl causes someone to think it might possibly be a bomb- if it actualyl arouses suspicion.

That's what it means to be suspicious. Not that some people might be able to compare it on superficial resemblance, but that it actually creates the suspicion that it might be a dangerous object. At no point did the clock create and suspicion; it' impossible to honestly define it as suspicious, except as a post-fact rationalization.

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Fenring
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Sorry, Pyr, but you're wrong. The purpose of banning weapon facsimiles from school isn't just to prevent the actual threat of weapon use. It's to eliminate the situation where a person has to look at a device and make an assessment (even an easy assessment) on the spot about whether it's the real thing or not. Teachers shouldn't have to be making threat assessments in a school, which is why anything at all resembling a gun is banned. If you don't see how this should apply to other dangerous things like bombs then I can't explain it to you.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Sorry, Pyr, but you're wrong. The purpose of banning weapon facsimiles from school isn't just to prevent the actual threat of weapon use. It's to eliminate the situation where a person has to look at a device and make an assessment (even an easy assessment) on the spot about whether it's the real thing or not. Teachers shouldn't have to be making threat assessments in a school, which is why anything at all resembling a gun is banned. If you don't see how this should apply to other dangerous things like bombs then I can't explain it to you.

Indeed, but that wasn't required in this case. No teacher had to sort anything out here- at no point was there an ambiguous situation that caused anyone to wonder if it might be a bomb- in fact active effort to avoid any ambiguity was taken, action was only taken well after the fact on a very spurious assertion that there had been some ambiguity; the teacher falsely claimed suspicion well after they had clearly demonstrated that they did not suspect it might be a bomb.
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Pyrtolin
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There has to be a minimum bar for actually reasonably suspecting something here, otherwise, backpacks, clothes, phones, and just about anything can arbitrary be called a suspicious device, since any of them could conceivably be used to conceal a bomb. "Looks like a gun" is a reasonable basis for suspicion. "Looks like a clock" is not.
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D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
"Oooh! That looks like a bomb except it is so clearly doesn't look like a bomb that I am certain that it isn't."

How does that even make sense?

To me, it just does. I consider it part of "common sense". I get that to several people here (and likely all over the world) it doesn't and they consider my "common sense" as idiocy. So be it.

The closest comparison I can make is someone with a marker or something in their coat pocket implying through body language they have a gun and are threatening you by aiming it at you. The trope, ingrained through pop culture media, is that there is a gun in their pocket.

Someone makes them produce the contents of their pocket. See? Just a marker, no gun here. Also, I never said it was a gun either. Why are you over reacting? Then due to our reaction to even the hint of violence today, particularly as it relates to guns or bombs, the police are called because of an alleged (and contested) gun "threat" or "scare" or "hoax".

Pick your word that implies the level of culpability you are comfortable with attributing to this "joke" or "prank" or "publicity stunt" or "cultural stereotype commentary performance art". [Razz]

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kmbboots
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Except that there is no evidence at all that he wanted people to think it was a bomb.
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D.W.
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Which is why I included the words "alleged (and contested)" in my comparison.

I personally think that matters a lot. As I've said before I have no clue if schools or the local police have policies on this type of situation. They could be "going by the book" even though they KNOW it's not an explosive device. No tolerance policies are odd things and I dislike them a lot.

Not one, but two teachers felt this device was inappropriate. One enough to comment, another enough to confiscate it. Then the office enough to contact the police, and the police enough to not tell the school staff they are idiots but instead cuff the kid.

IMO that was very specifically due to the easy comparison between a bomb-looking device and this clock. What Ahmed "wanted people to think" really doesn't matter at all. People thought it was a device that looked similar enough to a bomb to cause a disruption of their school and thought (correctly or not) that this was a matter for law enforcement.

I've probably said all that before in one of the 3 topics this has spread to. Sorry about that.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Except that there is no evidence at all that he wanted people to think it was a bomb.

The only available evidence appears to be his history of pranking, as well as the look of the device. There is disagreement about how the device looked, but nevertheless plenty of people think it looked bombish. That is exhibit A. Exhibit B is Ahmed's own claims, which state what you say. The difficulty is that the evidence of both sides also satisfies both scenarios. If Ahmed was innocent then his comments make sense and his clock, which was just that, speaks for itself. If he was not, then likewise he would obviously deny any wrongdoing. There's no way to parse the situation using his statements, therefore, and the matter must revert to one that is divorced from his intentions. What did the thing look like, and what is the proper response to a thing that looks like this? That's the bottom line. The fact that we are divided about exactly what the device looked like seems to be enough grounds to say that it shouldn't have been in a school; nothing that many people will mistake for looking like a bomb should be anywhere near a school.
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kmbboots
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The bottom line is that, if the thing looked like a bomb, the proper response would have been to evacuate the building and call the bomb squad. So, if it did look like a bomb, the school's response was not proper.

Are we saying that anything with wires sticking out of it should be banned from schools?

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
The bottom line is that, if the thing looked like a bomb, the proper response would have been to evacuate the building and call the bomb squad. So, if it did look like a bomb, the school's response was not proper.

Are we saying that anything with wires sticking out of it should be banned from schools?

Should anything with a trigger and barrel be banned from schools? I can tell pretty easily when a gun toy isn't a real gun. I guess those should be allowed in schools too.
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D.W.
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Scenario A: Find item that looks like a bomb.
Response A: Evacuate building and call police.

Scenario B: Child found with an object that is not dangerous but you believe was intended to cause a disruption and possibly even to scare people into a panic.
Responce B: Confiscate object and follow disciplinary procedures.

Then we have what happened. They followed B yet called the police to sort it out. The police, by their actions seem to indicate this was the correct (or at least presubscribed) response.

I'd say this was a case of gray area interpretation by the school staff and the police on a bomb scare/threat/hoax policy.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
The bottom line is that, if the thing looked like a bomb, the proper response would have been to evacuate the building and call the bomb squad. So, if it did look like a bomb, the school's response was not proper.

Are we saying that anything with wires sticking out of it should be banned from schools?

Should anything with a trigger and barrel be banned from schools? I can tell pretty easily when a gun toy isn't a real gun. I guess those should be allowed in schools too.
What has a trigger and a barrel that isn't supposed to look like a gun? Given that police have a hard time telling when a toy gun is a toy, you should be working for them.
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D.W.
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You are making his point for him km.
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kmbboots
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I'm really not. Lots of things can look like a bomb that aren't meant to look like a bomb. Very few things look like a gun that aren't meant to look like a gun.
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D.W.
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Do you see a middle ground at all? Is it, call the bomb squad or let it slide? Are there no in between situations?

To me this was an in between situation and the police involvement was IMO a mistake. (Unless any allegation of a bomb hoax/scare necessitates police involvement as school policy.)

I wanted to include a picture of the pop-tart gun, but that's only noteworthy because of how stupid the case was. [Razz]

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kmbboots
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Sure. There is a middle ground that doesn't include the kid getting arrested. Beyond that, I think there would have to be some evidence that the kid actually made a bomb threat. Had he called in a bomb threat or told people he had a bomb then, yes, some disciplinary action - including criminal charges - would be appropriate. But he didn't do that. Basically, all he did was be in possession of a bunch of electronic parts and clock face in a box. Half of our IT storage looks at least that much like a bomb.

[ November 02, 2015, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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NobleHunter
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My issue with even the school's reaction is that Ahmed hadn't done anything wrong, except having something that beeped in class. Even if he intended the clock to be mistaken for a bomb, he'd taken no action to that end. A person ought not to be punished for an action he may be intending to take in the future.
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D.W.
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I guess the catch is a bomb threat or hoax is a felony. Having a clock that may or may not look like a bomb and zero witnesses who claim you ever suggested it was a bomb there doesn't seem to be much of a case.

What I don't know is what is the threshold for determining if someone should be arrested? How convincing your prop is has little to do with your guilt or innocence for perpetrating a hoax. It has A LOT to do with it if you never made any overt action or statement to suggest you were perpetrating a hoax.

I don't think a bomb hoax/threat is a situation where the school has a choice whether or not to press charges.

I don't believe this situation would ever be enough to convict a student. What I'm unsure of is if an arrest is unwarranted or not.

[ November 02, 2015, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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D.W.
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
My issue with even the school's reaction is that Ahmed hadn't done anything wrong, except having something that beeped in class. Even if he intended the clock to be mistaken for a bomb, he'd taken no action to that end. A person ought not to be punished for an action he may be intending to take in the future.

People are unfortunately punished all the time for the paranoia and misjudgment of others. Some times our laws and policies all but insure it.
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kmbboots
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I would say that it is something like a false fire alarm. If someone had called in a threat and the school had been evacuated, there should be some charges. But this kid didn't do that.
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D.W.
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Or if his lunch contained a juice box that looked kinda like a gasoline can and a pack of gum that looked a little like a zippo.

They KNOW it's just his lunch and there is no danger... but they call the cops anyway because of an implied arson threat or hoax?

[ November 02, 2015, 01:18 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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AI Wessex
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The shadow of my finger could look like a gun, too. This is way too hypothetical for me. The kid brought a reassembled clock to school, declared it to be that, the school never really thought it was anything else but decided to cover their asses (but exposed them instead) and made the kid into a wannabe bomber until they realized they couldn't push that narrative any further.

All that bothers me a lot, but what bothers me even more is that concerned objections to his mistreatment became and lingers as another right wing talking point about how liberals take an extreme position of wanting to emasculate US defenses and law enforcement.

The middle ground is to be highly skeptical of the treatment Ahmed received. The right wing response is extreme. I'll be interested to see what new mock outrage replaces this event in the Bernoulli phobosphere.

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D.W.
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quote:
the school never really thought it was anything else
Accept at least the teacher who confiscated it, and the person who called the police DID think it was something else. They thought it was a prop for a prank or hoax or threat. They KNEW it wasn't an actual bomb, but they did not believe it was just a clock. If your statement was true the nation would have never heard about Ahmed.

"the school never really thought it was a bomb", is accurate. Your statement is not.

Why this whole issue gets me worked up is I honestly don't know if the whole response was out of line. Yes, it was ridiculous to arrest this kid but at what point will assuming the innocence of someone because of their age allow a tragedy? Probably never, but it is possible. So how do you balance harassment, inconvenience and negative media exposure of a kid against the security of a school?

I don't have the answer. Heck, I don't even know why we are discussing this in THIS thread. Seems we wandered a bit...

[ November 02, 2015, 01:41 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:

Why this whole issue gets me worked up is I honestly don't know if the whole response was out of line. Yes, it was ridiculous to arrest this kid but at what point will assuming the innocence of someone because of their age allow a tragedy? Probably never, but it is possible. So how do you balance harassment, inconvenience and negative media exposure of a kid against the security of a school?

At the point where they don't evacuate and call the bomb squad when it is a bomb. Confiscating the clock, and calling the police in this case would have done nothing to prevent a tragedy had the clock been a bomb.
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D.W.
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Umm, yes. I agree with your statement though do not see it as a valid response to, or having any relation to, my statement you quoted.

After inspecting the device everyone who encountered it was content that it would not and could not cause harm.

One more time. That determination has nothing to do with the decision to call the police. That decision comes down to motive speculation by the staff, the plausibility that someone could believe the device looked like a bomb, and school policy to deal with a bomb hoax.

You do not need to wait for a bomb threat before you take measures to prevent one from occurring. Questions of intent and motive are for the court room if it comes to that. I expect one of our more legal educated members could tell us the standard required to make an arrest for perpetrating a bomb hoax. That determination is what tells us if the police (or even the school) acted inappropriately.

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kmbboots
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But he didn't make a bomb threat. He might (and there is no evidence for this) have been planning a bomb hoax in the future. We don't actually arrest people for things that they haven't done.
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NobleHunter
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Like kmbboots, I don't see simply having the device in his possession as something warranting major discipline. To suspend him or call the police should have required deliberate disruptive action on his part. I don't see anyone saying that he had been, if for no other reason than the clock was taken before he could do much with it.
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D.W.
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I agree with both of you. Stupider things have happened in the name of "zero tolerance" policies.

We are also getting all of this info second or third hand. Something made the teachers raise an alarm and eventually involve the police.

Let's say the clock was left out after class. A different student finds it later or it beeps again. Is there reason to believe that this child could believe it was a bomb based on it's visual characteristics alone? Couldn't that cause a panic? It wouldn't be the clock's creator who made the threat. He just "forgot it" there.

If so, does possession alone of that clock, because of it's visual characteristics, warrant disciplinary action or even police involvement? (As that type of "prank" if perpetrated is a felony.)

I'm asking. I don't think this is a "thought police" issue where since he didn't do anything overtly illegal no harm no foul.

[ November 02, 2015, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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NobleHunter
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Slighty better than even odds that it was racism, though zero tolerance stupidity would be sufficient. I don't expect that anything more than that could have triggered the call to police.
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D.W.
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I don't get the racism angle. OK, you believe that he's a Muslim who wants to blow up the school. Accept that no bomb evacuation was instituted.

So you believe a Muslim kid is more inclined to preform a bomb scare with a prop?

I get that we like to think of bigots as ignorant hicks, but really? That's a pretty incredible amount of dumb.

Lets go the other way, you believe this kid is very adult and politically aware; and you believe he is playing off his own negative stereotype to poke fun at the community? And you want to knock him down a peg by playing into his trap and calling the cops? Really?

I mean, given the opportunity, the public will let you down more often than not but this seems unbelievable to me.

You see any of that (or something else) as more plausible than just "following school policy"? (no matter how foolish we feel zero tolerance policies are)

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kmbboots
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Or he is a Muslim kid and you just don't like them so you are more suspicious and less inclined to assume good intentions.
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D.W.
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That makes sense.
Are you suggesting they broke policy / the law or that they just used the least favorable interpretation of it because they are racist?

That part was lost on me until just now.

Another case of what is probably common sense to some but others are oblivious to... Feeling a bit slow for not connecting that assumption to the discussion.

[ November 02, 2015, 02:50 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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kmbboots
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I don't know. Could be they just don't like that kid. Could be they are just enough suspicious of Muslims that they wanted to bump it to a higher pay-grade. Could be that the policy is stupid. Could be that the grownups just didn't think it through.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
But he didn't make a bomb threat. He might (and there is no evidence for this) have been planning a bomb hoax in the future. We don't actually arrest people for things that they haven't done.

If everyone can come to some understanding about why the school teachers and administration acted as they did in this case, perhaps you can also offer an explanation for the story Rafi G gave us as to why his sister was suspended for three days for saying she wanted to blow up her school. Too harsh, perhaps?
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