Five 4th-grade boys in upstate New York received two-day suspensions for "sexual harassment" when, according to Education Week (2-23-00), they were caught "poking straws at [pictures of] body parts on juice cartons." A girl who witnessed the horseplay told a teacher, who reported the incident to the principal. The school district superintendent supported the punishment imposed by the principal.
Other recent examples of children on the receiving end of "zero tolerance" policies include a Maryland nine-year-old who was suspended for drawing a picture of a gun on a piece of paper in violation of his school's "anti-weapons" policy. In Kansas, a 7th grader was suspended for committing a "racially divisive" action - drawing a picture of a Confederate flag.
Ritalin is implicated in death of Michigan teen. A 14-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital after falling off his skateboard while playing with his cousins in the basement of his aunt's home. An autopsy performed by Oakland County Medical Examiner Ljubisa Dragovic revealed damage to the child's heart muscle and small blood vessels, though previous physicals had fail- ed to detect any heart disease. Dragovic's conclusion, as reported in the Oakland Press (4-14-00), was that 10 years of Ritalin use preceding the accident caused the boy's death, and that prolonged use of the "serious" stimulant medication methylphenidate (Ritalin) "can lead to catastrophe like this."
The U.S. Department of Education was pronounced "inauditable" in December by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and the independent firm Ernst and Young. Auditors informed a congressional subcommittee that even after an eight-month delay the department "did not adequately perform reconciliations and could not provide sufficient documentation supporting transactions." Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO) called the agency's inability to account for its $116 billion appropriation "an embarrassment and a travesty."