Monday, September 11, 2006

MC Schools Welcome Felons

I've been hearing a lot of people talking about this story. Having had some experience with Montgomery County Public Schools, I have to say I am really kind of upset by it myself.

Five boys from Walt Whitman High School robbed a smoothie shop. They pointed a gun at the cashier and ran off with $463 in cash. They parked the getaway car on the school grounds of Bethesda Elementary. Afterwards they went and had pizza.

The boys were caught, and all five of them were charged as adults. With felonies.

And then they were sent back to school.

Their big punishment was that they were sent to different high schools. Oh, ouch. That'll teach 'em.

Look at how this is going at Wheaton. From The Post:
More than five months after he allegedly drove the getaway car in a felony robbery and three months after Whitman forced him to finish his junior year at home, Lazear, 17, has reclaimed his place in football's hierarchy. More than 20 Division I colleges have offered Lazear scholarships, and he will likely choose between Alabama and Ohio State. Coaches at Wheaton consider Lazear's arrival to be the luckiest incident in the team's recent history. Teammates voted Lazear captain, even though the Maryland judicial system forces him to wear a black ankle monitor so it can track his whereabouts. Despite Charges, Prep Football Standout Remains Tackle-Eligible

This grates on me.

My kid started getting bad grades in middle school. He was in a play, which he loved, and they yanked him out, wouldn't let him participate. It's what they call "eligibility rules." Typically, something like forty percent of freshmen end up the year "ineligible," depending on the school. In high school the chorus went on a field trip to New York City, and they wouldn't let him go. Oh, they accepted his money, they just wouldn't allow him to go with the other kids on the trip. And so it went.

This does not exactly motivate a kid to work harder, you might say. I think we've got him on track now, but the school's treatment of him was simply to heap incompetence upon incompetence. Like, we can't teach him anything, let's not let him enjoy himself, either.

OK, we accepted that, he'd screwed up. But now I'm reading that this kid is the captain of the football team -- after committing armed robbery? And I see where one of the other robbers is playing varsity football at Rockville High School. What happened to "eligibility rules?"

I know a kid who got caught at school with two grams of marijuana in his backpack. He was suspended with recommendation for expulsion, and forced to go to Randolph Academy -- here's how MCPS describes it:
The Randolph Academy serves 50 highly disruptive students grades 9-12 to provide an individualized academic program in courses for credit toward a high school diploma. Students are referred by the Chief Operating Officer's office in lieu of expulsion. Students unsuccessfully discharged from level 2 programs may also qualify. In addition, 45-day alternative placement special education students attend here. Distance learning is utilized. This program is considered a Level 3 program in the continuum of intervention services for at-risk students.

They ship you off to reform school for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, but armed robbery? No problem. You're a hero.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Young Athlete Getting the Wrong Signals

By John Kelly
Wednesday, September 13, 2006; Page B03


September 13, 2006 10:49 AM  

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