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Thread: High School Student Arrested For Disturbing Essay

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor THL's Avatar
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    High School Student Arrested For Disturbing Essay

    This most likely would not have happened had this student wrote this essay a month ago before the VA Tech shootings.

    So should this kid have been arrested just because what he wrote offended his teacher? Should he have just been counseled? Looked into, but not arrested? How do we now handle cases like this?

    Student writes essay, arrested by police

    By Jeff Long and Carolyn Starks
    Tribune staff reporters

    April 25, 2007, 5:14 PM CDT

    High school senior Allen Lee sat down with his creative writing class on Monday and penned an essay that so disturbed his teacher, school administrators and police that he was charged with disorderly conduct.

    "I understand what happened recently at Virginia Tech," said the teen's father, Albert Lee, referring to last week's massacre of 32 students by gunman Seung-Hui Cho. "I understand the situation."

    But he added: "I don't see how somebody can get charged by writing in their homework. The teacher asked them to express themselves, and he followed instructions."

    Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with disorderly conduct for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location.

    The youth's father said his son was not suspended or expelled but was forced to attend classes elsewhere for now.

    Today, Cary-Grove students rallied behind the arrested teen by organizing a petition drive to let him back in their school. They posted on walls quotes from the English teacher in which she had encouraged students to express their emotions through writing.

    "I'm not going to lie. I signed the petition," said senior James Gitzinger. "But I can understand where the administration is coming from. I think I would react the same way if I was a teacher."

    Cary Police Chief Ron Delelio said the charge was appropriate even though the essay was not published or posted for public viewing.

    Disorderly conduct, which carries a penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine, is filed for pranks such as pulling a fire alarm or dialing 911. But it can also apply when someone's writings can disturb an individual, Delelio said.

    "The teacher was alarmed and disturbed by the content," he said.

    But a civil rights advocate said the teacher's reaction to an essay shouldn't make it a crime.

    "One of the elements is that some sort of disorder or disruption is created," said Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. "When something is done in private—when a paper is handed in to a teacher—there isn't a disruption."

    The "key outcomes" this month for the Creative English class was for students to identify and utilize poetic conventions to communicate ideas and emotions. With that in mind, teachers reminded students that if they read something that posed a threat to self or others, the school could take action, said High School District 155 Supt. Jill Hawk.

    The English teacher read the essay and reported it to a supervisor and the principal. A round-table discussion with district officials conveyed, with lively debate, and they decided to report it to the police.

    "Our staff is very familiar with adolescent behavior. We're very well versed with types of creativity put into writing. We know the standards of adolescent behavior that are acceptable and that there is a range," Hawk said.

    "There can certainly be writing that conveys concern for us even though it does not name names location or date," he said.

    The charge against Lee comes as schools across the country wrestle with how to react in the wake of the shootings at the Virginia Tech campus at Blacksburg, Va.

    Bomb threats at high schools in Schaumburg and Country Club Hills have caused evacuations, and extra police were on duty at a Palos Hills high school this week because of a threatening note found in the bathroom of a McDonald's restaurant a half-mile away.

    Experts say the charge against Lee is troubling because it was over an essay that even police say contained no direct threats against anyone at the school. However, Virginia Tech's actions toward Cho came under heavy scrutiny after the killings because of the "disturbing" plays and essays teachers say he had written for classes.

    Simmie Baer, an attorney with the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University, called the Cary incident an example of zero-tolerance policies gone awry. Children, she said, are not as sophisticated as adults and often show emotion through writing or pictures, which is what teachers should want because it is a safe outlet.
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    Banned Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    Arresting the student was an act of moral cowardice in my opinion. Even if the essay was particularly "disturbing", in the context of a creative writing class it's ridiculous to think an arrest is necessary, especially given that it appears to not have been specifically threatening.

    It borders on establishing "thought crime", which is where the Left has us headed.

    -dale

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    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    This will only push the boy back against the wall.

    Counselling would have been better and then close monitoring.

    However, my comments are based on what the news report contains and the report does not indicate all the reasons why the situation was brought to the state of a crisis and arrest.


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

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    In Memoriam/OAF-Old Aggravating Fart Senior Contributor Shamus's Avatar
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    Talk about knee-jerk reactions This is beyond ridiculous.It's a little tough to comment on the content of his essay seeing as they didn't release it to the public,but from the article it appears he did not specifically threaten anyone.If this kid was arrested for disturbing,violent imagery,Stephen King should be serving multiple life sentences.How can you arrest this kid when he was basically following his teacher's instructions,especially when his paper was not even available for public consumption.Look over your shoulder and be careful what you think....the Thought Police are everywhere.
    "Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." Thomas Jefferson

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    WAB Cautioner of Poo Senior Contributor Debbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamus View Post
    Talk about knee-jerk reactions This is beyond ridiculous.It's a little tough to comment on the content of his essay seeing as they didn't release it to the public,but from the article it appears he did not specifically threaten anyone.If this kid was arrested for disturbing,violent imagery,Stephen King should be serving multiple life sentences.How can you arrest this kid when he was basically following his teacher's instructions,especially when his paper was not even available for public consumption.Look over your shoulder and be careful what you think....the Thought Police are everywhere.
    Agreed.

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    Staff Emeritus Lunatock's Avatar
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    That's two things this country is acting real paniky about now. Imagine how closely you would be watched if you pray towards Mecca five times a day and watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force & Wanted Ted or Alive when OLN used to air it.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    So now we arrest people for having disturbing essays? What about people with anger problems? Those who become very violent at the drop of a hat? Maybe we should arrest Alec Baldwin.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Banned Senior Contributor dalem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    So now we arrest people for having disturbing essays? What about people with anger problems? Those who become very violent at the drop of a hat? Maybe we should arrest Alec Baldwin.
    "You are worwthwess Awec Bawdwin
    You are worwthwess Awec Bawdwin
    You are worwthwess Awec Bawdwin
    And my stock in you is fawwing..."

    -dale

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Thank you, Kim Jong Dale, may I have another?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    Two very funny things I've read this week: the previous two posts and whoever said that thing about Rays elevation to postmaster meaning he'd gone 'postal'.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

    Leibniz

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    Regular Dr Fu Manchu's Avatar
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    Marques De Sade wrote his most famous memoir, Les 120 Journées de Sodome, during his 30+ years incarceration in various state prisons. So beware! You never know how people can channel their latent talents in such environments!

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    Banned SnowLeopard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Fu Manchu View Post
    Marques De Sade wrote his most famous memoir, Les 120 Journées de Sodome, during his 30+ years incarceration in various state prisons. So beware! You never know how people can channel their latent talents in such environments!
    Now that's something I've always a kick out of. Growing up, one couldn't find that thing but in the 80's, one could pick it up at popular book store in paperback!

    As it is, I've read it and not only is it not that hot, but actually, rather disgusting. Have more fun watching something like Freddie or The Story of O.
    -------------------------------------------------
    ("You know, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Although, I don't know why you'd want to catch flies. They're actually quite dirty little things."--Trance Gemini, (wtte), "Andromeda")

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    Uh, holy s***! "Cary-Grove High School"?!

    That's my alma mater....

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    Senior Reader Senior Contributor entropy's Avatar
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    No worries lads, this hystery will last for a while and then cease again. It is simply so that everyone has got the feeling that they have to "do something" because of what has happened. It is a normal reaction, same thing as increasing security AFTER a terrorist attack.

    Concerning disturbing texts and the like, I can say that probably the people that arrested the student do know shyt teenage behaviour.

    I have several friends who watch gore movies, listen to death metal music with band names like "cannibal corpse", "decaying flesh" or synonyms of it, and regularly talk about the effects of various munitions on annoying classmates.
    Neither of them would ever do something like this, because they all agree that it is a waste time and ammo, as well as they do know that the annoying students have relatives, friends and parents who are not guilty and do not deserve losing someone dear to them. The watching of gore movies, lyrics and poetry with colourful depictions of the decaying of human corpses is just a way to let go.
    I know some students that would, if driven to the extreme, would commit a massacre. Their behaviour is different. They want to fit in, but can't, so at first they set up a facade of "coolness", but in their eyes you can see what is going on.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parihaka View Post
    Two very funny things I've read this week: the previous two posts and whoever said that thing about Rays elevation to postmaster meaning he'd gone 'postal'.
    That's also me.

    Thank you, thank you. My name is gunnut and I'll be here all week.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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