Friday, April 27, 2007

I guess you can never be too cautious...

It didn't take too long for the profiling to begin.

Some points:

"(CBS) CARY, Ill. An 18-year-old high school student from the northwest suburbs has been arrested and is facing criminal charges for what officals called an alarming essay that made reference to a school shooting."

Hm, intriguing...the title of the article was "Student Arrested For Alarming School Essay" so you know I had to click it. I had to find out.

"Allen W. Lee, a student at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, was charged with disorderly conduct stemming from an essay that was part of a "free writing" assignment in a creative writing class.

The teen was charged because his teacher became alarmed by the "violence" he described, Cary Police Chief Ron Delelio said. The essay contained no specific threats but was "disturbing and inappropriate," he said.

The paper allegedly made a vague reference to a fictional school shooting in McHenry County but didn’t specify a school or district, a law enforcement source said."

After reading the full article, I was just struck wanting a lot more information than what they were giving me in order for me to decide for myself whether or not the teacher's reactions were just.

1. What was in the essay exactly? It is later exposed that the police are denying to release a copy of the essay... and I say why? Why are we not to hear exactly what the essay said that was "so disturbing" but we can easily post up pictures of an angry boy waving two guns angrily in the air all over national television?

2. Several keywords pop up to me and spark my curiousity as to what led the police to bring criminal charges against Lee. "no specific threats" if there were no threats, than why be alarmed? "disturbing and inappropriate" what exactly made is "disturbing"? We watch movies with women getting trapped in caves and getting their hearts ripped out - that's disturbing. Somebody had to have written that screenplay. And inappropriate for who? For what? The assignment? Didn't it say "free-writing assignment" above? Isn't that what free-writing means? To have no assignment of subject? "vague reference" even as slight as a reference that he might have possibly made - you decided to arrest this kid on a Tuesday morning...they even admitted to it being "fictional"

3. For one, you gotta give credit to the kids in his school who petitioned to have him let out of jail. Lee posted bond at $75 (most expensive essay I've ever seen) and is awaiting his court hearing on June 18th.

4. This quote:
"Disorderly conduct can be filed if someone’s actions alarm or disturb another enough to "provoke a breach of the peace," McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi said. "So far, we’re supportive" of the charge, he said."

Somehow I just don't think that this kid Lee would want to hand a paper in with the thought of wanting to be found out even if he was going to do a school shooting. But I could be wrong.

I definitely feel like they are being over zealous here. It is quite an interesting factor that Lee is also Asian American. I can't help but think there was something to do with that ...or that it at least was one of the deciding factors that led to the teacher's decision of waking up the principal in the middle of the night after reading the essay.

It is sad that it came to this though. In general, I feel like teachers, and parents should be taking a more active role in the things the students say or do. That it has always been an area where there has been some sense of neglect. And now all of a sudden, splattered with a portrait of a boy who was troubled and never listened to - we jump at the nearest fright that we think could be there.

I can't wait to see how Lee's court day pans out.

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