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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 15, 2013/ 6 Sivan 5773

The 2nd-Grader Who Spooked a Principal

By Lenore Skenazy



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To understand our undoing as a nation, all you need to do is examine a single disciplinary form filled out by a second-grade teacher May 3.

In the "description of incident" section, the teacher wrote: "Christopher pointed his pencil at another student as if it was a gun and made shooting sounds. I told him to stop and he did."

Now, you might think that that final sentence meant she told him to stop and he did. As in, "OK, kids, now let's get back to our math lesson." But in fact, the next part of the form, regarding "action taken," is labeled, "This section must be filled out prior to sending material to the office." So it was, and all the post-pencil-pointing action taken was detailed. Apparently, the administrators:

1) Held a conference with the student.

2) Met with his mother.

3) Suspended the boy for two days.

That'll teach him to point a pencil!

Of course, this was all the result of zero tolerance, the school rules that often are interpreted with such bizarre literalness that it's as if the principals have willed themselves into a kind of administrative autism. In this case, the school's policy is against "weapons or anything that resembles a weapon." If there's any difference between a pencil and a gun, well, the principal couldn't see it.

But what's even more disturbing — and that's saying a lot — is that the administration assumed its students are just as delusional.

Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Public Schools, the school district in which the pencil pointing happened, told a Fox reporter that when an object is accompanied by verbal "gun noises" (or at least the universal stand-in for real gun noise — the word "Bang!"), "some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community. ... They think about drive-by shootings and murders."

They do? Then here's a tip: Instead of reinforcing their hysteria by reacting as if they're in real danger, try saying something soothing — for example, "Look, hon, it's just a pencil" — or something satisfying, for example, "For goodness' sake, it's just a pencil!"

But seeing as it seems likelier that the kids were not scared of being shot by a No. 2 Dixon Ticonderoga, then let's retire the "Oh, the poor, rattled children!" rationale. If no one feels threatened, why overreact? And why teach kids to overreact, too?

Because that's what we've been trained to do. Safetyland — excuse me, America — is so obsessed with safety that we demand it even when we're already extremely safe. We want super-safety — the kind you get when you make middle-aged moms take off their shoes before getting to the gate. Yes, we are 99.99999 percent sure you're not a shoe bomber, but just in case.

At school: Yes, we are 99.999999999999999999999 percent sure your pencil is not a gun, but just in case.

And in the courts: Yes, we are 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999 percent convinced that a simple "Put down that pencil" would have been the appropriate response. Case closed.

Until that sane day, we must remain very afraid.

Of safety hysteria.

Lenore Skenazy is the author of "Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" and "Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name? The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know — But Can't Remember Right Now."

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© 2013, Creators Syndicate

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