A nine-year-old boy has been suspended from the fourth grade of his Odessa, Texas government school for telling a classmate that he could make the classmate disappear through the use of a magic ring.
This flight of childish fancy was animated by Alden Steward, the malefactor in this case, having recently seen The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and obviously having been charmed by it. No character in the movie warned Alden not to try this at home, let alone at school.
You might think Alden’s engagement with his classmate pretty standard-issue stuff for nine-year-olds, and far from the oddest, or even the most menacing thing to be heard on the typical schoolyard. But if you thought this, you obviously are not sifted in advanced educational theory or in the latest “zero tolerance” policies (which frequently are also zero intelligence policies) that currently disfigure government education. But the folks in charge of Kermit Elementary School are, and they took a dim view indeed of Alden’s Tolkienesque acting out. The principal suspended Alden for “making a terroristic threat.”
I’ll wait here till you stop laughing, or crying, depending on which way this grotesquery strikes you.
Roxanne Greer, principal at Kermit, wouldn’t comment on the suspension. Hell, I wouldn’t either. What could she say?
Kermit, of course, is the character who taught us that, “It isn’t easy being green (though in Al Gore’s case it can be quite profitable).” La Greer has taught us that it isn’t even easier being stupid.
Alden’s Dad, Jason Steward, unlike the deep thinkers in charge at Kermit Elementary, has his head screwed on straight, and takes this absurdity in stride. “I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” he said. “And if he did, I’m sure he would bring him right back.”
Perhaps when Alden returns to school he can make Mz. Greer disappear, at least from anything having to do with educating children. His classmates would be the better for it. And Mz. Greer would be free to pursue a line of work for which she is more suited.