Odd is out

There’s not much tolerance for negative thinkers these days.

BOCA RATON — A Spanish River High senior won’t be returning to school this year after making negative comments directed at his classmates on Tuesday, school officials said.

Superintendent Art Johnson said the school’s principal told him the student pointed to classmates in a photo and made remarks such as “I like this one” and “I don’t like this one.”

Police searched the 18-year-old boy’s home and found nothing incriminating. However, the boy’s parents agreed he will not return to campus; he’ll do independent study projects at home to earn a diploma.

Commenters on a Sun-Sentinel story provide the back story: He’s an odd kid who’s made disturbing comments in the past. After he crossed out or circled or just pointed to people in the senior class photo, rumors spread that he threatened to kill Jewish students in “two more days” on Hitler’s birthday. But there’s no evidence he made threats, according to the principal.

Of course if not for the Hitler and Columbine anniversary coming a few days after the Virginia Tech massacre, an odd kid’s hostility to classmates wouldn’t have sparked so much fear. (His brother, commenting online, says “two more days” meant two more days to the opening of the parody movie Hot Fuzz, not a countdown to a Hitler’s birthday massacre.)

These are going to be difficult days for loners on college and high school campuses. Perhaps some will get counseling that will help them interact with others. I suspect more will face “zero tolerance” for oddness and unfriendliness.

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  1. These are going to be difficult days for loners on college and high school campuses.

    Yes indeed, and it should be a time when teachers and other old folks make a special effort to support the loners and oddballs. I would bet a dollar that there are already gangs of school bullies and other vicious types thinking about how they can target new victims. “Excuse me, Mr. Teacher, but we saw Billy drawing a picture of a gun in his notebook; we think you should kick him out of school, and if you don’t we’ll report you.”

    Some historical comparisons from me relating to Virginia Tech and “The Question Mark Kid,” aimed at enlarging our understanding.

  2. Students are being singled out simply because they are odd makes it difficult for me to identify the real bully. The loner? The kids that snitch? The administration for kicking the kid out?

  3. “Perhaps some will get counseling that will help them interact with others.”

    Instead why don’t we encourage 1st, 4th and 8th graders to accept personal differences, everyone learning to interact respectfully, CHERISHING the differences of others? Then we don’t have to bully INDIVIDUALS to get *help* because they aren’t some arbitrary standard of *normal.*

    Hey, I think that there ARE people that need help. The VT student was a seriously damaged person with a severe issue with taking responsibility and possibly some psychosis.

    But I really think we’re going in the wrong direction here. I really think we all need to do a lot more appreciating, nurturing and valuing of all individuals! *Most* of these introverts, serious or quiet ones, or quirky ones do *not* need any sort of counseling. They just need people in general to have an attitude adjustment about people different from themselves.

  4. “These are going to be difficult days for loners on college and high school campuses. Perhaps some will get counseling that will help them interact with others.”

    But we shouldn’t have to get counseling. Despite what the media might be trying to push in the wake of the VTech tragedy, being a loner is not necessarily indicative of some pressing personality disorder that, if left untreated, will fester and turn one into a psychopath. Anyway, I don’t think I’d want to hang out/interact with someone who insists that I need to get counseling just because I don’t find his presence to be the invigorating, refreshing experience that he obviously believes it should be.

    I know how to interact with other people. I just don’t want to unless it’s necessary.

  5. GradSchoolMom says:

    I question the loner and bully hype. It is only a small fragment of what is really happening in society. In previous generations the bullying and teasing were 100 times worse than today and yet no one was bringing guns to school. Most of us had access to guns and had been taught how to use one but it did not enter our minds to use them on people. Trying to make everyone happy is just not working. The more we study psychology, the more insane people seem to become. Maybe we were all much better off when we just thought that we were different and did not know we were crazy.