Suspended for chivalry

An “A” student at a Virginia middle school received a one-day suspension  for opening an exterior door for a woman whose hands were full. The school recently installed a $10,800 security system.

All of the schools’ doors are locked during the day. Visitors must ring a buzzer and look into a camera before office personnel can let them in.

According to an e-mail sent to the Tidewater News, the student knew the visitor.

You can’t be too careful, writes Radley Balko on Hit & Run. “Your average middle school, high school, or college can expect to see an on-campus shooting about once every 12,000 years.”

About Joanne


  1. I dropped off a present for my son’s teacher at the office and didn’t put who it was from. The next day I heard that the principal freaked out and almost called in the bomb squad. She wanted to fire the secretary who was there when I put it on the floor near the teachers’s mailboxes.

    Times have changed.

  2. This has nothing to do with ‘chivalry’ or any other between-the-sexes value you may wish to impose on the situation. The act being punished was not the ‘opening of a door for a woman’ but rather the ‘circumventing of a security system’.

    Do I think the level of security has reached absurd levels? Yes, I do, and so will most of the readers who read this. The attempt, however, to co-opt that support into support of traditional sexual-role-based morality is disingenuous.

  3. I would have preferred to have someone talk to the student, perhaps give him a detention (maybe served in the company of the security person?). This is overkill. But, the administrations justify it because there are kids who will let drug dealers and fellow gang members in. When caught, they will argue that they shouldn’t be suspended, if this kid wasn’t. The intent will be different, but a scared admin will fold in the face of pressure.

  4. Back in the early 90s I was a penpal for a soldier overseas. He got shipped back and happened to be driving through my state on his way to his next duty station. He was going through our town and stopped at the school. I was out sick that day so the school gave him directions my house. Times have definately changed.

  5. Cranberry says:

    Remember “Teacher drops table, kid calls 911?” One of the definitions of paranoia is: a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others (Merriam-Webster). Children learn from adults’ behavior. The kid who called 911 was irrational, on the other hand, this is irrational too.

    I don’t think this sort of security system will help much. Most school shootings are perpetrated by enrolled students, who know all the weaknesses in the system.

    This standard treatment of others as suspicious and untrustworthy can’t be remedied by any character-building curriculum.

  6. Cynic that I am, I also wonder if there was a racial/ethnic component, since schools are likely to be pressured to make their disciplinary actions proportional to their school populations. If such is the case, this was a golden opportunity. The district where my kids received most of their schooling was assumed to be doing this for decades before a recent policy mandating proportional actions was announced within the past year. However, zero tolerance is just another reason why the ed world doesn’t get the respect it thinks it deserves.

  7. What I find strange is that the system overacts in some respects and underreacts in others.

    Though there are mechanisms in place to keep out dangerous intruders, if I child brings a gun a campus, the administration will bend over backwards to avoid reporting it. And the guns incidents that are referred to the police have a way of not being reported to the public.

    P.R. is wrench that’s thrown into the system and the result is that a school’s security policy becomes absurd.

  8. Yeah, they’ll go to great lengths to avoid a gun incident being reported to the public, but the kid still gets kicked out.

  9. Yes, the kid gets kicked out.

    And then we get a transfer student who was kicked out of another school and we’re not told what he did.

  10. Well, right. I have two group homes in my district — I’ve seen it all.