A Los Angeles teacher was suspended because two students’ science fair projects shot dealt with shooting projectiles, reports the LA Times.
Students and parents have rallied around Greg Schiller after his suspension, with pay, from the Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts, a very expensive new high school in downtown LA.
One project used compressed air to propel a small object but it was not connected to a source of air pressure, so it could not have been fired. (In 2012, President Obama tried out a more powerful air-pressure device at a White House Science Fair that could launch a marshmallow 175 feet.)
Another project used the power from an AA battery to charge a tube surrounded by a coil. When the ninth-grader proposed it, Schiller told him to be more scientific, to construct and test different coils and to draw graphs and conduct additional analysis, said his parents, who also are Los Angeles teachers.
Administrators told Schiller that he was removed from his classroom for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons,” according to teachers union representative Roger Scott.
“As far as we can tell, he’s being punished for teaching science,” said Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
This may not have been zero tolerance gone wild, the Times suggests. As the union rep on campus, Schiller had been negotiating with administrators over updating the employment agreement.
My first husband submitted a design for an atomic bomb for his fifth-grade science fair and nobody said boo.