Here's another one from the Zero Tolerance file:
A science teacher named Greg Schiller has been suspended from the Ramon C. Cortines high school in Los Angeles, CA after two of his students brought in parts that resembled weapons to another school employee. The story is here:
Does this mean budding engineers can only build things out of pillows? Assuming the pillows have no sharp edges that could be used as a weapon, I guess. I have news for the nervous school employee who ratted on Mr. Schiller: a rubberband and a paperclip can be made into a weapon in about half a second. In fact, even a not-so-creative mind could turn about anything into a weapon, including a desk or a chair. Just because it has mechanical components or might accelerate an object doesn't necessarily mean the student possessing it is on the path to anarchy.
The greater issue as I see it, is not that one other person had a problem with the projects, but that enough other key so-called "educated" people agreed with the person and stopped the student's research. Hey, at least was being performed in a supervised, safe, and controlled environment. I did these same things in my garage as a kid and we're lucky I knew as much as what little I did and that my parents were very trusting. Soldering iron burns were pretty much a weekly occurrence not to mention finding new ways to ignite combustibles or creative uses for model rocket engines or CO2 cartridges. I would have loved to find a teacher who could direct my passion at that age.
Chin up, Mr. Schiller. Your contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curriculum is truly a noble cause and your students will appreciate your efforts at this early stage of their lives exponentially as they get older.