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Monday, September 14, 2020

Students of Distant Learning: Big Brother Is Watching

      Twelve-year-old Isaiah Elliott lived with his mother Dani and his father Curtis in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The seventh grade student at Grand Mountain School, on August 27, 2020, was in his house in front of his computer taking an on-line art class pursuant to his school's COVID-19 distant learning program. Isaiah and his parents didn't know that teachers and administrators at the Grand Mountain School were video recording home learning students as they sat in front of their computers. School officials were conducting home video surveillances without the knowledge or consent of students or their parents. 

     At one point during Isaiah Elliott's art class, he picked up a neon-green colored gun--an obvious toy-- from the couch and laid it next to his computer. This act of moving a toy in his own own home, observed by a teacher essentially spying on him, led to a series of events no reasonable person could have predicted.

     Shortly after the conclusion of the virtual art class, Isaiah Elliott's mother Dani received an e-mail from the Grand Mountain School art teacher who had seen Isaiah handle the toy gun. The teacher, obviously thinking that peeping into a student's home was part of her job, informed Isaiah's mother that her son had been "extremely distracted" during the lesson, and there was a "serious issue with the waving of a toy gun." This serious matter, according to the art teacher, had been reported to the vice principal. This teacher, besides being a spy and a snitch, must have also seen herself as some kind of family services social worker. 

     In Dani Elliott's e-mail response, she informed the concerned art teacher that her son had trouble concentrating due to his Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Moreover, her son had not waved a gun. He had fussed with what was obviously a toy. (The mother might have added that in Colorado, unregistered toy guns were legal, and posed no threat to the teacher nor Isaiah's fellow distant learning students who were safe in their homes)

     The art teacher's e-mail to Dani Elliott was followed that day by a phone call from Grand Mountain School Vice Principal, Keri Lindaman. Because the boy had been seen in his home "waving" a gun, the vice principal had taken the liberty of requesting an Elliott family home health and wellness check by El Paso County school resource officers. (Perhaps the vice principal thought she was exercising restraint by not sending a SWAT team. Who knows, gun in question may have been capable of firing pingpong balls.)

     The understandably stunned and confused mother tried to explain to the vice principal, like she had the distraught art teacher, that the gun everyone was so concerned about was a harmless toy. The vice principal's response to that was mind boggling: She said she was aware it was a toy, but had called in the troops anyway.

     When the El Paso County school resource officers arrived at the Elliott home, the officers showed the boy's father, Curtis, the incriminating footage of his son handling the toy weapon.

     The next day, Mr. and Mrs. Elliott received official notice that their son, for "waving" a toy gun in his home during a virtual art class, an act that had disturbed no one but the art teacher and the vice principal, had been suspended from the school for five days.

     The Elliotts did what any family would do to remove their son from the control of idiots, they pulled Isaiah out of the Grand Mountain School. Perhaps they would find an institution that respected the privacy of students studying in their homes. Perhaps not. 

1 comment:

  1. So ridiculous! And these teachers/administrators are being paid for this kind of work. They must be really bored with the status quo.