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Mary Blair Elementary Web Site Goes Imaginary
   By Carl Bussjaeger, February 7, 2013


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Update 2, 2/9/13: See below.
Update 3, 3/1/13: See below. School website back up. Email addresses scrubbed.


Apparently Mary Blair Elementary, the school that suspended the 7 year-old for tossing an imaginary grenade into an imaginary box in an imaginary game of "Save the (Imaginary) World", has taken down their entire web site. Or maybe it was imaginary. As of 12:50AM EST, I get a 404 error on every page I try to reload, including the contact pages on which I first found the staff emails I used to share the imaginary grenade attack picture.

Imagine that.

The DNS listing still shows this as a current domain:

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 07-Dec-2012.
Record expires on 04-Aug-2013.
Record created on 04-Aug-2009.
I suspect they received more ridiculing emails than they knew what to do with. Personally, I would have simply deleted the email addresses from the pages, but they've demonstrated a remarkable lack of sense already.

The Thompson School District web site is still live, and has a listing of of its subsidiary schools complete with links to the individual school web sites. Other school sites are still live, but the Mary Blair Elementary link goes to the 404.


Update 2, 2/9/13: It seems that school which suspended the 7yo is now changing their story.

They now claim that the boy was throwing rocks. Supposedly the principal has “statements” from students and teachers who witnessed this, but won’t provide them to the mother. Similarly, they claim the boy has been disciplined before, but declined to provide the emails they say they sent. They also say they did hold a disciplinary hearing, as called for their own rules, but apparently they neglected to include the boy or his mother in that hearing. Or even tell them about it. They call that “due process”.

Who knows? Maybe the school is telling the truth. Maybe the mother and child are telling the truth. But for now, I note that one party’s story has remained consistent, while the other hasn’t. And the consistent version does seem likely when I consider the “mission” of the school, which I also note doesn’t seem to include actually teaching the kids reading, writing, math… or much of anything but how to be a proper drone.

And the school’s web site, taken down shortly after I shared my little picture with them, is still 404.

I assume they did that to hide the email addresses that were on the site. Fortunately, I saved ‘em should anyone else need ‘em.

Just to be fair, the mother does have a record which could impact her credibility.

Clarification (by Bear): Thompson School District spokesman Mike Hausmann said "he was unable to comment on the specifics of the suspension itself, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) through the U.S. Department of Education." That appears to be an incorrect position.

The Supreme Court has already ruled in Gonzaga University v. Doe (2002) that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 "does not create a right which is enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Specifically, FERPA did not prevent a school from sharing with an outside party – a potential employer – that a student had been accused of sexual assault (even though the accusation was made not by the alleged victim who denied any such thing, but by a third, anonymous, party; and that an investigation could not substantiate the bogus claim).

The court reasoned that [FERPA 1974] does not grant any personal rights to enforce under the civil rights provisions of § 1983
Possibly you have also noticed the very many detailed reports from other schools about other students being suspended or expelled for supposedly violent acts like possessing folded paper, Windows wallpaper images, or even not actually possessing Hello Kitty Bubble Guns.

Given the SCOTUS precedent, and the assorted sordid similar reports of student disciplinary actions, I fail to understand why the Mary Blair Elementary School principle and TSD officials cannot provide the very details concerning Alex Watkins which his mother, Mandie Watkins, wants released.

To my admittedly uneducated eye, this looks an awful lot like school officials hiding behind an inapplicable law in order to hide their own serious fuck-up.

Update, 3/1/13: MBES took its web site down on 2/7/13, shortly after I emailed the principal and second grade teachers a copy of the "Imaginary Friends Massacre" picture. This afternoon, the site is finally back up, but it appears they scrubbed all the email addresses from it. I wonder why.

Copyright 2003 - 2013 by Carl Bussjaeger