Author Topic: Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise  (Read 3278 times)

Debra

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« on: February 04, 2008, 01:37:02 PM »
I hate linking G&M stories since they are net unfriendly but anyway

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TORONTO — A 17-year-old student has been expelled from his Brampton, Ont., high school for a fictional essay he submitted in a creative writing class about a disgruntled student who murders one of her teachers.

Brendan Jones, a Grade 12 student at Heart Lake Secondary School northwest of Toronto, was expelled last week, leaving him facing an uncertain future. Brendan is just three credits shy of graduating from high school and was hoping to study criminology at university next fall. But it is not at all clear whether he will be able to transfer to another high school in the province.

Brendan's father, Ron Jones, conceded in an interview yesterday that the essay, written as part of a final exam, was inappropriate, but he accused school officials of overreacting.

"This is not like a threatening letter," Mr. Jones said. "This is an exam that they were told to write. Was it a bad topic? Yeah, probably. But I don't think it's of a nature that should be terminating a student's career."

Brendan was informed last week that he was no longer welcome at the school. He was also told that if he went into the school, he would be arrested.
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Audrey

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 11:36:21 PM »
This is a gross overreaction- he wrote a letter of apology, acknowledged it was inappropriate, and is about to graduate.  Violence is never a subject that should be treated with levity- but still.
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steffie

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2008, 07:03:31 AM »
OK: so do teachers have to issue caveats to students each time they assign work?  Like, "OK class, use your imagination, but remember, if you write about something that might cause concern, you may face expulsion."  Maybe even take the opportunity to list possible topics of concern, and talk about why they are of concern.

Might not be a bad idea.  It may instill in students an ability to look ahead to possible consequences of their actions.
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Agent 204

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2008, 07:30:37 AM »
I don't blame the student for "admitting" that it was inappropriate (he's trying to save his ass after all) but really, I don't think it's inappropriate at all. It's a work of fiction fer chrissakes!

And it seems from the article that this isn't the first time something like this has happened:
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Another Ontario teen drew national attention in 2001 after he spent 35 days in jail for writing a story about a bullied student who blows up his school. The charges were ultimately dropped.


If this ruins his life, I hope he spends a lot of time panhandling in the superintendent's neighbourhood.
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steffie

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2008, 08:12:53 AM »
Do you think that the over reactions may exist to demonstrate (to America, for instance) that we are not harbouring terrorists?  It's a fine line.
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skdadl

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2008, 08:16:22 AM »
This is absurd. Was Raymond Chandler arrested every time he published a novel? P.D. James? Actually, most novelists get good at killing people off (in the story, mind) -- it's something writers do.

Total overreaction, and I understand why ... But could no one take the trouble to talk to the kid and assess his frame of mind? Maybe he's really a writer. Zero tolerance is most often mindless paranoia, and we know where that leads -- tasers, strip searches, gah.

Audrey

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2008, 12:32:34 PM »
two things here.

Going over a list of things that a student can't write  is esentially censorshio, isn't it ?

And as for violent stories, those perpetrating the school shootings, didn't some of them wtire really violent things before hand ?

This is the issue of what constitues as harm and what  constitues free speech.
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Gigi

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 12:39:06 PM »
mmmm  thought-crimey-licious.

arborman

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Ontario teen expelled for fiction-writing exercise
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 01:15:17 PM »
I can see being pretty freaked out if I were a teacher and a kid handed in a story in which the teacher is brutally murdered.  Teachers do have a right to feel secure in their workplace.

That said, expulsion seems extreme - assuming this is a single instance.  Is it possible there were other incidents that we cannot/will not hear about because of (legitimate) privacy considerations?  

That's the trouble with these incidents - we get the headline on what is most likely a complex circumstance, and it gives us a chance to apply our own predispositions to the event.  

In other words, if the headline is the whole story then the punishment is absurd.  If there is more to it then I just don't know.
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