Saturday, January 16, 2010

School Evacuated Over Science Project

San Diego City News, January 15 2010

The discovery of a suspicious-looking home-made contraption that a middle school student brought to class with him Friday prompted a full evacuation of the Chollas View-area campus until it was determined to be harmless.

A staffer at Millennial Tech Middle School called San Diego police shortly after 11:30 a.m. to report the presence of the object at the Carolina Lane campus, SDPD Officer Jim Johnson said.

Students and employees were cleared out of their classrooms and offices while a bomb squad was dispatched to inspect the device, which consisted of a bottle with wires attached to it, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the city Fire-Rescue Department.

The 11-year-old who had brought the device to the technology-oriented magnet school told authorities it was a home-made electronic motion detector that he wanted to show to his classmates, Luque said.

Officials decided to call in the explosives team to look over the object — which an administrator had confiscated and taken into a principal’s office — as a precaution.

The explosives team used a remote-control device and X-ray machine to scrutinize the device, eventually determining that it was harmless.

The personnel then confiscated it and issued an all-clear about 3 p.m., Luque said. Nearby Gompers High School was unaffected by the incident, according to police.

Why is paranoia so high in schools? Why are administrators so dense that they can't tell an 11 year old's science project from a homemade explosive? The child's science teacher could have taken one look at it and told them it was fine, or maybe they could call the kid's parents. But after everything else and it was determined it was harmless, the bomb squad confiscated the damn thing, after wasting an entire school day and thousands of dollars in remote control robots.

No wonder America is lagging behind in science education. First there was the risk aversion keeping kids from exploring and learning from their environment, then the anti-intellectualism dominant in religious conservatism, now there's the paranoia involved in actually doing the science. Do your kids a favor and buy them a copy of The (New) Way Things Work, and find out just what they're doing in school.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

quite interesting read. I would love to follow you on twitter.