June 17, 2010

Tiogue School's Insane Idea of a Weapon

Monique Chartier

A half inch piece of plastic. H/T WPRO's John Depetro; kudos to WPRI Eyewitness News for exposing this palpable danger (or something) to the students of Tiogue School:

Eight-year-old David Morales says he made the camouflage hat with army men on top, as a school project. The hat was more than just a fashion statement, it was meant to honor military members.

When Morales wore the hat to classes he was informed by Tiogue School officials that it violated their no tolerance policy that prohibits students from bringing drugs or weapons to school.

... because of the tiny plastic guns that the tiny plastic army men were carrying. Get a magnifying glass as you click on the WPRI link to view the hat and the "weapons" and to fully comprehend the danger that they posed. The only question is why the Tiogue School didn't call out a SWAT team ...

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Our "Politically Correct" society run amuck!!

Posted by: Tom Kenney at June 17, 2010 9:50 AM

You can thank the stupid f'n liberals for this utter mindless BS.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at June 17, 2010 10:06 AM

Sounds like the moral equiv. of 10 years of war, trillions of dollars and lots of dead and suffering in order to try and get a small band of criminals.

Or...it sounds like the War on Drugs, on which we have spent hundreds of billions and imprisoned millions......

This stuff is par for the course. However, one has to wonder at the wisdom of noticing the specks like this...when just slightly more important "over steps of authoritarian rule" are all around us.

Posted by: Stuart at June 17, 2010 10:21 AM

Stuart-does everything have to be a speech with you?Yeah,this is a symptom of some sort of mental disorder among the educators there-just like the kids who are treated like criminals for bringing a little plastic butter knife for their cheese and crackers or whatever.
Does this stop REAL school violence?No.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 17, 2010 10:50 AM

Mom said that there was a lesson learned. I'm sure among them was that her child now has learned the meaning of STUPID!

And he has had the opportunity to see it manifested in a human form through someone actually given authority over children, their education, and their socialization. I know this level of stupidity inspires me to think violent thoughts!

I guess this should be expected in the wake of the STUPIDITY dispayed by the Cumberland superintendent!

Posted by: John at June 17, 2010 10:56 AM

I agree the big whoop over the hat goes a little far. That said, the bounds of what's permissible at that school will likely now be tested on both ends of the spectrum - conservative PC as well as the liberal variety. Message; anything goes.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Posted by: rhody at June 17, 2010 11:30 AM

I agree the big whoop over the hat goes a little far. That said, the bounds of what's permissible at that school will likely now be tested on both ends of the spectrum - conservative PC as well as the liberal variety. Message; anything goes.
That's not necessarily a bad thing.

Posted by: rhody at June 17, 2010 11:33 AM

Again, is it really true that no one can see the irony of few complaints about teaching school children to "support the troops" (right or wrong), while caring deeply about protecting their 2nd amendment rights to be indoctrinated in plastic weapons?

I think our priorities are just a little off.

Posted by: Stuart at June 17, 2010 11:57 AM


What the hell are you talking about? To do a school project that indicates a support of our troops is not about a political statement of support for a military action, it's about honoring the human beings who put themselves in harms way as volunteers in our armed forces. They deserve our thanks as people regardless of how we may feel about the appropriateness of the mission.

And your mention of promoting second amendment rights is so far off the mark that it makes me wonder what chemicals are out of balance in your skull.

Posted by: John at June 17, 2010 12:24 PM

Please tell them how you feel!


Kenneth R. Di Pietro
Superintendent of Schools

Tel: (401) 822-9400

Tiogue School
170 East Shore Drive,
Coventry, RI, 02816

Tel: (401 )822-9460

The Principal:

Denise Richtarik

Her email:




Posted by: Aldo at June 17, 2010 12:30 PM

Zero-tolerance = Zero-fairness = Zero-intelligence

Posted by: Dan at June 17, 2010 1:00 PM

Stuart is nuts.WTF has this got to do with the 2nd amendment?Why bring it up?We're talking about panicked overreaction among educators.
I don't think actual toy guns belong in schools because a lot of them looke exactly like the real thing.
A guy on my former job was eating at a restaurant and some nitwit came in to do a stickup with a toy gun that looked absolutely real.The agent dumped him and had no problems.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 17, 2010 1:10 PM

>it's about honoring the human beings who put themselves in harms way as volunteers in our armed forces.

First of all, last time I heard they were not volunteers. They are highly paid and compensated these days - vastly more than most private sector jobs requiring the same experience.

Secondly, my entire point is this. No one should care EITHER WAY about that stupid plastic gun, and the fact that either side cares deeply enough to expend energy on it shows we care more about talking points than about the actual question - that question being, where is the "line" as far as promoting guns, militarism, solving problems with violence and war, keeping quiet in the face for wrongs, etc.

Again, my point is simply that it might be better to save your breath for things that actually have some importance.

Posted by: Stuart at June 17, 2010 4:34 PM

Stuart-yeah, let's do away with the armed forces as well as the borders.Maybe you'll have second thoughts if some jihadist cuts your head off and pisses in the hole.
Of course,that's a remote possibility-just the same,it's happened to far too many people already.
The people who want to eliminate us aren't rational-don't you get that,you great enlightened mind,you?
You're still mired in the 60's.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 17, 2010 5:29 PM

Did the kid get sent home = NO

Did the kid get suspended or expelled = NO

At worst this is a poor judgment call by the teacher. Trying to use this story as an example of "liberal teacher hides behind 'zero tolerance' policy" is a stretch.

Posted by: Mike P at June 17, 2010 6:45 PM

That kid was named Morales. Did anyone ask him for his papers.

Posted by: Whiteman at June 17, 2010 6:49 PM

So, Mike P, you buy the school's argument that the half inch piece of plastic was a weapon?

This story is now national; it's up on Drudge and AP put it on their wires. Lovely to see the state make national headlines for this reason.

Posted by: Monique at June 17, 2010 10:15 PM

I didn't see our local story but I am glad we are not in Arizona after seeing this headline on Drudge, and this one isn't even about immigration.

Arizona Spends $1.25M to Save 250 Squirrels

Posted by: Swazool at June 17, 2010 10:43 PM

Should we ban the movie(s) Toy Story too? The army characters in those movies have weapons! Oh my! If this child had a parent on the school board or came from a wealthy home this would never have been an issue. What nonsense.

Posted by: Traci at June 18, 2010 9:40 AM

Strangely enough, people are missing the whole point. The Morales boy was only trying to honor the troops. Let's not blow this thing out of proportion. It was a simple act of honor. Read the word on the brim of the hat, it says "honor".

Posted by: Thomas Jefferson at June 18, 2010 10:56 AM

To Ms. Richtarik, Principal of Tiogue School, Coventry, RI:
I know you are being inundated with emails and phone calls regarding the action taken against David Morales and the hat he made. I will be brief.

The intention of a weapons ban is, or should be, to keep students from taking weapons to their schools. It should not be a tool to indoctrinate students against weapons. What David's teacher did, and you supported, may have been in accord with the School Board's rules - I don't know about that - but your voice should actually join the voices of those that are angry about a switch from protecting the students to indoctrinating them. This type of censorship for political correctness is simply another form of brainwashing - a strong word which I use advisedly - to move impressionable students to adopt the political views of the teacher or principal.

No threat or potential threat to the safety of any person existed with the toy Army men on David Morales' hat. The perceived threat was that students might adopt an opinion about the military or the use of weapons which was contrary to that of the teacher and principal.

America is enraged at this type of manipulative oppression and Europe is chuckling at the childishness of a teacher who calls Army men "inappropriate" (Yes, this is bringing your name and school to international attention), but personally, I am grieved at the death of freedom of thought and scholastic liberty. These are grade school children taught by teachers whose training taught these same teachers to value free-thinking and abhor censorship, yet these children are now being brought into the straight-jacket world of mind-control because a teacher, a principal and perhaps a school board have decided that political opinion trumps free expression.

I am grieved, but you should remember your own education and be ashamed to see how far you have fallen into the Mc Carthyite mentality of criminalizing different opinions.

I await your response.

Steve Montgomery

Posted by: Steve Montgomery at June 18, 2010 12:07 PM

Concern over this is going too far? It should be obvious to anyone reading the news that the concern over David Morales' hat is simply the accumulated reaction of frustration from a feeling of impotence before government controls gone amuck! We would only be laughing at the infantile incompetence and lack of judgment in a grade school teacher if this were an isolated incident. We react because it is a microcosm of everything going on around us.

Who would have imagined that the Free-Love, Free-Thought, Freedom-of-Opinion crowd of the 60s and 70s would grow up to become far more oppressive than the regime they rebelled against.

Frank Zappa sang, "Who are the brain police?" Well, Frank, we know now who they are: they're your old friends and cohorts! Almost sorry you're not here to see it.

Posted by: Alan Strickalnd at June 18, 2010 12:42 PM

We can read My Two Mommies to children, but make a hat as a tribute to soldiers with soft plastic 1/16", at best, weapon replicas on little toy soldiers, and that is zero tolerance? The world is nuts, or at least the putrid politically correct part.

My friends around the country are e-mailing me laughing at the foolishness that occurs in RI.

Posted by: Kathy Santos at June 18, 2010 1:56 PM

Memo to idiot "educators":the child's soldiers are "dangerous"only if you step on one at 2 AM when you are getting up to use the can.A good argument for flip flops.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 18, 2010 6:38 PM

>Free-Love, Free-Thought, Freedom-of-Opinion crowd of the 60s and 70s

Not so, my friend. But a certain subset of them sold out big time...usually for money or power. Some of them, like our friend GW and Cheney, were never "hip" in any way, shape or form....GW being largely a drunk until he hit 40.

Many of the folks I knew who were truly progressive then...are still liberal (albeit more mature) now....myself included.

The fakers......well, they were fake then and they are fake now.

Most of these so-called divisive issues...like the on in this blog entry...are pretty much made up and blown out of proportion by the right, which follows along with a ring through their nose. An interesting article was recently published by a lobbying and pr guy out of DC who helps front the Tea Party......here is a look at their modus operandi:
"Strategists deliberately try to stir up rage among average Americans, calculating that it's much easier to push a political movement if it's deeply frightened than if it's entirely hopeful. "We're playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives," the consultant writes. "In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage.""

Sound familiar? Well, it seems to work.

Posted by: Stuart at June 18, 2010 7:36 PM

How many parents are now saying to themselves, "Gee, if I send little Johnny to school with military symbols on his hat, I can get him on radio, John DePetro can make a hero out of him and Major Gen. Centracchio can make him an honorary brigadier?"
I just don't want to be around the day Little Johnny realizes he's been exploited in the name of conservative political correctness. The gun he picks up may not be a toy.

Posted by: rhody at June 18, 2010 9:28 PM

stuart....yes the military is all volunteer. and no, they are not paid well enough for what they do. say thanks to clinton and dubya for that. if they were, most military families would not be on welfare or foodstammps. and when the soldiers leave for whatever reason, the rest of the family is left to fend for themselves. as for as the principal, denise richtarik or whatever it is, you have totally lost all reasoning capabilities and don't have any business being in charge of any school or anything to do with educating children.

Posted by: gary at June 18, 2010 11:31 PM

Stuart-blowing things out of proportion?Really?The right wing?
Hmmm-I recall a few years back when ICE executed a series of arrest WARRANTS on fugitives and aliens convicted of criminal offenses in the Newport area,the "progressive folks"started screaming about "gestapo"and "government terrorism" referring to federal agents enforcing a federal law.Crazy-we used to do this on a weekly basis in RI and it never made the paper most of the time.
Then there was the cretin "activist"who testified at the Statehouse that the E verify bill was analogous to the Nuremberg Laws,which stripped citizenship and civil rights from Jews who'd been Germans for generations.
But we conservatives are the ones overblowing things?
Now Rhody is afraid that the little boy will go on a shooting rampage over this.Rhody-maybe you need to move to Detroit-then MAYBE you'll have something legitimate to worry about.
You live in a fantasy world of invented fear,or maybe you're just a mentally disturbed fabricator.
Stuart-just read the "progressive"RI Future or kmareka-they get "ouraged"over every lttle thing.
Kiersten Marek got apoplectic with panic after some drunks got into a fight in cafe late at night(Park Cafe) afew blocks from the church where she attends and maintains her professional office.She was bleating about "violence in the neighborhood".
I had witnessed two homicides,a shootout between police and robbers,and numerous other crimes where I grew up before I was out of grade school and I LIKED my neighborhood.This was in the "halcyon" fifties.
Stuart-you need to stop shifting the nature behavior to the right-that tactic won't work here.
Go kiss your Obama shrine.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 19, 2010 7:56 AM

I meant to say "the nature of leftist behavior".
Why are you "progressives" always "folks"-I read enough leftist drivel on blogs to notice patterns-shared expressions for starters.
If you look at a conservative rally there are wildly diverse signs representing as many points of view.
At leftist rallies there are usually SEIU(or similar trash organization)provided signs with stock,politburo-approved phraseology.Leftists are th least original thinkers-always afraid of being criticized by their comrades.
In the Fifties,the homegrown commie left always worried about the "party line".Nothing changes.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 19, 2010 11:02 AM

I'm glad one of us lives by the law Justin laid down last week, even if Mr. Bernstein doesn't.
Back on topic...the lesson we can learn from this whole episode is:
Left political correctness - bad.
Right political correctness - good.
I get it.

Posted by: rhody at June 19, 2010 1:16 PM

As long as you continue to spew lies and menatlly deranged crap,I'll call you on it.You NEVER take the time to submit a well thought out statement.Just the jibes and taunting.F**k you.
Stuart,at least,mixes his condescension and name calling with long analytical material(90% wrong,but whatever)-that takes some mental effort.Russ does the same.And Phil. And OTL(sometimes).
You are just a smartass punk.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 19, 2010 2:08 PM

I guess Mr. Bernstein feels he is above the law (or the requests of the propriator of this forum). Thank God this man no longer enforces it - what a black eye to his profession.
The post above mine says more about his mental state than anything I possibly could.
With that, I'm not wasting any more bandwith on his petty obsession...at least none of us here have to live amid such behavior.

Posted by: rhody at June 20, 2010 11:37 AM

And you know anything about my conduct on the job?Lying piece of garbage.
Funny I never had a disciplinary action taken on me in 21 years with one agency and almost 5 with another.
You've made allegations against me for about 2 years now and never backed one up because you have NOTHING.
If I had skeletons career wise I'm quite sure they'd have surfaced since I made myself somewhat visible in unfriendly venues.
I'm no longer bound by having to be careful of what I say because I represent no one or no organization,other than myself.
Justin can dump me from the forum-I couldn't care less one way or another.
It's his call-not yours,scumbag.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 20, 2010 12:51 PM

Your pathetic attempts to suck up to Justin even though you hate his viewpoints makes me think you were a snitch in school and other places.
You do the same thing on other blogs-never an original thought,just vapid ass-kissing sychophancy or smart remarks.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 20, 2010 1:03 PM

Somebody's 'come un-hinnnnnged...

Posted by: rhody at June 20, 2010 3:03 PM

Go stick your head in the toilet.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 21, 2010 9:14 AM

I guess some folks think the rules don't apply to them. No surprise that Monique doesn't understand that the objection wasn't that the toys were actual weapons but that the hat violated the rule against clothing promoting drugs or weapons. I can only imagine how supportive you wingnuts would be of a this kid...


And next year when some kid shows up wearing Stabby McKnife, we'll know who to thank!

Posted by: Russ at June 21, 2010 2:42 PM

I guess some folks think the rules don't apply to them. No surprise that Monique doesn't understand that the objection wasn't that the toys were actual weapons but that the hat violated the rule against clothing promoting drugs or weapons. I can only imagine how supportive you wingnuts would be of a this kid... Supremes OK Student's Anti-Bush T-Shirt

And next year when some kid shows up wearing Stabby McKnife, we'll know who to thank!

Posted by: Russ at June 21, 2010 2:45 PM

Russ, 1.) there's no parallel between the half inch piece of plastic in question and the counter-example you offer and 2.) in case you hadn't heard the latest, the principal has made the correct decision to revisit the rule in question.

However, the principal may not agree with me on #1. So feel free to bring forward your proposed tee-shirt to get it authorized under the pending rule revision.

Posted by: Monique at June 21, 2010 9:53 PM

"there's no parallel between the half inch piece of plastic in question and the counter-example you offer"

First off, I offered two counter examples. More importantly, you're wrong that there is no parallel: all are in violation of a zero tolerance policy of clothing promoting drugs or weapons. The fact that you like the sentiment of one more than the others is irrelevant, except as to which is suitable red meat for rallying angry suburbanites.

I can image school administrators have better things to do than worry about which t-shirts and hats are OK with the talk radio dittoheads, thus the blanket policies that avoid any confusion.

As to the faux outrage from the right, it's real easy to be for the 1st Amendment in cases like this one, but when its "bong hits for Jesus" you can count on the false libertarians to run for the hills.

None of that excuses you or Depetro deliberately misrepresenting the policy as equating toy soldiers with actual weapons. That is, assuming it is deliberate and not just a case of being totally ignorant of the actual policy. You tell me.

Posted by: Russ at June 22, 2010 11:33 AM

I think doin' the dozens with the puke Rhody made more sense than this current dispute.
I think all the kids should be required to wear R Crumb "Keep on Truckin"tee shirts.
They should also be required to think about fried chicken for 30 minutes a day.(With credit to R Crumb for the idea).

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 22, 2010 8:21 PM

Hey, while we're at it let's require school administrators to dress in clown suits (hat tip to Jello Biafra for that one).

For what it's worth, I think we should let students wear what they like with regard to free speech issues or go with uniforms if that's what folks really want.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791.

What I can't stand are these phonies like Depetro, who "bravely" support only popular speech or who deliberately misrepresent the policy to get a rise out of the uninformed reactionary types. Get a t-shirt "authorized" by some bureaucrat, Monique? What a victory for freedom!

Posted by: Russ at June 23, 2010 10:03 AM

yet another reason (and there are MANY) i am ashamed to be a member of the human race.....not to mention the state of rhode island.....

Posted by: anonymous at June 29, 2010 5:57 PM