According to a Chicago Tribune news report
, a straight-A high school senior was arrested Tuesday because a creative writing assignment that was supposed to express emotion was violent enough that the teacher was "alarmed and disturbed by the content," according to Cary, Ill. police chief Ron Delelio.
Talk about the power of words. Allegedly the essay referred to a "shooting
," according to the Chicago Sun Times, but there were no specific threats directed at anyone:
The paper allegedly made a vague reference to a fictional school shooting in McHenry County but didn't specify a school or district, a law enforcement source said.
The first-year teacher called the head of the English department, who then called the police. According to the police chief:
In Lee's case, "We filed what we thought was the appropriate charge," Delelio said. "We need to be very vigilant today when we're dealing with school settings."
In the wake of Virginia Tech, I could understand someone being concerned about violent imagery in a student's essay. But calling the police and arresting the kid? I thought the idea of getting an early warning was to bring in professionals and see if there was a cause for alarm, not to find some pretext of a criminal charge. This is the sort of knee-jerk reaction that obviously leads to self-imposed censorship. What students, or parents, will allow an essay that could get a kid in trouble with the law because people want to react first and think ... never?
Labels: arrest, Carey, censorship, Delelio, high school, Illinois, senior