Heroic school principal averts tragedy!

>> Thursday, February 04, 2010

I sometimes worry that Shoulders Of Giant Midgets is too focused on the negativity in the world, so I would like to take a moment to praise the thoughtful and rapid response of Ms. Evelyn Mastroianni, principal of PS 52 in Staten Island, New York, whose quick-thinking and dedication to the safety of her students averted tragedy and upheld the finest standards of those in the field of public education.

According to media reports here and here, Ms. Mastrioanni was working at PS 52 in her capacity as school principal, when she noticed suspicious activity going on around a gang of individuals. Investigating further, she realized that one of the suspects, Patrick Timoney, was in possession of a firearm, in violation of school policy. Thinking quickly, she confiscated the weapon and took the hooligan into custody in the principal's office.

Now, at this point it seems Ms. Mastrioanni engaged in her one lapse in judgement: instead of immediately suspending Mr. Timoney, she elected to show mercy in spite of the risk to students and faculty created by Mr. Timoney, and called his parents and refused to institute further disciplinary action.

And is Mr. Timoney repentant for his outrageous conduct? Hardly! The thug is quoted by the press as protesting:

"[The gun] was so little," the boy told WNBC. "I wouldn't really think that the principal would cause a lot of commotion just for a little gun."

Ha! A typical protestation: "Oh, what I did wasn't so bad: I only stole a little bit of money, only burned down a small house, only raped and murdered a few nuns and orphans!" For shame, Mr. Timoney! Shame! Fie!

And in classic fashion, do the coddling parents take responsibility for their obvious deficiencies? No, they are quoted as fuming, not at their son, but at the heroic school administrator!

I am sure there will be a few misguided fellow-liberals who will point out that Mr. Timoney is "nine years old" and that the firearm in question was a "2-inch plastic gun" that accessorized a "LEGO® policeman." Sometimes I am embarrassed by my fellow travellers, frankly. A two-inch gun in the wrong hands could easily be used in armed robberies, drug trafficking, or even at least one homicide (though I concede it would probably be difficult to use in more than one). Even if one were to give Mr. Timoney the benefit of the doubt--and in a moment we'll come back to why we shouldn't--how responsible is it to allow a nine-year-old to possess a firearm, even a small one? Do we have any evidence that Mr. Timoney, with his child's reflexes, has any experience handling a weapon, even a 2" plastic one? It takes very little to put someone's eye out, and, if I recall correctly, even LEGO® packaging itself warns that LEGO® components constitute a choking hazard! The danger is right there on the box!

But why should we even give Mr. Timoney the benefit of a doubt, mind you? Consider this frightening warning from the website of National School Safety And Security Services:

A youth gang can be considered as a collectivity of primarily adolescents and young adults who:

  • interact frequently

  • are frequently and deliberately involved in illegal activities

  • share a common collective identity

  • and typically adopt certain methods of identification and/or claim control over certain [sic]

  • Now, think about this description from one of the news items linked-to previously:

    Patrick Timoney, a 9-year-old... and friends... two-inch... gun carried.... [emphasis added and surplusage removed]

    Adolescent? Check. A group that interacts frequently? Well, that's what "friends" are, isn't it? So check. Deliberately involved in an illegal activity? Excuse me, clearly the school has a zero-tolerance policy towards firearms! A common collective identity? Most groups of friends have exactly that! So all we have left is the question of whether these hooligans have adopted "certain methods of identification and/or claim control over..." uh... well, uhm, the website doesn't actually... dammit! Well, I have no doubt these nine-year-old terrorists claim... something. Probably something nefarious.

    To sum up, we should not be calling Ms. Evelyn Mastroianni a ridiculous jackass who embarrassed herself and her school district by stupidly overreacting to a harmless scrap of extruded plastic the length of a child's finger while demonstrating the inherent stupidity of "zero-tolerance" policies, and rather should praise her, reward her, give her medals and name a national holiday after her for her quick wits and observational skills. Had she failed to notice this youth gang and one member's easily-concealed weapon, and had somebody been hurt as a consequence, we would rightly be excoriating her; instead, this story has a happy ending, thanks solely to her heroism and bravery.

    I propose that from henceforth, February 2nd should be National Evelyn Mastroianni day, to be celebrated with parades and free candy and pony rides, along with the closing of banks, schools and government offices. Ms. Mastroianni, furthermore, should be awarded a grant from public funds of a million dollars for every student's life saved from young Mr. Timoney's misconduct by her resourcefulness, along with a medal (perhaps one of those chocolate ones).

    As for Mr. Timoney, we can only hope he gets the justice he deserves.


    Jim Wright Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 9:13:00 PM EST  

    This country is going to hell. Hell, I say! It wasn't like this back in my day, I'll tell you that. Liberals are ruining the country! Damned Obama letting kids carry guns in school...wait I mean damned Obama come to take our guns...wait... um, Tea anyone?

    Nathan Friday, February 5, 2010 at 9:39:00 AM EST  

    I'm just waiting to see how Leanright manages to contradict you on this one. C'mon Dave! You can do it!

    Warner (aka ntsc) Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 8:06:00 AM EST  

    If you don't stop things like this at the start, then you will have middle schoolers doodling, and in this berg that is a handcuff offense http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/02/05/2010-02-05_cuffed_for_doodling_on_a_desk.html

    Eric Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 9:46:00 AM EST  

    My only response, Warner, is: facepalm.

    I can only be grateful I'm not a parent in New York. That really is just appalling.

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