Agents of Unjust Cause – Penn Hills, PA
On April 5, 2006, Dible Elementary School fifth-grade student Jokari Becker brought with him to school a ridiculous-looking toy squirt gun, along with various other also-harmless items to which he attached some importance, to put in a “memory box” – something of a show-and-tell exercise.
The squirt gun looked something like this (the boy is Jokari):
The squirt gun is not a realistic, “look-alike” gun. Not even close. It is a brightly-colored, plastic, genuine toy, and looks like a toy, and nothing but a toy. There was nothing in it at the time, and the boy never pointed it, pretended, played or threatened with it, while at school.
After the squirt gun was noticed in the boy’s backpack, he was suspended for three days. Then officials made the suspension seven days. He remained on suspension while some unspecified, asinine process transpired. Then, on Tuesday evening, May 9, 2006, by a 5-3 vote, the Penn Hills, PA school board voted to expel the fifth-grader. Until January of 2007. At least. It's another case of "zero-tolerance" means "zero-common sense."
The boy’s single mother is appealing the board’s vote. While Ms. Becker waits on that process, she has to find a way to finish her college studies and attend her scheduled job training to become a county 911 operator, and not leave the boy home alone during what should have been school hours. She’ll have to pay lawyers. The boy is being emotionally traumatized. The school district, which this year increased its tax levy by $4.48 million, will pay to send instructors to the boy’s home to teach him there.
The following five school board members are responsible for this particularly unjust bit of senseless tyranny, and they need to hear from you, no matter where you live. Just Cause has made it easy for you to do that by providing their e-mail addresses as well as their names.
Mr. Richard Vuocolo, Board President: email@example.com
Mr. Barry Patterson, Board Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Kathryn Bolte email@example.com
Mr. Robert Hudak firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Margie Krogh email@example.com
The following board member needs to hear from you because he is the only one who did not vote at all:
Mr. Leonard Gallo firstname.lastname@example.org
The following board members are the three possessed of common sense and decency sufficient to have voted against this outrage. Erin Vecchio has particularly stood up and spoken out against this injustice. They should be carbon copied on your e-mail to the others, so that your concern won’t disappear with a tap of a few “delete” keys.
Ms. Carolyn Faggioli email@example.com
Ms. Erin Vecchio firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. John Zacchia email@example.com
A quick note (nothing that will have any of those five idiots calling the FBI on you) saying "Stop the injustice, end your own national embarrassment, rescind Jokari's expulsion" should suffice.
If you live in the district, be sure to go to the next public board meeting and raise hell. That School Board Public Voting Meeting is on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 7:30 p.m., Administrative Center, 309 Collins Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. It’s all in just cause.