Education

Mass. Teachers Ban Pencils; School Says No Way

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

A schools superintendent in Massachusetts has reversed a ban on pens and pencils, saying the teachers who made the new rule don't have the authority.

Last week, sixth-grade teachers Wendy Scott and Susan LaFlamme sent a letter home with students that Scott wrote, saying pens and pencils would be banned in class.

The memo explained that students would be issued a pencil for use in class that would be collected at the end of the school day. It seems there have been behavior problems, and banning writing implements would solve them. This included a student hollowing out a pen to be used as a spitball launcher.

The letter said students would be issued a pen or pencil which would be returned after class. Anyone found with one outside of class "will be assumed that the intent is to build weapons."

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However on Tuesday, interim Superintendent Gordon L. Noseworthy (who may have the greatest superintendent name in the history of American education) said that neither he nor the principal Deborah Peterson reviewed the letter before it was sent out. Saying only they could set such a policy, Noseworthy said there will be no ban.

“The principal sent home a follow-up memo to the same families who received the teacher's memo the day before stating that there would be no changes in school procedure," Noseworthy said.

Noseworthy characterized the memo as over the top and said it does not reflect any North Brookfield School District policy.

“We never use words like weapons in this context,” he said.

Here is a copy of Scott's letter: