Monday, August 11, 2008

Gives A Whole New Meaning To Smoking In The Boy's Room

We're coming to you from the Childhood Development Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central today. The CDD is a wholly owned subsidy of the No Recess For You Corporation in partnership with the Where's Your Hall Pass Company.

We've written many times that our tenure as inmates of the Great American Educorporate Training System was, how do you say, somewhat less that spectacular. And by spectacular we mean mediocre. Now, we've never been in a war, but we suspect in all those years of school had some similarities. Especially the hours of boredom punctuated by moments of intense worksheet. Something like that.

That being said, though, we have to admit that we're glad we got out when we did because now it looks like those hours of boredom are about to be punctuated with moments of electrically amplified motivational intervention.

The Uniontown Area school's director of student ionization says giving the district's three officers the option of using a Taser on more than just sloppy joe day is more about providing the safest possible conditions for children, staff and visitors than as a weapon directed at the students."Of course if those little heathens should happen to step out of line we're going to light them up like a Christmas tree," he added.

The president of a voltage generated behavior modification consulting firm said districts like Uniontown Area, which is considering arming its police officers with Tasers, have to take a conservative approach to their deployment and develop a comprehensive policy. "First thing, you can't Tase a kid because he didn't do his homework," the official said. "Especially if he's a white kid. Oh, and don't Tase kids in wheelchairs either. That makes for some very bad public relations"

Concerned parents and residents questioned the necessity of the devices at a public meeting, but a Cleveland consultant said in an interview that a Taser can be a "useful extra tool" for authorities as an alternative to a firearm in gaining control in a tense situation. "You don't want me bustin' a cap on your kid 'cause he's running in the halls do you?" asked the consultant. "This way I just give him permanently curly hair if you get my drift."

Ken Trump, a former electrical engineer who heads National High Current Low Amp Pedagogy Services, said a device like a Taser potentially can be helpful if an adult non-student intruder threatens harm to himself or others. "I think parents need to realize they're not zapping kids for not having a hall pass," Trump said. "Well, at least not the first time."

Although he acknowledged some cases nationally in which officers allegedly have shown no judgment in using Tasers, Trump said "The key is selective use. By that I mean we only use it on poor kids and minorities who are less likely to know a lawyer."

Medical studies have shown that exposure to a conducted-energy device, or CED, like a Taser, is safe in the "vast majority of cases," according to a June report by Doctors for Discharges. "Only those who died or were permanently disabled reported deleterious outcomes," the report stated.

Forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, a former Allegheny County Electrical Inspector said, "Once you have the Taser and it's been accepted and legitimized ... I see nothing wrong with officers being able to use it on teenagers. They're all drunk or high most of the time anyway. Probably won't even feel it."

Uniontown's director of boost charging, Arc Flash, said he's trying to be proactive by suggesting the use of Tasers. Currently, he's the only officer at the school who carries a gun, but he hasn't had to discharge it while on duty. "Do you know how boring that is for him?" Flash asked. "We're trying to get him something he could fry those little boogers with."

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