Doug Bartlett, a veteran teacher with an upstanding record of 17 years, has filed a lawsuit against the school district of Chicago for suspending him without pay after giving a lesson on gardening tools to his second grade students.
The incident took place on August 8, 2011 at Washington Irving Elementary School.
Mr. Bartlett recently filed suit on April 17, 2013 saying that he suffered humiliation and embarrassment as a result of his reprimand.
The “hazardous” tools in question were pliers, screwdrivers and wrenches that only the teacher handled. The tools were kept in a locked toolbox high on a shelf out of reach before and after the gardening lesson.
The district says that Mr. Bartlett exhibited negligence in supervising the children and for “possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon”. He was subsequently suspended without pay for 4 days.
Mr. Bartlett’s lawsuit claims the suspension violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process as he asserts that there was never a full hearing on the incident. Further, he was disciplined without ever having the opportunity to plead his case.
According to the Rutherford Institute which is representing him, Mr. Bartlett is seeking damages and requesting the suspension be expunged from his teaching record.
It is important to have electronic records in order as the charge of possessing a “weapon”, in this case gardening tools, has the potential to prevent Mr. Bartlett from seeking employment elsewhere.
The incident is yet another example of an over the top reaction by school officials demonstrating poor judgment and a gross lack of common sense.
A related story occurred in the Fall of 2012 when the Vice Principal of a California school suspended a boy for bringing kombucha in his lunchbox. With no parent or guardian present at any time, the boy was interrogated in the school office by school administration and a police officer and was ultimately suspended for 5 days for “violating” the school’s drug and alcohol policy. No tests were ever performed on the beverage which is able to be legally purchased by minors at local stores.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources: Teacher who showed garden tools to second grade students is suspended without pay for bringing ‘weapons’ to class
Teacher Who Showed Garden Tools to Second Grade Students is Suspended Without Pay
I know this is old but as I just came across it may others as well, I disagree with the comments of a “master gardener “ where wrenches are not used in gardening. Not sure if you’re only used to natural and xeriscape but people use tools on lawn mowers and other such gardening equipment for maintenance. Food for though people- master gardener is something anyone can take as a weekend / week long class. It is a title that doesn’t mean you know much about gardening, just trained in the basics.
My kids go to a waldorf school, where they garden everyday in the biodynamic garden. Starting in 5th grade they are taught how to harvest wheat and oats using a scythe and a sickle! How’s that for dangerous gardening tools! Go to a waldorf school, not an ultra regulated public school.
What about scalpels in biology? Chemicals in chemistry? Knives in Home ec?
Gardening is wonderful. Gardening is used as a tool to help people see the beauty in life. WHY RUIN WHAT THE ORIGINAL POST WAS ALL ABOUT??? Teaching a person to fish is better than giving a person a fish, and talking about what you believe, and is irrelevant to the original topic, is a waste of time. I’m going outside to garden. How about it, folks???
Another example of “cherry picked” information from a situation for the purpose of furthering an agenda of fear and hate mongering.
Find the original article, read it, and all the details, then form an opinion.
I’m a Master Gardener and my favorite handheld tool if a “trake” (trowel on one end, 3 prong rake on the other end) and small sharpshooter shovel. I never use pliers, wrenches or screwdrivers and find it odd that these are being used to demonstrate gardening to second graders, myself. And, showing a pocket knife to young students in these days of unrest was just plain dumb! I, frankly, don’t blame the school system. If your child came home telling you that his/her teacher showed them a pocket knife, wouldn’t you be concerned?! No matter what the subject being discussed. .
No, I wouldn’t be concerned since I trust his teacher because I am involved at school and because my husband and 16 yr old carry pocket knives and my second grader who is in cub scouts has already earned his first pocketknife there. I am not a master gardener but have used those other tools in my quest to grow a garden. Are these times of unrest worse than the times of desegregation or the old west? As a matter of fact, my 16 yr old who is dual enrolled this year at a tech school for diesel mechanics is allowed to carry a pocketknife to school because it is a tool.
Flash forward to 2022 and just have a look at the complete insanity going on within the public school system today. Forcing children to wear face masks all day long is just one example that comes to mind. It’s becoming quite obvious that public education is designed to brainwash children into becoming good little slaves that obey authority and aren’t capable of doing much of anything on their own. First they were passing common core education, and just a few years later they’ve moved onto teaching LBGTQ sex education to our children. Now they’re passing out pizzas slices for kids who will allow them to vaccinate on site, without their parents permission. Granted this isn’t going on everywhere yet, but the writing is on the wall. The government thinks we are all slaves, and your children are theirs to do whatever they want with them. Pull your children out of public education before it’s too late.
Open mouth, insert foot. Due process is in the 14th too, but I think that was more about extending the 5th amendment to those who had just been granted Personhood in the 14th and 15th amendment. Either way, reading the documents is still important. 😉
Due process is the fifth amendment. While skimming though the comments I didn’t notice anyone else catching this. If we are going to remain free people we must know our rights so that we can recognize when they are being taken from us. I would humbly suggest everyone read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at least yearly with your families. Perhaps on Independence Day- July 4th and Constitution Day- September 17th. 🙂
They are weapons, weapons against Monsanto! Used effectively, these weapons will defend you from a disease/cancer filled life of eating manufactured food.
Hard to believe these people are qualified to be running a school system.