A player on his high school football was booted from both the team and his school for writing a poem, which was labelled 'bullying and intimidating'. You can read it here, if you like: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/us/high-school-football-player-poem-suspen... . He has since been reinstated, and has himself called the poem 'stupid'. But before we get into any discussion of whether the poem was either stupid or bullying, let's ask the one question which will, we promise, get asked by anyone. Why was a high class given an assignment to write a poem about what made them angry in the first place?
Wouldn't you expect that such a piece of writing could very easily become intimidating? Yet even that isn't really the problem. We cannot help but wonder why a high school English class ought to be writing what amounts to free verse poetry to begin with. We wonder whether they had studied poetry at all before dreaming up such assignments.
Read the poem. It clearly isn't particularly good (nor particularly bad, to be fair). It's just an expression of thoughts. But our real question has nothing to do with self expression as such. It has all to do with why the class wasn't studying actual poets and poetry rather than merely having students express their contempt about something and calling it education?
Perhaps they did study poetry and were expected to apply that knowledge, but we doubt it. American education hasn't been about actually learning something for quite some time. It has, however, become self indulgent under the guise of education. The results are knee jerk assessments of how a young man is treated by his football team and his school, and how knee jerk the results. It is not thought but a lack of thought all the way across the board which allowed this seed to become an issue played up on CNN over issues which have nothing to do with education but all to do with sensationalism.
This is not education. But it is American in the 21st Century. And it is not pretty.