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Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:14 PM

Students in Louisiana thought this math symbol looked like a gun - Police were called



A discussion among students at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, La., about a mathematical symbol led to a police investigation and a search of one of the student’s homes, according to the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office. On the afternoon of Feb. 20, detectives investigated a report of terroristic threats at the school, where they learned that a student had been completing a math problem that required drawing the square-root sign.

Students in the group began commenting that the symbol, which represents a number that when multiplied by itself equals another number, looked like a gun. After several students made comments along those lines, another student said something the sheriff’s office said could have sounded like a threat out of context.

Police searched the student’s home, where they found no guns or any evidence that he had any access to guns. Authorities also wrote there was no evidence the student had any intent to commit harm.

“The student used extremely poor judgment in making the comment, but in light of the actual circumstances, there was clearly no evidence to support criminal charges,” the department wrote, adding that the school board had been contacted to determine any disciplinary action for the student.

http://www.miamiherald.com/article201604224.html

54 replies, 3536 views

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Reply Students in Louisiana thought this math symbol looked like a gun - Police were called (Original post)
ansible Feb 2018 OP
JI7 Feb 2018 #1
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #32
Initech Feb 2018 #2
sdfernando Feb 2018 #5
Initech Feb 2018 #7
ProudLib72 Feb 2018 #23
Initech Feb 2018 #44
Fred Sanders Feb 2018 #3
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2018 #4
Fred Sanders Feb 2018 #9
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2018 #14
Ms. Toad Feb 2018 #37
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #33
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2018 #35
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #36
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2018 #38
Ms. Toad Feb 2018 #41
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #45
Ms. Toad Feb 2018 #40
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #46
PoindexterOglethorpe Feb 2018 #48
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #49
Ms. Toad Feb 2018 #51
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #52
scarytomcat Feb 2018 #43
Ms. Toad Feb 2018 #39
dsc Feb 2018 #54
Different Drummer Feb 2018 #6
Throck Feb 2018 #8
Generic Brad Feb 2018 #10
BadgerKid Feb 2018 #12
Igel Feb 2018 #13
jberryhill Feb 2018 #11
RobinA Feb 2018 #16
Oneironaut Feb 2018 #22
jberryhill Feb 2018 #24
sarah FAILIN Feb 2018 #34
Codeine Feb 2018 #53
flying rabbit Feb 2018 #15
RobinA Feb 2018 #17
flying rabbit Feb 2018 #19
aka-chmeee Feb 2018 #29
dalton99a Feb 2018 #18
johnpowdy Feb 2018 #20
Whiskeytide Feb 2018 #21
regnaD kciN Feb 2018 #26
Nailzberg Feb 2018 #28
stevenleser Feb 2018 #27
onenote Feb 2018 #31
A HERETIC I AM Feb 2018 #25
smirkymonkey Feb 2018 #30
aikoaiko Feb 2018 #42
jcmaine72 Feb 2018 #47
Vinca Feb 2018 #50

Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:17 PM

1. The person who reported that would have reported something else

 

If they didn't see that. I think there are some paranoid types that look for something instead of seeing and noticing something that may seem off.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 10:58 AM

32. These kids are jumping on a movement

Believe it or not there are kids reporting some ridiculous stuff as threats to get attention or maybe they want to spice up their school days. I'm not sure, but what they say is a threat does not seem like a threat to me.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:18 PM

2. Stop this planet. I want to get off.

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Response to Initech (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:42 PM

5. Ugh!

I’m with you.

Kinda reinforces the dumb cop stereo type.

I can just see the kids post “let’s shoot up the school with square roots”. OMFG!

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Response to sdfernando (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:48 PM

7. And I'm taking calculus right now.

In all the math classes I've ever had I've never thought that a square root sign looks like a gun. We really are heading toward idiocracy!

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Response to Initech (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:49 AM

23. Riemann was a terrorist with his sums!

Luckily, Newton and Leibniz were patriots who stopped him their calculus.

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Response to ProudLib72 (Reply #23)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:30 PM

44. Maybe that's why they call it "The Sum Of All Fears"!

Hey o!!!!!

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:23 PM

3. Something missing, because you can NOT get a house search warrant based on a math symbol.

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Response to Fred Sanders (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:42 PM

4. Maybe you can if neither you nor anyone around nor the judge

has a clue what that is?

Someone who never got past first year algebra has either never seen that symbol or if they have, have totally forgotten it.

What has always been disturbing to me is not only the willful ignorance that is so proudly displayed in this country, but the cheerful forgetting of what little is learned. People seem proud to tell others they failed first year algebra. Really? Trust me, it's not that hard, especially if you go to class, pay attention and do the homework. And no, I'm not interested in earnest testimonials from those who failed first year algebra. It's still not that hard if you have an IQ of 100 or more.

Likewise history. People are proud not to know any history, equally proud not to have paid attention to what happened in their lifetimes when it was current events.

While there really are good high schools out there, and students who actually care about learning, all to often the biology teacher in the public high school is called "coach". And while I realize that coaching sports isn't easy and is truly an honorable profession, Coach shouldn't be teaching biology anymore than a teacher who majored in science ought to be coaching the football team.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:49 PM

9. Yeah, coaches teaching biology! Although I bet all the students are on team schools and the

coach gets to grade them...isn't that how it works?

Muscles over brains...America needs to change its priorities.

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Response to Fred Sanders (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 11:52 PM

14. The degree to which sport is deified in this country is genuinely shocking.

True story.

I used to live in Overland Park, Kansas, in the Shawnee Mission School District, one of the very best public school districts out there. High graduation rates, excellent tests scores, lots of kids going on to college. At the back to school night when my son was in 5th grade, a mother said, "You don't really expect my son to do homework on a Monday night, do you? We have season tickets to the Chiefs, and of course we go to all the home games, including when they play on Monday night."

My husband and I were appalled that the teacher indicated that she'd give the kid a pass on Tuesday after a home Monday night football game. Attending a football game should never take precedence over school work.

Oh, and a couple of years later when that same son was getting ready for Confirmation, another mom didn't understand why we had to meet on Sunday morning because that was when her kid had hockey practice. Actually, in this case the issue was limited rink space and time for hockey practice, but still.

When that son was going in to 7th grade we transferred him to an excellent secular private school and never regretted it.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:49 PM

37. I avoided history like the plague in college

Because my entire exposure to history matched that experience. All our history teachers were coaches - and we had class 3 days a week, maximum. On Friday, we were preparing for the big game. On Monday, we were celebrating the big win or mourning the big loss. So those days were shot - as well as other days when there was university football on.

To this day, I resent that high school so poisoned my relationship with history that I forfeited the best chance I had to overcome that link by taking really good history classes in college.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 11:10 AM

33. Do you realize?

A coach is considered a side job in public schools. You must go to the same classes every other teacher attends and you must choose if you are going to teach history, science, math.... you have to do every training the other teachers do. If you have a love of sports, you might have even played in college and high school and might be offered a coaching stipend to coach. There are no places that I know that hire coaches that went to school for coaching. I've never even heard of that as a degree, but maybe things are different in other states

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 11:30 AM

35. It depends on the school.

I've known situations where the Coach majored in PE in college -- a valid major -- and then was hired to coach the football team and oh, by the way, teach biology or history.

It's also been frighteningly common to assign a teacher to teach a class he or she never majored in, maybe never took more than one class in that field in college. One would think that schools would only hire teachers who are qualified to teach specific subjects, but it doesn't always work out that way. Perhaps things have changed more over the years than I realize.

Yes, I am aware that Coach is usually not the full time position at the school.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #35)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:16 PM

36. I have to tell you I've never heard of that

Maybe at the private Christian schools, but not the public schools I know.
All our coaches taught history which was easy. It didn't change and just required memorizing dates.

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:52 PM

38. No, not at private Christian schools, but

at public schools.

And if history is considered easy, so let the coach teach it, well no wonder so many Americans know nothing about history. If all you ever do is memorize a few dates, but never get into any analysis of why or how things happened, then you haven't the basis for understanding what is happening now. Anyway, you've just proven my point about coaches teaching courses they are not qualified to teach. I rest my case.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:08 PM

41. See post 37

Written before I scrolled down to read this post.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #38)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 05:06 PM

45. I never had problems with history

Our coach taught the book. It didn't seem hard to me at all because they stick to the text. Memorizing dates was the hardest part, but other topics were covered. We didn't have the history of the world either.. it was broken down as in state history, American history, etc.. I never felt like my teachers didn't know what they were talking about just because they were coaches. To lump all coaching teachers into a group and assume they aren't qualified doesn't seem fair

What is hard is calculus, chemistry, physics... but I never had a coach teach those classes and I worked hard to do well, but I thought your point was that a coach shouldn't teach hard subjects.

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:06 PM

40. See my previous post about my experience with history

Most of our coaches had degrees in Phys Ed. You are correct that they also largely "teach" history, because schools need more coaches than they do PE instructors, so they get certified to teach history so that school boards can justify hiring the coach they want.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #40)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 05:27 PM

46. I did see it.

There are bad teachers in every county. Our bad teacher was an English Lit teacher and he looked down girls shirts by standing over their desks if they wore a v neck then he would "casually " brush some invisible crumbs off the front of his pants.
Yes we told the principal and it did no good. The principal said he was retiring soon. So I wouldn't mind a coach doing an adequate job of teaching history instead of an inspiring job as long as he isn't trying to look down my shirt, lol.

I understand your position though.

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #46)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 05:51 PM

48. Those girls should have gone straight to their parents who,

if the principal would do nothing, then go straight to the school board.

That's a different category of bad teacher than one who doesn't know the subject matter at hand, but gets to "teach" so that the school can have a winning team of some kind.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #48)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 06:23 PM

49. It was the 80's

One of the girls did tell her mom who was also a teacher there and it did no good at all. That girl and I went to the principal together. He was more concerned with not rocking the boat. He did come sit in class and observe one day but it did nothing. Back then it was always the girls fault.

To this day, even though I had the highest class averages, my worst skills are in English, grammar, punctuation...

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #46)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 07:18 PM

51. I'm not talking about one history teacher.

I am talking about three. And about another coach who was hired, when the school board didn't even bother to confirm he was certified to teach anything (let alone anything for which the school had a teaching vacancy) because all they were interested in was his coaching ability.

I wasn't addressing the existence of bad individual actors. That is a different matter - and also deserves attention.

was addressing a specific systemic problem that exists in many rural/small town districts in the midwest - that sports are the the only thing that matters - and academic matters are routinely sacrificed at the alter of the sports god. I'm not complaining about "doing an adequate job of teaching history instead of an inspiring job" I am talking about absolute neglect, or worse, of education - largely history - in favor of sports.

If you haven't experienced it, you likely can't understand the depth and insidious persistence of the problem.

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #51)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 07:25 PM

52. Our school teams always sucked

Except for basketball, but that coach was an awesome teacher. Maybe we had low coach expectations because they were used to sucking.

Our bigger problem was nepotism and it still is an issue. If you have relatives at a school, you get the job and you get tenure

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #35)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:24 PM

43. pulbic schools have lots of problems

these days it is hard to get good teachers or coaches
the pay is so low
some students are hard core, schools are full of gangs
who would want to be a teacher today in a city school
qualification are so low, if you are breathing your are in

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Response to sarah FAILIN (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:58 PM

39. Not really. My high school once hired a coach

Because they really needed his coaching abilities. They forgot to even ask what he was certified to teach-or whether we needed another teacher in that subject area. Thanks to a friend of mine on the school board, that was corrected before he was hired, but it didn't matter what he was certified to teach- they were hiring a coach, who would teach on the side (even though, technically he was being hired to teach).

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 08:56 PM

54. I agree that often school's are too interested in sports

but coaches can teach many different things depending on what they majored in. Our current basketball coach is a very good biology teacher who also is a good basketball coach (he also works as a weekend pharmacist so I think he might know a bit of science). I will say that social studies often is a place where male teachers have a bit of an expectation of being a coach and that has been to the detriment of teaching on some occasions. But simply because a person is a coach doesn't make him or her an incompetent teacher.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:45 PM

6. The sad thing is, I get the impression this *isn't* satire. n/t

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:48 PM

8. The insanity is multiplying.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:50 PM

10. Not the Onion!

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Response to Generic Brad (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 11:47 PM

12. Damn, it was Onion worthy. N/t

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Response to Generic Brad (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 11:52 PM

13. And still, I had to check.

Sort makes The Onion lose its pungency.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 10:57 PM

11. Its another Al Gebra terror operation

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:00 AM

16. Ive Been

complaining about those guys since I met them in the ‘70’s and nobody will listen.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:40 AM

22. He was clearly a radical terrorist!

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Response to Oneironaut (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:29 AM

24. Are you positive they were not imaginary?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #24)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 11:12 AM

34. All the math puns!!!

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #11)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 07:44 PM

53. Their numbers keep multiplying. nt

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 11:56 PM

15. Is it just me, or did they describe the function of the

square root sign wrong? I'm a bit rusty.

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Response to flying rabbit (Reply #15)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:03 AM

17. Its Not Wrong

it just isn’t how you’s describe square root. It’s sort of backwards.

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Response to RobinA (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:12 AM

19. Seems like it explains x squared. nt

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Response to RobinA (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 09:41 AM

29. WHO would'a thunk?

That a number multiplied by itself would equal another number? Extraordinary!

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:07 AM

18. Next they'll report pi because it looks like a high-capacity magazine

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:14 AM

20. Honestly I can understand the student being triggered by that in today's environment

Kids are being shot up in schools daily. Imagine the fear they have each day. Yeah, its stupid to be "threatened" by a math symbol but just seeing something that resembled a gun could be triggering

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 12:16 AM

21. As I read this, it wasnt ...

... the symbol’s similarity to the shape of a gun that created the concern and the reaction. It was a comment made by a student while they were sitting there apparently wisecracking about it. The excerpt doesn’t specify what the comment was, so I think assuming it was an over reaction is “jumping the math symbol” a little.

Just my take.

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Response to Whiskeytide (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:55 AM

26. Exactly...

While it is emotionally satisfying to have a narrative of "the authorities are so dumb, they'd consider a square-root symbol a threat," the facts of the matter are that it was the student's "joke," not the symbol, that caused the incident. While we don't know exactly what was said, if the student said something like "I'll make sure to wear that symbol if I ever flip out and shoot this place up," then the search wouldn't be all that unreasonable.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 02:03 AM

28. I agree. Without knowing the comment, hard for us to get an accurate idea.

And its important to keep in mind the police and FBI are being dragged right now for not "missing the signs" with the Florida shooter. Someone here overheard a comment that was cause for concern, and brought that concern to police. This wasn't just about some squiggly line in a workbook.

It may have been nothing, it may have been overblown. Or it may have been a student made a remark that couldn't be ignored as a joke. What was said, we don't know.

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Response to Whiskeytide (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:56 AM

27. Yep, lots of folks reading this wrong. nt

 

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Response to Whiskeytide (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 10:49 AM

31. +1

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:39 AM

25. This is like the people that have the cops called on them when they try and pay for something....

with a two dollar bill


This country is infested with idiots

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 10:43 AM

30. Well, it is Louisiana.

They rank dead last in the nation for its education system.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 01:09 PM

42. This doesn't surprise me given the level of anti-gun fear mongering




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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 05:34 PM

47. Surprised? This is indicative of the level of trauma created in this country by gun-humping reTHugs.

This is what these fascist animals are doing to our children. The fear they're fostering. It needs to stop NOW.

The NRA is a terrorist organization and needs to be officially designated as such forthwith. Their leadership needs to be arrested, and membership disarmed.

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Response to ansible (Original post)

Sun Feb 25, 2018, 06:26 PM

50. Mind blowing. And this really isn't the Onion?????

Well, as Dubya might say, "Guess our kids is learnin'."

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