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April 6, 2008 3:53 PM   Subscribe

"Principals make hundreds of decisions everyday based on our best judgment. And in that time, smelling that marker, I felt like, 'Wow, that's a very serious marker,'" Benisch said. Despite the medical evidence, Benisch promised to draw an even clearer line on markers. "We've purged every permanent marker there is in this building," he said.
posted by tehloki (71 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Has the principle ever smelled a sharpie? They're smellicious.
Anyways it's pretty obvious that old people need to be taught about drugs.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:57 PM on April 6, 2008


Honestly, I think I spent about 20% of my time in kindergarten smelling those smelly markers, those tantalizing cherries, oranges, cinnamons, and liquorices...
posted by tehloki at 3:58 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did he draw that line with a permanent marker?
posted by 29 at 3:58 PM on April 6, 2008 [15 favorites]


29 wins the thread :)
posted by pjern at 4:00 PM on April 6, 2008


I don't think this is one of those scented markers they're talking about.

Anyway, I see we need a permanent folder to file all these "school official overreacts to kid's stuff" stories.
posted by Zinger at 4:01 PM on April 6, 2008


Has the principle ever smelled a sharpie?

Only the one that was used to right on a sheet of stationary.
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on April 6, 2008 [31 favorites]


For the love of !!!

I love the way sharpies smell. I always have. And yet I've never had the urge to "huff", shoot heroin or do meth. The sharpie smell has the same positive associations as fresh cut grass and fresh baked bread. It reminds me of childhood. My grandmother was an elementary school teacher and had a sharpie affinity. She used sharpies to teach her students penmanship, etc. She used sharpies like others use duct tape. She once covered a stain on a leather purse by drawing a flower over it in black sharpie.

posted by Juicylicious at 4:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


When Sharpies are outlawed, yadda yadda.

Wait until he figures out that dry-erase markers are a lot more fun.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:05 PM on April 6, 2008


Now against the rules: unauthorized smelling of things with interesting smells.

Somehow I made it through childhood writing with and smelling my mom's Sharpies without becoming a drug addict.
posted by deanc at 4:06 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


True story. At a job I once held. someone was fired for coloring his keyboard, keyboard tray, and desk solid black with Sharpie.

Well, that and he downloaded so much porn he killed his machine. Repeatedly.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:09 PM on April 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


This reminds me that I need a Costco membership.
posted by inconsequentialist at 4:13 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"...he downloaded so much porn he killed his machine."

Is that possible? I mean, I download a lot of porn, and my machine doesn't even seem sick yet.

Maybe it was the quality of porn he was downloading, and not necessarily the quantity.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:14 PM on April 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Next he's gonna outlaw kids eating paste.
posted by Nelson at 4:17 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


If that were my child he'd be homeschooled from then on.

Is it a requirement to have NO common sense or good judgement in order to be a school administrator?????
posted by konolia at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Poor kid did absolutely nothing wrong. And suspended? What happened to just saying "hey, kid, stop that!"

"In his letter suspending the child, Benisch wrote that smelling the marker fumes could cause the boy to "become intoxicated."

A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible.

...Adams County School District 50 leaders were unfazed by the poison control center's medical opinion. "

The principal ought to be reprimanded. I recommend waiting until he falls asleep then drawing on his face with Sharpies.
posted by desuetude at 4:21 PM on April 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


Sharpies? Ftt, whatever. Those are like Moussy, or absinthe flavored Kool-aid or something. Get that principal an old-timey 1970's Marks-a-lot with a metal barrel. He'll find out what a 'serious marker' is really all about.

Oh baby...
posted by dirtdirt at 4:26 PM on April 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


A few months ago I was at Wal-Mart (may a thousand camels piss upon my soul) to pick up some school supplies for the semester. Along with my other stuff, I got a pack of two Sharpies. I went to go check out at the automated-teller thingy, when, much to my surprise, as soon as I passed the Sharpies over the scanner the machine froze with the message "AGE VERIFICATION NEEDED. PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE." across the screen.

The nice lady who came over explained that "kids use these to get high nowadays" and that she was terribly sorry for the inconvenience but that "protecting children is important to Wal-Mart."

I don't know whats worse: Police State America where stationary purchases are closely monitored or the fact that apparently some kids are so hard up for a buzz that sniffing markers sounds way rad.
posted by Avenger at 4:32 PM on April 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah on those Marks-a-lots, dirtdirt. Those bad boys reeked of intoxicating goodness. I remember accidentally drawing a sort-of Hitler mustache on myself whilst savoring the aroma of one of them in elementary school. Seeing as how we were Jewish, my parents were even less amused than the teacher, and I got my upper lip scraped with every solvent my mother could find in the house.

The good old days, yeah.
posted by John Smallberries at 4:37 PM on April 6, 2008 [13 favorites]


Once during fourth grade I unknowingly spent about half a day with a little Hitler moustache after smelling a Sharpie a little too enthusiastically.
posted by LeeJay at 4:40 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, on preview, it seems I was not the only one.
posted by LeeJay at 4:41 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


wait until they find out what snorting chalk will do to you
posted by pyramid termite at 4:47 PM on April 6, 2008


yeah dirtdirt that prinicipal has clearly never seen (or smelled) a Magnum 44.
posted by auralcoral at 4:48 PM on April 6, 2008


Christ. War on drugs, people.

My junior high banned Liquid Paper because once a student blasted a bottle at a wall and it splattered.

In other hilarious bannings, my grade-10 English teacher banned Coles Notes (the Canadian Cliffs Notes) in class. Because none of us really listened and snuck them in anyway, we soon discovered the reason for the banning was so that she could lecture directly from her copy, word for word, without being found out. What a fraud.
posted by loiseau at 4:49 PM on April 6, 2008 [15 favorites]


It is sad that so much effort is being spent on trivial issues like this when the kids still don't have enough maps.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:55 PM on April 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


What a fraud.

Did anyone out her, or, better yet, blackmail her? We have to know.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:56 PM on April 6, 2008


> ...as soon as I passed the Sharpies over the scanner the machine froze with the message "AGE VERIFICATION NEEDED. PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE." across the screen. The nice lady who came over explained that "kids use these to get high nowadays" and that she was terribly sorry for the inconvenience but that "protecting children is important to Wal-Mart."

Sharpies are the tool of choice for juvie taggers starting out on bathroom walls and restaurant booths. I've never heard of anybody ever getting high on Sharpies. I've never even heard of anybody trying to get high on Sharpies.

If it was possible to get high on Sharpies, we'd be seeing police mugshots of fools with scribbled-up lower lips, loser kindred to the spray paint huffers that make the rounds every so often. Drug addicts are idiots, but they are driven idiots, and they won't sniff markers to get high if it never got them high before.
posted by ardgedee at 4:57 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, moustaches aside, Sharpies were pretty tame compared to my elementary school drug of choice, fresh mimeograph ink. Mmmmmm.
posted by LeeJay at 5:03 PM on April 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


...I got my upper lip scraped with every solvent my mother could find in the house.

So it was a win, win?
posted by ryoshu at 5:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


When they came for the marker-sniffers, I said nothing, as I was way baked on bananadine at the time...
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:09 PM on April 6, 2008


Drug addicts are idiots? What is interesting about that statement is that you probably know at least one closet drug addict who is not an idiot.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:11 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man, you guys missed the choicest line in the article, the pinnacle of the inverted pyramid:
Eathan Harris says he's happy to be back in school after his suspension, but he did confide he worried the school's disciplinary action might hurt his dream of one day becoming a professional football player.
OH SHIT

IT'S GOING ON HIS PERMANENT RECORD
posted by blasdelf at 5:12 PM on April 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


Also, moustaches aside, Sharpies were pretty tame compared to my elementary school drug of choice, fresh mimeograph ink. Mmmmmm.

One of the schools I went to was a small country primary school which was probably the last one in the country that used these bad boys. Kids today don't know what they are missing.

At my younger sister's highschool they banned spray-on deoderants because supposedly they can be used as a weapon (spray in someone's eyes). Let's ban ballpoint pens as well, why don't we ...
posted by Megami at 5:14 PM on April 6, 2008


Sharpies were pretty tame compared to my elementary school drug of choice, fresh mimeograph ink. Mmmmmm.
posted by LeeJay at 8:03 PM on April 6


Ah yes. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post. Sometimes the teacher would bring the sheets into class, literally hot off the "ditto machine" with the pages still warm. The entire class would raise them to our noses with the precision of a drill team, inhaling that intoxicating, purple-ink aroma.

I guess nowadays they would have to suspend the entire class.
posted by marxchivist at 5:22 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


In my day kids used to come to school drunk. What's the world coming to?
posted by blue_beetle at 5:25 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


IT'S GOING ON HIS PERMANENT RECORD

so, THAT'S why the principal's keeping all the sharpies
posted by pyramid termite at 5:27 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


At my younger sister's highschool they banned spray-on deoderants because supposedly they can be used as a weapon

Only when used in conjunction with a lighter to create a stream of flame.

Good times, good times.
posted by deanc at 5:28 PM on April 6, 2008


blue beetle: oh, at my catholic elementary school/junior high (which I've only been out of...six years? seven? good lord), kids would get drunk at school (not all of the school was air conditioned, so we were allowed to bring water bottles...you see where this is going).

At least, I seem to remember that happening a few times. I wasn't really in on the loop. Too dorky.
posted by dismas at 5:32 PM on April 6, 2008


Wait 'til somebody tells this guy that the kindergarteners are eating paste and Playdoh.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:32 PM on April 6, 2008


IndigoJones: Did anyone out her, or, better yet, blackmail her? We have to know.

No! I think it is a combination of feeling powerless as teenagers often do, and simply being too apathetic to do or say anything. It was a source of laffs, though.

I definitely think part of my shitty mark in that class had to do with the loss of all my respect for her as a teacher. I got stuck in her class for grade 12 English too and I got rejected from Ryerson University when I applied to start a BA last year (at age 32) because of that effing grade.

So you see, I have baggage.
posted by loiseau at 5:32 PM on April 6, 2008


Ah yes. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post. Sometimes the teacher would bring the sheets into class, literally hot off the "ditto machine" with the pages still warm.

You know, now that you mention it, I am most likely thinking of a ditto machine (aka spirit duplicator) rather than an actual mimeograph machine. Whatever the hell it was, it was awesome.
posted by LeeJay at 5:35 PM on April 6, 2008


If that were my child he'd be homeschooled from then on.
Is it a requirement to have NO common sense or good judgement in order to be a school administrator?????


If that were my priest, my child would not go to church for now on.
Is it a requirement to have NO common sense or good judgement in order to be a priest????
[copy and paste to any "ZOMG, THAT PERSON IS TEH IDIOT." thread]

I work in school administration where some are absolute geniuses and pleasures to work with, while others are less than stellar coworkers. Just like any other job.

Like most things in life, it's that small percent of people who not only lack common sense, but happen to be in a position to wield that power who make everyone else look batshitinsane.
posted by jmd82 at 5:37 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Somebody should do a version of Withnail and I featuring grade-schoolers' favorite innocuous inhalants and art-supply snacks: "We want the finest fingerpaints available to humanity! And we want them here, and we want them now!"
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:46 PM on April 6, 2008


Let's ban ballpoint pens as well, why don't we

Lets hope cool heads prevail and they don't ban life-saving fountain pens.
posted by b1tr0t at 5:47 PM on April 6, 2008


Do they still make paste?
Do they still use Mucilage?
Do they still have felt boards?
I am realllly old.
posted by Dizzy at 5:47 PM on April 6, 2008


jmd82, I raised three children and did home school for four years. The rest of the time they were in public school and let's just say it only takes a couple of bad apples to make the whole school experience suck. I have stories.
posted by konolia at 5:49 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Flagged as nosefilter.
posted by mumkin at 5:53 PM on April 6, 2008


Only when used in conjunction with a lighter to create a stream of flame.

Whatever is in deodorant, you don't want it in your eyes. Even if it's just pressured water, it's a very unpleasant sensation. Anyway, pencils and biros are far more physically dangerous, being a hard, sharp object. Books are more dangerous being heavy, and the same applies to computers. Come to think of it there was a legend at my school of someone braining someone else with a desk hurled across the room.

We just can't proactively prevent kids (or adults) from hurting each other merely by constraining the objects they have access to, without going all the way to separate padded cells. We have to accept three facts: the probability of harm will never reach zero; methods to reduce the probability of harm are subject to diminishing returns; some methods will have unintended and undesirable consequences that are worse than the harm they are intended to prevent. Also, if whatever is banned had some legitimate uses (as Sharpies do), then some method should be developed for fulfilling those uses, whether it be substitution, supervision, or removal of the need. Example: if kids bringing metal knives is perceived as a problem, they should allow plastic knives, or require kids to go to the cafeteria to borrow a knife to cut their lunch in front of the lunch ladies (or ask them to do it), or just ban kids from bringing in lunches that need to be cut up and make it clear to parents that this is the case.

Obviously banning likely-harmful objects that have no legitimate purpose at the school that can't be fulfilled by some other device (eg flick-knives) is an easy one. But the best deterrent, as with crime, is an upfront and sensible explanation as to why the authority wants what it wants (which in turn should constrain the authority from making rules that can't pass being explained to a person with common sense and a bit of imagination), and the knowledge that one has a high probability of being watched and if found not complying with the rule, there will be negative consequences that are reasonable in comparison to the harm risked.

More than anything else this kind of policy is about laziness and stupidity. It's troublesome to think about reasons and consequences. It's far easier, if one is stupid, to just declare edicts and move on to the next problem. People of this low intellectual calibre should not be in charge of schools.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


just ban kids from bringing in lunches that need to be cut up and make it clear to parents that this is the case.

To clarify - if the kid brings one in anyway, that's the parent's fault, and the teacher should be (a) supervising the kid cutting it up, or doing it for them; (b) calling the parents or sending them home with a note. If punishment is to be effective at all, it must be used on those responsible, and in my view there's a strong presumption that in terms of lunches, medications, stationery etc, the responsible party isn't the kid.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:08 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


According to Youtube, sharpies make you high.
posted by niccolo at 6:17 PM on April 6, 2008


Ditto Machine Madness, yes.
posted by darkstar at 6:17 PM on April 6, 2008


I think the main thing to consider when banning things in schools is that
a) Kids don't really give a fuck about school rules and the ones who are going to cause shit will do it anyway, so you're only hurting the innocents, and
b) It usually makes you look like a total dick
posted by tehloki at 6:22 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Phone conversation)
School board president: "Okay, principal, this Sharpie banning thing is getting a bit of press. We'd just like all the notes on this issue; we're sure you're probably in the clear here but we just need all the documentation."
Principal Benisch: "No problem, I understand."
School board president: "If you could just put it all on a CD for us, oh and be sure to label them for each board member so they don't get mixed up."
Principal Benish: "I'll get that right over."
(Hangs up)
Principal Benish: "Okay, just gotta label these disks... Crap!"
posted by starman at 6:23 PM on April 6, 2008


The rest of the time they were in public school and let's just say it only takes a couple of bad apples to make the whole school experience suck.

Oh, my bad! From your previous post, I would have assumed the definition of "idiot" in the m-w dictionary said, "Refer to 'School Administator'." Glad we cleared that up.
posted by jmd82 at 6:32 PM on April 6, 2008


When I was in elementary school, we constructed model African and Eskimo villages to learn about other human living arrangements. The material provided to us for doing this was big bags of powered asbestos. We would mix it up in a big bowl with water to create a malleable, clay-like substance that could be molded into various shapes that would harden when dry. We had great fun when the teacher was out of the room rolling it into little balls, popping it into our mouths , and using straws as peashooters to engage in asbestos spit-ball wars.

Don't get me started on the time I constructed a barometer from a bottle of liquid mercury, a hollow glass tube, and an open beaker.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:56 PM on April 6, 2008



...I got my upper lip scraped with every solvent my mother could find in the house.

So it was a win, win?


Having just accidentally gotten red sharpie marks on the daughter's boyfriend's sweatshirt, which earned me unbelievable amounts of hostile teenage response, I discovered that nothing removes the mark as well as plain out rubbing alcohol. Just for you who are still wearing little mustaches of the stuff.
posted by etaoin at 7:31 PM on April 6, 2008


In 1969 my friend and I got pulled over by a cop (because we were hippies) and pulled before the police captain for possession of glue. Unfortunately for the rookie cop: it was Elmer's glue. The captain had a laugh. We got off and went back to our school project.

Looking back on it, we may have been tempting the cop by pretending to hide the brown paper bag...just like when I was itching to get busted for carrying around a Lenny Bruce book (UNCENSORED!) and did, by the Vice Principal, and got a satisfyingly moral lecture about the book's immorality.
posted by kozad at 7:58 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh shit!
posted by stagewhisper at 8:45 PM on April 6, 2008


I once got onto the Toronto subway and sat down across from a guy that had what looked like a tall-boy can of beer. Once it was completely out of the paper bag it was initially in I saw it was a big can with one word written in 48-point letters across the can: "TOLUENE". I have no idea where he got this movie-prop can of toluene from but he started huffing it up right there on the Yonge line. That was seriously messed up. I mean, if this kid was seriously a huffer he'd have sterno or airplane glue or something like that. Lame, Mr Principle, lame.

And I too remember the sweet, sweet chemical smell of a fresh ditto copy. Ah, sweet purple ink.
posted by GuyZero at 9:17 PM on April 6, 2008


Hmmph. Back in my day, before the last ice age, the schoolyard drugs of choice were rye whiskey and shitty marijuana. What a world, what a world.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:42 PM on April 6, 2008


My Junior High School banned the isopropyl alcohol pads we used to sterilize our heroin kits, so we just said fuck it and used the shop teacher's stash of Jack Daniels and the arc welder instead.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:49 PM on April 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


nothing removes the mark as well as plain rubbing alcohol.

And if that doesn't work, try methanol.

When dealing with paints and ink, more toxic = more better (not sure why, generally it's the other way around).
posted by ryanrs at 11:04 PM on April 6, 2008


In Jr. High, during play practice, a group of us boys shoved ourselves into a utility closet, every man armed with a permanent marker. We huffed and huffed, giggling the whole time, think how badass we were to get high at school.

It didn't work. Many years later, one of those friends gained noteriety for buying quarter bag of oregano.

Can we please make ignorance about drugs a punishable offense? Please?
posted by zardoz at 11:29 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can we please make ignorance about drugs a punishable offense? Please?

Wouldn't that mean punishing the entire DEA? Oh, right. Hmmm...
posted by ryoshu at 11:44 PM on April 6, 2008


"Benisch stands by his decision to suspend Harris, saying it sends a clear message about substance abuse."

I think he's mistaken about the clarity of that message. It does send a clear message, but it's about a different kind of abuse.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:47 AM on April 7, 2008


I WARNED ya! Dinna I warn ya? Thoose Sharrrpie Marrkers we'e foorged by th'devil himself!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:27 AM on April 7, 2008


Metafilter: a way to get creative and make it happen.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:04 AM on April 7, 2008


How hard is it to Google people? According to the manufacturer's safety data sheets (MSDS), various Sharpies contain:

n-butanol - Has shown low order of toxicity in single dose experiments to laboratory animals. The main dangers are from prolonged exposure to fumes. In extreme cases, this includes suppression of the central nervous system and even death.

diacetone alcohol - The substance is toxic to lungs, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce organ damage.

xylene - Used as an inhalant drug for its intoxicating properties.

cresol - Effects observed in people include irritation and burning of skin, eyes, mouth, and throat; abdominal pain and vomiting; heart damage; anemia; liver and kidney damage; facial paralysis; coma; and death.
posted by Ragma at 8:01 AM on April 7, 2008


In Jr. High, during play practice, a group of us boys shoved ourselves into a utility closet

You know, that sentence didn't go where I thought it was going to go.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2008


How hard is it to Google people?

How hard is it to completely miss the point? The kid didn't do what he did to get high. He did it because he liked the smell. The principal punished him, when the appropriate action was education. What we get is an administrator more interested in sending authoritarian "messages" than in actually promoting understanding of a possible danger.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:19 AM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible.

...Adams County School District 50 leaders were unfazed by the poison control center's medical opinion. "


Yes, because what is the point of learned experts weighing in on a subject, when you can rely 50 or so uninformed people on a petty power trip?

Next hopefully they will ban amphibians from all the science department classes. You know, if you lick their backs, you get crazy hallucinations. I read about it on the internet, so I know it's true.
posted by quin at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2008


What we get is an administrator more interested in sending authoritarian "messages" than in actually promoting understanding of a possible danger.

An educator actually expected to educate? Blasphemy.
posted by sandraregina at 12:04 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


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