by Steve Eastman, Wait Til You Hear This
As any Hobbit fan knows, the ring engraved with “One Ring to rule them all” confers the power of invisibility to the wearer. That’s all part of the make-believe world of Middle Earth created by novelist J. R. R. Tolkien. It’s hard to believe, but when nine year-old Aiden Steward brought a toy replica of the imaginary jewelry to his Texas school, he was suspended.
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Aiden had recently gone to the movies with his family to see “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.” It captured his imagination, and in typical child fashion, he wanted to act out the story. Aiden’s downfall was telling a classmate he could use the ring to make him disappear, just like Bilbo Baggins in the film. But principal Roxane Greer, of Kermit Elementary School, apparently mistook this for an act of terrorism. We wish we could confirm this in her own words, but Greer is declining comment. However, Aiden’s father — Jason Steward — reports she said the school would not tolerate threats to another child’s safety.
If Geer had checked with a member of the English faculty at nearby Kermit High School, she would have learned that in the fictional world of Middle Earth, the ring does not cause the annihilation of the wearer, it just effectively causes light to bend around him, much like the cloaking technology currently under development by the military. Invisibility is presented as a privilege, not an act of violence.
This is the third time Aiden has been suspended this school year. The first time, his class was studying the solar system, so he brought in “The Big Book of Knowledge” to impress his teacher. But she zeroed in on a picture of a pregnant woman in the book, resulting in Aiden’s suspension. His second suspension occurred when he correctly referred to a black classmate as “black.”
You have to wonder how such overreactions on the part of school officials affect the attitudes of students in general. It is difficult to build respect by such shallow thinking and for dishing out the same punishments for these “minor offenses” as was traditionally reserved for assault and more serious crimes. On the other hand, school officials may have reasoned that a slap on the wrist could not be administered if Aiden had been wearing his invisibility ring.
© 2015 Wait Til You Hear This
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“I was news director of a radio station for almost 10 years, trained by a future anchor of National Public Radio. During that time I won 16 awards from Associated Press and the Radio/TV News Directors Association. I’ve also hosted talk radio and cable television programs and worked as assignment editor for a network TV affiliate. I want to tell the stories we need to hear that are conveniently ignored by the mainstream media. I feel that the way you deliver a message can be almost as important as the content, because it reflects on its credibility. In our society too much effort goes into promoting consumerism and not enough into championing the really important things.” — Steve Eastman