Sunday, December 04, 2005


It should surprise no one when kids write crap in their journals. Online or on real paper, journals are supposed to be the place where you can write anything you want. Unless you're actually plotting to carry out your nefarious plans, in which case the adults get all hinky and start looking at you like you've grown a third nipple on your nose, just before they bring out the tranks.

In Santa Ana, Calif., two high-school boys have been suspended and face expulsion for violent journal entries. Scott McKnight and Sam Smith wrote in detail about how they would kill their English teacher at Tesoro High School.

On Friday a judge unsealed the journals and returned them "to the parties involved," according to the Orange County Register. The school district says it won't release the writings; the boys and their families maintain the journals are private and shouldn't be made public. After all, the boys argue, the teacher promised that the journals would never be read. They existed as a class exercise, a way to impose daily writing discipline on students.

But McKnight and Smith are still suspended from the football team, pending an expulsion hearing.

The English teacher, Alyssa Di Somma, reported the students to the district on Oct. 20, alarmed after reading some wicked words about her. According to The Associated Press:
The entries refer to gluing the teacher naked to a wall and cutting off her feet, and killing her family while she watches, according to court documents that quote partial excerpts. The teens' family members have said the two wrote the entries as a prank and egged each other on.

"I am planning on coming in your room late one night while you're still working," reads one partial entry. "I will smother you in gasoline and light your head on fire."
Before Friday's ruling, another judge had ruled the journal entries weren't private because "private thoughts lose their identity as such when they are reduced to writing as part of a class assignment and turned into the teacher for grading."

Lookit, the kids are idiots for a) believing the teacher when she said the journals wouldn't be read, and 2) writing such incendiary thoughts about the person most likely to read the journals. But why should they be expelled from school, absent any concrete evidence of a plan to strip the teacher naked, glue her to a wall and cut off her feet? We're talking a lot of glue, plus a sharp saw.

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