Farmer File

I’ll bet that in this pre-Halloween season, those “haunted houses” that pop up every October, full of scary things, are not as popular as they once were.

If true, it’s probably because Americans are more afraid these days of the two houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, than they are of some contrived, Halloween spooky place.

At last report, people in this country are giving members of Congress an approval rating of about 8 percent, down there in the muck with a lot of journalists, columnists and TV news talking heads.

In fairness, it’s not just politicians and scribes who endure the slings and arrows of public disdain.

Doesn’t it seem to you that just about every day, something or someone outrageous hogs the headlines?

Some of the recent ones which stick in my mind are:

• A high school student in Pennsylvania was turned away from school because she arrived walking on crutches. School officials said the crutches could be considered dangerous weapons.

The outrage in this case is compounded by the fact that the girl was allowed back in school after getting a note from her doctor that she needed the crutches. Did the school bosses really think the crutches were props in a terrorist plot? Did the girl need a background check to get the crutches and a permit to hobble around campus?

• This outrage of the day makes the crutch kerfuffle seem mild. A middle school on Long Island in New York recently banned any recess activity involving balls —baseballs, tennis balls, footballs, lacrosse balls, maybe even Great Balls of Fire. The edict also ruled out kickball, dodgeball, tag and cartwheels unless an adult was present to supervise.

Officials said it was not safe for students to take part in such “unstructured” play.

My guess is those students would be better if the adults who run the school were ruled off limits as potential dangers to the kids.

• In March, a seven-year-old boy was suspended from elementary school in Maryland after school officials said he chewed a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. Or was it a triangle? Or the state of Idaho?

The kid explained he was trying to duplicate the shape of a mountain he had drawn earlier. The lessen here I suppose is that a mountain-shaped Pop-Tart is okay but a chomped on Pop-Tart slightly resembling a deadly weapon must not be tolerated. Authorities didn’t address the possible consequences of consuming a Pop-Tart, based on its shape.

• A nine-year-old boy was suspended from school in North Carolina for two days after telling a friend he thought a teacher “was cute.” School officials allegedly considered that possible sexual harassment.

• In a Florida elementary school, officials called in law enforcement when a girl kissed a boy she liked in gym class. The school reportedly reported the incident as a possible sex crime.

• A policeman in Arizona was asked not to wear his uniform while fetching his daughter from elementary school. Officials said it frightened other parents. He was in uniform having come from a SWAT drill for a school shooting.

So, how often do misguided mooks stomp all over our concepts of freedom in the guise of the collective “good?” Too often. Figuratively speaking, it’s time to dust off the torches and pitchforks.

don@donfarmer.com

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