Teacher Suspended for Showing Gardening Tools to Class

toolsThe Healthy Economist- by Sarah

Doug Bartlett, a veteran teacher with an upstanding record of 17 years, has filed a lawsuit against the school district of Chicago for suspending him without pay after giving a lesson on gardening tools to his second grade students.

The incident took place on August 8, 2011 at Washington Irving Elementary School.  

Mr. Bartlett recently filed suit on April 17, 2013 saying that he suffered humiliation and embarrassment as a result of his reprimand.

The “hazardous” tools in question were pliers, screwdrivers and wrenches that only the teacher handled. The tools were kept in a locked toolbox high on a shelf out of reach before and after the gardening lesson.

The district says that Mr. Bartlett exhibited negligence in supervising the children and for“possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon”.  He was subsequently suspended without pay for 4 days.

Mr. Bartlett’s lawsuit claims the suspension violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process as he asserts that there was never a full hearing on the incident.  Further, he was disciplined without ever having the opportunity to plead his case.

wrenchesAccording to the Rutherford Institute which is representing him, Mr. Bartlett is seeking damages and requesting the suspension be expunged from his teaching record.

It is important to have electronic records in order as the charge of possessing a “weapon”, in this case gardening tools, has the potential to prevent Mr. Bartlett from seeking employment elsewhere.

The incident is yet another example of an over the top reaction by school officials demonstrating poor judgment and a gross lack of common sense.

A related story occurred in the Fall of 2012 when the Vice Principal of a California school suspended a boy for bringing kombucha in his lunchbox.  With no parent or guardian present at any time, the boy was interrogated in the school office by school administration and a police officer and was ultimately suspended for 5 days for “violating” the school’s drug and alcohol policy. No tests were ever performed on the beverage which is able to be legally purchased by minors at local stores.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist



4 thoughts on “Teacher Suspended for Showing Gardening Tools to Class

  1. The pencil in every kid’s hand is a deadlier weapon than any of the garden implements the teacher was showing them.
    This is obviously stupid, and that’s the benefit. This nonsense will cause a million parents to realize how ridiculous it is to send their kid to school.

    Does he know how to read? NO. Is he capable of simple arithmetic? NO.
    But he’s good at watching TV, and he has learned that a wrench is a deadly weapon, and since that’s the case, he should spend his life with his hands folded and doing absolutely nothing but having someone fill out his welfare applications for him.

    1. “The incident is yet another example of an over the top reaction by school officials demonstrating poor judgment and a gross lack of common sense.”

      That pretty much sums it up.

  2. Apparently it’s only allowed to indoctrinate the Chicago sheep and teach them to cower. Chicago sheep should not in any way be taught to be self sufficient.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.