Just say no to Sharpies

A local teevee station brings us this delightful tale from the goose-stepping, brown-shirted police state that is Westminster, Colorado.

Seems that an eight-year-old student at Harris Park Elementary School used a Sharpie marker to color a spot on the sleeve of his sweatshirt. An idiot teacher sent the kid to the principal’s office when she saw him smelling the marker and the colored spot on his shirt.

The principal surely introduced reason into the situation by patting the youngster on the head, sending him back to class and giving the teacher a private, gentle talking-to about the dangers of overreaction, right?

Of course not. In true kneejerk “zero tolerance” fashion, the principal suspended the kid. The petty bureaucrat in question, a willfully ignorant fool by the name of Chris Benisch, “stands by his decision to suspend Harris, saying it sends a clear message about substance abuse.”

Yep, that’s right: substance abuse. Smelling those Sharpie fumes, Benisch wrote to the kid’s parents, could cause the youngster to “become intoxicated.” Huffing Sharpie fumes, he claimed, “is really, really, seriously dangerous[.]”

So why do I accuse Mr. Benisch of willful ignorance? The teevee reporter did what the idiot bureaucrat couldn’t be fucked to do: The reporter called a toxicologist and asks whether inhaling Sharpie fumes can result in intoxication. The answer, unsurprisingly, is no:

“I don’t know whether it would be possible for a real overachiever to figure out a way to get high off them,” [Dr. Eric] Lavonas said. “But in regular use, it’s just not something that’s going to happen.”

“If you went to Costco and bought 50 bags of Sharpies and did something to them, maybe there’s a way to get creative and make it happen,” Lavonas said.

The reporter advised Benisch of the toxicologist’s statements. Surely Benisch responded with a contrite admission that he may have overreacted, right?

Of course not. No good petty bureaucrat would ever, under any circumstances, let “facts” or “science” get in the way of unbridled “drugs ‘r’ bad” hysteria:

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

“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.

There you have it. LIKE , A VERY SERIOUS MARKER. PUNGENT = INTOXICATING. If that’s really his “best judgment,” then the man’s a roaring dumbass. Worse, he appears proud of that fact.

This story makes it abundantly clear that Chris Benisch doesn’t have the mental acumen to scrub public toilets for a living, much less hold a position of substantial authority over other peoples’ children. Hopefully the Board of School District 50 will see that and act accordingly. I kinda doubt it, though.

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  • johne  On April 10, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Great stuff. Wanted to let you know I added you to our blogroll. Of course, thanks for linking to us already.


  • genghishitler  On April 11, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Thanks much, johne. I was planning on linking to your fine site’s coverage of the burgeoning Schaffer-Abramoff kerfuffle yesterday, but time wouldn’t allow it. I hope to take care of that this morning. Keep up the fine work!

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