Science projects are, by their very nature, mostly harmless. The idea is to do something goofy with the laws of nature, so kids realize science is awesome. Unfortunately, one science teacher in Los Angeles, Greg Schiller, got suspended from his job for, uh… doing it properly.
The problem is not that he was teaching “controversial” anything. The problem is that he works for morons, as the Los Angeles Times lays out:
Schiller was ordered to report daily to a district administrative office pending an investigation after two students turned in science-fair projects that were designed to shoot small projectiles.
One project used compressed air to propel a small object but it was not connected to a source of air pressure, so it could not have been fired.
L.A. Unified School District administrators have told Schiller that he was removed from his classroom for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons,” said union representative Roger Scott.
The other project, if you were wondering, was examining the basic idea behind building a coilgun. Apparently Los Angeles school administrators believe Eraser was a documentary. Also, “imitation weapons?”
It gets better: Schiller’s substitute doesn’t have the background to teach his psychology classes, and the district ordered him to stop assisting the sub via email. You know, because educating the students isn’t the top priority, here. Oh, and did we mention that Schiller just so happens to be the union representative for the teachers at the school, and that he was in the middle of negotiating an employment agreement? And his suspension means he can’t be involved in those talks?
The good news is that Schiller’s situation is not going unnoticed. The students are up in arms over their education being derailed, the union obviously is not happy about the situation, and parents think the whole thing is dumb and are backing Schiller.
Schiller will likely get his job back. But it’s worth remembering that when it comes to teaching science, often it’s the guy over your teacher’s head that’s the problem.