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Published in Print: May 1, 2005, as Overheard


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“I’ll have peace in my classroom if I have to kill everyone to get it.”

—Lewis Burch, a teacher at Rochester Hills Christian School in Michigan, as quoted by Oakland County prosecutors in a misdemeanor arrest warrant. The 49-year-old Burch, who allegedly fired a half-dozen plastic pellets at his students, was unavailable for comment.

“Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline.”

—Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University, countering the recently popular theory that stroking children’s egos betters their grades. Instead, he and other American Psychological Society-appointed researchers found that, if anything, kids with high self-esteem may be more willing to try cheating, stealing, sex, and drugs at a younger age.

“Apparently, they did not have a Plan B.”

—School bus driver Janet McQuown, speculating as to why four Pittsburgh-area schoolchildren gave up so easily after threatening her with a pocketknife. The students—three 11-year-old boys and a 10-year-old girl, none of whom was big enough to see over the steering wheel—reportedly ordered McQuown off the bus so they could drive to Nevada. Instead, without raising her voice, the 52-year-old told them to give her the knife, then to sit still and stay quiet for the rest of the 20-minute trip to school. They did.

“Change the contract with the teachers so that they work after school and on weekends.”

—One of more than a thousand education-related suggestions e-mailed to the Minnesota Senate. The missives were prompted by the Gopher State senate majority leader’s call for “opinions and possible solutions for funding schools.” Other ideas included charging parents a co-pay for each child in school and turning off the furnaces during the deep Midwestern winters.

Vol. 16, Issue 06, Page 13

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