And the Award for Stupidest Attempt at School Discipline Goes to… Gustine, Texas

Posted on February 2, 2015


Imagine how frustrating and infuriating it must be for a small-town elementary- school administrator to repeatedly find human poop on the gym floor. The horror! The horror! Something must be done! A culprit must be caught! …even at the expense of all decency and common sense.

Lila’s solution would have been to just set up a couple of cheap security cameras – or just use game cameras – say nothing to anyone about it, and wait (Lila can be sneaky). The little pooper is probably trying to cause a stir and this is a repeat event, so (s)he will probably strike again. Then you will have your photographic evidence and can bring in the guilty party and parents for a private discussion to make sure this stops.

But no, two administrators in Gustine, Texas, thought the best way to handle the Case of the Elusive Pooper was to round up everyone in fourth and fifth grade and do something which was, in my opinion, both highly improper and absolutely useless as an investigative technique: they forced the kids to pull their pants down enough to inspect their underwear for, ahem, tell-tale skid marks.

Seriously??  You’re dealing with kids here, not penitentiary inmates smuggling contraband.

Gustine, Texas must have missed the last several decades, in which it has almost become unacceptable for a teacher to even hug a distressed child lest (s)he be accused of “bad touching,” or some other such perverted misconduct, yet here we have two adults thinking it’s a good idea to force kids to show them the insides of their underwear?? Kids who are on the cusp of puberty?  Does anyone else find this weird and creepy?

I guess you can tell I’m a little stunned.

I’m also shaking my head at the stupidity of thinking this is even an effective way to discover the identity of the Elusive Pooper. Clean underwear is not incontrovertible proof of innocence. Skid-marked underwear is not conclusive proof of guilt, but finding it and then fingering the kid with the dirty underwear would be a great way to embarrass the crap out of a kid in front of all of his classmates, saddling him forever with a really enviable childhood nickname like “Poopy Pants,” or some such, and further traumatizing him with a probably false accusation.

Unbelievably, while some parents were rightly outraged about what happened to the students, others seemed misguidedly outraged that the incident had gone public on the national news. Because, you know, the fact that something inappropriate and embarrassing was done to our kids is secondary.  The main thing is, we don’t want our small town to look like a bunch of ignorant rubes who think the only way to keep one anonymous kid from doing something really stupid, is to partially strip-search the entire fourth and fifth grade on a hunt for underwear stains.

Don’t want to look like fools on the national news? Don’t do foolish, newsworthy things.