Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Rules Are Rules": Sorry, You Can't Compete

Another school principal, another confounding of common sense.

For Robert Lumley, the decision to bar his East Wake High School club marksmanship team from a statewide shooting tournament was as arresting as a shotgun blast.

Less than a day before the March 15 district round of the decades-old N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission competition, one of East Wake's principals, with the support of the area superintendent who oversees that school, stopped the team from participating.

The reason: Ammo and students don't mix, the school officials said.

Like districts across the nation, Wake County bans deadly weapons from campuses and prohibits students from carrying them on school trips. But the decision to bar the East Wake team from the tournament extends that prohibition to students participating in an off-campus event sponsored by a state agency and supervised by adults certified in firearms safety.

That call pits school policy against state law that allows firearms education at schools. The decision also runs counter to the efforts of wildlife agencies, hunting organizations and gun groups to recruit youths to replenish the dwindling number of hunters. It also underscores the tension between the fear of school massacres and the traditions of rural Wake, where hunting is still common.

We don't think that the timing was co-incidental, either:

The East Wake decision nullified months of practice by Lumley, a 17-year-old senior, and the rest of the 16-member marksmanship and orienteering team -- an offshoot of the school-approved FFA club, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America.

Lumley was riding with a team member the day before the tournament when he got the call that the principal "had put the red light on it," he said.

"If we had more time, we could have done something about it," Lumley said

Nothing like waking to the smell of PC in the morning.

HT: Of Arms and the Law

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