Postal Gets Student Suspended

You've played the game and read the headlines. Now read the student essay - but don't try this at home.

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Running with Scissors - developers of the love-it-or-hate-it PC game titled Postal - knows that if you make light of "going postal," you run the risk of coming up against angry consumers, fuming senators, and resistant retailers. Now, a student in California has come up against the same brick wall - only this time it's with faculty who felt threatened by the contents of an essay submitted by that student for a class assignment.

In Half Moon Bay, California, an eighth grader enrolled at Manuel F. Cahuna Intermediate School was suspended for writing an essay that graphically describes the actions of a fictional character who goes on a shooting spree and kills a police officer and two faculty members. The essay was titled, "Goin' Postal."

Evidently, the school thought the essay contained enough threatening language to justify suspending the student - which it did under new laws written just last year.

The child's parents are suing the school district to reinstate the student and strike the suspension from the student's record.

The pen-packing 14-year-old's suspension was based on a state law that had taken effect January 1, 1998, that gives a school the authority to suspend or expel a student for making either a verbal or written threat against a school official that could result in death or serious injury. The student needn't have the intent to actually carry out the threat. The law is usually referred to as an attempt to dissuade and easily discipline students who threaten others within the school with violence.

Going Postal, it seems, can get more than just game developers in trouble.

Here's the student essay, as he wrote it, that caused the ruckus:

Goin' Postal7:50 AM Martin has showered and has clean clothes on, and is now getting ready for school. He finds his shoes under his desk and puts them on, as well as his belt and hat taken off the coat rack. And then, the moment he's been goin over in his head as to whether or not to follow through with. He opens up his bottom drawer, sifts through his clothes and finds it. A spring shoulder holster, leather holster and leather straps, easily concealable by a jacket. And next to the holster, a loaded Smith & Wess 9-mm. automatic pistol, bought from a friend for $20, $10 for the ammo. He hesitated for a second, but then grabbed the holster and strapped on over his T-shirt, adjusting it a bit for comfort. He then grabbed the pistol, checked to make sure it was loaded, and slid it in the holster. He grabbed his coat and put it on, checked to make sure it was noticeable, and left for school.

8:20 AM Martin arrives at his school and looks around to see what going on. After he's done checking for cops, he heads straight for the office, waving to a few friends as he passes them by. After what seems like an eternity, he finally reaches the door to the office. He takes one deep breath, draws his gun, and kicks open the door. The first thing he notices is a cop visiting the school. He takes aim as the pig turns around, eyes wide with fright. BAM! The pigs brains are splattered against the back wall. He looks to the right and sees the vice-principal hiding behind his desk. Martin takes one second to guess where the principal's head is, and BAM! Martin guessed right. And now, the moment he's been waiting for a long time. He heads straight for the principals office and busts in with his gun blasting. He hits the principal seven times before the principal drops, dead before he hits the ground. Martin hears a sound behind and begins to turn around. Yet it is too late. The cops partner, who was outside a minute ago has knocked Martin to the ground. The pig cuffs him and drives him to the police station. And yet Martin is smiling blissfully, because, you see having done away with the two people he hated most, Martin finally feels at peace.

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