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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Student disciplined for making video game map of his high school

The Fort Bend Independent School District (in Texas) is upholding the suspension and subsequent placing in an "alternative education center" of a Clements High School student whose only crime was... get this... building a video game map from his high school!

Here's more of the story:

...on April 17, the day after the Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead, Clements High School officials learned a student had been playing Counterstrike, an Internet-based shooting game. The locale of the shootings depicted on this student's game were the hallways of Clements High School.

School district police investigated the report and questioned the student at school and then visited his home. The student's parents gave police permission to search the 12th-grader's room and computer. Simpson said police determined no criminal charges were warranted but that disciplinary action was.

Simpson said because of the violent nature of the game and because the actions had taken place in a computer-generated rendition of the high school, official consider the matter to be very serious.

"This was nothing to kid around about," she said.

Simpson said the student was transferred to an alternative school for the remainder of the school term.

The teen's parents appealed the decision. The school district has a four-step appeal process at the end of which a student can make a final appeal directly to the board of trustees...

Magee said he thinks the district probably reacted too strongly to the situation.

"He did it at his house. Never took anything to school. Never wrote an ugly letter, never said anything strange to a student or a teacher, nothing," Magee said.

Bryant said police need to take situations like this seriously.

If we have come to the point where we are threatened by a video game... then I'm sorry, but America has completely lost it. These school officials are blithering idiots and the people who started this mess against this student don't possess nearly enough spine.

Look, this is something of a tradition. Making video game maps based on real-life locales is nothing new. It started over ten years ago with Doom, and people hacking that game so that they could run around Notre Dame or their office or some other place they were familiar with. To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of anyone who used those home-brewed maps to practice a real-life killing spree. It's just natural that if you have the time and talent to do this sort of thing, that you would use a place you know like the back of your hand.

And notice that this student did this at home, on his own time, without using any school time or resources. So I have to wonder: what the hell gives these damned busybodies in the school system the right to intrude on his domicile?

Oh yeah: based on what they're saying in this story "Virginia Tech changed everything!" is what they'll probably say.

More reason why our children's education should not be trusted to those who are riding mental tricycles.

I still remember quite a lot of detail about my old high school. I wonder if I would get in trouble for making a Doom or Quake or Counter Strike map based on it?