Teacher Suspended for Showing Garden Tools in School

In a Chicago suburb, school officials recently suspended a 17-year veteran teacher for showing students wrenches, pliers, and a few Phillip’s head screwdrivers in a recent discussion about ‘tool use’ in his classroom.

Photo: Natural Society
Photo: Natural Society

by Christina Sarich
Natural Society
May 2, 2013

Doug Bartlett, the teacher, has sued the school, and attorneys at Rutherford Institute have a pending civil rights case against the school district. Most of us hope he wins that case, but with recent Monsanto victories in federal courts, how will this poor teacher fair? This case is not unlike the school district that got sued in Encinita for having yoga classes, only in reverse. It seems the programs that help society get poo-pooed and the benevolent acts of wise teachers in Chicago are labeled violent.

It’s clear that Mr. Bartlett did nothing wrong. The tools were even kept locked up when not in use (just in case some thug wanted to wield a garden spade against the principal). He was suspended without pay, and charged with possession and carrying of a ‘weapon’. He was embarrassed and humiliated. It’s only four days, but it’s the principle of the matter. The gross overreaction by the school district is just indicative of the indelible mark corporatism has made on the masses.

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Watch out kids, learning anything of use that will help you become self-sufficient, including the ways and means to grow your own organic, non-GMO food are hazardous. Imagine what that school district would do to LA’s guerilla gardener who plants edible crops in all the unused green space in Los Angeles, California? Surely, arming children with proactive and non-violent ways to bring sustainability to the world is pure criminality!


“This school district’s gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration on basic tools such as wrenches and pliers underscores exactly what is wrong with our nation’s schools,” said Rutherford Institute Pres. John Whitehead.

For Chicagoans and school-aged students, here are some more garden tools you can use to grow stuff with:

  • Dutch Hoe
  • Spade
  • Potting Soil
  • Old dead leaves for making compost
  • A watering can
  • Garden gloves (just be careful not to use the one OJ Simpson used back in 1994.
  • Scissors for clipping leaves and stems
  • Organic, Heirloom seeds – they sell tons of these on ebay for super cheap, or you can do a seed swap at local horticultural and gardening society and get some for free.
  • Weeders
  • A soil knife (it looks like a really fat butter knife) with one serrated edge and markings like a ruler to measure soil depth
  • Pruning shears
  • Old milk jugs to be used as watering devices
  • A loop hoe
  • Small saws, for cutting tree limbs and thick stalks of larger plants
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Additional Sources:

CNS News


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