A Texas school board is divided over the case of a student who played Counter-strike using his high school as the backdrop.
Meanwhile, the local Chinese community has rallied in support of the boy.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, the Fort Bend Independent School District could not reach a decision on whether to reinstate the senior, who was transferred to an alternative school.
The case began on the day following the Virginia Tech rampage, when school officials learned that the 17-year-old boy played Counter-strike on his home computer using a map of Clements High as the setting.
Readers may recall that while the Virginia Tech shooting incident was unfolding, anti-game attorney Jack Thompson predicted on national television that the perpetrator would be a Counter-strike player. A day later the Washington Post reported that 23-year-old killer Cho Seung Hui had played Counter-strike in high school. However, the Post subsequently withdrew that portion of its coverage. It is unclear whether those news reports may have elevated specific concerns about Counter-strike in this case.
Local police evaluated the student’s PC and determined that no criminal charges were warranted. School officials, however, decided that disciplinary steps were called for. District spokesperson Mary Ann Simpson said:
This goes back to Columbine. Ever since that horrid incident took place schools today have to take every incident that is reported very seriously. And they have to impress upon students how serious this type of thing is. We can’t joke about things or take things lightly anymore.
School Board member Stan Magee, however, believes district officials were too harsh in their discipline:
I think we overreacted as a result of the Virginia Tech ordeal. 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.
Trustee Ken Bryant agreed that local police needed to be involved but also felt that school officials overreacted:
I don’t want to fault our police for trying to protect us. But once the evidence was found and looked at, I see no compelling reason why this child should not have been sent back to his original campus.
According to Fort Bend Now, the student is of Chinese origin. Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui was Korean. In the wake of the incident, local members of the Chinese-American community have joined in support of the boy. Richard Chen, who heads the Fort Bend Chinese-American Voters League said the student taught himself how to create mods for Counter-strike. Said Chen:
They arrested him and also went to the house to search. All he did was create a map and put it on a web site to allow students to play. The mother thinks this is too harsh.
…The principal has to do something – but how much? We do understand with the Virginia Tech incident…something has to be done. Someone just made a mistake, and we think the principal should understand that.
William Sun told school board members that, in the wake of Virginia Tech, the Asian community faces a backlash:
We urge the school and community not to label our Asian students as terrorists.
No decision was reached on the boy’s status because a quorum of school board members could not be assembled for a proposed special meeting on the case.