When a Denver, CO school suspended a 5-year-old little girl from her kindergarten class after she brought a plastic bubble gun to school in her backpack this past May, it sparked national outrage.
Facing pressure from the country as well as local activists, the Brighton 27J School District updated its weapons policy to more clearly define ‘dangerous weapons’ and trained administrators on discretion in weapons-related discipline.
District spokesperson Kevin Denke said, “We think it will be better moving forward.”
But not everyone is so sure:
“The steps they have taken are really, really good steps,” said Daniel Kim, an education activist with Padres & Jovenes Unidos. “Unfortunately, when we look at the policy, we would be concerned that it’s not really going to fix the underlying problem and that you could still see situations like this happen.”
“Last year, the term that was used was ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, and I think that was a perception perhaps among some of our administrators that there was zero tolerance, but they did have discretion,” said Denke, acknowledging that even under the previous policy, a bubble maker did not meet the definition given of a facsimile weapon.
“Maybe in the future they should consider treating the parents with respect and engage in a dialogue when it’s first offered,” the young girl’s mother told Bearing Arms of the administrators’ refusal to speak with her after suspending her daughter.
“From my prior experience as an educator in this district for 6 years, I knew my only option was to call attention to their behavior in the media to resolve an undeserved blemish on my very young daughter’s school record that would potentially haunt her for the next 12 years – even making it difficult to get accepted into college. Teachers and administrators tend to have serious control issues, but when it’s more important for them to be ‘right’ and feel authoritative regarding a 5-year-old girl’s excitement over sharing her new bubble gun outside the classroom before school even started, that’s when a line has been crossed.”
They definitely crossed a line, but is it one they won’t dare step over again?
Sound off: Do you think the Brighton 27J School District has done enough?
Perhaps you should watch the district’s squirm er, uh statement before you give your final answer [VIDEO]