I wish people would stop saying “how stupid can you get” when it comes to school zero-tolerance gun policies. School administrators see it as a challenge and rise to the occasion.
I get the problem with kids and toy look-alike guns. The 12-year-old Ohio kid, who was shot and killed by police in 2014, stands as a case in point. The cops yelled at the kid to raise his hands, out came the look-alike gun, and the cops shot him.
So I’ll stipulate it’s not a good idea to bring a toy look-alike gun to school as happened last week at a Jones County, Mississippi elementary school. Jones County Schools Superintendent Tommy Parker said a toy look-alike gun was confiscated from a 12-year-old boy after he showed it to some friends who then reported it to the administration. The boy is slated to have a disciplinary hearing that could result in extended suspension, expulsion or transfer to an alternative school.
The zero-tolerance school policy evolved out of the federal Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 but the question is where do you draw the line between a look-alike and everything else?
About a year ago a Denver, Colorado kindergarten student was suspended for bringing a toy bubble-blowing gun to school. The district defended the suspension saying it makes no distinction between real and fake firearms which is hardly a surprise because schools seem to have enough trouble making the distinction between real and fake history. The clear plastic bubble-gun had blue, yellow and green plastic on the inside and a “Frozen’ Princess” bubble bottle attached to it. Okay, so it sort of looked like a gun.
My real concern is when schools punish kids for things that have nothing to do with a gun and present no real or perceived danger whatsoever to anyone except in the mind of some liberal, anti-gun nutjob.
Two years ago a 10-year-old boy was suspended for three days because he was playing with friends and made his fingers look like a gun with his thumb up and a finger sticking out forward. Then he made the mistake of pointing the deadly finger at a friend which was observed by a teacher who instantly recognized the inherent danger of giving someone the finger. The next day the boy and his father met with the principal who informed them that if it happened again the suspension would be longer, if not permanent. She told them he was being suspended for a “level 2 look-alike firearm” violation.
Last week, a five-year-old girl was suspended from a Hoke County, North Carolina kindergarten for playing with a stick. Admittedly, she was playing with friends and she was a guard protecting the royals so she was using the stick as if it were a gun in the game. But it was a stick… a wooden stick… And some teacher felt it resembled a gun.
Then there is the notorious case of the 7-year-old Maryland boy who was suspended for two days because he chewed a Pop Tart into what his teacher thought resembled a gun. According to the school, the suspension was a “direct result of the deployment of food weaponry.” Food weaponry? Seriously? How stupid can you get?
Well, pretty stupid because the father filed a lawsuit and Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Silkworth upheld the suspension. It must have been an assault-tart.