I would be the first one in line supporting the idea that it should be school policy that students are prohibited from bring weapons to school and that they face consequences if they should violate this policy.  But, let’s be clear about what our definition of a weapon is and also under what circumstance is this policy going to be applied.  This is the crux of the following story:

Two seven-year-old boys were suspended from school – for pointing pencils at each other and pretending they were guns.  One of the boys, Christopher Marshall, said he was just pretending to be a Marine like his father, and his friend and he were making machine gun noises.  Christopher’s dad, Paul, said he believed bosses at Driver Elementary in Suffolk County, Virginia, had gone too far.  “Enough is enough; I see it as the tail is now wagging the dog,”

But the school didn’t back down.  The school said it had a zero tolerance policy on weapons and had to punish the boys.    Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokeswoman for the school system pointed out that recent school shootings have left many students frightened or vulnerable at the sound of fake gun noises.  “Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”  When asked if a pencil was considered to be a weapon, this same spokeswoman said that a pencil was considered a weapon, if it was held a certain way and you made gun noises.

According to the school, punishment for ‘look-alike weapons’ can amount to 10 days suspension.  Administrators can use their discretion when enforcing the policies.  The other boy was playing ‘bad guy’ to Christopher’s Marine.  Christopher’s teacher did say that after she asked them to, he and his friend stopped playing with the pencils.  Despite this, both the boys were suspended for two days.  Both boys have ‘good grades’ and have never been in trouble with the school before.

Though he will not be using a pencil to mimic a gun again, his father still believes the policy betrays common sense.  “What’s the big deal, he’s just being a kid,” he said.

I will approach this as a father and grandfather…as much as I would hate to see anyone harmed at this school or any school, have you all lost your minds?  For anyone to make the statements that this spokesperson made, she should be immediately fired, because she is too stupid to be a teacher or an administrator.  I do believe that little boys and some little girls, still play “war” or “soldier” or even “cowboys and Indians” and I would hope that parents do not stomp out that kind of fantasy, imaginary play.  I did it as a child and so did my children, just like their grandfather and his father did before him.  It’s the same as little girls and little boys playing “house” or “mom and dad.”

Also, if a pencil can be considered a weapon by school administrators, why have they not been banned from all schools?  In fact, if we believe as this stupid spokesperson, let’s ban all things that are currently in schools that can be used as a weapon on someone else, like desks, chairs, and let us not forget that janitor’s mop wringer.

In fact, let’s all do home-schooling so that your child will not be traumatized by two little boys playing ‘soldier.” Oh crap, now we have to remove all the potential weapons from the home.

I also ask the question, that if your child is feeling vulnerable or frightened by recent school shootings, than what are you letting your child watch on TV and also what are you talking about in front of them.  Give them a break.  If you are raising a scared, frightened child who is waiting for the next mass shooting at school, you are doing them more harm than any fellow student with a pencil.

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