Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Schools' War on Imaginary Guns

A six-year-old boy recently got into trouble for bringing a small toy gun on his school bus. The toy gun was plastic, and was not much larger than a quarter. Yet the bus driver claimed that the tiny toy created "quite a disturbance" and "traumatized" the other children. Because of the school's zero-tolerance policy, the student was assigned detention and forced to write a letter apologizing to the bus driver. The school even considered revoking the 6-year-old's bus-riding privileges.

It is ridiculous to punish a kindergarten student for carrying a small plastic toy. The toy gun did not endanger anyone, and no one could possibly have mistaken it for a real gun. Sending the boy to detention did not make anyone safer. Instead, it sent a message that the school will punish small children even though they did nothing wrong. Taxpayer dollars should not pay school officials to bully kindergarten students.

Punishing students based on the shape of their small plastic toys is really outrageous. But the overreach of school officials does not end there. Earlier this year, a 7-year-old student was suspended from school for two days because of the shape of the strawberry tart he was eating. The boy had nibbled away at parts of the pastry, and school officials thought it then resembled a gun. The boy said he did not intend to shape the pastry into the form of a gun. Nevertheless, an assistant principal sent a letter to parents, offering counseling to students who may have been traumatized by the pastry in the shape of a gun.

In another recent case, a student was suspended for displaying a picture of a gun on his computer. Will school administrators soon ban illustrations of guns in history textbooks? Will they prohibit the word "gun"? Taxpayer-funded schools should use common sense and stop censoring children.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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