The absurd “zero tolerance” gun policies held by so many school districts following the tragic shooting rampage at Sandy Hook continue to target perfectly normal child behavior.
While playing with a fellow student recently, one Virginia elementary student was suspended based on just such administrative overreaction.
Christopher Marshall, a seven-year-old student at Driver Elementary School in Virginia, held a pencil in a manner similar to a gun and was promptly and seriously disciplined as a result.
According to his father, the student said he “was being a Marine and the other guy was being a bad guy.” It is worth noting his father, Paul, is a former Marine.
Despite the fact young boys have pretended to wield weapons during harmless play from time immemorial, Marshall’s teacher asked him to stop and, according to his suspension papers, he complied.
He was suspended nonetheless, and a district spokesperson stood by the decision.
Bethanne Bradshaw expressed her belief that a “pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made.”
Today’s children are incapable of taking part in traditional playtime activities, she contended.
“Kids don’t think about Cowboys and Indians anymore,” she asserted, “they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television every day.”
Bradshaw projects her own irrationality onto the students of her district and is attempting to erase any evidence guns even exist.
Children should receive age-appropriate information concerning guns and violence, though I feel the overwhelming majority of that education should come from parents able to choose how and when to address the subject.
Punishing an exemplary student for brandishing a pencil with absolutely no intent of causing any actual harm only does a disservice to all involved.
In the end, zero tolerance leaves room for zero common sense.
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