After officials scolded her and searched her in front of her peers, the meaner kids in her class began calling her a murderer. And even after Valentin tried to explain it wasn’t a real gun, one official told her she “could be arrested” for bringing it to school.
Valentin’s mother kept her out of school for a bit because the harassment was so severe. And, rightfully so, mom was irate at how her daughter was treated. The search never should’ve happened, and the public scolding never should’ve happened.
While I completely understand rules are rules, and that there were allegedly some frightened kids, this story is an example of overreaching and overreaction to the nth degree. Enforce the rules but do it wearing kid gloves, because you’re dealing with children here, not hardened career criminals who might be hiding a shiv in their waistband.
3. That time the ‘insensitive’ cupcakes forced a confiscation
If you were 9 years old, had a love for the military and a love for cupcakes (who doesn’t?), how do you think you could combine the two things? Well, by decorating some cupcakes with green plastic Army men, that’s how.
And that’s what birthday boy Hunter Fountain did: He put some plastic toy Army men on top of cupcakes and took the cupcakes to his class, to celebrate his birthday.
Upon revealing the sweet treats, the “insensitive” cupcakes were confiscated and Hunter’s mother was called. The school deemed it “too soon” after Sandy Hook to have plastic Army men in school. The kids were still able to eat the cupcakes, and the toys were sent home with Hunter in a baggie.
Here’s how the school’s principal explained the decision:
These are toys that were commonplace in the past. However, some parents prohibit all guns as toys. In light of that difference, the school offered to replace the soldiers with another item and the soldiers were returned home with the student. — Susan Wright
I’m sure some parents also don’t allow their children to eat sweets, so why not just forbid the cupcakes altogether?
Look, I know political correctness has its place, like in public education where you have not only the government on your back but parents, too (which is infinitely more terrifying than the government), but where does it end? When I think of plastic green Army men, I think of my childhood and I think of the “Toy Story” series. And the only time I ever hurt myself playing with them is when I accidentally stepped on one.
But, it gets worse. Like …
2. That time when a child wet himself while being interrogated by
a school official over a cap gun
When it comes to children’s toys, the cap gun is about as popular and recognizable as the Slinky, yo-yos and plastic Army men. But it was the orange-tipped menace that caused a cowboy-loving 5-year-old to get interrogated by a school official for two hours before his mother was called.
The kid broke the “no toy guns at school” rule, so his mom is totally cool with him being punished. But she, like any mother, is taking serious issue with the severity of the punishment (a 10-day suspension and a mark on his permanent record) and the fact that she was treated as an afterthought to the disciplinary action.
Oh, and! The principal told the mother that, if the boy had brought caps to school, then it would have been considered an explosive device and the police would have been called.
Oy vey. Seriously: Oy vey.
Of all these stories, you’ll never forget…
1. That time a Hello Kitty bubble gun led to a ‘terroristic threat’
Take a look at that image. Chances are you know all about Hello Kitty if you have kids in the house. Chances are you have bought your little Hello Kitty fan a bunch of Hello Kitty school supplies, clothing and toys. Chances are you might have even bought your mini-me one of these:
Good job, you just armed a terrorist.
OK, we all know that’s going a bit overboard, but one school in Pennsylvania didn’t think so.
A 5-year-old girl named Madison told her friend that she was going to shoot her, then herself, with a pink bubble gun while waiting for the school bus. The girl didn’t actually have the toy with her at the time, but she was ultimately suspended after being questioned about the incident by school officials.
According to the girl’s mother, the child was questioned for three hours before parents were notified. The mom also said officials told her daughter she could go to jail for what she did, which was making a “terroristic threat.”
Last it was reported, the parents got a lawyer and are discussing the matters with the school via litigation.
All of these events happened post-Sandy Hook, so it’s easy to see how the heightened sensitivity about guns played a role in all of the overreaction. But it doesn’t excuse the overreaching. Who in their right mind treats 5- and 6-year-olds that way?
No child should be questioned without parents present, and no parent should have to go hours without a phone call from the principal informing them about what happened.
Some of the parents admitted their child made a mistake, broke a rule and deserve punishment. But all of the parents are correct in that common sense needs to be applied to these situations.
That saying “kids will be kids” is true for this new generation as it was for your generation, and my generation. Causing mental and developmental harm to impressionable children results in zero positive gains for all involved.
Zero-tolerance policies on weapons in school (even the toy kind) shouldn’t be an excuse for zero common sense.