FINGERS, CRAYONS, CLOUDS, ZERO TOLERANCE AND CHILDREN
By Lydia Goodman
October 14, 2014
Parents, it’s time to become intolerant against the public school system’s “one-size-fits-all” zero tolerance policies and go after the school districts that have mandated these asinine policies against young children.
To refresh your memory, here are a few of the more widely reported cases of charges brought against “dangerous” students by school administrators:
The Pop-Tart Nibbler: In Maryland, Josh Welch, a second
grade student at the time, was suspended for two days after nibbling his
breakfast bar into the shape of a gun, standing up in class, and saying,
“Bang! Bang!” His parents
are currently fighting to have his suspension erased from his permanent
• Hunter--a 3-year-old deaf boy: His parents were told by his Nebraska school district to change the way he signs his name because the gesture resembles shooting a gun. Hunter Spanjer uses the standard S.E.E., Signing Exact English. He crosses his index and middle fingers and waves them slightly to signify his name. Grand Island Public Schools' policy forbids any "instrument" that “looks like a weapon”.
• The Cloud Illustrator: A second-grader in Colorado was assigned to go outside, look at the clouds, and then use his imagination to draw what he saw. Yep, he used his imagination and drew a gun. Because it was a gun, the teacher at Talbott Elementary in Widefield called him into the office, and then filed a behavior report.
• The Finger-Pointer: In Ohio, a Columbus principal suspended a 10-year-old student for three days, after the child pointed a "lookalike firearm” at another student in class and pretended to shoot. What was the“level 2 lookalike firearm” cited in his suspension letter? His finger.
As recently reported, we now have a case that should incite panic and fear in the hearts of all law-abiding citizens...
• The Crayon Shooter: An incident involving a kindergarten student in Alabama once again gives further credence to the notion that inmates are running the asylum and that common sense is seriously lacking in those charged with the responsibility of enforcing zero-tolerance policies. According to reports, school officials had to send five-year-old Elizabeth home after an incident in class, in which the child drew "something that resembled a gun" and "pointed a crayon at another student and said, “Pew Pew”. The mother of the student at E.R. Dickson School was just as upset that the child was asked to sign a contract (without the mother’s consent) promising that she would not kill or injure herself and others. The little girl was also given a questionnaire to evaluate her for suicidal thoughts. “My child interrupted us and said, ‘What is suicide, Mommy? Daddy what is suicide?” the mother told Local 15. “As a parent that’s not right. I’m the one should be able to talk to my child and not have someone else mention words like this in front of her at all...
Most of these words on here, she’s never heard in her life,”
Mobile County School officials, who had recommended that young Elizabeth see a psychiatrist, now advise that the incident would be evaluated.
While some lawmakers in several states are working on legislation to try to set some limits to zero tolerance policies and the ways they are enforced, parents are going to have to find ways to lessen the chances that their child could be traumatized at school for simply playing and learn how to protect their child from the sheer lunacy of these school district-mandated blanket zero tolerance policies--written without including age appropriate guidelines.
So, to help you avoid having your child serve detention, suspension, or having an incident report filed in their permanent record, I offer these suggestions:
Do not under any circumstances allow your child to darken the doors of
Toys “R” US, Walmart, or any other toy store that carries
toys with violence-invoking names such as NERF N-STRIKE Elite STRONGARM
Blaster, NERF Zombie Strike Crossfire Bow, and NERF N-Strike Elite Demolisher
2-in-1 Blaster. Also, avoid all stores that sell toy guns, action figures,
water guns, toy soldiers, and play dress-up costumes; particularly those
that involve pretend weapons. If there is a remote possibility that said
child might actually want to play with them, know that these toys all
have the potential to influence your child’s imagination to run
amuck--and evaluation may be needed.
2. Television commercials are a no-no. (See above) Toy stores actually advertise those dastardly tools of destruction--so turn that TV off.
3. Teach your child that fingers can and will be viewed as “weapons” if used improperly.
Teach your child that crayons are for coloring, not pointing.
5. Teach your child that food is for eating, not for chewing into knives or guns.
6. Think carefully before allowing certain types of imaginary play. Playing “Cops and Robbers” or “Good guys and Bad guys” could land your child in a ton of trouble if done at school--and evaluation may be required.
7. If your child likes to hunt, shoot a BB gun, wear camouflage, or watch Duck Dynasty--evaluation will most definitely be called for.
8. If asked to use their imagination, teach your children that there is a right and wrong way to do so that only their school administration has the power to determine. Or...you got it; they may need to be evaluated.
9. Make sure that your child knows the definitions of these vocabulary terms:
....before the age of five.
God help us.
(Author’s disclaimer: In the event that the reader does not recognize it, this article was written with heavy doses of sarcasm.)
© 2014 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserved
As a writer and commentator, Lydia
Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies
that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions.
Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues,
in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against
people of faith.