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“Council Bluffs [Iowa] elementary school student swapped a loaded round of ammunition for playing cards Friday on a school bus, prompting concern among parents and school officials,” reports. Parents? Plural? As in OMG! A bullet on a bus! School Officials? Well, yeah, that makes sense (unfortunately).”Titan Hill Intermediate School Principal Kent Stopak said the trade happened on a school bus. The child receiving the round of ammunition told his parents when he got home, and the parents reached out to the school Monday morning. Stopak said he told staff about the incident on Tuesday morning. He said the student who brought the round of ammunition remains enrolled at Titan Hill.” Whew! He missed being expelled by that much. Needless to say, Principal Stopak saw this exchange as a teachable moment . . .

Only a single round of ammunition was involved, he said, and no one was threatened — and no student ever had a weapon. However, Stopak said this should serve as a reminder to gun owners to keep ammunition and weapons locked up because children can be curious about them.

And we don’t want to encourage curiosity by, I dunno, teaching kids about guns and ammunition (as opposed to locking them away in a proverbial Pandora’s box). Like — just thinking out loud here — instructing them on the four safety rules. Anyway, I’ll just say this: it’s a bullet (OK, cartridge) for God’s sake. Not a vial of anthrax. That is all.

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  1. A kid brought a round of 22lr to school and detonated it in the parking lot in the 80’s when I was in middle school. It was practically a non-event that resulted in a one day suspension for the kid in question.

  2. The school’s response was correct. The kids did a dumb thing ( parents too evidently). It was a teachable moment… One that should have occurred prior.

  3. Not really sure why this post is written in the tone it is. Perhaps I’m off base but it seems to me the principal did fine. He acknowledges the difference between the ammo and actual weapon, he realizes and reiterates that no threat was actually made and he didn’t suspend anyone.

    I guess what I’m getting at is there is a lot more good in this scenario than bad and this could have been a great article to showcase not overreacting as schools often do.

    • You’re right about this, I’m surprised it didn’t cause a lockdown and the kid being brought up on adult weapons or domestic terrorism charges.

      • The police should have gone to both kids’ homes and shot their dogs, as well as arresting everyone found in the homes and ship them all off to Quantanamo Bay as terrorists. (Heavy sarc)

  4. Stigma building. It might as well have been a vial of anthrax. The more you make something “taboo”, the more kids are going to try to catch a glimpse of it.

    You know what was contraband and forbidden at my school when I was growing up? Aerosmith. No, really. (Yes, I roll my eyes now.) – It got around the school that playing “Walk This Way” backwards had satanic messages. So every kid worth his or her salt was trying to get a copy of that damn LP. Administrators forbid wearing of Aerosmith T-shirts, patches on jackets, etc. A copy of “Get Your Wings” on cassette would get you in serious trouble. So something as stupid as mainstream music became ‘taboo”.

    I remember trying to find one for two weeks, and then finding out my friend James, the resident stoner and metalhead had “scored” a record. We all went over his house and gathered around as he spun the record backwards. At that age we all *swear* we heard satanic messages. It was a cosmic event.

    Now, of course, I look at it and see how silly and stupid the whole thing was.

    But in schools, we’re dealing with administrators who – let’s face it, are neck deep in academia as a lifetime commitment – living a life that never moves beyond middle school. Essentially – it’s an echo chamber that feeds these weird instances of “forbidden fruit” ideals. The more trouble you can get in for having a “forbidden thing”, the more bad-ass you’re going to be seen as if you acquire it.

    Now, to me, as an adult, a .22LR cartridge is normal and pedestrian. (Okay, market prices not withstanding.) – But to this kid, it was probably as cool as a freaking secret decoder ring, **because of how stigmatized guns are now**.

    Point on it, a few years later in high school after the “Aerosmith Incident”, a kid came in and gave bullet keychains to his friends, that his dad made. No powder in them (and a hole drilled in the side), but as far as I know the primers were real. No administrators batted an eye. I think my science teacher picked it up and started going on about pressure and gas expansion, and gave it back to me. A number of us had those on our keyrings for years, with administrators worrying more about walkmans in classrooms than bullet keychains.

    Today, one kid having such a thing, forget passing it out to his peers, well – it’d be on CNN. Things have changed, quickly.

  5. Why all this fuss over a .22 round. Anyone would think there is a shortage.

    There isn’t where I live. I went to buy some .22 LR, Winchester Power Points preferred, at the gun shop about 20 minutes from home. Not only was there plenty of packets on the shelves, there were plenty of bricks (500 round bulk packs) available as well. More brands and types than I could easily count. The only limit was my bank balance.

    I bought 2 bricks of Winchester Power Points. And then went to pick up my son from little athletics.

    And this was not a dream. Plenty of .22 in stock at Horsely Park Gun Shop in western Sydney.

    Just letting you know there isn’t a shortage of .22 everywhere. 😉

    • Actually I just stumbled into a goodly amount of CCI on the shelf at my local Cabela’s. They’re still limiting purchases to either 1-100 round brick or 2-50 round boxes, but the prices are decent.

  6. I can’t possibly be that old . . . when I was competing I was bringing my ammo from my car to the front office (my idea by the way, the administration couldn’t care less). One day the bag I was using to carry my stuff broke, and the vast majority of a brick of .22 spilled right at the front door. The worst that happened was I got a couple funny looks.

  7. Shame, shame. As we learned on “Young Frankenstein;” “there’s a time and place for an ugly mob.” Wait till Marauding Mothers learns of this missed opportunity. This could get ugly.

    I’ll up the bid to 7 cents

  8. 2007, a child found .45 round in our volleyball sand pit. We had our community service guys rake the rest of the pit that weekend. Kid handed it to us, we thanked him, and its sitting on my mantleplace still (random location, not memorable place). No big deal. Big deals are only big deals if you make them one.

  9. When I was a kid some dumbass threw a .22 blank out a schoolbus window. It hit the car behind us and shattered his windshield. The whole thing was a big event. Freakin dummy.

  10. I accidentally caused a “Stopdown” of a school bus when I was a teen in the 1970s.

    Yes, I said 1970s…in a school district where the schools were open on the first day of deer season, but male students over the age of 14 were not expected to attend.

    One of the little twerps (1st or 2nd grade probably) found an empty .22LR brass on the floor of the school bus and took it to the driver, who proceeded to go one step short of ballistic. Shocked me because she was a farmer’s wife, and I assumed she’d seen a .22 caliber whistle before.

    IIRC, it was a case of “This bus isn’t moving until I find out who brought this here!”
    After a brief pause I asked her if I could see the offending tiny piece of copper alloy.
    I checked the headstamp, it was a big Remington-Peters U.
    I handed it back to the driver, pulled a handful of empties from yesterday’s walk in the woods from my jacket pocket, checked the headstamp on one of them, it was a U. She made a partly successful effort at concealing her shock at the sight of a couple dozen more empties than the one she was complaining of.
    “It could be mine, Mrs Schumacher, it’s the same brand I use.” (it’s a near certainty that the pile of brass in my pocket was the source of the one found on the floor, but it just fell out, I wasn’t playing with them on the bus, having outgrown using them for whistles)

    No disciplinary action resulted from that incident, but if I were not one of the ‘good kids’, I could imagine it resulting in a suspension of my bus riding privileges.

    • I drove a school bus in the 70s (as a teenager, which probably wouldn’t happen now) in rural SW Virginia. I often had spent brass in my jacket pocket, and sometimes live rounds. I doubt anyone would have cared.

      • The administration was good at backing up front line employees. If a teacher or bus driver were seriously upset with you, you would probably be getting a time-out, in the case of the .22 shell probably 3 days of riding to school with mom, even though I’m pretty sure there was no specific rule against ammo or empty brass on the bus, and kids carried guns to school on the bus with advance permission.

        Funny you should mention teen drivers, I had one of those too, after the .22 casing lady’s declining health made them transfer her to a secretarial position.
        In the spring she was a high school senior, in the fall she was an 18 year old bus driver. She was just one of the drivers, until she won the local Bus Rodeo and was our representative in the state championships, then many of the other drivers resented her for being younger and less experienced than them while being a better driver. It was slightly odd riding a school bus driven by a woman I went to high school with (she was a couple of years ahead of me).

        • I started driving them when I turned 17 and did it the last half of my junior year and all of my senior year. I did it to get some pocket money and a way to get excused absences from class. Plus if I drove a team I’d get to watch the game for free and get paid from the time I picked up the bus until the time I dropped it off. Not to mention that whenever you stopped for fast food the driver always ate for free.

          Now when I tell people I drove a school bus as a teenager they stare in shock and disbelief.

  11. I think this school handled it better than most. Some would have immediately suspended him (for safety, yeah right…) and made the parents jump through a week of hoops to get their kid back in school.
    These were elementary school kids so even though talking to them about it is just as important, it’s still a good idea to make sure they aren’t accidentally leaving the house with ammo. I have a feeling a spare round ended up in the kid’s jacket and they were trading whatever random stuff was in their pockets while playing cards.

  12. I bought a Remington derringer on the school bus in Connecticut in 1968 for $7. Dad was so proud! How times have changed.

  13. Good god what is happening at that school. A principal with more than two firing brain cells. How many liberal heads are going to explode when they find out there is a real educator in that school.

  14. I must be really old, because I can remember taking guns and ammo to school during hunting season, We left them in the principal’s office in the morning and picked them up at the end of the day. I also remember some kids making rifle stocks in woodshop class. I’d bet folks today would go nuts over seeing that piece of wood being worked on in school today. The nice thing about being this old is I don’t have a lot of years left to see it get much worse.

  15. If the best way to prevent children from getting pregnant or a STD is education, would teaching kids about firearms the best way to keep them safe too?


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