I recently blogged a story about a Hammonton, New Jersey school that called the cops on a seven-year-old student for wielding a NERF-like foam dart gun. (“It’s NERF or two years in juvie.”) At the time, I considered the arrest—yes, arrest—an aberration. John W. Whitehead wasn’t satisfied with such a reassuring assessment. The Pastor and constitutional attorney Googled “elementary school PC enforcement run amok” and unearthed enough examples of over-the-top toy gun trauma to call it a trend. And a deeply worrying development it is too. Writing for njtoday.net, Whitehead submits exhibits A through F . . .
Nine-year-old Patrick Timoney was sent to the principal’s office and threatened with suspension after school officials discovered that one of his LEGOs was holding a 2-inch toy gun. That particular LEGO, a policeman, was Patrick’s favorite because his father is a retired police officer. [YouTube video above]
David Morales, an 8-year-old Rhode Island student, ran afoul of his school’s zero tolerance policies after he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and tiny plastic Army figures in honor of American troops. School officials declared the hat out of bounds because the toy soldiers were carrying miniature guns . . .
In Oklahoma, school officials suspended a first grader simply for using his hand to simulate a gun . . . After students at a Texas school were assigned to write a “scary” Halloween story, one 13-year-old chose to write about shooting up a school. Although he received a passing grade on the story, school officials reported him to the police, resulting in his spending six days in jail before it was determined that no crime had been committed. Equally outrageous was the case in New Jersey where several kindergartners were suspended from school for three days for playing a make-believe game of “cops and robbers” during recess and using their fingers as guns . . .
9-year-old Michael Parson was suspended from school for a day and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after mentioning to a classmate his intent to “shoot” a fellow classmate with a wad of paper. Despite the fact that the “weapon” considered suspect consisted of a wadded-up piece of moistened paper and a rubber band with which to launch it, district officials notified local police, suspended Michael under the school’s zero tolerance policy, and required him to undergo a psychological evaluation before returning to class. Incredibly, local police also went to Michael’s home after midnight in order to question the fourth grader about the so-called “shooting” incident.
Whitehead argues that these sorts of over-reactions are a reaction to the pre-Columbine 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, mandating a one-year expulsion for any child bringing a firearm or bomb to school. Apparently (obviously?), that’s not a good thing.
There’s an old axiom that what children learn in school today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow. As surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs and strip searches become the norm in elementary, middle and high schools across the nation, America is on a fast track to raising up an Orwellian generation—one populated by compliant citizens accustomed to living in a police state and who march in lockstep to the dictates of the government. In other words, the schools are teaching our young people how to be obedient subjects in a totalitarian society.
I find the whole situation highly and depressingly ironic: anti-gun zealots are using the security and freedom created and protected by firearms to undermine our children’s sense of security, love of freedom and compassion/understanding/tolerance for others. More irony: parents must not tolerate intolerance, lest we raise a nation of too tolerant adults.