Video: Parents furious over suspensions for finger “guns”

posted at 3:51 pm on January 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

I’m not sure that this has all that much to do with the current gun hysteria that’s sweeping the media, but it’s a pretty good demonstration of gun hysteria in general, and the vapidity of “zero tolerance” policies, too. For the second time in recent weeks, a Maryland school has reversed a suspension of an elementary-school child pointing a “gun” at his classmates …. which consisted of his finger:

Is it child’s play or a serious threat of gun violence? For the second time in less than a month, a Maryland child is kicked out of school for using his finger in the shape of a gun.

If you have to ask that question, you shouldn’t be in charge of children at all. Kids have been playing cops and robbers with this gesture since before any of us were around, and I think I can fairly estimate the number of injuries and deaths from finger shootings at zero.

Is this kind of play inappropriate at school? That’s debatable in either direction, but even if it is, then the appropriate response is a time-out or cleaning some erasers, with a parental conference if the issue persists. Instead, we get the typical “zero tolerance” response to supposed violent behavior, which is designed only to protect administrators from having to exercise normal judgment in all possible situations. That seems to be a rather persistent problem in Maryland:

The number of suspensions has been on the rise in Maryland. School leaders say they will try to reduce those numbers.

Maybe it would help to stop freaking out every time kids play, or find people with more experience at it to be the adults in charge.


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Comment pages: 1 2

‘Zero Tolerance’ = Zero Thought.

rayra on January 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM

When I was 9 or 10, my parents bought me a toy Uzi. I’m sure I took it to school. NOTHING happen to me. I also brought very non-girly cap guns to school. Ditto.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2013 at 8:05 PM

but teaching fisting is cool.

welcome to a nation under Gods judgement.

tom daschle concerned on January 16, 2013 at 8:19 PM

We gave our 9 year-old grandson a pocket knife for Christmas this year. I told him that he should NEVER take it to school but if he forgot and found that it was in his pocket when he was at school, he should NEVER EVER let ANY person at school know he had it. Adult or child. Just keep quiet and take it out of your pocket when you get home.

It never occurred to me that we should warn him about the dangers of showing people his fingers.

Lily on January 16, 2013 at 4:47 PM

When I was in short trousers and had hay stack for a hair cut, I had to learn that lesson the hard way .

I took my Swiss Army Knife to school, found it in my bag and explained to my teacher what had happened and that he should look after it, he promptly took it away .

I was then brought before the Head Teacher and had to explain what I was doing with it, why did I have it and what kind of a ‘threat’ it would pose to other students .

My father had to come into school to collect it and then he was treated to another dose of hysterics .

Honesty is not always the best policy.

EnglishRogue on January 16, 2013 at 8:21 PM

It appears to many people that most school teachers and adminstrators give ugats about the kids and seem incapable of acting like professional discerning common-sense adults in their jobs.

The teaching profession is noble but hardly exists in the public sector any more but as a rare exception to a long-proven rule that union politics trump every other concern as far as today’s teachers/admins are concerned.

Are any other professionals so often presumed to be virtuous and smart, but in truth are nowadays so habitually ignorant, greedy and pig-headed?

Sacramento on January 16, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Just imagine the level of left-wing idiocyeological fanaticism it takes to think that suspending a child from school over a finger “gun” is good policy.

Robert_Paulson on January 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Fixed, and don’t have to.

cableguy615 on January 16, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Appears that “Blazing Saddles” has invaded the schools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_JOGmXpe5I

Texyank on January 16, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Instead, we get the typical “zero tolerance” response to supposed violent behavior, which is designed only to protect administrators from having to exercise normal judgment

Yep.

Bmore on January 16, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Is this kind of play inappropriate at school? That’s debatable in either direction, but even if it is, then the appropriate response is a time-out or cleaning some erasers, with a parental conference if the issue persists.

You have to be kidding, right? That you’d even think for a second that something as harmless as this ‘might’ be inappropriate, then go to the trouble of working out a few punishments for it suggests you’re into the kool-aid, Ed.

The Thin Man Returns on January 17, 2013 at 5:25 AM

What do you expect in the People’s Republic of Maryland. I live this liberal crap everyday of my life in this so called state!

SPGuy on January 17, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Operative phrase in this whole stupid mess:

“…which is designed only to protect administrators from having to exercise normal judgment…”

NeoCon_1 on January 17, 2013 at 10:18 AM

New meaning to “shooting the finger.”

CynicalOptimist on January 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Comment pages: 1 2