Another heartwarming story from the Windy City, where their spiraling gang violence problem and unsafe conditions have led them to a strict “zero tolerance” policy for anything that even resembles a gun. (Of course, this apparently only applies if the person holding it is a licensed, law abiding citizen… or a child.) At Fredrick Funston Elementary School, children are searched when they arrive for classes in the morning. One student remembered at that last moment that he had a toy gun in his pocket from the night before and attempted to turn it in to the security officials conducting the searches. Things went downhill from there.

CHICAGO, Il.— Criticizing Chicago school officials for being overzealous, misguided and incapable of distinguishing between an impotent toy and a dangerous weapon, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of an 11-year-old boy who was suspended from school after he voluntarily turned in a non-firing plastic toy gun that had been forgotten in his jacket pocket. Caden Cook, a sixth grader at Fredrick Funston Elementary School, was suspended for allegedly violating the school’s weapons policy against dangerous objects, in addition to being ordered to undergo counseling, and subjected to intimidation tactics, interrogation, and dire threats by school officials—all without his mother being present. Rutherford Institute attorneys have asked that the suspension be rescinded and all references to the incident be removed from Caden’s permanent school record…

Frederick Funston Elementary School introduced a random “pat down” to its security and screening procedures at the beginning of this school year. All students are physically separated from their bags and randomly chosen for a manual “pat down” before going through the metal detectors. Students’ bags are also separately searched at random. On Friday, January 31, 2014, sixth grader Caden Cook was waiting in the school line to be patted down when he realized that he had mistakenly left in his sweater pocket a toy plastic gun which he had played with the previous night while he was out with friends and family. Realizing his error and that the toy was a prohibited item on school grounds, Caden alerted the security personnel to his predicament, explaining that he had accidentally brought the plastic toy to school and relinquishing the toy to school security personnel. Instead of recognizing that Caden was attempting to do the right thing and acknowledging the mistake, school officials allegedly subjected the 11-year-old to intimidation tactics, interrogation, accusations of lying, and threats.

This must make the parents in the school district sleep better at night. Another dangerous eleven year old with a broken plastic toy is safely off the streets and no longer menacing the citizens of their fair city. And such strict measures no doubt stick in the minds of the people who actually listen to and follow laws. Meanwhile, those who ignore laws against robbery, rape and murder mysteriously fail to heed the restrictions against carrying weapons. It’s a real puzzle, I tell ya.

We also have to wonder what sort of lesson this teaches children and parents. It’s not safe for many of these families to leave their homes at night, but their own children are dragged out of line, searched, suspended and shamed in the community for having a toy. It would be small wonder if these kids grow up to have little or no respect for the government which somehow finds ways to punish them while failing to bring the actual criminals to justice.