Seven year old first grader Darin Simak was recently suspended from school for accidentally bringing a toy gun with him in his backpack. His mother says that he left his usual backpack in a friend’s car the day before, so she was forced to send him with another bag – but she missed the toy gun inside. When Darin got to school and realized he had the gun in his bag, he promptly turned it in to his teacher, who confiscated it and sent him to the office.
The principal had to decide between expelling Darin (which was ACTUALLY seriously considered) and suspending him. In the end, the school chose to suspend him for two days as punishment.
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His mother was understandably upset.
“So I send my child to school. My child discovers a fake toy gun at about 1:30 p.m. He turns it in to the teacher and he’s sent to the office and suspended. I got a phone call from the principal at 9 a.m., and she said, ‘Darin is not to be in school,’ and I said, ‘I’m sending him to school because he is entitled to be in school and be educated.”
This entire situation is ridiculous. It’s an example of our failure as a people to use our minds to consider and think through our collective problems. We’ve had some tragedies where guns were used occur in our nation over the last twenty years, and our politicians and leaders responded by sensationalizing and demonizing every iteration of firearms they could (including toy guns). Has this response been helpful? Of course not.
Thoughtful leaders (and honestly – more thoughtful voters) would have realized that punishing children for toys was a ridiculous response. A better, more thoughtful response would have been to ask parents to talk to their kids about violence in school. A better, more thoughtful response would be to have teachers discuss what guns are, what they are used for, and why we should be careful with them.
The extreme response to tragedies involving guns has led to ridiculous situations like this taking place all over our country. Kids suspended not just for guns (real or toy) but also for “gun shaped” items… like pop tarts and fingers.
The situation is getting out of hand…
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