Call it living in Upside-down Land or the realization of the Bible’s prediction of a time when bad will be called good and good, bad, but once again innocent schoolchildren have been persecuted for, well, just being children. This time the offender was Chase Lake Elementary School (CLES) in Edmonds, Washington, where some kids were suspended for using Nerf guns on school grounds. And it’s an all-too-common story. A child will be punished for drawing a gun, shaping his fingers as one and saying “bang!”, merely talking about guns or some other innocuous action. And recently there was a case of a five-year-old boy who brought a cap gun to school to show a friend and then was interrogated for two hours until he wet his pants. It’s all very bizarre and very twisted.
In the Edmonds case, the children were told that they could bring the toys to school, though I’m not interested in individual details but deeper matters. And make no mistake, something deeper is afoot here.
To introduce this, let’s start with another common thread in these cases: the reaction of the persecuted children’s parents. While they’re always upset about the relatively draconian punishment visited upon their kids, their comments often reflect those of Edmonds mother Stacey Leidholm, who addressed her son’s suspension and marred permanent record and said “I do understand that they definitely need consequences, but not that harsh of a consequence.”
Let’s stop right there. Why do they “need consequences”? This isn’t a matter of simply having to respect the rules even if you disagree with them, since “with toy or facsimile guns, discipline is handed out at the discretion of the principal [at CLES],” writes KomoNews.com. Moreover, consequences imply a transgression, but what’s wrong with playing with toy guns? It’s not as if these brightly colored toys could be mistaken for real guns, and playing with them is certainly less likely to cause injury than is playing baseball or most any other sport. So what danger is posed by the possession of toy guns on school grounds?
Before I get to that, a bit of history.
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