Is this the end of The Onion? When it becomes impossible to tell the difference between serious news articles and satire, where's the humor?
You've probably heard the story enough times by now (except perhaps the overseas contingent):
A 7-year-old Anne Arundel County boy was suspended for two days for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and saying, “Bang, bang”— an offense the school described as a threat to other students, according to his family.
So help me, it gets worse. I am so, so, so glad I no longer have anything to do directly with the public schools, and I'm beginning to feel guilty about the tax money I give them. The following quotes are from a letter sent home to the parents following the incident:
Dear Parents and Guardians:
I am writing to let you know about an incident that occurred this morning in one of our classrooms and encourage you to discuss this matter with your child in a manner you deem most appropriate.
During breakfast this morning, one of our students used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class. While no physical threats were made and no one was harmed, the student had to be removed from the classroom.
If your children express that they are troubled by today’s incident, please talk with them and help them share their feelings. Our school counselor is available to meet with any students who have the need to do so next week. In general, please remind them of the importance of making good choices.
I am completely without (even minimally polite) words to address the important subject here. I will for now restrict myself to three comments:
What was a subsidized breakfast program (funded by my tax dollars again, no doubt) doing feeding children Pop-Tarts? And fake Pop-Tarts at that?
Any reasonable teacher would have taken the child by the hand and said, firmly, "Jimmy, food is not a toy; eat your pastry or give it to me." (And enforced the action if necessary.)
Under no circumstances should people like this be responsible for the safety, mental health, and above all the education of children. This is not just insanity; it is downright abuse.
(I found this so unbelieveable I checked with Snopes.com, which doesn't mention the incident. Here's a Washington Post news article, and the letter to parents on the school district's own website.)
There is also now the story about the kid that disarmed another kid who had a loaded gun on the school bus and was rewarded by receiving a suspension from school. (The justification for the suspension was that he wouldn't cooperate with the police investigation)
I've seen a photo going around on facebook that shows a picture of the state of Maryland and the text: Ban Maryland - it looks like a gun.
I guess the school's motto must be "Boys will not be boys."
Don't think this one was a joke. It was reported on Channel 9 news also. Very sad indeed!
I read that story, too, Margaret. Given what I read about the general situation at that school, I'd have been afraid to cooperate with the authorities, too.
Well, Virginia has joined its northern neighbor: a school in Suffolk suspended two boys for making gun noises while pointing pencils.
Key quote: "Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community. Kids don't think about 'Cowboys and Indians' anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day."
I am so sick of this.
"A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made."
No, no, no. A pencil is a weapon when—as happened in our local high school—it is used to stab another student. "Gun noises" are not a weapon. What are these people thinking? (Insert obvious answer here: they're not.) Why are people who reason in such a way being allowed to teach school?
And why are second graders being allowed to watch drive-by shootings on the nightly news? Let's instead suspend the fear-mongering, graphic coverage of terrifying events that are extremely unlikely ever to impact these children—except, of course, by making the adults around them insane. Kudos to the boy's parents.
Colorado has upped the ante: a school in Canon City suspended a first-grader for sexual harassment.
Key quote: "Now my son is asking questions… what is sex, Mommy?"