The other day, my friend Samantha brought to my attention the case in Maryland where the 7-year-old boy was suspended from school for biting his breakfast treat into the shape of a gun. “Here’s a great topic for your next post,” she said. I usually write about events, thoughts, conversations that somehow move me to need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I had not heard of this and wasn’t particularly inspired but, after she refused to write a piece on it, I decided to look it up and see if there was anything that stood out, anything that gave me a position/an opinion that I needed to share.
Well, obviously it doesn’t take much for me to form an opinion that I think everyone needs to hear/read.
My first thought: Who the hell cares?
Everyone is blasting the school and principal for their handling of the situation and although I am not too sure about the need for school wide counseling offered for anyone needing help coping after the “scare” (I hope that is not true…I read it from Fox News so I can’t be too sure), I don’t necessarily think that this boy has been wronged.
September 2011 Indiana child convicted of reckless manslaughter for killing his 6-year-old little brother.
April 2011 Texas Kindergartener accidentally shoots classmates after the loaded gun brought to school discharged after it fell out of his pocket.
January 2006 Maryland 8-year-old shot his 7-year-old classmate after a dispute. The 8-year-old had been previously suspended for threatening a classmate with a toy gun.
2000 Michigan elementary school student shot and killed by classmate.
Children have access to guns and use them. Unfortunately when the right amount of attention is not given to teaching appropriate problem solving skills, children use guns to solve their problems without a real grasp of the permanency of a fatal gunshot. How can they know, at five or six, what “fatal” means. How can they understand “dead and never coming back.”
Just yesterday my son was explaining to me that if he fell off of a cliff, he would not die “because the firefighters have really long ladders” and they could rescue him.
Children don’t understand. But, parents do.
Parents understand when the school sends home the parent handbook, which many don’t read, there are rules that must be adhered to by each student in order to maintain a safe and secure and productive learning environment for all students. If the rules are broken, there are consequences. Perhaps some of the rules are a bit asenine…I can give you that.
( Hello? If I even say the word gun at an airport I might be tackled and removed from the premises. I know that so I avoid all words that even sound like gun.)
Maybe the rule about any threats or perceived threats yielding a suspension or expulsion should not include threats with pop tart shaped guns or fingers or hello kitty bubble guns or crazy eyes or hand gestures but, who’s to say that these threats are not real. I mean, let’s be real, when I was a kid, if someone pointed at you and then put their fist to their eyes, slowly, that meant you were going to get your ass kicked. And, if they pointed at the clock or held up three fingers, then you knew exactly what time you were going to get your ass kicked and you dreaded the rest of the day.
I am not necessarily against the 7-year-old boy who shaped his pop tart into the shape of a gun but, I am also not automatically against the administration for (hopefully) enforcing their rules. I don’t have enough information but, what if he did say, “bang, bang” while pointing his pop tart at a classmate? Did Fox News share with us any of the child’s disciplinary history? Maybe he has a series of offenses that keeps him under the radar. Of course they did not give full information and background because then parents would not be in an uproar and join in their attack of the school administration.
The child denies the accusations. His pop tart gun was supposed to be a mountain. Okay, that one is not flying with me. Mountains don’t look like guns and if he is a real artist, as described, then he would know the difference. I, again, am not against the kid but, of course he would deny having done it or intended to do it. At that age, I would have denied it too and I would take that lie to my grave or at least into adulthood where my mother would not have any recourse but laughter for all of the shenanigans that I pulled.
The thing is that this boy has ADHD, according to the reports. Maybe he just doesn’t remember having done it. I am no expert on ADHD but, to me, it is plausible that the boy very well intended it to be a gun and said bang, bang without having any real recognition of that action or even remembering it in its entirety and especially without thinking of consequences.
My point, well there are four.
1. Rules are rules. Follow them until you constructively organize to implement a change in them. Oh, and go over the rules with your kids.
2. We don’t have all of the pieces to this puzzle. Get all of the information before casting judgement. If all of the information is not available then move on in order that real news be covered.
3. Gun violence is real at all ages. Unfortunately.
4. Who the hell cares?
- Diatribe: A “Gun-Shaped” Pop-Tart Can Get A Boy Suspended. (diatribesandovations.com)
- School Suspends Second Grader for Eating His Pop-Tart Into the Shape of a Gun (gawker.com)
- Pop Tart Gun: Seven-Year-Old Suspended For Chewing Breakfast Into Pistol (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- 7-year-old suspended for Pop Tart ‘gun’ (newsnet5.com)
- 7-year-old suspended for Pop Tart ‘gun’ (abc15.com)
- Why are schools severely punishing 5 & 6 yr. olds for non-violent offenses? (jlue.wordpress.com)
- 7-year-old suspended for turning Pop-Tart into gun (newsfixnow.com)
- New Book Preventing Gun Violence in the United States by Teaching Self Knowledge in Schools Discusses A Breakthrough Approach (prweb.com)
- Attorney Richard P. Console Addresses Autism Stigma after Gun Violence (prweb.com)
- Maryland boy suspended for ‘Pop-Tart’ pistol (myfox8.com)