7 Year old Suspended After Being Accused of Shaping His Breakfast Into A Gun Shape | Zero Tollerance Policy Discourages Rational Thought

pop tart gun

If you find a grade-schooler making a mountain out of food, but you think it looks like a gun, what should you do?

If you are anything like the administration of Park Elementary School in Brooklyn park, MD, you’ll freak out and suspend all logical thought for at least 2 days.

According to the Fox affiliate in Baltimore:

7-Year-Old Joshua was suspended this morning from Park Elementary School in Brooklyn Park. Joshua says he was eating a pastry during snack time and trying to shape it into a mountain, the teacher said it looked like a gun and took him to the principal’s office. Joshua’s parents were called, he has been suspended for two days. Joshua’s father says it’s ridiculous since no one was threatened or harmed by the pastry. A letter will be going home to all students of Park Elementary School this afternoon. School officials declined to comment due to privacy issues

Josh explains that he was trying to make a mountain but it turned out to be a gun. He was suspended for two days, but he’s glad because it’s like a vacation. What’s the lesson here?

You can see the full clip here.

The Ridiculousness of Reality is Overwhelming At Times

Look… I just don’t know what to say bout this story. I mean, we all know that pastry guns don’t kill people… except by obesity maybe and that’s a long term issue and has more to do with the schools policy of feeding children sugar and food coloring than Joshua accidentally making his pop tart look like a gun.

This case is almost as ludicrous as the incident in Mississippi where a 5 year old child wore the wrong color shoes to school and got sent  home in a police car.

If You Don’t Mean To Do Something Wrong And It Can’t Hurt Anyone You Will Be Punished By Avoiding Work for Two Days

pop tart gunAs a nation, we really need to stop and consider what messages we are sending to kids… or, rather, what messages we are allowing “authority figures” to send to our kids. Shouldn’t the highest priority be to raise a generation of young people who can function in the real world? Don’t we want to raise a generation of people who care about other people? What about a generation that has common sense? A strong work ethic? None of this is being accomplished when we send the message that if they unintentionally do something that others disapprove of, even though it didn’t hurt anyone and had no potential to hurt anyone, they will get out of doing their work for two days. What kind of a sick mixed message is that?

The administration of the school was so alarmed by the pastry gun incident that a note was sent home with students offering counseling. The relevant text follows:

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.

As you are aware, the … Code of Student Conduct and appropriate consequences related to violations of the code are clearly spelled out in the Student Handbook, which was sent home during the first week of school and can be found on our website, www.aacps.org….

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.

Zero Tolerance Policies REQUIRE Common Sense To Be Effective At Influencing Behavior For the Benefit of All

Consider the case of a Kentuckiana, KY seventh grader who said no to drugs and got suspended for a week. She says a girl had a bag of pills and handed her one. She said, “I don’t want this” and gave it back. When the possessor and the takers got caught the girl who said no got brought into it as well. they have a “zero tolerance” policy, which in their interpretation means that if they “touch” something that equals “possession” of something. So she was suspended for possession of drugs.

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