Zero Tolerance Nets Two 11-Year Old Boys Juvenile Criminal Charges For Bringing A Toy Gun To School

from the because-punishing-fakes-keeps-real-guns-out-of-schools dept

Zero tolerance weapons policies at schools continue to be ridiculous. Between Pop Tarts bitten into gun-like shapes and drawings of guns being treated as severely as the real thing, schools enforcing these policies (forced on them by the government’s decision to tie funding to weapons policies) have slid into cartoonish parody of discipline.

In news that should come as a surprise to almost no one, two eleven-year old boys at a Flint, MI school were arrested and charged after bringing a toy gun to school. (via The Blaze)

Two Doyle-Ryder Elementary School students were arrested Wednesday after a “toy gun” was found at the school.

The two male students were arrested on disorderly conduct charges about 8:45 a.m., Feb. 5, at the school at 1040 N. Saginaw St., according to a Flint police report. The boys were released to their parents.

The boys are now facing charges of disturbing the peace being brought by the county prosecutor. His statement seems to indicate he’s filing charges as part of his ad hoc “scared straight” program rather than as a result of any danger they posed to their school.

Leyton says whether it’s a real gun or a toy gun – this is still a serious matter.

“It’s always your concern that a young person can get his hands on a real gun and bring it to school. There is no reason to bring a gun to school. Bringing a gun, even if it’s a toy gun, to school causes all sorts of chaos and I think these youngsters need to be brought into the courthouse and we need to get their attention so that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

Because fake guns are real guns in the eyes of the school and the county prosecutor. And any child that can’t see the difference needs to have it “brought to their attention” via criminal charges.

No one involved in this incident seems to know exactly what sort of gun was being wielded by the students. Police called it a “toy gun.” Superintendent Larry Watkins “believed” it was a BB gun. Prosecutor David Leyton simply described the gun as “orange and plastic.” He also noted it was “inoperable.”

Here’s where the story diverges a bit from the usual “boys will be boys and play with toy guns and schools will overreact” narrative. According to the prosecutor, this is why the “gun” ended up at school.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says one of the boys had a dispute with a teacher and thought he would teach the teacher a lesson.

I wonder if Leyton will see any irony in that statement as he prepares to teach these two students a lesson. If this is true, I don’t necessarily have a problem with Leyton filing charges to address the threatening behavior (and not the supposed “gun”), but he should understand that he’s perpetuating this mindset by doing so. So many people think the only way to reach people is to threaten them — whether it’s the boys with their “gun” or Leyton’s hauling them to court.

Behind this slightly-more-ominous-than-most narrative lies the same old zero-tolerance thinking. (Note how much of each story is devoted to discussion of the “gun,” as compared to a discussion of the students’ motivation.) A gun is gun, even if it’s plastic, orange and inoperable. An inoperable weapon can look exactly like an operable one, but an orange plastic gun doesn’t look like a weapon — it looks like a toy. Which is what it is. Yes, the chance that a student could get ahold of real weapon should be a concern, but overreacting to fake guns doesn’t somehow prevent the worst case scenarios from ever happening. It just makes life more difficult for students who actually comprehend the difference between the fake guns and real guns.

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Comments on “Zero Tolerance Nets Two 11-Year Old Boys Juvenile Criminal Charges For Bringing A Toy Gun To School”

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Ninja (profile) says:

The boys are now facing charges of disturbing the peace being brought by the county prosecutor.

Yes, because using the full power of the law against weak, defenseless children for some child’s play seems very honorable and right. I’d be ashamed in his place. In fact I’d have told the school morons to go fuck themselves and grow some skin while threatening to prosecute them for their own childhood “peace disturbances” that most certainly happened before they grew to be disgusting adults.

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Q & A

It goes back to the (groundless, surprise surprise) “Broken Window Theory” – that because you see petty crime occurring at increased rates when serious crime does, then by stomping hard on vandalism and the like you can drop serious crime rates.

Needless to say, it’s a nice hearty mixture of confusing correlation and causation and “magic thinking” (ie, the voodoo approach) and has generally been debunked every time there’s a serious look at it.

But yet it endures in the form of Zero Tolerance; a fact with irritates me about as much as the “War on Drugs” and “War on Terror” does.

David says:

Time for actual gun control laws

The U.S. society is getting more and more allergic to guns and goes into toxic shock already at homoeopathic likenesses. The expectation of having to deal with guns leads to “no-tolerance” policies for children and a host of police shootings in suspected self-defense, and a proliferation of “shoot first, ask later” behavior.

Since everybody is dead afraid of guns and this fear causes more and more damage, there are basically two ways out:

Ban them from private life, or make everybody including children wear them by default. While I have no doubt that the NRA would suggest the latter, it makes more sense to me to do the former as I don’t see the point in making it too easy for children to make life-or-death decisions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Ban them from private life….. it makes more sense to me to do the former

Uh, no it doesn’t. Drugs are illegal yet can be had on every street corner in America. Why would guns be any different? Gun control is people control. You ban guns, only criminals will have guns. And guess what? Criminals are criminals because they don’t obey the law. Why do people not seem to understand this?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Guns are illegal in the UK and are not available ‘on every street corner’.

Mind you we don’t really want guns either so there is no demand for the supply.

The problem America has with guns is the mentality, there are many countries out there with easier access to guns but with far lower incident rates.

zip says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Time for actual gun control laws

Looking at the Vermont Constitution for ideas on how people of that era might have been thinking, these two sections, when put together, might suggest that essentially everyone should be considered part of the militia — which is not in any way akin to any kind of professional army (or presumably, a standing paramilitary police force) or even Reserve/National Guard forces, since the militia gets to choose its own leaders as ordinary citizens would.

“SECTION V. The freemen of this Commonwealth, and their sons, shall be trained and armed for its defence, under such regulations, restrictions and exceptions, as the general assembly shall, by law, direct; preserving always to the people, the right of choosing their colonels of militia, and all commissioned officers under that rank, in such manner, and as often, as by the said laws shall be directed.”

“XV. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State; and, as standing armies, in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.


zip says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Time for actual gun control laws

It seemed to be a common theme in that early era of democratic principles at the time of the American revolution, that there should be no firm distinction between the citizenry and the professional armed forces, just as there should be no distinction between the ruling class and the governed (as was in most of the world). Therefore it was every (male) citizen’s right -if not duty- to both vote and stay armed and ready to join a citizens’ militia whenever the need might arise. At least that seemed to be the thinking of that era, and a common interpretation of the second amendment. I don’t know if this was ever fully detailed in law anywhere, or just hinted at, that “we’re all in the militia.”

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Time for actual gun control laws

Actually, the founders were against a professional military force, and thought that there should be no standing military at all during peacetime. They did not generally consider individuals arming themselves to be a patriotic duty. The “militia” was an nebulous entity that would be roused and armed during the times when they were needed, and would effectively not exist during times when they weren’t needed.

In that sense, everyone was part of the “militia”, but as the militia did not always exist in fact, that’s sortof a meaningless thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Time for actual gun control laws

You are close. The word militia had a slightly different meaning then than it does today. The militia did consist of every able bodied person capable of bearing arms in defense of the country. The fact that they were already armed was important so that if they needed to be called to the defense of the nation they were capable of doing so. The militia existed whether it was being used or not.

allengarvin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Time for actual gun control laws

It’s part of the US code:

“The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States…”

It’s part of the law passed during WWI to justify the draft. Mostly it remains as a curiosity.


Re: Re: Re:5 Time for actual gun control laws

Last I checked, the dictionary did not define what US law says.

Bullshit. You didn’t check anything.

The OED not only gives definitions in terms of the current vernacular, it also addresses historical usage. The OED does in fact define what “militia” meant when the US Constitution was written.

This is why a copy of the OED looks more like an encyclopedia than a dictionary.

Perhaps Adams, Jefferson, and the lot didn’t realize that future Democrats would go all “Orwell” on them.

absolutely says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Time for actual gun control laws

Every man, 18-40 and able bodied, in the USA is automatically considered part of the militia, and it is the militia’s duty to protect the USA from foreign invaders.

If we don’t have guns, are we supposed to use harsh words?


‘to protect the USA from foreign invaders’

What fucking drugs are you on benjie darling?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

You cannot compare one country to another. There are many differences between societies regardless of what the Politically Correct crowd will tell you. The legal gun owners here have no problem with guns. The illegal gun owners and the gun crazy press are the problem. The press does everything they can to make it sound like the problem is much larger than it is. More people are killed by doctors than guns yet that doesn’t make the news. More people are killed by hammers than assault rifles and that doesn’t make the news. Homicide doesn’t even make the top 15 causes of death. More people fell to their death than were killed by a firearm yet I never see ladders mentioned on the news.

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Time for actual gun control laws

You cannot compare one country to another.

Yes… you can.

There are many differences between societies…

See, you just did.

The legal gun owners here have no problem with guns.

Stands to reason, the people who like guns like guns. Having a problem and being a problem are very different. Gun culture wouldn’t seem like a problem if you were part of it.

More people are killed by doctors than guns

But the purpose of doctors is not to kill people, I imagine we would be screaming for “doctor control” if it was. Guns are tools for killing things. Yes, there are responsible users but there are too many accidents, impulsive responses and loopholes not addressed by current laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Time for actual gun control laws

Self-defense is the purpose of guns, you go to jail if you use them for just killing people. Just like doctors, who kill many more people in the US than guns by a multiple of 10. (13K guns deaths – 135k medical mistakes/infections/accidents)

Guns are tools for protecting me and my family’s lives from meth-heads who have broken into our house.

Why should one person’s fear of what someone MIGHT do be a basis for liberty? Zero tolerance is the Authoritarian way of limiting liberty.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Time for actual gun control laws

Self-defense is the purpose of guns, you go to jail if you use them for just killing people.

Reality check: the way self-defense with guns works is primarily by killing people. In particular when you expect them to carry a gun as well.

More people are killed by policemen with guns than by terrorists, and almost never anybody goes for jail with that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Time for actual gun control laws

My statement: “from meth-heads WHO HAVE broken into our house.” ,learn context you dolt…
Yes, guns can kill the scum that is breaking into your house, but…

Meth-heads did break into our house in AZ, not hypothetical…had to fire at them to stop them. No one was hit, but sent them running (Self-defense without killing, dickhead)…police were 10 min away, caught them the next day after they terrorized a different family (police described them as armed, meth induced robberies, 3 in total).

What, no counter argument to “fear of what someone MIGHT do as a basis for liberty?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Time for actual gun control laws

Gun control is only effective to law abbiding citizens, not to Methheads, robbers and all the scum that lurk in our world.

I live in this S*it hole called Brazil, we have strict gun control laws here and do you know what happens? Only the law-abbiding citizen is unarmed. Every other scumbag has guns and we have no means of defense.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Time for actual gun control laws

More people are killed by doctors than guns yet that doesn’t make the news.

I think you’re putting way too much stock in “what makes the news”.

Your comparisons don’t really make sense anyway. We don’t decide how to deal with something based purely on how dangerous it is, but also on how beneficial it is. If we could easily get by without ladders and there were thousands of people falling to their deaths from ladders, you could make a strong case for banning ladders. As it is, there are a lot of jobs we need ladders for, so there are warning stickers, OSHA training, etc. to try to keep people safe, and then we accept that accidents happen.

The debate about guns is whether we need them, or whether they’re beneficial enough to outweigh their harm. And of course in this country the 2nd Amendment has to be taken into consideration as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

–Criminals are criminals because they don’t obey the law.


Two criminals held up my brother at gunpoint demanding his wallet, before he even had time to reach for it they shot him. Using his legal concealed carry gun he was able to defend himself and returned fire. The two criminals are behind bars for a couple decades and my brother is alive.

The police are minutes away, when seconds matter that is just too far to rely on them for your protection. Every human has the right to defend themselves against harm.

Before anyone argues “but gunfights in the street, wrong!” remember the police return fire to criminals too and is no different. Allowing one group to defend themselves and forcing another to be defenceless is wrong.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Two criminals held up my brother at gunpoint demanding his wallet, before he even had time to reach for it they shot him.

Because they expected him to carry a gun.

In civilized countries, robbery at gunpoint rarely results in death because the criminal has little incentive to actually fire a gun.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Time for actual gun control laws

Because they expected him to carry a gun.

Citation please.

Unlike your statement, what has been documented is that violent crime has been dropping for many years while gun sales and concealed carry permits have been climbing. Correlation = causation? Maybe not. But what you can’t say is more guns = more crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Time for actual gun control laws


I live in Brazil, (One might argue that this is not a civilized country, but that’s another matter) a place where there are rather strict gun control laws (to the tax paying, law abbiding citizen, mind you) and People in my country get killed by robbers while being held at gunpoint all day. Hell, in my home city (Sao Paulo), our murder rate was higher than Iraq’s when there was a war going on there!

In here, criminals are always 100% sure that neither their victim or a fellow passer-by will be armed to respond in kind. Add the fact that the police here is a joke… And you have all the crap ready to happen.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Anonymous Coward said:
Hand guns are banned from private life in the UK

You said:
Citation? Stop making things up.

Guns are restricted in the UK, not outright banned.

Wikipedia says:
Gun politics in the United Kingdom: 1997 Firearms Act

Following the Dunblane massacre, the government passed the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, banning private possession of handguns almost completely. Exceptions to the ban include muzzle-loading “black powder” guns, pistols produced before 1917, pistols of historical interest (such as pistols used in notable crimes, rare prototypes, unusual serial numbers and so on), starting pistols, pistols that are of particular aesthetic interest (such as engraved or jewelled guns) and shot pistols for pest control. Under certain circumstances, individuals may be issued a PPW (Personal Protection Weapon) licence. Even the UK’s Olympic shooters fall under this ban; shooters can only train in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or abroad (in Switzerland, in practice).[71]

162,000 pistols and 700 tons of ammunition and related equipment were handed in by an estimated 57,000 people – 0.1% of the population, or 1 in every 960 persons.[72] At the time, the renewal cycle for FACs was five years, meaning that it would take six years for the full reduction of valid certificates for both large-calibre and .22 handguns bans (because certificates remained valid even if the holder had disposed of all their firearms). On 31 December 1996, prior to the large-calibre handgun ban, there were 133,600 FACs on issue in England and Wales; by 31 December 1997 it had fallen to 131,900. The following year, after the .22 handgun ban, the number stood at 131,900. On 31 December 2001, five years after the large calibre ban, the number had fallen to 119,600 and 117,700 the following year.[42] This represents a net drop of 24,200 certificates. Comparable figures for Scotland show a net drop of 5,841 from 32,053 to 26,212 certificates,[73] making a GB total net drop of 30,041. However, while the number of certificates in England and Wales rose each year after 2002 to stand at 126,400 at 31 March 2005 (due to a change in reporting period), those in Scotland remained relatively static, standing at 26,538 at 31 December 2005.

Registration, confiscation, in other words, a de facto handgun ban.

Care to correct your mistake, or do you want to keep making things up?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Time for actual gun control laws

It’s not the guns that are the problem. Roger Ebert was right. It’s the news media sensationalizing every incident that occurs such that mentally unstable people with low self-esteem go on shooting sprees to become instantly famous. The guns have been around for a long time yet these sorts of incidents have been particularly rare historically. By far the vast majority of gun owners are careful, responsible citizens. I personally know people who are only alive today (one of them being a child) because of the 2nd amendment.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

It’s the news media sensationalizing every incident that occurs such that mentally unstable people with low self-esteem go on shooting sprees to become instantly famous.

That is a very tiny part of the problem. Far more people get killed by handguns one at a time than are killed in shooting sprees.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Well part of that is also due to sensationalism of news reporting surrounding violent crime as well. What happens is the news scares the shit out of people to the point that they feel they need a gun to be safe without any consideration or training with regards to what it means to have and use a gun. So the run out and buy one without ever really learning what responsibility comes with it. These are by far the vast majority of people that are involved in accidental shootings.

As many have stated before. The criminals that use firearms to commit violent crime are not going to respect any law that prohibits firearms. They aren’t walking into a store and legally buying those firearms from respectable dealers anyway. The best thing we can do is truly educate people decide to own a firearm on what it means to own that firearm and how to use it properly and safely. That will decrease the accidents. That will also make it more likely that the the properly trained, armed citizen will prevail over the untrained, armed idiot criminal as well. As for the big shooting spree events, we need to stop giving them so much press. Mention it on the news and move on. Stop dedicating all of the airtime to bring every breaking detail when something happens. And for God’s sake drastically improve the access to quality mental healthcare so that some people can get help before their conditions degrade to the point that they take such drastic actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Time for actual gun control laws

Also, it’s a proven fact that on average when the standard of living increases in an area, violent crime decreases. Many of the kids that end up embracing the violent, gang lifestyle, do so because it appears to them to provide them more opportunity to attain wealth, acceptance, and status than the alternative. There is a void there that is not being filled by a healthy source, that is exacerbating the crime problem in these areas. They see gang members with money and status that will easily accept them and compare that to the opportunities they have to join those in neighborhoods were wealth is concentrated, and there is no surprise that they make the choices they do. That needs to change. Desperate circumstances result in desperate people doing desperate things.

A serious matter says:

Yes, it’s a serious matter, it’s an arrest record that they will carry for life.

Job applications, travel abroad, rental applications, many volunteering applications etc – they will have to disclose these arrests for their entire lives.

Or even if the record is sealed they will probably have to disclose it’s existence. Typical question when entering another country: “Have you EVER been arrested?”

rycho (profile) says:

Less is More

Why are so many people so quick to want more tough laws? It seems there is a constant demand for more policing, more penalties, more arrests, more sentences, more lawsuits, government intervention.

With all the current problems of authorities abusing their positions of power, we should be considering less. In this case we’re talking about a boy with a toy being prosecuted. Has our society gone mad?

The War on Drugs has not only failed to stop drugs, it has become a yolk on our shoulders with it’s enormous and ever-increasing budget. The War on Terror has equally been a heavy burden with scant results. The largesse of all the “security” agencies for no tangible effect is staggering. Is this really how people want our society to progress?

Anonymous Coward says:

Just some random thoughts

The constitution says you have the right to bare arms. I doesn’t say we can’t tax you for owning them. Could the government put a yearly tax on gun owners that was so high that no one would want a gun? You can carry your gun card to show you paid the tax. The more guns the higher the tax. Could the government ban ammo or tax it to the point you could not afford to shoot it? The government could say shot guns and rifles below a certain size are exempt from the tax so hunters can still hunt but all hand guns are tax regardless of the size.

zip says:

Re: Just some random thoughts

That was the idea behind the National Firearms Act, as the $200 tax (in 1934) was close to the price of a new car in those days. About the only ones who could afford such a high tax were the tommygun-toting gangsters, who naturally would not want to flag themselves to the police by filling out forms. Hence the draconian penalties for non-payment.

AricTheRed says:

Re: Just some random thoughts

If you tax a constitutionally guaranteed and protected right out of existence from all but the super-rich what is to stop the honorable defenders of the constitution from taxing your right to free speech in to oblivion as well?

Remember to protect the rights you like and enjoy you must be “the bigger man” and protect those rights which you do not like or enjoy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bringing a toy gun to school to shoot it at a teacher you dislike is not OK. (Even though I’ve had a few who might be able to use a dart to the face) I’m all for suspending them, maybe for about six or seven days (one for the toy gun to say you do not do that, the remainder to say you do NOT threaten a teacher), but criminal charges is excessive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Congratulations School Administrators!

Congratulations to the school administrators! You’ve managed to outsource discipline to the local police instead of doing it yourselves…now, the question that begs to be asked…

In exchange for NOT having to use common sense and critical thinking, how much of a pay cut should you take in exchange?
After all, the police/courts are now handling matters of discipline, and as a result, you have fewer responsibilities of your own.

Fewer responsibilities = less pay, right?

Come on…a pay cut…for the children!

zip says:

One piece of critical information often missing in these gun-paranoia news stories is the race of the child. Throughout much of Rural White America, many households have guns, and many boys grew up hunting with their fathers. And many consider military service a duty (as well as fly flags outside their homes) so these people naturally tend to be somewhat more at ease around guns in these regions.

It’s a far different story in inner city ghettos, where a young boy’s interest in guns is more likely to be interpreted to be a precursor to a life of crime in a street gang, and therefore an interest that must be discouraged at all costs. Since guns tend to be a “man-thing” – the fact that so many inner-city families are female-centric no doubt also influences the negative perception of guns in those neighborhoods. article shows a picture of a boy who would be rather out-of-place in Doyle-Ryder Elementary School, where out of 393 students, 369 are listed as “Black, non-Hispanic”.

Needless to say, an event like this would be infinitely more likely to happen in this or most any other inner-city ghetto school than in a non-black suburban or especially, a rural elementary school.

It seems part of an all-too-common tendency of the press (perhaps in the name of political-correctness) to ignore or downplay important racial issues that should be regarded as central to the story — as in this case — unless of course it serves some sort of agenda.

zip says:

Re: Re: racism

Is it ‘racism’ to point out that “the system” – from school officials to police to the court system – treats a black child in a black school much more severely than a white child in a white school would have been treated for the same “offense”?

Is it ‘racism’ to notice that these draconian “zero tolerance” laws (of all kinds) tend to be applied most forcefully in minority inner-city areas?

Is it ‘racism’ to notice that the press often neglects to mention the race of a person charged with a crime when they report the story — even when his race was in all probability a major contributing factor that he was charged at all?

R.H. (profile) says:

Flint Community Schools

Hurray…this is a topic I can speak on with authority. Since I graduated from that school district in 2003 *sigh*. I know that even when I was a student you could be suspended for 10-180 days for possession of a ‘look-a-like’ weapon on school grounds. So that rule’s been around for a while. However, while I know students that were arrested for possession of real weapons in school, I definitely hadn’t heard of anyone (until now) being arrested for possession of toy guns. In fact, while I was in high school, on the seniors last day of school they would regularly go around doing drive by’s on the underclassmen with water guns in the parking lot. They were still doing that when my youngest sibling graduated high school 5 years ago so I really don’t know what’s changed in such a short time. I these kids get charged with anything real I may not be able to support Prosecutor Layton in the next election. That would be too bad since he hasn’t been a bad prosecutor otherwise.

aldestrawk says:

What law was broken?

So, the charge is “disturbing the peace”, and that is a vague catch-all for any so-called crime that doesn’t violate some, more specific, law. The rationale for this charge can’t be arbitrary though. If the same behavior was perfectly legal outside of school then you can’t define it as a crime simply because it violates school rules. Otherwise, the school district is in a position of legislating, creating new crimes, and they do not have that authority. A criminal charge for violating school rules against toy guns should not stand, precisely for this reason. The other underlying behavior for the crime was intending to threaten a teacher. Actually threatening a teacher could be a real crime but there was no actual threat. The boys were arrested before a threat could take place and just intending to threaten is not a crime. This needs to be challenged in court and the DA needs to be taught a basic lesson about the justice system in America.

Alto says:


noun ˈwe-pən

: something (such as a gun, knife, club, or bomb) that is used for fighting or attacking someone or for defending yourself when someone is attacking you

: something (such as a skill, idea, or tool) that is used to win a contest or achieve something

I Don’t See Toy listed here.
I guess they could have possibly hit or threw the toy gun at someone. I think a history book would probably hurt more though.
Another ridiculous attack on our kids, no wonder there is so much attitude in children these days.

Rekrul says:

Back when I was in high school, the kids went through a fad of bringing water pistols to school. As I recall, they were typically the cheap, brightly colored, clear plastic type. The worst that happened to any student was that they’d get yelled at and the gun confiscated.

I had one class with a particularly oblivious teacher. I think he’d reached the point where he really didn’t care much any more. An older kid who was friends with someone in my class wandered in one day and the teacher let him stay. The teacher gave us stuff to do and then mostly sat up front reading. While he wasn’t looking, this older kid was using the temporary sheetrock boards over part of the windows as a target for a rather large throwing star. I’m talking about one of the nasty 4-pointed ones that are about 4-5 inches across with knife edges on the points.

I always had a small pocket knife in my jacket pocket. Admittedly, it was dull and broken (the blade didn’t lock, it just sort of flopped back and forth) and had a bunch of other implements on it.

Zonker says:

So we have laws that require that toy guns have a bright colored plastic component to make sure no one can mistake them for a real gun, but now carrying one to school is treated as though it were a real gun with criminal charges because neither a school superintendent nor a prosecutor can tell the difference?

Laws for the sake of dumb people still can’t make dumb people smart apparently.

rapnel (profile) says:

No guns, no fucks and no taxes

It’s a lot of bullshit, isn’t it?

It’s like the approach to fucking. If you don’t fuck you won’t get babies and if you don’t get babies the concept of abortion never enters the picture. Solution? Don’t fuck. Riiight.

Guns, if you don’t have one you can’t shoot one and you can’t shoot a person dead without one. Solution? No guns. Roight.

The “education” facet seems to be severely misaligned and malfunctioning to the detriment of our children and their future.

I’m not sure what prosecutors are being told to think these days but.. for fuck’s sake – zero tolerance ruins children.

Prosecunting – Is not for the children.

view from the antipodes says:

cunning strategy?

it surprises me that there is not more support for this obvious plan to increase the use of computers in schools, viz.
– zero tolerance for guns, real and fake.
– ridiculous application of zero tolerance, like in this story.
– publicise the existence of pen guns single-shot gun in shape and dress of a pen; Google for purchase or build instructions).
– call for a ban on pens in schools, due to gun danger.
– pens are banned, and replaced by computers in schools.
– bask in the succes, but hope that guns are not made in the shape of computers.

surely techdirt readers support this? [;-)]

Sheogorath (profile) says:

If you can't beat 'em, make 'em join you

I remember hearing my parents discussing the Dunblane massacre when I was three, so I kind of understood when I was told there was a zero tolerance policy on guns in place ‘to express solidarity with the survivors of Dunblane’ when I entered the reception class of my local primary school over a year later. This all came to a head two years after that when an eight-year-old girl was charged by the school over an illustration of a gun in a book she had brought in, so one of us six-year-olds (I admit nothing) found an English text book with a picture of a gun, then copied it onto the blackboard with chalk during dinner break. When the teacher walked into the room, he knew one of us had done it and called in the headteacher. Once he had, we pointed out the picture in the book to both of them, and a week later, the older girl was back without a criminal record and the zero tolerance policy was gone. When I pass the playground on my way to the shops now, I see children playing with water pistols and cap guns they’ve taken in, and nobody cares about such obvious toys unless they’re used to injure someone else.

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