from the fear-itself dept
There is an epidemic coursing its way through our school systems that puts our children's lives in danger. For some reason, this epidemic appears to be on the rise, resulting in fear, oppression, and a demoralizing experience for our kids in schools that almost certainly effects the educational experience, if not the psychological well-being of millions of young Americans. As I'm sure you have already guessed, I'm obviously talking about the stupid adults that run everything and have put in place a nearly-institutionalized overreaction to some very real but rare tragedies of recent note. That overreaction is how you get terrified kids during school shooting drills. It's how you get seven year olds suspended for novelty pens, which I guess is mightier than the high-powered rifle.
And it's how you end up with a grade school child being threatened with expulsion for drawing some pictures of what he'd like to dress as on Halloween.
The three images in question depict a soldier, a ninja and a Star Wars character - possibilities for the 8-year-old's Halloween costume. Each of the drawings show the character holding either a gun or a knife.The report also notes that the student engaged in creative writing which was likewise deemed to be dangerous, but which ultimately turned out to be a fictional story about the school being attacked by zombies, otherwise known as the kind of thing every single young boy thinks about at some point. For these crimes, the principal of the school informed the parents that they have a zero tolerance policy for images depicting guns and violence, that the child's creativity resulted in every other child in the school being in danger, and that they were grounds for expulsion.
"I think we really send our children the wrong message when we show that, as adults, we're so afraid of our shadow that an innocent picture - that any 8-year-old might've drawn - is cause for this kind of concern." [Comment from a local citizen]
And, in case you haven't decided yet, this is stupid. The images of school shootings in our media are powerful ones, but they don't necessarily need to result in everyone over the age of eighteen completely losing their minds and institutionalizing a culture of fear of our own children. You want to create a mythos around violence and guns amongst children? Outlaw discussion about them. You want to ostricize children? Limit creativity. You want to make children trust adults even less than they already do? Try to put them in some iron-grip of zero tolerance during the very time when they are learning to be most expressive, curious, and creative.
Can we please just go back to trusting our children to be relatively decent again? Because each and every one of these stories is dumb.