It all started yesterday when HH sent me a text with a link to the following article:  http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2013/12/17/5-year-old-suspended-for-making-gun-gesture-with-hand/
It immediately gave me an uneasy feeling for a few reasons.  The child is only a year (and a month- but whose counting?) older than BIG and I've seen him make a gun gesture with his hand plenty of times.   Until yesterday I didn't realize that was a punishable offense.  If you aren't interested in reading the whole article I will give you a quick cliff notes versions.  There was a little boy playing army man on the school playground at recess in Charlotte NC.  In this school this is a suspend-able offense as he was suspended for a one-day in school suspension.  When his parents found out they called the principal and school board and asked to meet with them.  The suspension was then dropped.  It's also important to note that there is a school handbook and gun hand gesture punishments is not mentioned.  Ok, so those are the facts as reported.  

But this still leaves me a bit uneasy.  We all know that kids aren't allowed to bring actual guns to school.  (duh!) It's even iffy if you can bring a fake gun to school.  Personally I'm ok if there is a rule that says no fake guns at school.  While some may not like the rule- if the school district decides that is the way to go I support that.  100%. I'm probably a little more hard core than most because I'd be fine with a ban on all toys in school. I'm no Burger Meister Meister Burger where I hate toys. However if toys are causing a problem have a blanket no toy policy. I'm on board.  

What I do have a problem with is when there is a rule that isn't in the student handbook* but is enforced with an iron fist.  This is a 5 year old.  F.I.V.E. Super Nanny tells you his punishment should be a 5 minute time out.  Not a suspension.  And guess what- he didn't know he was doing anything wrong.  He was playing Army man on the playground.  *I realize the rule book can't have possible situation that a child may get in.  No noogies while standing on one foot while you are wearing a  stripe shirt.   But if hand gestures aren't allowed this should be listed, taught and reinforced by the parents at home. 

Google search kindergarten suspensions and you will be shocked at how many stories come up.  In one case another 5 year old was suspended after talking about shooting her friends with her PINK HELLO KITTY BUBBLE GUN (that she had at home- not even on school property)   She may as well have said my unicorn is going to sneeze glitter all over you.  Here is the shocking (to me at least) part.  School district officials labeled her a terrorist threat.  Let that sink in for a minute pretty people.  This little girl and her pink hello kitty bubble gun (again not on the premises) are considered on the same level as a terrorist threat.  They wanted to suspend her for ten days.  TEN DAYS.   A six year old in Colorado was accused of sexual harassment and suspended for kissing a little girl on the cheek.  I get it- he had cooties and it was a totally unwanted advance.  But to suspend him?  Is that the right thing to do?  I'm no expert so I don't have all the answers but I wouldn't call him a sex offender because he smooched a classmate. 

Another school system considers kids playing cops and robbers an act of violence.  I wonder if it would be considered violent if they were using finger swords and slaying a dragon to save a princess.  Maybe reenacting a fable they heard during story time.  To me this imaginative play is awesome.  It shows that the child is interested in learning and taking it to the next level. It's  interesting that there is a core curriculum that where the goal is consistency in education at every level but doesn't it doesn't address what's considered acceptable student behavior vs' "terrorist acts." 

Some of these sound like teachable moments to me.  Keep your hands to yourself.  No kissing.  We don't play so rough that we pretend to have guns to hurt someone.  I guess that's the difference to me- if these kids had actually hurt someone they wouldn't be suspended for up to 10 days.  The parents would be called immediately.  In several of the cases I researched the parents weren't called until way after the fact.  After their child had been in a three hour interrogation with the principals and counselors.  Even real life criminals are allowed a phone call and a talk with mom and dad or a lawyer.  These little ones are kids- not criminals.  
Messica
12/19/2013 21:46:57

Just had same discussion at wk--which happens to be elem school. Some ppl takes rules too far & don't let kids be kids. My 2 yr old "Pow POWs" stuff all over the place. Good thing daycare doesn't kick him out. My 5 yr old kissed a boy in playground tunnel a couple years ago. Again, same tolerant daycare. But I'm glad as a non-educator you get they can't write all rules down. Bc as soon as you think you have, a kid pulls a new crazy stunt! Ppl just need to use common sense when punishing.

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Jeff
12/19/2013 23:09:19

Messica, unfortunately there is no longer common sense in pre school and kindergarten. What has happened to this Country and its educational system.?It started with me with the pop tart story and ended with me on that story. I would never want my child to lose that pure innocence of kissing a friend or screaming bang bang. They are 5 & 6 year old's for god sake. They want them to basically lose their creativeness and that is just plain wrong. I am so glad my children are older and do not have to deal with this, but feel sorry for these kids and parents who actually have to go to a school board meeting to justify a 5 year old and their typical behavior. These are innocent children being treated like hardened criminals and I am afraid to see if there will be any long term effects on some of these children for being just that "CHILDREN"

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Blondie
12/20/2013 01:53:41

I think this goes even deeper. He was playing ARMY. Now he's been told that is bad. What if he was playing Policeman or Sheriff? Are those bad too? Now this little boy and many others like him may cross those professions off his list of "what I want to be when I grow up" list. Political Correctness run amuck. Sad so very sad.

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Kris P O'Brien
12/20/2013 03:47:19

I agree 100% Blondie! Some of the best folks I know are Army! Thanks for the comment. Jeff- didn't Cody get called to the principals office when he was that age?

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Morgan
10/26/2014 02:52:30

Oh, don't EVEN get me started on this crap. Boys will be boys. Back in the day that's what boys did and it was natural. Cowboys and Indians?!?! Was there any other game?? Boys are natural born leaders and protectors. They aren't sissies that are "politically correct" and worry about hurting people's feelings. They are rough, tough, lean, mean, fighting machines. It helps them relieve stress, develops muscles...etc. I HATE schools, our government, politics....all of it. It's all ruining our kids...and the future of our country (IMO)! So glad I'm a homeschooler...my little one plays super hero/bad guy All. Day. Long! (Complete with allllll the sound effects!!!)

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