News sources on Tuesday are reporting that a Suffolk seven-year-old was suspended from school for two days for pretending a pencil was a gun.
Christopher Marshall apologized for the incident, but with the school having a zero tolerance policy when it comes to weapons or the threat of a weapon, he was suspended anyway.
The father, Paul Marshall is furious. "Enough is enough. I mean, where will we draw the line?" said Marshall. " I mean, a pencil. Was it sharpened? Was it not? Was it a No. 2? What's the big deal?"
Many people are siding with Marshall. While the school insists that a pencil could be construed to be a weapon, especially pointed at someone in a threatening way, does it warrant suspending a little boy for play-acting?Schools are over-reacting, according to many parents, and the headlines are backing them up. In March, a 7-year-old boy in Marylandwas suspended for nibbling a pastry into the shape of a handgun.
In December of last year, a Maryland first grader was suspended for pointing his finger like a gun while playing at school and saying "pow." The incident took place a week after the Newtown, Conn. school shootings.
It took the efforts of an attorney to get the incident expunged from the boys permanent school record. The principal later rescinded the suspension.
The reactionary attitudes being displayed by our schools has many people wondering if the zero tolerance policies are doing more harm than good. One official pointed out that children don't play "cowboys and Indians" any more.
Children today see and hear about drive-by and school shootings, and this is all they know. Life is not a movie where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. Those days are gone forever.
Even with the stark reality of the gun culture we have today, we still have violent crime to contend with. It is no wonder school officials are on edge. But even so, a little discretion with little children play-acting may be needed.