There have been a lot of news stories recently about young children being punished for talking about guns, making toy guns, owning toy guns, and drawing guns. This new story takes the cake: a group of students from Chase Lake Elementary School in Edmonds, Washington, asked their teacher if they could bring Nerf guns to school. The teacher gave permission, but the school punished the children with suspension anyway.
The students even had a perfectly legitimate reason to bring the guns to school; they wanted to fire foam darts 100 times as part of a probability experiment.
The school quickly enforced its zero tolerance policy and booted the students. In fact, they even suspended students who were simply present during the experiment. Shannon Shumard’s fourth grade daughter and sixth grade son got caught in the crossfire because they played with the guns, even though other students brought the guns to school.
The parents of the suspended students have said that they intend to appeal the suspensions, but the school stands strong by its convictions. “Again, it’s a matter of safety and it’s of the utmost importance. So even if it’s a toy, we take it seriously,” said Amanda Ralston, a spokeswoman for the school district.
The peculiar thing about this story isn’t that the school enforced such harsh penalties on the students – that seems to be the popular strategy nowadays. What’s odd is that the students were punished instead of the teacher.
Kids violating the rules is one thing, but punishing students after a teacher gave the Nerf guns a thumbs up is much more problematic.
Shumard added, "If the teacher and the school staff don't even know their own rules, how are the children supposed to know them?"
All of these recent stories have called into question the severity of school gun policies. Do you think that being so relentless against guns will help prevent children from brining real guns to school, or do you think that the schools are overreacting to a bit of harmless fun?