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Two 6-year-olds suspended for playing cops and robbers - 'finger guns' to blame
By ROBERT LAURIE - If you outlaw 'finger guns,' only outlaws will have 'finger guns'
Last week, two six-year-old students from White Marsh Elementary School in Maryland, were hauled into the principal’s office. Their crime was one for the record books. The boys had committed the unforgivable sin of pointing imaginary "finger guns” at each other.
Since we live in a zero-tolerance world, where adults are incapable of discerning imaginary violence from the real thing, Principal Marcia Sprankle suspended the children immediately.
You read that right. They were suspended for the illegal use of "finger guns."
Unfortunately for Ms. Sprankle, one of the parents was someone unlikely to take the matter lying down. Army Staff Sgt. Stephen Grafton is the father of one of the children, and he's not thrilled with the school's decision.
"This is easily the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of," he said. "This, a completely harmless act of horseplay at recess, was by no means an offense that warranted a suspension. It was a pair of 6-year-olds playing with imaginary pistols, one of whom has a father who is charged by the United States with using firearms in his defense."
Oddly, this is the second time since the shootings at Sandy Hook that skittish Maryland school officials have done this. Just a few weeks ago, in a different school district, another child was suspended for exactly the same "offense." In that case, the parents hired an attorney and the decision was immediately reversed.
Yesterday, after a five day wait, it was reported that the suspension of Sgt. Grafton's child had gone the same way. It's being rescended and stricken from the 1st grader's "permanent record." There's been no word on the fate of the other boy.
But what does it say about our schools that this was allowed to occur in the first place? If the people running these institutions are so stupid that they honestly can't make a simple judgment call about two kids playing at recess, do we really believe they're smart enough to teach our children?
It's almost unbelievable, but it seems our kids are trapped in a system that doesn't have the courage to acknowledge the fact that there's a difference between a finger and a firearm. If we let that kind of intellectual dishonesty continue - if that's what we're going to teach our children - we're headed toward an extremely dark future.
By allowing our young people to remain subjects of a mentality that's willing to portray virtually everything as a punishable offense, we're breeding a generation of human sheep that will be completely unable to think - or fight -for itself.
Are we really prepared to live in a society where everyone in a position of nominal authority is so hyper-sensitive that their first instincts are such extreme overreactions? Are we honestly going to allow the Marcia Sprankle's of the world to become the new normal?
Follow all of Robert Laurie's work, or contact him, via Twitter @RobertLaurie