This is what happens when you trade common sense for “zero tolerance” policies.
Once upon a time, it was common for an American child to be packed off to school with a rifle on his back and for him to come home smiling and safe in the evening. Shooting clubs, now quietly withering away, were once such a mainstay of American high-school life that in the first half of the 20th century they were regularly installed in the basements of new educational buildings. Now, they are in their death throes, victims of political correctness, a willful misunderstanding of what constitutes “gun safety,” and our deplorable tendency toward litigiousness.
In 1975, New York state had over 80 school districts with rifle teams. In 1984, that had dropped to 65. By 1999 there were just 26. The state’s annual riflery championship was shut down in 1986 for lack of demand. This, sadly, is a familiar story across the country. The clubs are fading from memory, too. AChicago Tribune report from 2007 notes the astonishment of a Wisconsin mother who discovered that her children’s school had a range on site. “I was surprised, because I never would have suspected to have something like that in my child’s school,” she told the Tribune. The district’s superintendent admitted that it was now a rarity, confessing that he “often gets raised eyebrows” if he mentions the range to other educators. The astonished mother raised her eyebrows — and then led a fight to have the range closed. “Guns and school don’t mix,” she averred. “If you have guns in school, that does away with the whole zero-tolerance policy.”
But how wise is that “zero-tolerance policy”? Until 1989, there were only a few school shootings in which more than two victims were killed. This was despite widespread ownership of — and familiarity with — weapons and an absence of “gun-free zones.”
Today, the world is a much different place
In Philadelphia, a young girl who tore a piece of paper into the shape of a gun was reprimanded by her teacher, humiliated and called a “murderer”:
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In Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old was suspended for making a remark about a pink toy gun that shoots bubbles:
A 5-year-old girl chats up classmates while waiting for the bus after school. The topic: Playing with a Hello Kitty “bubble gun” that, with the flick of a finger, blows bubbles everywhere.
“I’ll shoot you, you shoot me, and we’ll all play together,” the kindergartner says.
The next day, that remark — which was made innocently, according to the lawyer for the girl’s family, who related the story — landed the young central Pennsylvanian child in the principal’s office.
Soon after, she was sent home after being issued a 10-day suspension for a “terroristic threat,” as indicated on the suspension form signed by Mount Carmel Area Elementary School Principal Susan Nestico.
Anybody with half a brain knows the difference between what this girl said and a “terrorist threat,” but liberal policies are about emotional, knee-jerk reactions, not logic or reason or the acknowledgement of unintended consequences.
In Maryland, a little boy is being bullied by the system because he did what little boys naturally do while playing – pointed his finger in the shape of a gun:
There’s controversy at a Talbot County school after two 6-year-old boys were suspended while playing cops and robbers during recess and using their fingers to make an imaginary gun.
“It’s ridiculous,” said parent Julia Merchant.
This is the second time a Maryland child has been suspended for such play. Earlier this month, 6-year-old Rodney Lynch was suspended from his Montgomery County school after pretending to fire an imaginary gun more than once.
If our grandparents’ generation could see how stupid and devoid of common sense our society is when it comes to these matters, they’d tell us to shape up, let kids be kids, and focus on REAL solutions like teaching kids manners and morals, and teaching law-abiding adults (including teachers) how to defend themselves against evil.