,A cursory exposure to the media post-Newtown might be alarming, even horrifying. Such non-inquisitive exposure could easily convince the unwary that an unprecedented number of kids are imminent school shooters. Thankfully, reading past sensational headlines, it’s easy to see that isn’t the issue. The question is yet another factor in the current gun-control debate: mental health. Specifically: have school authorities gone irredeemably mad?
As a teacher of high school English — and a firearms instructor — I have a dog in this fight. I often defend the public schools against unfair criticism, observing that most teachers are quiet professionals who do not indoctrinate their students with progressive propaganda. But what appears to be a nationwide epidemic of politically correct lunacy apparently sparked by the Newtown murders and egged on by President Obama’s anti-gun road show, and by his congressional fellow travelers, is running riot. These are just a few of the more recent incidents:
(1) Place: White Marsh Elementary School, Tabot County, Maryland
Tiny Terrorists: Two six-year-old boys (kindergartners)
Punishment: One-day suspension
Facts: The boys were pointing their fingers at each other during recess while playing “cops and robbers.”
(2) Place: Mount Carmel Area School District, Pennsylvania
Tiny Terrorist: A five year-old girl (kindergartener)
Punishment: 10-day suspension for making a “terroristic threat”
Facts: The girl told a classmate she wanted to “shoot” her and herself with a “Hello Kitty” bubble gun, a tiny, pink, cartoon ray-gun shaped bubble blower. She was searched, but left the “gun” at home. She was hectored in front of her class by the teacher and threatened with arrest.
(3) Place: D. Newlin Fell School, Philadelphia
Tiny Terrorist: A fifth-grade girl
Punishment: Searched and scolded in the presence of classmates, threatened with arrest.
Facts: The girl was given a paper gun by her grandfather the day before. She set it on her desktop prior to throwing it away. Her teacher seized it and yelled at her, and she was subsequently searched. To avoid harassment, the girl has been withdrawn from school and is being home schooled.
(4) Place: Sumter County School District, Sumter, South Carolina
Tiny Terrorist: Six-year-old girl
Punishment: Expelled from school for a semester
Facts: The girl brought a broken, transparent plastic toy airsoft gun, with the soft plastic pellets visible inside, for show and tell. The toy was seized, the police were called, and the girl was threatened with arrest if she set foot on school property, forcing her parents to park off school grounds when they picked up the girl’s siblings. After nearly a month, she was allowed to return to school after enormous pressure was applied via local media and the blogosphere.
(5) Place: Poston Butte High School, Tan Valley, Arizona
Tiny Terrorist: Freshman boy
Punishment: Three-day suspension
Facts: The boy, who plans a military career, posted a photograph of a gun as desktop wallpaper on his school-issued laptop computer.