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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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May 7, 2013 - 11:43 am

A pencil is not generally considered a weapon. It can be used as a weapon, of course, but so can almost anything. I’m sure I could find a way to use the flash drive here on my desk as a weapon. It could make a nasty eye gouger. If I hold it up and say “pew pew” to an armed burglar, he’ll kill me after he stops laughing at me.

Even if a pencil is intended to be used as a weapon, it cannot fire a projectile. Someone should tell that to the raging idiots at a Suffolk, VA school.

A Suffolk school suspended a second grader for pointing a pencil at another student and making gun noises. Seven-year-old Christopher Marshall says he was playing with another student in class Friday, when the teacher at Driver Elementary asked them to stop pointing pencils at each other.

“When I asked him about it, he said, ‘Well I was being a Marine and the other guy was being a bad guy,’” said Paul Marshall, the boy’s father. “It’s as simple as that.”

Christopher’s father was a Marine for many years. He thinks school leaders overreacted.

“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,” said Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokesperson for Suffolk Public Schools.

No, it isn’t. A pencil is a weapon if it’s used to stab or slash, or write words to make it mightier than the sword. It cannot fire like a gun. Saying “pew pew” does make instantly turn a pencil into an AR-15.

The Suffolk school system has a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to weapons.

But, again, it wasn’t a weapon as the boy used it. It. Was. A. Toy.

And, Bradshaw admits, that policy has tightened up in recent years because of widely publicized school shootings.

“Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community,” said Bradshaw. “Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”

Adults think about shootings. Kids play Call of Duty (yes, some play it way too young) and they think about good guys and bad guys all the time. They thought about good guys and bad guys in this very case. It’s how kids, especially boys, are wired. Shooter games are, essentially, high-tech versions of the “guns” and “cops and robbers” and “cowboys and Indians” that kids used to play in their yards. And actually, some kids do still go to the park and play “cops and robbers.” I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. And it was not alarming in the least.

Everyone involved in suspending Christopher Marshall, who reportedly has good grades and has never been in trouble before, should be fired and banned from ever having a position in education again for the rest of their lives. They’re just too dumb to be capable of educating anyone.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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i wonder what these school officials would make out of the old "kids in the hall" sketch where the guy is squishing and squashing passersby between his index finger and thumb
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
District Website http://www.spsk12.net/
District Email http://www.spsk12.net/contact-us/

Driver Elementary Website http://des.spsk12.net/
Driver Elementary Principal Melodie Griffin melgriffin@spsk12.net
Phone: 757.923.4106
Fax: 757.538.5407

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is the letter I sent to the generic district email link from the webpage. When I send a note specifically to Principal Griffin, I will tone down the comments since it is going to a specific person.

I am outraged at your treatment of this young student, and stunned at the lack of common sense displayed by the Suffolk School District.

I am particularly disgusted that in Virginia, the heart of the South and the home of the most skilled soldiers and generals of the Civil War, that the son of United States Marine would be suspended for quite innocently emulating his father in a completely non-threatening way. If you need a physics lesson on the difference between a real weapon, a toy weapon, or in this case something that has no resemblance whatsover to a weapon, then I question either your integrity or the skill of the institution which granted you a teaching credential, let alone those which granted you a diploma of any kind after elementary school.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
What about frowning. Was there frowning involved? People don't think enough about frowning. Frowning can be dangerous. Frowning can indicate someone is about to kidnap someone, or even murder them. Frowning is an indicator of a person's state of mind. Statistics show that 79% of all armed robberies were accompanied by at least some expression of frowning ranging from "very" to "kinda."

Hitler frowned a lot. I've noticed that on film. There should be zero tolerance for frowning when it comes to children - they may act on it in unforeseeable ways. A squirrel once frowned at me when I was walking to school when I was 10. After school I got a rock, hunted that squirrel down and bashed it's brains in. I wasn't taking any chances. Sometimes rocks frown at me. They are very hard to kill because they are very clever.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Free Gabriel James Gamez!!!

(I do think young Christopher should be free as well).
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is it about education that draws radical rule followers? These people made up their own reality (a pencil as a projectile launching weapon) so they could enforce some rule! Does education draw these people or does working with kids create them?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even older college students can be far more insane. Read this. It's one of most remarkably stupid documents I've ever read.

http://thisbyus.blogspot.com/2009/04/part-12-second-open-letter-to-dance.htm
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was curious to read this but the link seems to be dead: "Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist. " I simply highlighted the link and clicked on "Open in new tab" so I didn't type or even copy/paste the URL.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think teaching is to radicals what the priesthood/convent was to homosexuals in the days immediately after Vatican II. Even well-rounded and -grounded teachers become inculcated to the point that communications and interactions (including marriages) can only successfully be had with other educators.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Maybe there's some hope for the future after all."

The problem, Silver age, is that the kid still has 10 years of indoctrination before he's turned loose on the world. Probably won't survive it intact.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,”

I'm not a lawyer, but is that the definition used by courts? In that case, if you have anything in your hands and go "pew, pew, pew", it's suddenly making threats with a weapon?

Remember that all this zero tolerance is an attempt to weasel out of litigation: if you have a policy you can point to, you can claim you were "just following the policy". We've dumbed down the role of administrator because we (as a society) have become too risk adverse.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, that is not why they do it. It is an effort to demonize guns in the minds of our young. "All guns are bad." It is the usual re-education camp stuff.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think you're both right. It's not an either/or thing.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
“When I asked him about it, he said, ‘Well I was being a Marine and the other guy was being a bad guy,’”

So we have a second grader who's been taught US Marine = good guy and guy-marine-is-shooting-at = bad guy. Maybe there's some hope for the future after all.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're wrong: he's been "cured" and will probably be sent to a reeducation camp in French Guiana. Once he literally sees angels playing harps every time he's shown a photo of bin Laden he'll be allowed back in. Maybe when he's 30. Rats in a cage around your head take time to work their magic.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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