• Mon, Jan 21 2013

Oh The Ridiculousness: 5-Year-Old Suspended For ‘Terrorist Threat’ Involving Hello Kitty Bubble Gun

guns in schoolI realize that gun control and guns in school are an extremely touchy subject at the moment. I know that tension is still high and emotions are still heated after the national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. But can we please take a step back and acknowledge the ridiculousness of a 5-year-old being suspended from school for threatening to shoot her classmates… with a bubble gun?

That’s right. A kindergartner was suspended from school for 10 days after suggesting that she and her friends “shoot each other.” While I’m sure that hearing a child propose shooting other kids is a little scary, we’re talking about a very young child. And her bubble gun. A Hello Kitty bubble gun. Please, let that sink in.

The child has not been identified in the press, which I completely understand and respect. The little girl had to undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure that she was not a threat to her peers. According to her mother, she was told that she could go to jail for making the threat. Eventually, her punishment was reduced to 2 days of suspension. Her parents are now suing to get the entire incident removed from her permanent records.

There is simply no doubt that this whole case is just preposterous. There’s no debate here. This was a ridiculous overreaction by the girl’s Pennsylvania school. Yes, a kindergartner could bring a gun into school, not understanding just how dangerous a real weapon is. The girl’s comments deserved to be investigated. The parents should have been talked to. But this child should not have been punished for something so obviously innocent.

We have seen these overreactions before. We’ve seen parents who send their middle schoolers to class with guns “for protection.” We seen kids suspended for making a gun gesture with their hands. People are losing their minds in an attempt to keep their kids safe. And none of that is helping. It’s distracting from serious issues that deserve discussion.

A little girl who wants to “shoot” her friends with her bubble gun is not a threat. She is especially not a “terrorist threat” as the school classified it. She’s an example of why we should think critically about toy guns before we buy them for our kids, but she is not a threat. And focusing on her is taking away from real threats that we could be talking about.

(Photo: Tyler Fox/Shutterstock)

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  • Lastango

    “The girl’s comments deserved to be investigated. The parents should have been talked to.”

    Speaking of ridiculous overreactions…

    • Lastango

      One other thing: merely “talking to” the parents would result in a file being opened on them — a file that would never be closed. CPS would use it beat the living crap out of them on even the smallest pretext, and it would be used as justification for further witchhunts whenever a teacher notices something “disturbing” about the little girl’s conduct. If she even drew a crayon picture of a gun, or something warlike, it would bring the police to the door.

    • Blooming_Babies

      Yes an adult should have asked the little girl what she was talking about, smiled, and moved on with the school day… Case closed. Three hours interrogating a five year old? Really, who needs a talking to?

    • http://www.facebook.com/caitlynjade Jade Cahoon

      I was thinking just that.

      “While I’m sure that hearing a child propose shooting other kids is a little scary” I disagree. She did want to shoot them (with bubbles). How else was she supposed to phrase that?

    • Justme

      Perhaps the word “investigated” is a little strong, but yes the school should bring in the counselor to sit and talk with the girl about why she chose to play the way she did. And with any sort of incident at school, the parents should be included in the conversation. Just like my mother was when I was cursing in kindergarten. :) Doesn’t mean I was a bad kid, but my teacher did discuss with me the ramifications of my word choice and called my parents to inform them of the situation so that consequences could be doled out at home as well.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    There have been incidents of even very young children using weapons in schools, and it’s a particularly sensitive time just now, so I can see why they took it so seriously. I’d like to hear the school’s side of this – as a little kid I once uttered a threat, which I didn’t really understand, but they did tell me it was illegal under Canadian law and I was told it could lead to suspension. You can bet I never did it again, even at age 7. Yes, the school’s reaction is over-the-top in this case, but the kid should know that even fake gunplay in school is unacceptable.

  • Danny

    Wow.. this is what we’re being reduced to.. i wanna get off this ride for sure

  • Margaret Powers

    This is beyond ridiculous! Let’s first think about our reactions before we speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1437860360 Lisa Polley

    Geesh- can you imagine if it had been w a water gun?! Anarchy. People have zero common sense. It’s scary.

  • Youngblood Hawke

    This is carrying extremism to the extreme. The kid’s blowing bubbles for God’s sake.

  • Sandy

    When I was a kid we used to play war all the time. It didnt make any of us not take war less serios in adult life and we never wanted to harm eachother for real. It was fun. Kids learn to handle their obvservations through play. Playing house, catch, pretend games its all an essentiel part of childrens devolpment. If we allow ourselfes to get freaked out by kids playing with “guns” and similar, we rob our kids of a normal healthy upbringing

  • Gwc

    My mother always kept a gun in her bedside table for protection. She never once used it. But her son did. To kill himself.

  • http://www.said-it.cu.cc/ Kyle Stephens

    exactly, this is beyond ridiculous. guns, fine, if in school. but a bubble gun. hello kitty. hello kitty bubble gun. bubbles. hello kitty bubbles. hello kitty. bubble gun. hello kitty. BUBBLES. Are you freaking kidding me?

    it’s one thing to protect against the *real* threats but for the schools to waste time persecuting stupid so-called “cases” like these is frustrating.

    like it’s been said already, people play war as kids. In gym, I would pretend it was WWII. What about the fact in even kindergarten, they talk about founding fathers. that involves war doesn’t it? war includes guns, does it not? if you censor even the slightest hint at simple reality, you devolve education into a matter of police state paranoia.