(Screenshot / ABC 11 News video)
Most moms would agree that guns are not appropriate to have on playgrounds or anywhere near young children. But what about toy guns, or items that look like guns? One little girl in is learning that hard way that some schools have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to any and all things gun-related.
5-year-old Caitlin Miller was recently suspended for using a “stick gun” on her school’s playground. The young girl was playing a game called “King and Queen” with fellow classmates. Her role was to, “guard the royals from harm.” The child then discovered a wooden stick which resembled a gun, and proceeded to use it to protect the aforementioned king and queen. Miller, who attends school in North Carolina’s Hoke County, was then suspended for a full day for the transgression.
According to WTVD ABC 11 News, officials at her school made the following statement:
“Hoke County Schools will not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student. Any student engaging in such behavior will be removed from the classroom or school environment for as long as is necessary to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning.”
It’s difficult to imagine that Miller was actively trying to assault, threaten, or harass any of her fellow students. Is it possible the school’s zero tolerance policy goes too far? Should the child have been given a lighter sentence or did the punishment fit the crime? The news channel even created a poll to see how many folks agree or disagree with the suspension:
POLL: Should 5-year-old girl be suspended for playing with 'stick gun'? https://t.co/vQpNDwk1LZ
— ABC11 EyewitnessNews (@ABC11_WTVD) March 29, 2017
Miller’s mom is also upset about her child’s suspension. More on that in the video below:
Considering how pervasive gun culture is, and how much gun violence affects children, though, the policy isn’t entirely surprising. According to the Brady Campaign, 7 children and teens die from gun violence on a daily basis (2 of which are suicides or accidental self-shootings). And over 20 mass shootings have occurred in the U.S. in the month of March alone.
At the end of the day, though, suspending one child for playing with a “stick gun” probably isn’t going to change things. But what parents should all be doing is speaking with their children honestly and openly about how quickly gun use can create tragic situations.