A zero-tolerance policy
for violence has earned a New Jersey Second Grader a one day suspension.
His crime? He drew a stick figure shooting a gun.
The ludicrousness of
this case, the folly of using a drawn gun to set an example for a "zero
tolerance" policy, is only outdone by its stupidity.
The little boy
told his mother the gun he drew was a water gun not a firearm. Does the
school want a second grader to start differentiating between a water gun
and a firearm? Should the child stop drawing water guns? How silly! All
this talk of what kind of gun the stick figure in the drawing held only
strengthens the child's interest in guns and what they do.
This case is
not the first case in New Jersey in which students were suspended for
depictions of weapons. In 2000, four kindergarten boys were playing cops
and robbers using their fingers as guns,
and they too were
suspended from kindergarten. How do you explain to a kindergarten child
why he was
suspended from school for playing
a commonplace widespread childhood game?
Perhaps the following
statistics explain why a child would play cops and robbers or "shooting
Percentage of American
households that possess at least one television: 99
Percentage of day care centers that use TV
during a typical day: 70
Hours per year
the average American youth watches television: 1500
Number of murders
seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school:
Number of violent
acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
watch an average of 4 hours of television each day. Watching videos or
playing video games only adds on to the time spent in front of the box.
Some of the most seemingly harmless videos have so much violence in
child who just watches the news is exposed to shooting, fighting,
killing and wars.
How is a child that
spends most of his day watching violence, who
has watched hundreds of hours of TV at home and in day care, supposed to
know not to play guns or draw guns at the tender age of 5 or 6? A child
at that age still has nightmares and many times has difficulty
differentiating between fantasy and reality.
Ironically, the children who
were kept out of school were probably home watching more television
and more violence reinforcing the very behavior that the school
Another point to consider: How
many of these children have parents or other relatives who are in the
army and fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other place where the USA
It is entirely proper
for a child to consider our soldiers heroes. Children give their heroes
honor by copying them.
The school system is not
taking into account that children live what they learn, they learn what
they see and many of them see violence.
They are also ignoring the fact that
these children - all boys - have a tendency to fight because that's what
boys do. Perhaps in this politically correct world it is not proper to
admit this, but it is a
fact. Go to an all-boys school and an all-girls school during their
recess break and you will see the
Ultimately, our zero tolerance for violence
cannot take on this ridiculous pose of suspending
kindergarten children for drawing guns. Though this is
probably easier to suspend the children than dealing with
real guns and crimes it will not solve the gun and violence