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KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: Nov 6, 07 ב"ה     כ"ה חשוון, תשס"ח                                          

 
 
 
   
 

Drawing a Gun

Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

 

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 games."

 

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: 8,000

Number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000

 

American children 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 them. Even a 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 dislikes.

 

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 is stationed? 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 behavioral differences.

 

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 problem.

 

 

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht 

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 

 
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