I grew up in the fifties and it was a great time to be a kid. We walked the streets in safety, we went to school without fearing for our lives and we spent hours playing games like cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. We used our imaginations and built forts in the snow, made bows from string and willow branches, and spent hours shooting water pistols at each other while we pretended we were Flash Gordon destroying space monsters. It was an innocent time and an era where a small child’s imagination knew no limits.
Now, children are being subjected to mass hysteria, brought about by the tragic shootings that have occurred. Their toys are being considered lethal weapons and they are being punished for using their imaginations.
Police arrested a seven year old boy for bringing a Nerf style gun to school. A six year old little girl was expelled for bringing her brother’s toy gun to class for show and tell. A five year old (yes, five years old) boy was reprimanded for building a toy gun out of Legos in an afterschool program. Another five year old was suspended from school and subjected to a psychological evaluation. Why? Because she was overheard talking with a classmate about shooting each other with a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun. So, she was labeled a terrorist threat and now other schools will not accept her as a student.
Schools have taken a zero tolerance towards guns in school. Who can argue with that in light of recent events? BUT, where does good judgement come into play in this policy? These are not guns, they are toys! How far is this going to escalate?
Have we really become so fearful of a child having a toy gun that we arrest them or label them terrorists? For heaven’s sake, they are too young to have any idea of why they are being punished. Are we so intent on enforcing Zero tolerance policies that we are willing to have innocent little children arrested, expelled or suspended from school for possessing a toy?
Let’s get a grip! We need to look at what we are doing and stop projecting our fears onto our children. Yes, we need to be vigilant, it is a violent and dangerous world out there. But, we also need to let our children enjoy their innocence and not be punished for using their imaginations. We need to exercise good judgement and think before we punish a child for being a child.