There’s nothing more innocuous than a NERF (Non-Expanding Recreational Foam) gun – right?
Well, not if you’re an administrator at Duchesne Elementary School of Ferguson/Florissant School District in Missouri. Apparently, a toy gun that shoots foam-based projectiles presents a clear and present danger to students, faculty and staff.
To clarify, on Monday, school officials meted out a 10-day suspension to a five-year-old who brought his NERF gun to class.
That’s correct. 10 days for a NERF gun.
The principal of the School, Katie Sanders sent a letter home to the parents explaining the reason for the suspension, in it she said, “providing a safe environment that allows children to learn is our first priority. Please take this opportunity to remind your children that no weapons of any kind are allowed on school property and encourage them to report unsafe situations.”
There’re at least two obvious problems with that statement, (a) the notion that a NERF gun jeopardize the safety of children and (b) the insinuation that a NERF gun is a weapon (It’s not a weapon; it’s a harmless toy).
Though, trying to impart this common sense to politically correct drones is like, well (to use an oldie but a goodie), talking to a brick wall.
Needless to say, the mother was dumbfounded by the entire situation.
“I’m having trouble explaining to my son, who was excited to start school, why he is in so much trouble for a toy that he received as a Christmas gift,” Tamoya Smith told Examiner.com in an interview.
In an attempt to contest the punishment, Smith went up the administrative ladder and made an appeal to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Surely, it would agree that 10 days is absurdly harsh and commute the sentence?
A spokesperson for the department, Sarah Potter, stated that, “it’s all left up to the local districts. We allow local districts to handle discipline of students.”
In other words, Ms. Smith and her son would have no choice but to accept it.
In doing research for this article, I came across a similar story from 2010, where a kindergarten student in Denver got a one-day suspension for the same “crime” – bringing a toy to school (see video above).
Back then one day seemed extreme, as the boy’s mother explained.
“I had a phone call from the school saying that my son got suspended for taking a toy gun to school,” Lorraine Romero told Denver affiliate 9News. “He’s just a kid. He doesn’t know any better.”
“I don’t think he should have gotten suspended for that,” Romero added. “I think they should have just talked to him about it and say, ‘Hey, you know you’re not supposed to bring any toys to school.’”
Unfortunately for Ms. Romero, what she is saying makes too much sense. It’s too logical for school officials to handle.
In any event, maybe I’m wrong about this. Maybe mandatory 10-day suspensions should be standard protocol for any student who brings a toy gun to school (I have a feeling that some students would start to violate this policy on purpose). Your thoughts?