In Caro, Michigan a third grade student’s mother at Schall Elementary School brought in cupcakes for her son birthday. Seems innocent enough, but an issue arose when the school realized each cupcake was adored by a classic green army plastic soldier. The school principal deemed the army men to be ‘insensitive’ and removed them from each cupcake. The school released the following statement:
“In the climate of recent events in schools we walk a delicate balance in teaching non-violence in our buildings and trying to ensure a safe, peaceful atmosphere. On one hand, there are those who advocate arming teachers, having armed security guards and creating a fortress of defense in our schools. On the other hand, there are those who feel that guns create fear in schools and we need to put solid security measures in place plus practice routines to be prepared in case an emergency should ever occur. Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions
Recently, a third grade boy brought cupcakes to school with plastic soldiers carrying weapons atop each one. These are toys that were commonplace in the past. However some parents prohibit all guns as toys. In light of that difference, the school offered to replace the soldiers with another item and the soldiers were returned home with the student.
In hindsight, one can always second guess a course of action. Schools walk a tightrope on many topics. By not permitting toy soldiers on cupcakes at school, no disrespect for our military or for the brave men and women who defend our right to have differences was intended. Our commitment is always to our children and creating a safe place for them to learn, grow and have respectful dialogues about their differences.”