When I was a kid, pretending to be a superhero and playing pretend games of good versus evil was an important part of learning the difference between the two. In doing so, there were no real weapons, there were no real people, there was only your imagination.
A seven year old this week was suspended from school for doing just that. Using his imagination.
According to FOX 31 Denver, Alex Evans, a second grader at Mary Blair Elementary School in Loveland, Colorado, was playing with an imaginary box filled with imaginary evil forces in it. He simulated throwing something - seemingly a grenade - into the imaginary box to blow up the evil forces and "rescue the world."
That got Alex Evans suspended. His mother says that she'll be keeping her son home until the matter can be resolved with the school.
“I think that when a child is trying to save the world, I don’t think he should be punished for it,” the mother said.
This is merely the latest in a series of bizarre disciplinary actions taken by schools in recent weeks.
In Alexandria, Virginia, a ten year old boy was arrested on Tuesday for "brandishing a weapon" after he brought a toy gun to school.
In Philadelphia, a fifth grade girl was reprimanded two weeks earlier for bringing a piece of paper to school that resembled the shape of a gun. Her teacher threatened to "call the cops on her" and told the girl she could be arrested. The student's mother has since kept the girl out of school while she tries to move her daughter to another school.
That same week, a Northumberland County, Pennsylvania kindergartner was suspended from school and labeled "a terrorist threat" after making comments about shooting her Hello Kitty bubble gun, which the girl did not even have with her at school at the time. An ordered psychological evaluation later showed the girl to be normal and not considered a threat to others. The family in that case has obtained an attorney and is considering suing the school.
Earlier this month, Montgomery County school district in Maryland suspended a first grade boy for 'threatening to shoot a student' after he made a pointing gesture with his finger, similar to that of a gun. An attorney for the boy's parents, who were outraged by the school's action, insists the boy was playing and not threatening anyone and seeks to have the suspension removed from his record.
Branding young children as violent when their offenses are hardly anything more than simply being kids, much as we all were once, can have long lasting negative effects on these students. Schools risk doing more harm than good with such policies. And parents aren't likely to tolerate it for much longer.
It's time for this madness to stop.