Have you heard the one about the 7-year-old who was suspended from school for trying to save the world? No, it's not a joke. Alex Evans was playing what second graders at his Colorado elementary school call "rescue the world" when he threw an imaginary grenade at an (also imaginary) box of evil forces.
Uh oh. You noticed it, right? The g-word? Alex's mom says he was sent home from Mary Blair Elementary School for breaking a rule against all weapons -- real or imaginary.
The fact that Alex was fighting on the side of good when he dropped the word grenade on the playground hasn't swayed the school administrators who are standing firm on his suspension.
Go ahead and raise your eyebrows. Sadly, Alex and his family aren't alone. In recent weeks we've seen a 6-year-old suspended for pointing his finger at a pal and saying "pow," and a couple of first graders kicked out of school for playing cops and robbers.
It's ridiculous. But it's also happening. Which means that we as parents have a duty to sit our kids down and talk to them about what they should and shouldn't say on the playground.
I made the decision to do it recently after hearing about a 6-year-old who was suspended for saying he wanted to "blow up" his school. I know the kid wasn't going to strap a backpack full of C4 on his back. He's in kindergarten! But I also don't want my kid to be the next kid who says something silly and ends up spending several days home with me.
I sat my 7-year-old down and went over a list of words she better not say inside a school building. Blow up. Shoot. Kill. Knife. Gun.
I felt ridiculous. Not too many years ago we would have accepted that our kids are just kids, that they don't have malicious intentions when they point their fingers at a classmate and say "bang."
Alex Evans certainly wasn't being malicious when he tried to "rescue the world." He was just being a kid.
Unfortunately, our kids aren't allowed to just be kids anymore. And it's up to us to keep them safe from the adults who will twist their childish antics into something darker.
Have you sat your child down and specifically talked about what words they can't say in school?
Image via Brett Jordan/Flickr