I get that people are scared in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, and that schools are trying to do what they can to prevent violence. However, when a 7-year-old gets kicked out of school for packing a pastry that looks like a gun, we have to question if things haven't gotten a little out of control.
It happened last week when Josh Welch of Baltimore was eating his breakfast at Park Elementary School. According to Fox 45, the second grader had a Pop-Tart that he was attempting to eat into a mountain. He didn't quite get it right, and he told WBFF, "It turned out to be a gun kinda."
His teacher didn't see any ambiguity, however. She said it was definitely a gun and that she heard him say "bang bang." So for that, he was immediately sent home and suspended for two days. Oh, and his Pop-Tart was confiscated too.
Talk about an overreaction. Rules are rules, but it seems to me a warning might have been much more appropriate in this case. Even if he was such a clever eater/artist that it did look like a gun, it's a pastry. That's all. And the boy is just 7!
Josh's father agrees it was outrageous and told the station he'd almost call it insanity. "I mean with all the potential issues that could be dealt with at school, real threats, bullies, whatever the real issue is, it's a pastry. Ya know?"
The school won't comment beyond saying a student was suspended for using food "to make inappropriate gestures," but it seems the punishment is much more inappropriate than the offense based on what's being reported. Maybe there's more to the story, but I can't imagine what it would be that would warrant a suspension.
This isn't the first example of over-zealousness we've seen along these lines either. In January we saw a 6-year-old boy get suspended for pointing his finger at a classmate like a gun. Later that month we saw a 5-year-old girl suspended for making a "terrorist threat" with her Hello Kitty bubble gun.
On one hand, it's great that schools are taking threats seriously, but there also has to be some flexibility and common sense used as well. And at least in the case of the Pop-Tart, it seems there wasn't.
Do you think this boy should have been suspended?
Image via oskay/Flickr