Nathan Entingh, a 10-year-old boy from Columbus, Ohio, pointed a finger at a fellow classmate and was suspended. Yes, that happened. But this particular fifth-grader was mimicking a gun and pointed it at a fellow student’s head, an act that went against the zero-tolerance policy that the school apparently takes very seriously. Now, I’m all for not promoting gun violence, but doesn’t it seem like the school has taken things too far?
In his suspension letter, the boy’s pointed finger was called a “level 2 lookalike firearm.” These sort of gestures have reportedly been an issue for the school district for a while, with notices being sent home with students as warnings, but this particular 10-year-old threw caution to the wind and did it. He pointed his finger and was suspended.
I have to say, suspending a student for pointing his finger like a gun, a gesture that would physically harm NO ONE, is totally overreacting -- even in an environment of zero-tolerance. Perhaps if the boy had threatened the other child at the same time as pointing a "level 2 lookalike firearm" formation and then stuck his finger in the child's eye, it would be an issue. But he should not be suspended for merely pointing a harmless finger. This punishment does not fit the crime.
Boys have an odd attraction to pretend gun play, something that I never understood and one I don't witness very often since I just have a daughter, but I've seen it plenty of times at the playground. It just seems to be a factor of "boys will be boys" and it is what I would call classic kid behavior. To be suspended for that is totally overkill. A stern talking to or writing on the chalkboard 100 times saying, "I will not pretend my finger is a gun" seems far more appropriate than a suspension.
Do you think that the school overreacted or do you think schools should have a strike zero-tolerance policy?
Image via Bart Mcguire/Flickr