Zero tolerance for ‘pastry’ guns? So, just what is this world coming to?
The other day as I was sifting through our local newspaper, I saw a story about a seven year old boy who was recently suspended from school for two days in what the newspaper described as an “apparent gun-shaped food incident.”
No, I’m not making this up—I wish that I was, but sadly, no. This is an actual story coming from my sleepy little smaller town. I have a letter from the school to prove it:
“Dear Parents…there’s been a gun-shaped food incident. And, in accordance with our ‘zero tolerance’ policy for guns…”
I could go on, but it’s really, really sad.
It appears that on Friday of just this past week, seven year old Joshua Welch came to school with all the good intentions any little boy of his age might display. He began his day with a pledge to the flag (as any “good American” may) and then went on to finger paints.
And that’s when the shit got real.
In an act of what could only be described by school administrators as malice and planned murderous intent—Josh picked up his ‘fake’ Peanut Butter and Jelly Toaster Strudel and fashioned it into a gun.
When pressed for comment on this incident, young Josh simply replied, “I didn’t get to finish all my breakfast. So, I’m still kind of hungry.”
Look guys, I’m all for doing everything we can to keep our children safe. Particularly, in the wake of recent gun violence—we all have a sense of this great fear.
And, in living in this great State of Maryland—and subsequently through the 9/11 bombing of our Pentagon as well as the “Beltway Sniper” shootings—I can tell you from my heart, as a parent…as a Mom…I know this fear well.
I remember racing from the airport and to my young children on 9/11 and just as soon as I had realized what was really going on. I’ll never forget the hopelessness and dread in my heart as I made my way to the school. When I was finally able to get my arms firmly around them once again, I literally dropped to my knees and cried.
I had never held something so tight in all of my life as my children on that day.
And, just shortly thereafter the Beltway Sniper shot a little boy at a school down the road.
Yes, I know fear. And I want most for our children to be safe.
But, I also want children to know childhood without such worries—to laugh, to play, to discover…to squish their toes in the mud of life..and to metaphorically ‘wish upon a star.’
In all things there must be balance; I have to believe there is possibility for balance in this, too.
“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela
When I was growing up, my biggest fears included ghosts, thunderstorms, and that creepy guy from Friday the 13th movie. And possibly that jello with all the crap in it.
But now? It seems our children are swimming in fear.
And how can a child fully discover this life when he is afraid to step out that front door?
I have to believe there is just a better way to approach all of this?
And I believe it begins with the common sense in our heads.
Thankfully, at least in Maryland legislators are already drafting a bill to impose a little sense and sensibility into this matter: The Pastry Gun Freedom Act which would protect the rights of kids and their Pop Tarts, and yet still allow school administrators final jurisdiction in matters where the Pop Tart is being ‘brandished’ as a weapon.
Nope, again I couldn’t possibly make any of this stuff up.
But no amount of legislation will ever take the place of giving our kids a good place to live. And no matter how hard you try—you just can’t legislate fear away.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel