We have no idea what the context of this event is. One of the girls could have been a witch from Oz. Soapy water is highly corrosive to the flesh of Ozite witches. A bubble gun could be considered a lethal weapon.
What. The hell. A 5-year-old threatening to pretend-kill another kid. Suspended for terror threats. Question: how free are Americans really, if a 5-year-old is labeled a terrorist and punished for dumb kid talk?
As much as I suspect the story was probably something along the lines of what ~scythepuppet suggested, it still seems absolutely crazy to suspend a 5 year old and label her a terrorist threat! A more sensible/sane/not-completely-bloody-ridiculous course of action would maybe have been to talk to the child (or perhaps all the children) and explain why it's not appropriate to joke about shooting people.
Ugh, things like this are what fuel the gun nuts beliefs that the government wants to take away everyone's guns.
I can't really put myself on either side, but it's not much different than Alex Jones going on Piers Morgan and doing his best to look like a raving lunatic. It makes people on the other side scared and allows them to minimize their opposition as a bunch of crazies.
"Pennsylvania went to Obama in the last election, but PA is primarily Republican. The State legislature is 90% Red and the Governor is Red. So this is not a case of "librulz inna norfeast". " Did you ask the school officials who they voted for? They could be hardcore liberal. I just don't get the point of mentioning that. Also this is BS and that school should be ashamed
Lol, yes, millions of adults go on a gun-buying spree and people flip out over a kid with a colourful plastic bubble-blower
This isn't entirely a new phenomena though. Even in Australia - well, my school at least, I remember some teachers discouraged us from activities involving any kind of imagined gun violence. On rainy days the outdoor areas were off limits and students would spend their lunch breaks in class and just do whatever they wanted to pass the time (well, not "whatever they want" but I mean there was stuff to play with, draw, read, etc) and most classes had these plastic connector-cubes that kids would frequently make some crude and colourful guns out of and pretend to shoot each other. That was a no-no And this was a small Australian public school in the 90's
The reason elementary schools are getting so abnormally draconian is because of the pain from the Sandy Hook shooting. That's what I think is pushing school districts into taking such crazy measures. I found suspending the girl uncalled for, but as President Obama said, we can't tolerate this anymore.
Yeah, but if there's any issue at all, it's with the toy manufacturer, not the 5 year-old kid. A pink - bubble blowing - gun. Think about that for a moment. And she was suspended for TALKING about it :/
I've had to deal with shit like this, and it's not fun. If a kid comes to you and tells you that another kid threatened to shoot her, well, you have to ask that kid some fucking questions, don't you? That's not the sort of thing you laugh off as "kids will be kids", because I don't know about you, but I hate getting shot at work.
I'm curious as to whether or not the adults involved in the punishment were aware that the gun was a bubble gun, because the news article and every comment in it appear to have been supplied by the girl's family and attorney who certainly don't have a vested interest in misleading us about the circumstances or specificity of the statement. If you think there's no way the teachers didn't know, bullshit. The average five-year-old doesn't have the wherewithal to defend herself with important clarifying facts like "When I said I was going to shoot someone, I meant with a harmless toy."
So yeah, I'd like to see some contrition from the school here, but at the same time, recognize how there's at very least a chance that they thought they were dealing with a very serious problem, and not overreacting to an otherwise harmless statement.
Did she mention using it? Or did she just say "I'm going to shoot you?" Bear in mind that that most of the articles about this seem to quote the girl's lawyer on the salient details, since the district apparently can't discuss it. Boy, I wonder how reliable his statements to the media are.
So here's how I've reconstructed what happened (I am guessing). She says she's going to shoot her classmate. Her classmate mentions it, reports it, or a teacher just overhears while it's being shared elsewhere. Five-year-olds are not the best paraphrasers, so whatever she actually said, I'm guessing the only detail that was communicated with any clarity was "I'm going to shoot you".
Now, this obviously requires some follow up, because "I'm going to shoot you" is not an okay thing to say, and because it is sadly not outside the realm of possibility that a five-year-old brings a gun to school.
During the follow-up, I doubt very, very much that this five-year-old (now realizing that she's in trouble) is going to capably explain the situation to her teachers. No, odds are she's just going to cry while they try to figure out what the fuck is going on. I don't know what their policy is, but for a situation like this, odds are the school at very least tried to communicate with the parents.
Finally, her parents are filled in. Now, unlike her teachers, her parents know that she has a pink bubble gun, and probably ask her the excellent leading question "Did you mean the pink bubble gun", followed by tearful nodding. Of course that's what she meant, but as I mentioned, there's a decent chance that she never actually communicated this to her teachers.
Exhale noise. So, long story short: the district should probably admit that they done fucked up, relax the punishment, dismiss it from her permanent record. Although what actual effect it would have on her permanent record, for a five-year-old... probably nothing. It's not like she just lost her chance to go to Harvard.
Now, that's my optimistic opinion of what happened. I realize that it's entirely possible that this is a district of fuckwits and bureaucrats, but maybe next time you turn a skeptical eye on the article with eleventy-thousand quotes from an irate family lawyer and one "no comment" from a district rep.
All in all, my point is this: odds are the teachers didn't know she was talking about a pink bubble gun and were reacting to what--as far as they could tell--was one child threatening to commit murder suicide.
Believe it or not, five year olds threaten each other with stunning regularity, kids have been known to bring guns to school--yes, even very young children--and less than a month after the most violent public school massacre in American history it pays to at very least respect that it is a possibility.
Did the school district overreact? Probably, but they probably also have an extremely strict policy about this that makes sense for most of their student body.
It might be because I was only finishing elementary school around the time of the Columbine massacre, or that I now attend a school that had a shooting recently, but I've never thought it 'scandalous' that school buildings of all levels maintain a no guns, real or toy, rule. This case is obviously extreme. As is any case labeling a kindergarten girl a "terrorist threat", which luckily I've never seen in my country.
But I get being strict about it, because there are toy guns that look a hell of a lot more real. Fuck, I remember watching a video a while back of cops who couldn't identify a large number of the fakes from the real guns. This is purely a ridiculous exaggeration of the precaution. Although, and this is another matter all together, it baffles me why the parents are suing.
Lawsuits are not always about monetary issues. In this case, the issue is one of rational versus irrational school policy and overreaction to a harmless comment made by a small child. The punishment in no way, shape or form fits the crime, for the little girl harmed nobody.
I would expect such a lawsuit to have this incident exspunged from the student's records, all participating staff and faculty given ten days suspension without pay. The school district should be forced to conduct a review of all applicable policy and how best to enforce policies set forth by the school district.
And then there is the issue of the formal psychiatric evaluation conducted by a school counselor without the parents' knowledge or consent.
The way I see it, their child is getting irreversibly damaged by taking this to such an extreme level. I know my parents would just let it blow over because I am five in this scenario, and they would want me to forget about it as much as possible. Hell, when I was five a major ice storm left most of my friends in shelters and us stranded at my grandparents for warmth for two weeks and I remember about one day of the entire ordeal and remember it fondly as a fun day with the grandparents -- one could easily make suspension a breeze for a five year old who has no idea what's going on.
But now, she's in the news. And they're going to court. And this is going to follow her way longer than whatever was written in a permanent record in kindergarten would have.
It's still a little concerning that she's then just saying she's going to shoot kids without the ridiculous hot pink toy to prove it's innocent. When I was in high school a girl published a hit list online of all the people in school she wanted to shoot and it caused quite the hysteria.
While it really freaks me out that a kid would say she's going to shoot her friend, especially in the wake of her country's recent elementary school tragedy, that's bull. But like I said, even had she had this neon pink gun on her, this is an insane and horrible exaggeration of a rule I would normally support.
Pointing a gun at someone is a rational cause these days. Just as rational as boys being suspended for wearing baggy jeans (I worked in a school once, it happens) I think this is a case of the media searching for a story like this to try and whip up controversy. It's TWO DAYS. Everyone can get over it. I'm not falling for the media hype.