A 7-year-old was suspended over playing guns with a classmate, using his pencil as the “gun,” and making shooting noises with his mouth, as 7-year-old boys playing guns tend to do. In playing guns the boy ran afoul of his school’s zero-tolerance policy regarding weapons, as Jesse Walker writes for Reason.
Had the boy actually brought a gun to school – even just a toy gun – the consequences would probably have been much worse, rather than just the two days of suspension.
But the suspension itself does send a clear message that zero-tolerance policies can go too far.
After all, the boy apparently obeyed the teacher’s order to stop playing guns, yet was still punished for violating the zero-tolerance policy. Had the boy been much older, say, a teen, and had he brought an actual gun to school, that’s obviously cause for school officials to be concerned, and would have brought down criminal weapons charges.
But suspending a 7-year-old for playing guns with a pencil? That might go a bit too far, in spite of our nation’s recent tragedies involving firearms.