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Sunday, February 3, 2013

What Are We Doing To Our Kids?


*steps onto soapbox*

Humans have a tendency to overreact. A lot. It's apparently in our nature. And inevitably, we upset ourselves, our society, our way of life, etc.

These days, our overreacting is hurting our children, who are innocent bystanders in this world. They are now being forced to grow up too soon because of how society works. The shootings in Newtown, CT and terrorism are huge things in America right now. Adults are often afraid because of racial or ethical stereotypes and what they see on the news. Or should I say "news".

If you've seen recent headlines with kindergartners being suspended over childhood items at school, then you know what I'm talking about. Kindergartners are 5 years old. Typically, they don't see the news headlines about the violence in not only our nation, but around the world. They are learning to color inside the lines, how to write their ABC's, how to read, and how to play with others and share. Most parents don't want their little ones to see headlines regarding school shootings, murder investigations, and that the guy who does the voice of Charlie Brown recently got arrested. Parents want to protect their kids from bad things like these. I am not yet a parent, but these things I know.

When a 5th grader gets called a "murderer" by her classmates and school administrators because of a piece of paper that she forgot was in her pocket that somehow resembled a gun (think more of a taser, really), and also gets a suspension, I think our overreacting has gotten way out of control. She's in 5th grade people, she's only 9 or 10 years old. She's fucking innocent. It's a piece of paper. If she had brought a real gun to school, then no, that's not overreacting. But it's a piece of paper that barely resembles a gun. What's she going to do, give someone a paper cut? Give me a fucking break.

This is the gun the girl had that was considered a "terrorist threat".

When a kindergartner is suspended for talking with a friend about shooting each other with a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, I think we're overreacting. First, it's Hello Kitty. It's pink. It looks like a hair dryer. And it blows bubbles. Unless she forces the bubbles down her friends throat, I think the kids are safe. Holy crap, people. Stop and think about this. She's five years old. She doesn't know about the school shootings, doesn't understand the implications behind her words. Because she's five years old. She still believes whole heartily in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause. She still believes that unicorns exist and leprechauns. When I was her age, I would have been made to share it's use, or made sure I had enough for everyone. I wouldn't have been suspended.

Who is a afraid of Hello Kitty?

When a first grader is suspended for making a gun motion with his hand, I think we're overreacting. What's he going to do, poke an eye? OMG, call the cops! Trust me, at six years of age, he's not going to do much else with it. Maybe pick a nose. And eat the booger (hey, he's a boy, it happens). Boys do this sort of thing. They play cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, Harry Potter and Voldemort (I'm sure it's happened somewhere). And in the first two, guns are involved. Hand gestured guns. I remember playing those as kids. In school even. We didn't get in trouble. This little boy now has a record that states, "threatened to shoot a student". With what?! His finger nail? Are you fucking serious?! This little boy was sent to the Principal's office three times in one day for making a cutting motion with his fingers like scissors (WTF?! Don't people know that finger scissors don't cut anything?!) and making "hand gun" gestures. Because the school believes it was a threat of gun violence. He's six years old. He barely understands what a gun is.

 Obviously these adults don't remember Uncle Joey from Full House.

When six year old boys are suspended for making hand gun gestures with their hands while playing cops and robbers, I think we're overreacting. They. Are. Boys. Next you're going to tell them that the mud puddle they want to splash in will blow up and kill them all. Cops and robbers doesn't work as well without the hand gun motions. Besides, it wasn't like one kid was chasing the other with a baseball bat. Just sayin'.

What are we doing to our kids? These little ones will one day run the world. Do you think it's going to help them by forcing a psych evaluation on a 5 year old for her Hello Kitty bubble phase? What about the 5th grader who had been called a murderer over a piece of paper? How will this affect her in the long run? These kids are forced to pay for some random asshole's insanity and trigger happy finger. The kids are not the problem. Their play-acting is not the problem. We adults are the problem. Our propensity for overreacting is the problem. Our lack of healthcare for mental illness is the problem. Loopholes in gun control laws are the problem.

What happened in Newtown was a tragedy through and through. But it wasn't a kid's fault. No child died at the hands of another child in this tragedy. They died because a mentally ill adult had some kind of psychotic break and he wanted to inflict the most pain possible.

A 5 year old wanting to shoot bubbles from a pink bubble blower is not the problem. A 6 year old playing cops and robbers is not the problem. A 10 year old with a piece of paper that could easily be an "L" for all we really know, is not the problem.

The problem is the adults. We're not letting the kids be kids anymore. The world is constantly changing, sometimes for the worse. But kids should always be allowed to be kids. Simply put.

The next time those schools (or any school) have an issue like this, they should make it an educational opportunity. Not a lynching.

*steps off of soapbox*
 

18 comments:

  1. I totally agree J.Day, people have gone freaking nuts in this country. Among the other things my job got on my case about, was that I once said in a twitter comment that kids are like a petri dish, they carry all kinds of germs. THe comment was in regards to somebody who got the flu from her kids, and it was obviously written in a humorous way, but the morons took it seriously, because they do not know what humor is. It is really sad.

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    1. Seriously? Seems a bit harsh to me (the treatment not the statement).

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  2. I agree with you, the whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. What gets me most - and I'm sorry if you don't agree with what I'm about to say, I'm not sure on your stance on guns - is that following the shooting there are still adults all over America that own guns, are proud to own guns, and are wholeheartedly outraged when the suggestion of a change in gun laws is presented to them. So adults - the ones likely to commit such an awful crime - are allowed to play with their real guns and carry on with their lives ignorant to what they actually hold in their hands. Yet a child - who has no access to these real guns and no idea what damage they could do even if they did - are being punished for playing with bubbles and carrying a piece of paper in their pocket. It's completely backwards and absolutely ridiculous, and it makes me very sad and angry x

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    1. It is completely backwards, I agree. I believe in our right to bear arms. Those that I know that own guns are responsible gun owners. In this crazy world, adults seem to be losing their common sense regarding gun responsibility and life in general. Instead, we're punishing kids for being kids. There is no common sense in that.

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  3. The hysteria surrounding some of these incidents is amazing. I also think the media plays a big part in creating the madness.

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    1. The media is definitely a big issue as well. They can make a mountain out of a mole hill faster than you can say "Bob's your Uncle".

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  4. I very much agree.

    But at the risk of sounding radical (and maybe even delusional?), I believe guns should be banned all together. Not just in the USA, but in the entire world. Humanity is centuries old, and we have evolved, and with all the knowledge and psychological/psychiatric understanding we have, we still have not decided that it is better to solve our problems in a non-violent way? What nonsense is that?

    To take it one step further: If we're going to punish children for playing with toy guns, or for otherwise referring to a gun in a playful manner, we're approaching the problem the wrong way. The useless way. Children play games like Cowboys and Indians because it is what they see around them. No child gets born knowing what Cowboys and Indians is. So if we want to reduce violence and if we want to set the right example, we had better start at Hollywood, or the media, or toy stores.

    Not that I would want every movie that shows a gun to disappear. I'm just saying: children learn their behavior from their environment. There is no point in punishing them for something so completely innocent, just because we want to prevent them from becoming mass shooters.

    I'm probably being a little incoherent. What I mean to say is: if the goal is to end the gun violence, then start making changes where it matters. And stop punishing children for being their innocent selves.

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    1. I agree that we are approaching the problem the wrong way. I also agree that by now we should be solving issues in non-violent manners. The trouble is there will always be someone or some group who will believe that violence is the only way to solve anything. The other problem is that law abiding gun owners are the ones who get screwed in most cases. There are loopholes in gun control laws that need to be fixed.

      Either way, our kids are getting the short end of the stick.

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  5. That paper gun thing is absolute insanity. It's nice to see everyone's spending their time suspending innocent children for stupid things instead of focusing on real issues, like how to prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook from ever happening again.

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    1. Exactly! Like a piece of paper or a bubble is really going to do any real harm. However, a mentally ill person could do a lot of harm. Wonder who we should help?

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  6. Zero tolerance has gone crazy. I realize that there is a HUGE issue in this country, but I have to say, as a parent of a child who often said and done the wrong things, A LOT of how things were/are handled has to do with the parents involvement withing the school. I have a VERY good working relationship with all members of school faculty, and so when things happen he was just suspended (seriously in 2nd grade, for 3 days multiple times) VS other more extreme consequences. SO while I would also love to look at these stories and say the administration and rules are crazy, we have no idea if the parents are involved, if there are other issues with these children, or if the school just has their thumbs up their booties.

    All I'm saying is that there may be more to these issues than just what the media's reporting. Because God forbid, the media actually tell us the WHOLE story.

    And on to more important news... Charlie Brown's voice was arrested?

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    1. I saw the headline on Yahoo!, something about a warrant.

      I'm not sure what happened as to why the news is more of a pop culture-fest than actual news? Without bias? And people wondered why I stopped getting cable/dish.

      I wish all parents had such a good relationship with their kids schools as you do. It might change things. However, if people thought before reacting, it might help too. Lots to fix and so many ways to do so. We can only hope for better days.

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  7. You're absolutely right. They started out with good intentions, but "zero tolersnce" policies have become mindless zero-common sense idiocy.

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  8. First let me say that when I read your headline, I said, "Wait a minute! I had a vasecetomy 16 years ago, they aren't my kids!" Then I remembered we haven't had a date, either, and moved on.

    Second, I thank you for properly addressing a subject that I have avoided because it make me angry and makes the world look stupid. Frankly if I had been the child in question, I would have handed it to the accusing party barrel up and said, "Here's your 'L' for LOSER!" Fortunately, most K-gartners aren't as smartass as I am.

    I would really like to do an interview with anyone who thinks these rules are a good idea, first informing them that I will shoot them dead if they use the excuse "it's a zero tolerance policy." Then, I would... hmm? Oh, I'll be back later. They want me at the principal's office for some reason.

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    1. First: LMAO

      Second: You're welcome. I just kept seeing these headlines about these poor kids how the parents have had to fight to reduce the suspensions and to keep these off the kids permanent records. It's maddening!

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