*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*