Zero Tolerance On Toy Guns
Posted Jun 25th 2013 | By:
Growing up as a little boy, I grew up with toy guns. Now, the mere mention of a toy gun, drawing of a gun, or even a youngster using their finger and thumb in a 'gun motion' is suddenly wrong. Increasingly this is the new normal.
Suspensions over toys
So your teacher says you can bring brightly colored plastic nerf guns that fired plastic/foam rubber darts to school. Only when you do, you are suspended because it violated the school's zero tolerance policy on having weapons.
This is a slap on the wrist compared to what happened to an 8-year old boy who chewed his pop tart into the shape of a pistol and was promptly run out of school for it. Another eight year old in Virginia was threatened with suspension after using a gun fashioned from his thumb and index finger.
When I was a kid, if you brought a nerf gun to school the teacher kept it in their desk drawer until the end of the school year, and we wished we had pop tarts. It was still impolite to point though.
(Kids cannot even fire bb guns until 18 in Columbus, Ohio. This law even makes it illegal to own a toy gun on threat of a $150 fine)
When a four-year-old girl drew a picture of a gun-like object on a piece of paper at school, her father was arrested. "I'm picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I'm locked up," said Jessie Sansone, a 26-year old law abiding citizen to the news media. Police said there was a complaint from Forest Hills public school that "a firearm was in a residence and children had access to it. We had every concern, based on this information, that children were in danger."
In a similar story, a high school student in Arizona was suspended from school when teachers saw that he had a desktop background on his school issued computer that had an image of an AK-47.
One 11-year old California youngster is making a small fortune selling art in New York City that deals with guns. The budding artist, Charles Gitnick, "wraps toy guns in multicolored tape and then splatters the canvases with paint." While he states that he feels guns should just be in art galleries, at least no one is disciplining him for handling them.
(Growing up as a kid just twenty years ago, things were much different-- and in many cases way cooler)
Ending Toy Guns
(Groups like No Toy Guns.org promote 'Young Peacemaker' awards to kids who do not play with toy guns)
When I was a child, I had an arsenal of silver cap guns that looked like Colt Single Actions, green water pistols that Flash Gordon could have identified with, a bolt-action wooden stocked toy that clicked when I pulled the faux trigger, and a plastic M16 that rattled back and forth on battery power. Well these are on their way out it seems.
In India, there have been large public bonfires of toy guns
Increasingly pressure is being brought to bear on these toys themselves. Not only are fewer models being carried, but also those that are out there are increasingly being targeted as being evil. Recently a San Francisco area elementary school had a 'toy gun buyback' in which 75 youngsters brought their plastic gatts in for prizes and a shot (no pun intended) at a new bike. These buybacks are spreading.
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