From WCVB-ABC Boston:
PALMER, Mass. –
A Massachusetts kindergartener has been given detention and could be suspended from the bus after bringing a Lego-sized gun to school last week.
WGGB in Springfield reported that the incident happened on an Old Mill Pond Elementary School bus in Palmer last week.
A 6-year-old had the toy gun, which is slightly larger than a quarter, on the bus and it was seen by another student, who alerted the bus driver.
The boy’s mother, Mieke Crane, said her son had to write a letter of apology to the driver, was given detention and could be temporarily suspended from the bus.
“I think they over-reacted totally. I totally do,” Crane told WGGB, adding her son knows guns can be dangerous and are not allowed at school.
The school sent home a letter to parents explaining what happened, stressing no gun was on the bus and there was never any danger.
“(The driver) said he caused quite a disturbance on the bus and that the children were traumatized,” Crane told WGGB.
School officials have not returned WGGB’s requests for comment.
Ordinarily I would worry about stating the obvious, but common sense is apparently lacking in this case. The toy gun was the size of a quarter. George Washington could have brushed his teeth with it.
A child hardly understands the difference between right and wrong. Yet our unfortunate little friend may be suspended from his school bus route for possessing a tiny piece of molded plastic. It happened to be in the shape of an assault rifle. Did the itty-bitty bayonet and teensie-weensie forward grip increase the severity of his offense? Did the minute magazine hold too many imaginary rounds?
I frankly question the judgement of educators and school officials who would punish such a young child so severely for breaking a rule he may not be old enough to understand or put into context. Never mind that it is a stupid one. Children should be taught to understand and respect guns, not fear them.
When I was 6 years old, robots and aliens and fighter jets and spacecraft did glorious battle in the wide expanses of my imagination. I did not understand the horrors of war or mundane practicalities of marksmanship. I understood that explosions and technology and space and adventure were exciting.
G.K. Chesterton once said the world will never perish for lack of wonders, but for lack of wonder. If adults allow their own fears and concerns to complicate the lives of children in this manner, they risk squelching an entire generation’s sense of wonder. Context and hard lessons can come later. Six-year-old children should not be burdened so quickly with the ugliness of a confused world.