Boy suspended from school for pointing his finger at another student

Because it looked somewhat like a gun. For that, the school suspended him for three days.

I’m trying really hard to understand, but regardless of how this might have been interpreted through the eyes of the teacher and principal, I’m still left with the conclusion that they are out of their collective minds. As kids used to say, “they’re Koo-Koo for Co-Co puffs,” i.e. crazy.

For the average, typical American, the sane response to seeing such behavior by a child would be to ask them to stop and if they do it again explain to them why it is not appropriate.

We are, after all, talking about a 10-year-old. I remember when I was 10. Trouble was not my middle name. It was my alias.

My mother is also a teacher at the private school I attended. She deals with unruly children all the time – I was one of them. It happens.

Let me rephrase this story: The school suspended a child for raising his hand and curling all fingers except his thumb and his index finger and pointing the tip of his index finger at another student while possibly pretending that it was a gun.

Unless I missed something in the story, everyone including the faculty knew it was not a gun and could not suddenly transform into a gun. The child must have known this, too.

The sane, rational thing for a teacher to do is to use it as a teaching moment, perhaps explain why students should not joke about such things or what to do if they ever came across a gun someplace.

The problem is that would be a rational thing to do.

What’s really creep is that the school classified his finger as a “level 2 lookalike firearm.”

That’s right. They have a weapon classification for sections of the human body.

I’m not sure how or why American schools have become so hysterically paranoid about this. Fred Reed at fredoneveverything.net has speculated that it is a part of a war on boys by an education system run by administrators who don’t like boys and don’t understand them and thus see natural behavior as indications of future delinquency and psychological disorders.

In non-crazy land, we call it being a boy.

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a 10-year-old boy, everything looks like a gun.  For someone who does not understand boys, pointing fingers like guns is violent and needs to be remedied with plenty of drugs, therapy, and other emasculating measures until the boy is in touch with his inner psycho.

I was fortunate to have attended a private school until the ninth grade. Otherwise, I’d of been suspended or expelled repeatedly. Until I was seven I wanted to be a cowboy (still do, matter of fact) and everything needed to be shot with cap guns. My father also taught me never to point them at people. When I did not obey, he smashed my cap guns with a sledge hammer. I did not make that mistake again.

I was also blessed with teachers who had common sense and a little bit more of a backbone. When I was in second grade my class did a project on the Oregon Trail. I brought my set of Playmobil figures that included a Conestoga wagon, horses, and men with lever-action rifles and revolvers. As I set it up, one of the girls looked at the tiny guns about the size of a threading needle, screeched, and then screamed to the teacher that I had brought guns to school.

In today’s world, an alarm would have gone off, the entire city would have been put into lock-down, I would have been carted off by a school safety officer in handcuffs, left in the back of a squad car for a few hours to sweat it out, then processed at the local jail and sent to juvenile hall for a decade or so until I came out ready for a life of crime.

Instead, not being a complete idiot, my teacher raised an eyebrow as she glanced at my toys, rolled her eyes, and informed the girl that she needed to quit being a tattle-tale.

As Fred Reed put it, this tattle-telling is really just a form of passive aggressive bullying – and the kid grows up and takes the teacher’s position, where they exact revenge.

He writes:

This is a judgment call, but . . . these people bring to mind the good-goody little girl in third grade, the pasty tattle-tale boy who would run up and say, “Teacher! Ricky made a spitball,” and then watch in triumphant disguised hostility as Ricky got chewed out. They were kids who really didn’t like others, but didn’t have the courage to assert themselves directly.

The teachers who throw kids out for pointing chicken fingers at lunch and saying “bang,” or for drawing GIs (both in fact happened), feel to me like the same kids gotten older. (Incidentally, I expect one day to see a book by a principal, “Fear of Chicken Fingers: A Survivor’s Guide.”)

The solution to the problem isn’t to hire sane teachers or to get rid of the crazy ones. And it isn’t to reform the school systems. An individual has no control over anything. The only answer is to either send them to private school – where the same inane rules may be imported by administrators looking to appear “respectable” – or home-school them yourself. Until we have an entirely privatized education system and get the government out of the classroom, this problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

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