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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Dear School District,

I understand that with the increased number of violent acts occurring on school campuses across the country that it has become necessary to enact a zero-tolerance policy in regards to weapons at school. No weapon of any kind is permitted on school grounds. Nothing that even resembles a weapon is permitted on school grounds. I support this policy. In concept.

Last week, our son was threatened with punitive action for possession of a potential weapon. It seems that Beernut, who has some sensory issues, had unfolded a paper clip; an action he often does to help deal with his anxiety. By doing so, he was informed, he was in possession of an item that could be used to inflict bodily harm on classmates and faculty. The substitute teacher, whose knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders was rather limited, put the fear of God in young Beernut. Not to mention a bit of confusion.

You see, it was in the very same week that Beernut had earned a trip to the treasure chest at school for meeting the behavioural goals established by the school psychologist. And his selection from the school-endorsed treasure chest? A pair of water pistols.

I am struggling to understand a policy that views a paper clip as a weapon and a water pistol as an appropriate reward for good behaviour.

And if it’s not OK for kids to play with something that resembles a gun in your home, why would you think that it’s OK in mine?

Frume Sarah


And many thanks to Jack for covering this week’s Haveil Havalim while I was sick with a nasty case of bronchitis.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunday, 23 January 2011 5:17 pm

    you should send this over to free range parenting.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 24 January 2011 9:42 pm

      Really? I mean, it isn’t as if this came to blows. I didn’t even actually send this letter. It was more for me to work through the frustration. Plus, it led to an interesting follow-up between Beernut and me about how fear can inspire some interesting reactions.

  2. Sunday, 23 January 2011 5:18 pm

    The death of common sense is unfortunately at hand, assuming that the patient hasn’t already died.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 24 January 2011 9:43 pm

      Long gone, I’m afraid.

  3. Sunday, 23 January 2011 6:25 pm

    I can’t believe that Beernut’s school is rewarding kids with squirt guns. How confusing for the kids.
    Now, I personally enjoyed using a squirt gun as a child and so did my kids and none of us have gone one to harm anyone, but the environment is different now. I know that my daughter will not not allow squirt guns in her house.
    There is an elementary school district close to yours that will suspend young kids for bringing anything that resembles a weapon for show and tell. One year several of my first grade students were on in-house suspension for bringing Star Wars toys with tiny guns. They missed valuable instruction time for something that could have been explained in a simple way in five minutes. I finally stopped the run of incidents by just sending the offending toys home with directions that they were not to be at school (and not reporting the contraband to the school office.) Sometimes common sense rules.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 24 January 2011 9:45 pm

      I am not a big water gun fan. But that is nothing new. I didn’t like them as a kid. (Still working through it….).

      That being said, I just found the whole thing to be weird and inconsistent. Beernut’s reaction? “I think the teacher was really overreacting. If someone really wanted to hurt a group of people, a paper clip wouldn’t really do much.”

  4. Sunday, 23 January 2011 8:52 pm

    Refu’ah shelemah to you! I know have something similar…taking sick day on Monday (not a good idea to be around two year olds…).

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 24 January 2011 9:46 pm

      Nope. Especially since they are probably responsible for getting you sick in the first place.

      Refu’ah shleimah to you as well.

  5. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Monday, 24 January 2011 1:34 pm

    Paperclips. Peanuts. Mouthwash (it has alcohol in it….zero tolerance).

    When did zero tolerance turn into zero intelligence?

    We must teach our children the invaluable skill of discernment.

    Soon, they will ban mushrooms from the school cafeteria. You know, because some species
    of the edible fungus are used as recreational drugs…

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Monday, 24 January 2011 9:46 pm


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