Call it a case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing. LU is in exclusive receipt of an email from the outraged parent of a kindergartner in a South Carolina public school who is the latest victim of Overreactive Non-Weapon Syndrome — a condition that has been gripping the nation’s schools ever since the Newtown shootings.
The parent, Wallace L. Boone, Jr., writes that on March 26 his 6-year-old son was quietly drawing at an afterschool program at Round Top Elementary School, in Blythewood, S.C., when the bottom unexpectedly fell out. The child had just completed a “picture of two laser guns firing lasers (red vs. blue) at no specific target” when the program director confiscated the drawing and crumpled it in the boy’s face.
Boone, who had come to pick up his son, entered the room just in time to share the administrator’s tongue lashing. The director admonished both parent and child that the drawing was a violation of the school’s zero-tolerance policy. “I didn’t write him up this time,’ the director reassured Boone, “but he can’t be drawing these pictures.”
The director’s reaction, while over-the-top, is hardly unique. Yet, there is one facet to the story that sets it apart from similar accounts of recent weeks. The drawing that the child made was based on the “Star Wars Thumb Doodle” book, which provides explicit instruction on how to draw “light sabers” and lasers. And where did the boy acquire this recipe for future acts of violence? At a book fair sponsored by — you guessed it! — Round Top Elementary School.
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If the school is going to adopt a hard line on depictions of violence, then administrators and teachers bear some responsibility for screening materials brought onto campus that are intended to end up in the hands of its impressionable young charges. Otherwise when 6-year-olds who buy “Star Wars Thumb Doodle” books grow up to be mass murderers, the blood will be on the school’s hands.
Wallace Boone wrote to the to the South Carolina Department of Education to express his concerns over the incident. He received a response from Wanda A. Davis, Ombudsman, who explained:
South Carolina Code of Laws Ann. § 59-63-210, establishes grounds for which school trustees may expel, suspend, or transfer pupils. Section 59-63-210 (A) states ‘any district board of trustees may authorize or order the expulsion, suspension or transfer of any pupil for the commission of any crime, gross immorality, gross misbehavior, persistent disobedience, or for a violation of written rules and regulations established by the district board, county board, or the State Board of Education, or when the presence of the pupil is detrimental to the best interest of the school.’ …
Davis never said which of these malevolent acts Boone’s child was guilty of but did express her hope that Boone is “able to resolve this issue in a positive and timely manner and in the best interest of your son’s continued public education at Round Top Elementary.” One might also hope that the child’s continued public education doesn’t include having to learn further lessons in how to suffer fools
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