Third-grader suspended for drawing soldier, kniufe, gun
March 25, 2001 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Third-grader suspended for drawing soldier, kniufe, gun The teacher said that the students were scared of the drawings....perhaps they should read the article in the current issue of the Guardian which goes into specifics of our new military budget and suggests that the total cost of our military budget is 1/3 of that spent by all of the nations in the world combined.
posted by Postroad (35 comments total)
I would only hope there won't be any state calling. I know a lot of good people, even from Florida.

The whole thing seems so ridiculous it's not even funny. Anyway, I would recommend getting rid of all history books featuring ww2, because there are guns in there, and worse, swastikas. All civics books, they talk about slavery, and there are guns in there too, so, it's not like the school put all those gun amendments in the constitution; newspapers. Ohh, right, burn the library down, there's just way way too much to go into in there - dictionary talks about pedophiles, guns, nazis, sex, communism, tanks, wars and so on and so on. Very disgusting.
posted by tiaka at 8:16 AM on March 25, 2001

What's troubling is that there are an awful lot of kids out there who are drawing the same things. I belive I drew a great many tank battles, etc. In fact, this article makes me recall the first work of art that I was ever really proud of - it was as series of guns, and a big knife laid out on a table. A skull was in the corner, along with a book labled "Secret Plans".

I'm not kidding.

And yet I turned out to be a most non-violent and pacifist minded individual. Makes you wonder.

I think many boys go through a phase like this. They play at "war" or "cowboys & indians" and draw pictures that reflect this. While I'm not sure if this is a good thing, it's certainly been going on for quite some time.
posted by aladfar at 8:48 AM on March 25, 2001

So when are they going to decide that children shouldn't play "hangman" because it's a violent arrangement and might give them ideas?

Weren't most of us playing variations of "war" and "cowboys and indians" at that age? Drawing pictures of weapons on occasion? Hold up your hand if it made you grow up to be a violent, irrational mass-murderer (okay, I'll admit to irrational at times).
posted by NsJen at 9:00 AM on March 25, 2001

What's 3rd grade age? Eight or Nine? (I'm from the UK).

aladfar, your story sounds very familiar. When I was that age, I suspect I was very typical. I played with toy guns. I drew pictures of forts and soldiers. My friends and I ran around the playground 'shooting' each other. As far as I can remember, no-one ever gave us reason to believe we were in the least unusual by playing in such ways.

The only 'real' shooting I've ever done was a little rifle target shooting, when I was at college. I now live in the US and could buy a gun by walking into Walmart with a credit card.

As an adult, I now have no desire to be anywhere near a gun of any kind. If I found myself thinking I needed a gun for 'personal protection', I'd rather move to somewhere I didn't feel like that, than go out and buy one.

Which all proves nothing other than that some US 'educators' seem to have a spectacularly simplistic, cause-and-effect mentality when it comes to children's behavior.
posted by normy at 9:05 AM on March 25, 2001

I am most likely older than most people posting here, so my memories are older. When I was eight I got a Barbie doll for Christmas. (I really wanted the GI Joe my brother got.) So we have a Barbie doll and a GI Joe, so what do we do? We have Joe constantly killing off poor Barbie. We were a strange pair. We grew up and turned out alright. Even after the decapitation of the neighbors Tumbellina.
posted by bjgeiger at 9:18 AM on March 25, 2001

I guess I'm screwed; that PhD in military history is probably going to get me arrested, once I finally get it. . . oh, and I better turn in one of my professors, he drew a Vauban-style fortification on the board as an illustration.

This is just silly, a classic case of over-reaction.
posted by jennaratrix at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2001

sheesh. reason #275 for not putting my child in american public schools.

what an easy time to be a public school administrator. simply make every policy a zero tolerance policy...
posted by wade at 10:00 AM on March 25, 2001

Definitely chicken-little syndrome.

"Paranoia strikes deep... into your heart it will creep..."

Poor kid. Lives in a world full of guns and violence, and when he recognizes that and externalizes it, he gets a bucket of FUD-O-DE-DAY dumped on his head.

Man. When I was twelve, we used to play cowboys and indians in an old field behind the house with toy guns. Heck, our parents even BOUGHT us toy guns, FOR CHRISTMAS! What is the world coming to? I suppose nowadays we'd quickly be surrounded by a SWAT team and escorted to the state capital in chains and vilified in the press. Cool!

It seems like only a few years ago that I was drawing a science-fiction super-gun in 9th grade art class. Frosted the teacher, but hey.... And my friends were drawing jet fighters roaring down and strafing villages on their Air Force book covers. And at college, the ROTC boys showed a film of a jet fighter dropping napalm, and laughed and laughed about what that would do to the "gooks". YEAH!

And just think... in just a few years this lad could be asked to pick up a gun and hunt somebody down with it... of course, it'll be a FOREIGN somebody, probably, so that's okay....

What kind of a world is it where educators have begun to clamp down on depictions of violence? Don't they appreciate our proud heritage? Turkey-shoots and Daisy BB-guns and all? Must definitely be a sign of the end times!
posted by Twang at 10:10 AM on March 25, 2001

normy- students usually enter third grade when they are eight.

I'd love to see the picture- I want to know what a violent arrangement of canteens and first-aid kits looks like.
posted by dogwelder at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2001

Why, oh why, oh why, oh *why* don't people seem to get it that zero-tolerance makes things WORSE rather than better?

I hope they figure out that the cure is worse than the disease pretty soon.
posted by baylink at 11:28 AM on March 25, 2001

I think one of the underlying problems is that most people NOW are afraid of death and don't want to even THINK about it. Way back when (waves vaguely in the past) death was considered more of a direct part of life. (Hell, rhymes like "ring around the rosy" was about the black death, if I remember correctly!) Seems like the more we try to make ourselves "safe" from death, the more it pops up right in our faces. And aggression too, which is also a natural thing (I'm talking creative aggression - even giving birth is an aggressive act - ask any woman who's ever given birth - LOL) - it turns into violence when natural aggression is stifled - the energy just builds UP and KABOOM comes out all at once. There are a lot of 'cultural misconceptions' and fear-based beliefs around death that don't do us ANY good. Anyway...
posted by thunder at 11:31 AM on March 25, 2001

Addendum... if this kid isn't allowed to draw a soldier type arrangement, does that mean that the schools will prevent the army from recruiting for troops within the senior classes or for ROTC? Geesh!
posted by thunder at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2001

This generation of children could be the first generation to be hunted by the thought police, seeing how they will have to internalize every impure thought not allowed by the state.

Here comes big brother
posted by a3matrix at 11:56 AM on March 25, 2001

does that mean that the schools will prevent the army from recruiting for troops within the senior classes or for ROTC?

One can hope...
posted by kindall at 12:19 PM on March 25, 2001

The original version:

"Ring around the rosy
Pockets full of puss
Ashes ashes
We all fall down"

Yes, this is about the bubonic plague. No, it wasn't a nursery rhyme originally.

The first line describes the little pinkish dots one gets upon being afflicted by the plague. Apparently, there were little rings around those dots. Kinda like chicken pox or something like that (yeah, obviously just a teensy-weensy bit worse).

I'm sure you can figure out the rest - basically the verses describe the bubonic plague from affliction to having one's body burnt once one dies. Nice.
posted by ookamaka at 12:43 PM on March 25, 2001

actually, I thought that the line "pocket full of posey" referred to the common practice of carrying nosegays - by breathing in the fragrance of the flowers, people hoped to avoid catching the plague.

posted by rebeccablood at 1:08 PM on March 25, 2001

The girl sitting across from me in the dark fleabag saloon narrowed her eyes. "What does Pedro Tamayo have that you want so much" she asked in a low voice.

No, but really, here's another take on the issue.
posted by rodii at 1:29 PM on March 25, 2001

Bah! Zero Tolerence, I've learned to hate those words. I agree with wade, zero tolerence makes it damn easy to be a school administrator. Its the most retarded way of dealing with things, we could have computers as the administrators with zero telerence, its not like that have to make any tough decisions, everything is black and white. No brain power needed. No human compassion.
posted by bytecode at 1:32 PM on March 25, 2001

...we could have computers as the administrators with zero telerence, its not like they have to make any tough decisions, everything is black and white.

Simpsons quote: Superintendant Chalmers to Principal Skinner and Mrs. Crabapple, "No one would like to celebrate your love more than me, but I'm a public servant, and not allowed to use my own judgment in any way." heh heh.
posted by thunder at 1:44 PM on March 25, 2001

If people weren't so trigger happy when it comes to suing public institutions for perceived liability, then perhaps public officials would be less likely to overreact in cases like this.
posted by holgate at 1:49 PM on March 25, 2001

ROTC?? Sorry I'm from Australia... What the hell is the ROTC and what do they do??
posted by pehtes at 2:21 PM on March 25, 2001

I think that you are right holgate, but what is making people so litigous these days? And what should be done about it? What could be done about it?
posted by donkeymon at 2:23 PM on March 25, 2001

BTW, ROTC is Reserve Officer Training Corps. They recruit people from high schools and colleges in the US and train them to be officers in the military.
posted by donkeymon at 2:28 PM on March 25, 2001

Thanx donkeymon =)
posted by pehtes at 2:48 PM on March 25, 2001

Another Simpsons quote:

Post Office Guy: "The days of the disgruntled postal employee shooting up the place went out with the Macerena . . . "

Principal Skinner: "Well, I'm just glad I work in an elementary school."

Forgive me if I didn't get it exactly correct. It's always been one of my favorite Simpsons moments.
posted by aladfar at 3:00 PM on March 25, 2001

Has society, school administration, and government been pressured by the religious right-wing attention and grabbing socialist/democrat politicians, as well as opportunistic prosecutors and overzealous parents into treating all of our children as criminals until they are adults? Can we possibly be living in such a draconian society that we actually think that zero tolerance is good thing and much needed in today's society?

Perhaps we should resurrect the writings and teachings of Adolph Hitler and save time instead of using tax payer monies to draft more costly legislation.

In fact, history recalls several very, very sucessful zero-tolerance initiatives; Hitler and his exciting new party, the Crucades.. thank god for them, the Spanish Inquisition (and garden party), Atilla the Hun and his marvelous sucess, the inscutable Roman empire, Edward the Confessor, gosh... there is just to many to list!. The list does indeed go on and on. 6000 years of zero tolerance campaigns have evidently taught us nothing. But, indeed history has taught us that these laws are quite nessescary for a government to control society. The most crucial aspect of zero-tolerance is the preservation of the attributes that perpetuates the government iteself and the things it holds as most valuable. Things such as maintaining a society of conforming, tax paying, unquestioningly supportive, constituents who don't mind the laws constantly changing... just enough to keep gov't in business. Most of all, (as bytecode and others pointed out earlier) they don't have to work too much at making those really hard decisions.

Sidenote: Can it be possible that the baby boomer loosers (the vast majority of administration and gov't) actually are on a witch hunt for drug users and non-conformists? The irony of that is fabulously stupifying... I can hardly stand it. Especially considering that most of them are still are protesting (personal responsibility anyway) and smoking dope, way back in the garage, behind the mini-van.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 3:17 PM on March 25, 2001

Here I sit in zero-tolerance land. The home of the Columbine Massacre.

I too got a Barbie doll when I was eight. My brother chewed her 36 DD's off. I was the first one on the block with a Barbie mastectomee. He would also suspend my favorite stuffed animal from the ceiling in a hangman's noose.

Is that why my brother then went on to become a successful attorney?
posted by oracle_femme at 3:25 PM on March 25, 2001

oracle_femme, I may be mistaken, but wasn't the Mastectomee wiped out by the Mohave or the Hualapai in the mid-19th century?
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 4:43 PM on March 25, 2001

Yes, I played war games, D&D, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians. I played violent video games and watched Tom and Jerry and every other "violent" Looney Toons cartoon. And yet, like many others who have commented, I wouldn't hurt a fly unless it was in defense of myself or a victim of violence.

Many kids do these things. They mimic the world around them. Isn't it a failure of the people of the world and not of the children who dramatize them?

Please don't get me wrong. I'm a NOT talking about the shooters from previous incidents. There is a huge difference between drawing a picture of a soldier, playing with a paper gun and shooting up 25 students at a school. The latter is done by disturbed people (children in these cases) who have most likely show severe warning signs for years and years, but have gone unnoticed by their Prozac laden parents.

Playing with toy guns is not a warning sign. Pretending you're a cowboy is not a warning sign. The lack of parental guidance is a huge warning sign.

Of course, all of these arrests and suspensions of the "potential bad seeds" is being fueled by the sensationalistic press. Nothing like the story of the day to make people jump on a bandwagon in hopes of getting a little press. (Oh don't think it didn't go through the mind of the principal at some point. He's now featured in the story.)

One more thing, it surprises me that this happened in Louisiana though. As far as I knew, Louisiana (even Monroe) is the bastion of the NRA. I should know. I grew up there...
posted by fooljay at 5:12 PM on March 25, 2001

The principal says the school "can't tolerate anything that has to do with guns or knives."

I suppose that means recess takes the place of history class, then, eh?
posted by fooljay at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2001

Ha, my sixth grade teacher was especially freaked out by my interests at the time. I spent my free time drawing mostly silly doodles or playing on the Apple II computer. But one particular series of cartoons I drew, titled YIKES!, depicted stick-figures dying a variety of interesting and amusing deaths. She found that to be particularly worrisome, but not quite as worrisome as me bringing my D&D rulebook to class and having fun drawing maps on the hex paper with my friends. "That game is evil and satanic, you know. Does your mother know you have that?"

Thank goodness it didn't get me kicked out of school. Sheesh.
posted by daveadams at 8:24 PM on March 25, 2001

daveadams - But one particular series of cartoons I drew, titled YIKES!, depicted stick-figures dying a variety of interesting and amusing deaths

This guy (or whoever made this site) took that kinda artwork into adult life... Still amusing though ;)
posted by pehtes at 3:46 AM on March 26, 2001

I think one of the underlying problems is that most people NOW are afraid of death and don't want to even THINK about it. Way back when (waves vaguely in the past) death was considered more of a direct part of life.

Oh yeah. Have you ever looked at the New England Primer? For like first graders. Death everywhere. "In the graveyard I see graves shorter there than I" "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" ... now, you could say this is just because they're depressing Calvinists, but they grow up with a real awareness of death (the fact that lots of kids died very young tied into that too). Now, do they talk about death in schools? Do they talk about it in the home? Not until someone you know dies. Hell, do they even talk about it in many churches? These kids don't have a clue what they're doing, all they know of death is from movies and video games, probably.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2001

Things are getting out of hand. The violence must end. Now our own children are drawing pictures depicting violence and weapons. For god sakes he scared the other children! They must have thought he was going to kill them all! He must be dealt with! If he ever draws another violent picture again, lock him up.

We must show him we do not condone violence in any way, ever. Not even in books, tv, movies, or video games. let alone pictues!
posted by SexyParapalegic at 2:03 PM on March 31, 2001

I think you're right, SP. If only we had some way of reading people's thoughts. You know, like a metal detector. If we detected anyone having a violent or inappropriate thought, we could just arrest them on the spot. That would take care of the problem, eh? ;)
posted by fooljay at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2001

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