Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Little Terrorist in Pennsylvania Threatens Classmate with Bubbles

A terrible terrorist threat was exposed in Pennsylvania recently.

According to a report from ABC News, a girl threatened to shoot her friend. With a Hello Kitty bubble blower. The terrorist is a five year old kindergartener

Is this a dangerous, deadly weapon?
Because the girl and her friend discussed pointing the pink, somewhat gun shaped bubble blowers at each other after school, the the Mount Carmel Area Elementary School  declared the girl was a terrorist threat, suspended her and ordered her into counseling.

The Hello Kitty "weapon" wasn't even on school grounds at the time of the scary incident, according to the ABC report.

The Mount Carmel Area School District told ABC News, “We are confident that much of the information supplied to the media may not be consistent with the facts… The Mount Carmel Area School District takes the well-being and safety of students and staff very seriously.”

In my view, it would have helped the school's credibility if they gave us some hint as to how the information supplied to the media was wrong. Geez, they could have done it without disclosing the name of the kid, if they're worried about student privacy.

If more facts come out, I'll be happy to set the record straight.

But if girl's family's account is true, the school might have  made the girl hate school, distrust adults, confuse her and possibly damage future educational prospects.

I guess it would have been too much work to turn the Great Hello Kitty Bubble Blower Crisis of 2013 into a teachable moment. Something like this, maybe: "You know, toys are fun, bubbles are fun, but just so you know, guns are bad if you don't know how to use them, or use them in a mean way."

Imagine that scenario. A school actually teaching a kid something!

I've railed recently how a few schools let their zero tolerance policy get out of control.

Don't get me wrong: I recognize that most school administrators are pretty sane, level headed and want to educate kids, not be boneheaded scaremongers. And I understand the basic concept of zero tolerance policies often make complete sense.

Zero tolerance, done right, can make schools safer. And my guess is safe schools make a better learning environment. So my wrath is directed only at people who take what is often a good idea - zero tolerance - and act upon it without thinking, without a sense of proportion.  .

Because given the public discourse we witness day in and day out, a little thinking and a sense of proportion would go a long, long way toward making things better.

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