It’s been nearly 10 months since the unimaginable and senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. To this day, parents are rightly fearful every time they send their kids to school. Student safety from outside threats is as important a priority for school systems as anything else in the wake of Sandy Hook, where Adam Lanza took the lives of 20 children and six adult staffers.
Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in response, time and time again, is an alarmingly irrational trend — supposedly justified by student safety concerns — in which grown-ups have gone off the rails. In the process, adults are teaching kids the wrong lessons about personal safety. To wit:
■ In January, a 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl discussed her Hello Kitty bubble gun — it blows soap bubbles everywhere with the flick of a finger, as CNN reported — with a classmate, saying, “I’ll shoot you, you shoot me, and we’ll all play together.” A day later, she landed in the principal’s office and was suspended for 10 days for making a “terroristic threat.”
■ Last month in Virginia Beach, Va., two seventh-grade boys were suspended for the rest of the school year for playing with an airsoft gun in one of their front yards while waiting for their school bus. WAVY-TV reported that a neighbor saw a child shooting the airsoft gun in his front yard, prompting the neighbor to call 911. Principal Matthew Delany said one student near the bus stop was hit by an airsoft pellet, and that the school’s zero-tolerance gun policy extends to private property. In January, the child and his friend will face an additional hearing to determine if outright expulsion is warranted.
■ Last month, an 8-year-old Florida boy was suspended from school for a day for playing cops and robbers, using his finger to simulate a handgun.
■ DailyCaller.com reported last month that a 12-year-old Rhode Island boy was suspended for three days after a gun-replica key chain ornament — slightly larger than a quarter — fell out of his backpack and was picked up and shown around by another student. The boy’s father said the school’s behavioral specialist said his son was lucky he didn’t get suspended for 10 days or even expelled.
■ Two weeks ago, an Orange County, Calif., high school student was forced to change out of her National Rifle Association T-shirt. (The school later apologized to the girl.)
■ Last week, MyFoxPhoenix.com reported a Coolidge, Ariz., police officer who drops off his daughter at her elementary school was asked by the principal to no longer wear his uniform to the school, because other parents were concerned he was carrying a gun. Really? He’s a police officer. On his way to work. In his proper uniform!
These incidents send a powerful message to kids that it’s never OK to have guns anywhere, even in your home, and it’s certainly never OK to carry a gun. This leads to the spread of gun-free zones, which give lunatic shooters the opportunity to inflict massive carnage. It’s past time for school officials and politicians to start using common sense and to understand that the Second Amendment exists to give us the ability to defend ourselves — from intruders in our home or anywhere that law enforcement can’t help us.