According to this article an Arizona teen has been suspended for three days this week for making gun threats at school.
Which would seem, prima facie, to be pretty much a slam dunk, right?
Well, not quite. The “threat” was including a sketch of a gun with the home work he turned in.
That’s right - a sketch of a gun. Not of a gun being pointed at people. Not of a gun being fired at anyone. No accompanying words were included with the sketch.
Just a teenaged boy’s quick picture of a gun.
Not only has the school suspended the boy for this, originally for a full week, but they also refuse to talk to anyone about the situation, now. They refuse to let the parents have a copy of the sketch in question.
And what’s particularly vexing to me, is that there has been no psych evaluation of the boy in question. If the school is seriously concerned about the boy making threats, I’d think that the first thing that they’d want to do would be to have a professional see if the boy is capable of violence. Nope. They’re not that worried. They’re just suspending him.
The article also mentions that another boy was suspended at the same time for another sketch, but there are even fewer details about what that might have been.
When I’m trying to be fair, I have to admit that given the school’s recent history I can see why the administration would want to make an example of the next students to be proved to have done anything stupid involving guns. The week before there’d been an apparant scare that a girl had brought a gun to school. And a letter was sent home to let everyone know that future gun threats would be dealt with by a “zero tolerance” policy.
So I can easily imagine a certain adolescent mindset saying, “Hey, Joe, let’s turn in these stupid skecthes and see what happens.”
But I still have a great deal of difficulty imagining a sketch of a gun as something I’d consider a threat. Good grief! What would have happened if they’d turned in a sketch of a warship?
Suspend the kids, if you must, but make it clear you’re doing that because the kids are smartasses who need to be reigned in. I really don’t think that would be a hard sell for anyone who’s dealt with students.
Calling this shit a threat is asinine. And the further behavior of the school - refusing to return messages from the boy’s mother, or from the press, just makes them look even stupider.