Friday, September 19, 2008

School

What do you think about this note that came home from the elementary school principal this week?

Dear Parent/Guardian,

This letter is to inform you of a situation that occurred today and ask you for your help in preventing future incidents. Today, one of our students brought a toy pistol to school. This toy pistol was brought in the child's backpack and shown to a limited number of students before school started this morning. The situation was brought to the attention of our staff immediately and handled very seriously.

ALthough this situation never put any child or adult in danger, it did remind us all of the need to talk to children about their responsibility in keeping school safe. Please take this opportunity to reinforce with your child that weapons, real ones and toy ones, are not allowed on school grounds. Children, very innocently at times, bring toys to school that you may allow at home but are not appropriate at school. Being very clear about policy with your child will help prevent situations at school that take time away from teaching and learning. Additional information in the handbook
... yadda yadda yadda ...

Thoughts?

And NO, it wasn't my kid. I know that's what you're thinking! : )

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hopefully there was a consequence for this child, whether it was from the parents or the school.

Kate said...

It sounds like an appropriate response to me. Hopefully the kid got in trouble-- not as harsh as actually bringing a gun. Maybe doing a project about gun violence? And to know that s/he is in danger with a toy because the adults won't treat it as such.

As a teacher who has had a real gun passed around in the classroom, I think this is not an overreaction. It's hard to deal with a situation, not knowing if it's a toy or real and being the responsible adult who needs to make the call.

((shudder)) I want to make a comment about safety today, but a kid pulled a knife on me when I was in 1st grade. He was just showing off and trying to scare me, but he and his friend got in big trouble.

March to the Sea said...

i don't see an issue with it. Doesn't call the parents out..and it also says "no toys" just so that knife stuffed inside a doll body gets past the lunch ladies.

seriously..no toys..makes it easier.

Andie said...

I think it's great that they are taking this all seriously.

what's your take?

Kirsten said...

I think it was handled the right way, and would hope that if such an incident were to occur at my son's school, it would be handled the same way.

J... said...

It sucks that our schools have come to this but I suppose that is the only response we can expect from them. It sucks even more that there are a few parents that don't care enough or pay enough attention to their child to know that they are bringing something on school grounds that could get them in serious trouble. The rest of us have to pay the price of the few that just don't follow the rules.

Bina said...

I wonder how old the kid was, and boy or girl? I'm thinking boy (and yes I DID think it was your), but depending on the age, and if the parents never told this kid NOT to do it, he wouldn't know it was bad, right? An older kid (elementary school, right, so tops, 5th grade?) would probably know he wasn't supposed to do it, but...you know how boys are.

Lesson learned I'd say. Well, hopefully anyway.

CelticBuffy said...

At least it was a toy and they informed you. In my son's first grade class last year a kid brought a hunting knife threatened a couple of kids and none of the parents were informed. It came through the grapevine. I knew about it because I worked there. I think the school did well in informing parents.

Mabunny said...

Sounds fairly routine to me... however I do hope the situation was dealt with appropriately, as this NoTolerance policy sometimes goes a bit overboard.

Anonymous said...

My school district that has a zero tolerance weapons policy - even in the elementary grades, and even with regard to toys that look like guns, knives, etc.

Last year, we had 3 10 year olds bring air soft guns to one of our schools, and actually fire pellets at a few kids. This was in the spring, and they were suspended for the rest of the school year and were almost expelled. It wasn't a good situation for anyone involved. Parents weer split on the consequence: some thought they were considered guns, and others considered them toys. The ones who consider them toys let their kids play with them in the neighborhood with NO EYE PROTECTION!! The kids involved were good kids who made a stupid choice to bring their guns to school.

I am glad my district took it seriously, and I am glad your school is, too. It's a good way to be proactive at the beginning of the school year.

Manic Mom said...

I think the kid was maybe in first or second grade and didn't think it was a big deal and I'm sure the parents are upset. I love the way our school handled it by not singling out anyone and just reminding us of the dangers.

The other day when it was raining out and we were at target, a man walked by and Diva did a double-take and turned around very quickly. I asked her what was wrong. She said, "Oh, he's holding an umbrella. I thought he was carrying a rifle."

Now that is a fucked up world we're living in.

So yeah, I think it's right to be cautious about it. I did tell my kids I used to play with guns and pistols and cap guns when I was a kid all the time. We just can't do that anymore. Not with college shootings, high school shootings, fast-food place shootings at random because of some angry fuckers in the world.

There. That's my thought.

Amanda said...

At the risk of being pelted with rotten veg, my Brit take is what do you expect? America is pro-guns, you can't have it all ways saying everyone has the right to carry a gun and then get your knickers in a twist because a kid takes a toy to school. You carry the weapons you carry the responsibility.

I don't think the school over reacted at all. I thought it was very level headed reminding all parents that all toys are requested to stay at home. Completely reasonable.

Michelle said...

Wow. We've had issues at our schools kind of like that where anything somewhat serious means that we get an email blast from the superintendent, which I'm ok with. Other things are sent home in backpacks. You have to address it, and you have to draw a line in the sand. I get that and am good with that -- and with the lack of identification (ditto with the lice cases, etc!).

texasholly said...

Crap. I have a much different opinion on this than I did a few years ago. A few years ago I didn't have 3 boys. Boys make guns out of everything...without encouragement, against discouragement...and usually the ones they make are WAY more dangerous than the ones that you buy. So we have toy guns at home for their own safety. It is sad that a toy gun has to cause such a reaction. A sign of the times. Now I sound old. very old.

Old Annie Oakley said...

Sad state of affairs - but that's life today. Innocence is gone. Remember how much fun cap guns were? The little red rolls you carried in your pockets and that smell! Now we look at them like they're covered in anthrax. And we've no choice. Too many seriously mentally ill kids have tipped the world away from what used to be mere toys to mortal dread. Your school did the right thing. Sigh.....

Amanda said...

Texasholly you make the very good point that has been avoided thus far - boys will be boys, nature will over come nurture every time. Sadly, society won't keep pace and an element of childhood frivolity will be lost if it hasn't been already.

In a similar vein, as a child I played out all day long and turned up when I was hungry, especially in school holidays, kids today don't seem to have that freedom.

Manic Mom said...

Annie Oakley--I LOVED my little cap gun and the smell of that stuff when the caps went off! I had the coolest little cap gun that was like a key chain thingy! LOVED IT!

And yeah Texas Holly-so true--they will make a gun out of a toilet paper roll and a banana peel!

Colorado Writer said...

Glad you got a note. I think it was handled appropriately.

Of course, when our school sends home notes about suspicious vehicles, I freak out and won't let my kids go to the bus stop alone.

Suzanne said...

one word. Homeschool. Just kidding....the comment you left about being in Target is even more telling...what an unfortunate state of affairs, sounds like the school's admin handled the situation just right.

Chris Redding said...

You can still get cap guns at the dollar stores. And the red rolls smell exactly the same.
I found the note home appropriate.
I have two boys and they make guns and lightsabers out of anything so they have the toys, too.
Neither are violent. One is a tween. One is a teen.
cmr

Manic Mom said...

Suzanne--so interesting that you said Homeschool because one of the parents was talking about how inappropriate the note was and my husband suggested a solution and that solution was that they should homeschool if they were unhappy with how the school handled the situation.

Eileen said...

Perception is everything. Crime is actually way down in the US although from the news reports you would never believe it.

Mabunny said...

Hiyas manic! hope you had a great weekend! Hope on over to my 200th post for a FUN contest! hope you know your movies!

Elle Charlie said...

I think it's a good response - I mean, it sounds like they're taking the incident seriously without completely wigging.

Mabunny said...

HEHE Manic, you stumped me, I gotta think about that one movie line you gave me, lol. If not you have to tell me:)

Trish Ryan said...

Was the kid old enough to know that toy guns aren't okay in school, or was he just showing off a new toy he thought was cool?

Four in Costa Rica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Four in Costa Rica said...

(Sorry for reposting this comment, but there was one word I had to change from the original that made a huge difference in what I was trying to say. Oops!) :)

It sounds as though the situation was handled appropriately.

Amanda, if you think the US is pro-guns, come visit me in Costa Rica. My kids see men with rifles daily, here where we live. Security guards carry weapons all over the place--housing developments, shopping centers, restaurants, grocery store parking lots, etc.; it is very common. I think you make a whopper of a generalization in stating that the US is pro-gun, and the letter Manic received reinforces that not all Americans are in favor of gun-toting.

Manic--regarding the comment that parents should homeschool if they are unhappy with the way the school handled the situation ... if the parents are always up in arms (no pun intended!) about the school system without doing anything to improve the system, the homeschool comment might be warranted. That said, I think parents are allowed to have opinions and stand up for what they think is right in the schools without someone suggesting "if you don't like it, homeschool."

This reminds me of some US citizens here in CR who are not happy with the political climate in the States. Instead of trying to effect change, they have chosen to remove themselves from the environment. If they admit they aren't willing to work to improve what bothers them, living elsewhere is not a bad idea. Otherwise, they have the right to stand up for what they believe in and work to improve their community, state, and country. A parallel, on a much grander scale, to the thought of "if you don't like it, homeschool."

Whew, wasn't expecting this thoughtful of a comment at 7:30 on a Tuesday. Ha! :)