Boy Playing Marine vs Bad Guy Suspended for Pencil & “Gun Noises”

A second-grader in Suffolk, VA was suspended from his elementary school for two days for pointing a pencil at a classmate while making “gun noises.” What the heck is a “gun noise?” Was this a seven-year-old going “pew pew pew” or “bang bang bang” or what? His father is a marine vet and the boy was pretending to be a marine and his friend was pretending to be a “bad guy.” Basically this kid was suspended for playing Cowboys vs Indians.

But Bethanne Bradshaw, Suffolk Public Schools spokesperson, said other students might find the 7-year-old’s pencil gun threatening, given recent school shootings.

“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,” Bradshaw said. “Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”

[P]aul says the school didn’t need to suspend his son for two days, particularly since, as noted in his suspension notice, Christopher stopped as soon as the teacher asked him to.

So two boys are playing Marine vs Bad Guy, the teacher asks them to stop, and they end the game. Essentially this district’s zero tolerance policy on weapons led to suspending a seven-year-old for playing a game and listening to his teacher when she asked him to stop. These absurd stories keep popping up from all over the country and, if anything, they demonstrate when concepts are stretched so far that they cross the border into irrationality.