In Loveland, Colorado, school officials at Mary Blair Elementary School have suspended a second grade student for throwing a make believe grenade. That’s right, an invisible, pretend grenade followed by a reported “pshhh” sound. It is the latest in the sheer lunacy of “zero tolerance” policies that continue to be applied in this ridiculous manner because school officials are never disciplined for these decisions (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and and here). For a prior column, click here.
Alex Evans says that he was just playing around with friends when he found himself suspended. He said that the game is called “rescue the world” and threw the imaginary grenade into a box with pretend evil forces inside. “I pretended the box, there’s something shaking in it, and I go ‘pshhh.’” That appears to be a shocking display in a place called “Loveland.” So adults proceeded to throw aside any sense of logic, judgment, or equity and suspended a seven-year-old boy for throwing a pretend grenade.
This type of absurd and abusive action occurs because these school officials know that they will not be held accountable for suspending students but could be blamed for any violation of the rules. The result is that the kids bear the cost of this bureaucratic lunacy.
I could not find any statement from Principal Valerie Lara-Black on her zero tolerance for make believe grenades in the fight against evil in a box. It is not clear if Lara-Black called in a pretend bomb squad to be sure that the pretend grenade in the box of evil was entirely safe.
While her stand leaves most of us entirely incensed, she did give little Alex Evans an important lesson in authoritarian learning.