There is a truly bizarre story about of Nebraska where the parents of three-and-a-half year old Hunter Spanjer have been told that their son is violating the school’s policy against guns in school by making his fingers look like a gun. I have previously written (and here) about the lunacy of zero tolerance rules, including the gun drawing and finger gun violations. The difference in this case is that Hunter is deaf and the motion is the sign language for his name which involves crossing his forefinger and index finger and moving his hand up and down. When the situation was explained to Grand Island Public Schools administrators, they came up with a solution that only a bureaucrat would view as reasonable. According to the parents, they were asked to change their son’s sign name. There is now a Facebook page (shown here) to let Hunter keep his name.
If true, this sets a new low in the blind and senseless application of these rules. I still remain amazed by the discipline meted out to kids using finger guns or drawing figures. However, the level of irrationality in this allegation is simply breathtaking.
Administrators in this area seem to relish the absolute application of these rules as if zero tolerance means zero thought. The assumption appears to be that “I cannot get into trouble by being too strict.” The wonderful thing about a policy described as “zero tolerance” is that it can excuse teachers from having to make logical judgments. For anyone to even suggest changing this boy’s signed name shows a complete disinterest in actual facts and equities of the case. Once again, it teaches our students to accept senseless and arbitrary authority — a dangerous lesson for future citizens.