Florida Student Reportedly Suspended For Using Finger Gun In Playground Game

220px-gesture_thumb_up_then_down_forefinger_out_like_gun1We have previously followed the suspensions and discipline of students under zero tolerance policies that are used by teachers to justify zero judgment or responsibility. I have long criticized zero tolerance policies that have led to suspensions and arrests of children (here and here and here and here). Here is a prior column on the subject (and here).Children have been suspended or expelled for drawing stick figures or wearing military hats or bringing Legos shaped like guns or even having Danish in the shape of a gun. Despite the public outcry over the completely irrational and abusive application of zero tolerance rules, administrators and teachers continue to apply them blindly. If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. That seems to be the logic out of Harmony, Florida where teachers have suspended eight-year-old Jordan Bennett for using a finger as a play gun. This is only the last of such absurd finger gun cases. In the meantime, a student in Rhode Island was suspended for having a key chain with a tiny gun the size of a quarter on it.

ABFBC26352DC6369D3445976ABEC5_h316_w628_m5_cgGgsLlYpJordan was playing cops and robbers at Harmony Community School in Osceola County when teachers spotted them. Apparently appalled by the image of this standard childhood game, the teachers moved to suspend Jordan for forming his fingers into a gun. The school district declined to respond but said that the game was a clear violation of the code of student conduct. Exactly how bad could a finger gun be? Did he do a pretend mob hit to the back of a head or reload and use and excessive number of pretend rounds?

Regardless of the details, it appears to have been a game in the playground between eight year olds. Surely, even in a place called Harmony, boys play such games. If he went too far, is such a game really a cause for a suspension?

Clearly, we need bumper stickers reading “I’ll give you my finger gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands.”

By the way, here is the picture of that keychain in Rhode Island that led to a seventh grader being suspended:
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What do you think?

36 thoughts on “Florida Student Reportedly Suspended For Using Finger Gun In Playground Game”

  1. This is a major local story because Harmony is in Osceola County, which borders Orange County. Harmony is one of those planned communities created from scratch. It advertises itself as a green community, but who knows. In any event, Harmony has zero tolerance for disharmony, even if of the fantasy variety. The mother of the suspended child has retained counsel and states that she will attend every meeting of the Osceola County School Board until the record of her son’s suspension is expunged.

    Nevertheless, all things considered, I think that I would rather live in Harmony than in The Villages.

    1. “Nevertheless, all things considered, I think that I would rather live in Harmony than in The Villages.”

      Mike A.,

      From what I know of both it’s a close choice, but the Villages would be the loser.

  2. Robin, “Play cowboys and Indians!” How culturally insensitive. Time for a sensitivity training retreat. They are held here in Madison.

  3. why is it that for some reason. i get the impression that not only dont they want our kids to learn. but they (elites) feel that if the kids are allowed to play pretend games such as cowboys and indians they just might get the idea in their head as they get older to start the revolution that will end the tyranny and thats what this is all about. they want to take the idea of guns period out of the minds of the little ones. the only time they are supposed to play with guns is when the military tells them its alright. i have told my family since i was a kid how it makes no sense to me that our kids can go in the military at 17 and be trained to kill but cant go to a club, smoke a cigarette, or have a drink… and no one paid me any mind. that the fruits of ignoring that discrepancy is about us in full form..

  4. The exact words use on his suspension report were that the boy was seen “pointing and shooting invisible guns.” Uh, there are no such things as invisible guns.

  5. When I was in elementary school, the old Disney series Swamp Fox was popular and for weeks on end, we children were acting out the Revolutionary War at recess time. The entire school would be suspended today.

  6. There is some fruit on television every night who rails about guns in America. He has a profound British accent, perhaps East Ender, and he would make a good Principal in this county in Florida. If we did not have guns in our homes at the time of the American Revolution we would still be saluting lords and lassies and saying Hail To The Queen. My brother Jack bought his kid a gun at age 14 and the kid is a good shot. If we have another revolution we might just have some folks around who are capable of bearing arms. Anyway, it is time to arm bears in that county in Florida.

  7. It seems the children should just flip each other off instead, due to less severe punishment.

    When they play army or cowboys and indians they can tag each other with the bird.

    Or, althernately, they can point their little finger up in the air, tagging their opponent with it and declaring (in an English accent) “Spot of Tea, governour?” whereupon his opponent flops to the ground, “dead.”

  8. http://www.clickorlando.com/news/boy-suspended-after-using-finger-as-pretend-gun/-/1637132/22204876/-/hfv59e/-/index.html

    The first comment:

    “Watched an episode of “Leave It To Beaver” not long ago where the Beave was bored because Wally had gone off to camp. At one point he hides behind a bush and as this old lady in her 70’s walks by, he pops up and pretends to shoot her about four times with his finger gun. She just gives him a stern look. Bet if they made that episode today, it would end with the Beave in Juvie, Wally in a foster home, Ward in jail, and June all alone, pacing the kitchen.”

  9. Nanny’s know what’s best for us. I have an arch feminist[well she was, time heals all wounds] chuckle now in life how she had zero tolerance for her sons back in the 70’s vis a’ vis guns. Well, they found sticks, clothespins, etc. and would be shooting @ each other in the back yard. She told me that was a part of some common sense tempering her ideological stance. Common sense has become more valuable than platinum in our nanny, pc, litigious culture. Hopefully it lowers in value as it becomes more plentiful.

  10. In Florida, the land of “stand your ground” and easy gun ownership, doesn’t it seem peculiar that this child is singled out for a pretend gun. Especially, when his father could buy him a real children’s gun to play with. What is wrong with this picture?

  11. If the school staff and school board is that dense, they are too dumb and concrete-minded to be teaching children anything.

    Next thing I suppose they will outlaw those big “We’re #1” foam hands people wave at sporting events, because they are shaped exactly like the “finger gun.”

  12. LOL Jake Mehoff – – When I saw the partial headline in my mailbox, I immediately thought the kid had flipped someone a bird.

    Insanity reigns supreme in parts of this country. (including Congress)

  13. Well class. I mean parents of kids in class. Here is what ya gotta do. Ya go to the school board meeting and you all wear tee shirts with a depiction of the middle finger soley pointed up. Then you ask to be heard and you tell them that if they do not implement a sane policy then you the parents are going to vote three dogs onto the board who will obey direction from rational humans. Flipping the bird has its ways. My brother Jack lives in that county and he will run for office. As for the Principal– flip him the bird, early and often.

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