Kids get in trouble at school every day. Nothing unusual there.
Getting suspended from school used to be the worst punishment that a kid could get. It was the last resort, reserved for kids who picked fights and were serious offenders.
Today, on a pretty regular basis, you can read stories about a new kind of elementary school hooligan.
Every week or two, there’s a new story of a kid who doesn’t actually bring a weapon to school, or make actual threats toward others, or actually hurts anyone. No, these new playground terrorists get suspended for having a Hello Kitty bubble gun, pointing fingers at playmates while making the ubiquitous “pow” sound of a gun, or even disposing of an imaginary bomb in order to save the world.
Thank God these school administrators are here to save our playgrounds from future Jack Bauers, MacGyvers and Chuck Norrises.
Before you think I’m coming down too hard on principals who have to enforce their “zero tolerance” policies about weapons and violence in an age of school shootings, think about how easy the zero tolerance policy has made the task of suspending kids, and how we are increasingly living in a stark black-and-white world with fewer and fewer shades of gray.