Six year old suspended for pointing his finger like a gun

momj47(7A)January 3, 2013

Have we totally lost our minds?

This is just getting ridiculous. This is what little boys do. My dear grandson does this every night after he goes to bed - killing aliens playing Star Wars. If he didn't, we'd have been over run by aliens months ago.

They say he'd been spoken to before about similar behavior - threatened to shoot a student. Why was he making this threat - was this other child threatening him? Are they acting out scenes from a favorite video or video game? It takes two six year olds to make a problem like this - did anyone at the school investigate?

A suspension is the least effective solution to this problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

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esh_ga

Suspension is too harsh. What happened to the old fashioned "write this sentence on the blackboard a hundred times"?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:31AM
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ohiomom

As a boomer we played "war" in elementary school on the playground, re-enacting the "great one" ... I did not play cause they guys said I had to be a nurse cause I was "just a girl". :)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:34AM
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chase_gw

On the surface it seems harsh but I wounder if there is a back story with regards to this child's behaviour.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:37AM
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rob333

Ditto Chase. You beat me to it.

__________________________________________
People used to try to give guns to my son. The moment he pointed them at a person or any living creature, they were thrown out. He's finally figured out, target practice with a nerf gun is fun enough not to point them at living creatures, ever. Even then, it took him to about 10 or 11 before he had enough critical thinking to understand the whys. Kids don't need guns. And my son never used his fingers or spoons or anything else pretending it was a gun. I hate abhor despise guns and there is much more to play. Even on screen. Racing games are fun. Puzzles are fun. Grand Theft Auto is not a child's game. It shouldn't even be an adult game, but it's not up to me to decide. It's up to them. Gun safety includes education, at the correct age. Sorry, I disagree that boys are genetically predispositioned to guns, but I do.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:02AM
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ohiomom

I don't know Rob, not disagreeing exactly but I wonder ... I did not buy any toy guns for my son and yet he had a fascination with them, maybe it is more the forbidden makes it attractive? Had a friend who had a gun in every single room, including his bathroom ... I could not let my son alone because he was fascinated with them, would stand there itching to pick one up .. made me very uncomfortable.

He does not own one now, no one in my immediate family does so maybe it was a "phase" shrug

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:10AM
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rob333

Maybe it was a phase. Or the kids around him influenced him? I wish fewer people had a fascination with them, don't you?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:21AM
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mrskjun(9)

As kids we all had Roy Rogers or Hopalong Cassidy six shooters. We played cowboys and Indians and had a ball. My brother was Jr. Champion with his 22, my sister and I both shot skeet as adults. None of us own a gun now, none of us ever became hunters. Unless there is some underlying problem, it was ridiculous to suspend this child for acting like a child.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:23AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

OMom.

You should have chased them with hypodermic needles..LOL

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:31AM
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ohiomom

MrsK I was "Davy Crocket" complete with boots ... wore the boots for my First Communion (even have a pick). Mama was "outraged" but daddy over ruled her :)

Brush puleese you missed my story about "needles" obviously .. the doctor never looked forward to my visits. LOL

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:47AM
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ohiomom

Correction: "First Graduation" from St. Rose of Lima kindergarten class. Fingers fly faster than brain (^_^) when reaching back for memories.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:56AM
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jillinnj

I'm with ohiomom. My son never had a toy gun. Never watched any violent anything on TV. But, when he was very little (maybe 3 or 4), he would make a gun with his fingers. I was very upset by it. DH said he's just being a boy. So, while I hate guns, there may be something to that built in thing, Rob.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:10AM
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rob333

That's that road I don't want to go down jill. It isn't. It's that our culture values guns too much. It's far too acceptable and seen way too much. If it wasn't in front of them, maybe that phase wouldn't exist? I dunno, but I strongly suspect it. We cannot make excuses!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:15AM
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chase_gw

Whew...I was trying to imagine Cowboy Boots as part of a First Communion outfit and it wasn't working! LOL

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:15AM
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ohiomom

Chase "picture this" I played the Virgin Mary when I was 5/6 years old and my mom had so much make up on me I looked like a "hooker" ... gawd I wish I had that pic :)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:22AM
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jillinnj

Rob - I completely agree about guns in our culture. However, they were not in front of my son. We don't have guns. Nobody in my or DH's family has guns. Only friend that has a gun (that I know of) is in law enforcement. He doesn't carry it when off duty. He had never seen a real gun at that point in his short life. Of course, he may have seen one on TV. I'm not sure. He didn't watch anything violent. He didn't even watch cartoons. Yet, he still pretended his fingers were a gun!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:34AM
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momj47(7A)

From his lawyer

What the story does not say is that last year this same child was pushed down in the HALLS of the school by a bigger older child. His arm was broken. He had to have an operation and have a plate inserted into his arm. It took the school 2 weeks to reply to the repeated requests of the parents as to what happened,. This kid has never been a problem. He is skinny, mild and meek. His parents do not own guns. Any prior warning, if there was one was not specific. There was no disruption of class. There is no MCPS list of gestures that will result in suspension. There was no weapon in this case.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:50AM
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labrea_gw

I Had everything Monkey by Remco as did nearly all my friends this was about 1962-63 we were 10 & 11. I had the mortar, bazooka & Helmet we played bang bang shootem up! There was a missle launcher pistols a whole line of killing toys I don't know any of the crowd who were'nt at anti Vitenam war demonstrations from 1968 on! This was also in a city with real live band bang shotem up every day!
None of us wanted to play mafia wars or drug wars childrens fantasies when looked at by adults .....whew!
Theres a loaded mine field!
I also wonder if the kid had been a problem before!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 11:04AM
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rob333

I was speaking of "games" and videos that contain them. Friends play those games even if our sons don't :(

mom, that is dreadful. I am fully saddened by this. Both that he is being punished after being punished and that his mind went to that as the solution. I think he needs someone to hear him. Of course, don't tell the school that. My son went to school with a child who had a list of kids that he wanted to hurt and "dreamed he was shooting them". We asked the school to help him (it was supposed to be anonymous). The result? My son ended up on his list, and I don't think the child ever got help. Instead, he got in "trouble" at home. That's some help-NOT! The place that made him like this was going to help? Bad idea. Counselors should've stepped in to hear him. That wasn't the solution. They contacted his parents. It sounded like he got pushed around before, and certainly did after the incident. Poor boy.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 11:10AM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

I don't know Rob, not disagreeing exactly but I wonder ... I did not buy any toy guns for my son and yet he had a fascination with them, maybe it is more the forbidden makes it attractive?

That's the way it was for me in the beginning. My parents wouldn't even allow toy guns in the house, and when I went to boy scout summer camp, I was ecstatic that we got to go to a small range and shoot single shot .22's. That was the beginning of my love for shooting. It was strange. Once I got into it, and I bought my M1 carbine, I brought it to my parents' house one sunday afternoon to show it to my father, being that it was the weapon he carried in Korea, and as much as he'd professed to dislike firearms of any kind, it was like watching him meet up with an old friend. They still didn't like my "hobby", but they were no longer as vocal about it.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:27PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Oh yeah-- #58

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:29PM
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elvis

Hmm. Remembering--my siblings and I had toy guns, but were taught never to point them at any person (including ourselves). Suicide is a mortal sin anyway, and we were raised Catholic when that meant something, so that would never have been an issue, anyway.

Cowboys and Indians: not allowed to play that. My parents didn't feel right about it. So that was that. My first ambition though, I remember very clearly, was to be a cowgirl--I had a great "rocking" horse in a frame with springs. Man, could I ride! Mom made me a cowgirl outfit, too. Good times.

------------

To the OP: The child needs talking to, not suspension. Ridiculous.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:51PM
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susanilz5(z5 IL)

A 6 year old that points his finger and says BANG or POW is pretty common. My son was a Ninja Mutant Turtle guy complete with cape and jumping off of the furniture yelling COWABUNGA and BANG and pointing a gun finger at his siblings was normal play activity. We did not own guns or condone violence, but kids will be kids. We did teach them that guns are not to be pointed at people and all the right stuff.

Saying "bang" at that age is normal. . A six year old killing an animal or torturing an insect is not.

They should be looking elsewhere for the future sociopaths.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 12:57AM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

A larger context to this story was at the bottom of the article: "The suspension comes as the Maryland State Board of Education is preparing for a final vote in the coming weeks on proposed regulations that would transform the use of out-of-school suspension for minor offenses. The new regulations ban zero-tolerance approaches and require school systems to adopt a rehabilitative philosophy toward discipline, with the goal of limiting suspensions and teaching positive behavior."

Here's a description of "zero tolerance" from a study on its efficacy by the American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force (link below):

"...the term became widely adopted in schools in the early 1990s as a philosophy or policy that mandates the application of predetermined consequences, most often severe and punitive in nature, that are intended to be applied regardless of the gravity of behavior, mitigating circumstances, or situational context. Such policies appear to be relatively widespread in America's schools, although the lack of a single definition of zero tolerance makes it difficult to estimate how prevalent such policies may be."

So, it looks like the wheel is keeping on turning, at least in Maryland, and, no, apparently we haven't TOTALLY lost our minds. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Zero Tolerance study

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:09AM
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fouquieria(10b)

Have we totally lost our minds?

Yes.

Suspension is too harsh. What happened to the old fashioned "write this sentence on the blackboard a hundred times"?

Suspension? Punishment? For what?

"The suspension comes as the Maryland State Board of Education is preparing for a final vote in the coming weeks on proposed regulations that would transform the use of out-of-school suspension for minor offenses. The new regulations ban zero-tolerance approaches and require school systems to adopt a rehabilitative philosophy toward discipline, with the goal of limiting suspensions and teaching positive behavior."

Zero tolerance of something that is probably not specifically written down. I seriously doubt that somewhere in the school's 'zero tolerance' policies that it states something about pointing your finger and going, "bang, bang."

If you are going to have zero tolerance for something, it better be written down. You don't all of a sudden have 'zero tolerance' for something just because it may upset you as an individual...who happens to have power in the school system.

Those proposed regulations better be long and thorough. You can't have 'zero tolerance' on everything/nothing.

-Ron-

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 1:32PM
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lily316(z5PA)

I was telling my kids that when I was in HS, farm boys would drive to school in their pickups with guns in the their gun racks. I don't know if the trucks were locked or the guns were unloaded, but man how times have changed.

My son was never allowed to play with toy guns as a kid and to this day has probably never handled a gun let on owned one. I can't remember if he pointed his finger and "shot" one of his friends back then. Memory is shot.Pun unintended.lol.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 1:49PM
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rosie(Deep South, USA 7A/B)

Did they believe you? Mine seem to have agreed I'm blowing smoke half of the time; the tales of a different world are just too weird.

Hi, Ron. Maryland's proposed new regulations would BAN zero-tolerance approaches, the sort that probably resulted in this child's suspension.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 3:49PM
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rob333

I'm not saying boys don't do that. Duh, of course they do! I'm saying, they don't have to do that. If we don't stop idolizing athleticism and guns, then all they do is idolize sports and guns. Keep it out of the limelight and their interests go other places. I too grew up playing cowboys. I get it. But why do we need that in the role playing rotation? Why not chefs, or engineers, home-makers, magicians, astronauts... why are gun slingers "necessary"?

There may be a reason westerns were so prevalent in the 50s, but you don't see them anymore. Maybe tastes are changing. Maybe, that's a good thing. No one loves John Wayne's swaggering ways with a good looking red head any more than this redhead, but why don't we move on to something better for our boys?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:01PM
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sylviatexas1

I watched Hopalong & The Cisco Kid & Sugarfoot & Laramie & all the rest, too.

I think the westerns were popular because our parents had lived through WWII.

The Westerns were good-vs-evil, & good always won, & it was *clean*.

The bad guy got shot once & fell down dead, & the hero never screamed for his mama as he lay bleeding to death.

I also think we girls loved our bride dolls because so many of our mothers got married in suits or street-length dresses durig the war when there was no time for fancy weddings.

"If we don't stop idolizing athleticism and guns, then all they do is idolize sports and guns.
Keep it out of the limelight and their interests go other places.
I too grew up playing cowboys.
I get it.
But why do we need that in the role playing rotation?
Why not chefs, or engineers, home-makers, magicians, astronauts..."

Amen.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:04AM
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momj47(7A)

School officials in Montgomery County rescinded the suspension of a 6-year-old Silver Spring boy who they said pointed his finger like a gun and said, "Pow," agreeing to clear school records of an incident they had described as a threat "to shoot a student."

Her son, Rodney, a first-grader who likes toy cars and does not know how to spell big words like "suspension," attends Roscoe Nix Elementary School. He was playing and did not intend harm, she said, when he pointed his finger like a gun at a female classmate.

There is debate about whether Rodney said "pow" or the girl did......

Lynch said school administrators brought up the Connecticut tragedy as they discussed the issue with her. She said she thought to herself, "What does Connecticut have to do with my child in Maryland?"

She said her son later asked about Connecticut, not knowing exactly what it was. "We just told him, "It's a state in the country" âÂÂ

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

This post was edited by momj47 on Sat, Jan 5, 13 at 11:51

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 10:19AM
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elvis

Great thread, Mom. Kudos!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 11:33AM
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fancifowl(5Pa)

Our 2 yr old grandson does the finger/gun thing and his parents, nor anyone else knows where he picked it up??
My kuids made the symbol when young also. We never tried tio stop them but they were not allowed to point it at a person. They werent allowed to point sticks or anything pretended as a gun at other people. They grew up with real guns from about age 7, as did my brothers and I and most kids around here.
Our 6 year old gr daughter will receive her 1st .22 on her 7th birthday. She has been taught about guns and what they are used for. She can recite gun safety better than many adults and has been shooting for about a year now.
better that kids learn at a young age, all about guns than left to discover things without proper training in safety. Ya know, stop, dont touch, get an adult kinda stuff.
The penalty for the child, at that school, seems a bit harsh? I dont know all the details but we do know that knee jerk reactions prevail.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 8:05PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

The penalty for the child, at that school, seems a bit harsh?

Agreed. fancifowl-- what's up, mister? Long time no see!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 9:54PM
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fancifowl(5Pa)

Hope yer doin well Bill. Been up to a lot actually. Busier than a cat in a litter box, so to say.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 11:42PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

That's not a bad thing. :-) Good to see you again!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:49AM
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momj47(7A)

A Maryland father is outraged after his six-year-old son and a classmate were suspended for using their fingers to make imaginary guns during a recess game of cops and robbers.

Have we completely lost our minds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:40PM
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mrskjun(9)

I saw that on the news earlier mom! Maybe we are all just going mad and haven't realized it yet.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:47PM
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