A student in Florence, Arizona was suspended last week because he had a picture of a gun on his computer. The incident is yet another in a long line of ridiculous knee jerk reactions by schools all over the nation in response to the December Sandy Hook shooting.
A local ABC affiliate reported that Daniel McClaine Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School, was turned in to school officials by a teacher who noticed he had saved a picture of an AK-47 as his desktop background on his school lap top.
The school suspended McClaine, citing district policy which states that students are barred from “sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures,” and should refrain from creating, accessing and/or distributing pictures that may be considered “harassing, threatening, or illegal.”
The School District, released the following statement:
Although we cannot specifically discuss student discipline, we can certainly agree that violence in schools is a sensitive and timely issue. Students, parents and staff are on edge, and the daily news delivers more reasons for caution. All of us must work together to protect our kids and to cultivate an environment that is conducive to learning.
McClaine contested his suspension, saying that the image is not threatening.
“This gun wallpaper does not show anything that’s violent. It’s not showing anybody getting shot in any way. It’s just a picture of a gun. It’s nothing — nobody getting shot, nobody getting it pointed at them, it’s nothing,” the student told reporters.
After reporters got hold of the story, the school backed down and allowed McClaine to return to classes earlier than originally planned.
McClaine’s father stated “To me it’s ridiculous. Three days for a picture? It wasn’t like he was standing in front of the school holding the gun. He should have got a warning. He shouldn’t have ever been suspended. Not for something so frivolous.”
This case is far from isolated, as we have seen over the past days and weeks, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. It is now a daily occurrence.
Last week it was reported that a six-year-old kindergartner in South Carolina was suspended for taking a small transparent plastic toy gun to school for a show and tell.
A day earlier we reported on the five-year-old in Massachusetts who faces suspension for building a small toy gun out of lego bricks and play-shooting his classmates.
Also last week, we reported on an incident that erupted when a discussion between two children about a toy nerf gun caused a lockdown and a massive armed police response at two elementary schools in the Bronx.
Earlier this month, a Long Island high school was also placed on lock down for 6 hours in response to a student carrying a toy nerf gun.
Another incident this month saw a five-year-old girl suspended after a three hour grilling, and described as a “terroristic threat”, when she brought a pink bubble gun to school.
Last week, a South Philadelphia elementary student was searched in front of classmates and threatened with arrest after she mistakenly brought a “paper gun” to school.
A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his elementary school in Maryland for making a gun gesture with his hand and saying “pow”.
Days later another two 6-year-olds in Maryland were suspended for pointing their fingers into gun shapes while playing “cops and robbers” with each other.