by AWR Hawkins
Friday, April 7, 2017
When Maryland second-grader Joshua Welch was suspended in 2013 for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun, many Americans suspected that so-called “zero tolerance” policies had gone too far. And when Joshua’s father appealed the suspension—hoping Anne Arundel County’s Park Elementary would be forced to expunge the suspension from Joshua’s record—Americans discovered their suspicions were not without merit. An Anne Arundel circuit judge upheld the suspension as “appropriate.”
Joshua was only 7 years old when his suspension caused outrage across the country. But if you thought that was bad, consider the fact that zero-tolerance policies have continued unabated since that time. Two of the most recent victims have been 4-year-old Hunter Jackson and 5-year-old Caitlin Miller, both of whom committed the unforgiveable error of using their imagination in a manner unapproved by the intolerant.
Hunter Jackson was recently suspended for seven days by A Place to Grow, a preschool located in Troy, Ill. His infraction? On March 21, he brought a spent .22 shell casing to school so he could tell his friends about a hunting trip with his grandfather.
Hunter’s mother, Kristy, said she had no idea her son had taken the empty shell casing to school. However, she knew how thrilled he had been to go out with his grandfather, as their time together was also used to learn gun safety.
By the way, Hunter’s grandfather is police officer in Caseyville, Ill.
So here is the scenario: A 4-year-old boy gets to go hunting with his grandfather and also gets to learn valuable lessons on using guns safely. While with his grandfather, Hunter spots a spent .22 shell casing on the ground, picks it up and puts it in his pocket. He then takes it to school so he can share his great stories with friends.