It seems the headlines about educators in the United States that are terrified of children’s toys are never going to end. An elementary school principal in Caro, Mich., forced a 9-year-old boy to remove the green toy soldiers he used to decorate birthday cupcakes for his classmates because they are “insensitive” and could promote violence.
When the third-grader arrived at school with the cupcakes, administrators confiscated the toy soldiers and called the child’s mother to inform her that the toys were insensitive following the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Principal Susan Wright released the following statement:
In the climate of recent events in schools we walk a delicate balance in teaching non-violence in our buildings and trying to ensure a safe, peaceful atmosphere. On one hand, there are those who advocate arming teachers, having armed security guards and creating a fortress of defense in our schools. On the other hand, there are those who feel that guns create fear in schools and we need to put solid security measures in place plus practice routines to be prepared in case an emergency should ever occur. Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions.
Recently, a third grade boy brought cupcakes to school with plastic soldiers carrying weapons atop each one. These are toys that were commonplace in the past. However some parents prohibit all guns as toys. In light of that difference, the school offered to replace the soldiers with another item and the soldiers were returned home with the student.
In hindsight, one can always second guess a course of action. Schools walk a tightrope on many topics. By not permitting toy soldiers on cupcakes at school, no disrespect for our military or for the brave men and women who defend our right to have differences was intended. Our commitment is always to our children and creating a safe place for them to learn, grow and have respectful dialogues about their differences.
This is the most recent in a string of stories about school administrators throwing common sense out the window due to knee-jerk gun hysteria that swept across the Nation following the mass shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Last week, a 7-year-old elementary student was suspended for two days after fashioning a deadly firearm out of a breakfast pastry.