We ought to be used to the stories by now — “Student suspended for toy gun”; “Boy Scout tool nets student suspension”; “Tweety Bird key chain cause for expulsion.” Still, when we read of a fourth grade student being hauled into a school prinicipal’s office because his LEGO policeman figure is carrying a two-inch long plastic rifle, it is hard to resist the urge to pull at one’s hair in reaction to the sheer idiocacy of the adults who do such things. This latest example of a grown-up appearing to be a simpleton in front of a child, took place at Public School 52 in Staten Island, NY.
According to a spokesman for the school system, Principal Evelyn Matroianni was simply following the Staten Island school system’s “no tolerance” policy that prohibits all “weapons” at the school, when she hauled the 9-year old into her office and called his parents.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a “weapon” to be “something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy.” Now, I know we have become in many respects a people afraid of our own shadows, but if Ms. Matroianni considers that a two-inch long plastic rifle held by a three-inch tall LEGO police figure will “injure, defeat, or destroy” someone or something, then this is definitely not the sort of adult I would want teaching my children or grandchildren anything. This is a person so afraid of the world around her that she probably leaves her bedroom light on at night to help scare away the boogey man hiding under her bed. Perhaps she holds down a second job at TSA.