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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:18 PM
Original message
A rant on boys with toy guns and zero-tolerance school policies.
How we are setting boys up for future failure

This topic came up in another discussion and I thought the topic would be better served in its own thread.

Im writing the following from my own boyhood and adult perspective. I grew up in the late 80s early 90s, so my high-school, middle-school and elementary school life was pre-Columbine.

I remember in my pre-teen and teenage years, playing war, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians (I always loved being the Indian), pirates, tag, dodge ball (I sucked at it), fireman, etc I grew up ok. Sure no-one is perfect, but overall I am a very kind and social individual. I have no fantasies of world domination, or a compelling need to wipe out a mall full of people with a machine gun. There are 100 million men in this country. Im sure that a vast majority played the exact same games as I did. I am also sure that they are well adjusted adults as well. But those are just feelings.

I grew up with other boys who all played those same games with me. None of which turned to a life of crime. The same could be said for the tens of millions of other boys that played the exact same games. But for some reason there are those in todays day and age that feel that we need to suppress this type of activity and behavior in our young boys. Why? Well, several reasons and all seem well and good on paper, but I dont think our school systems nor have some parents thought out the impact it can have on our young boys. I have been reading on the topic for quite some time and there are several authors who Im sure could elaborate on the impact far better than I ever could.

There are several factors at work right now in America that are working towards insuring that young boys are being setup to fail in their adult life. Now Im sure that there are some who would exclaim Good, its about time that women get ahead in this society. I dont disagree with this sentiment, but I dont think that anyone should be ahead of someone else at the expense of others. "I am not interested in a debate about gender politics left over from the late 70s. Yes, the struggle for equal rights for women continues and is quite real. There is so much work yet to be done, particularly when it comes to equality in the workplace. Yes, there need to be more women in computer fields and more women in board rooms and in Congress. But we don't get there by ignoring the very real struggles of young boys."

These activities are not acts of violence. They are behaviors. Boys dont just play with guns, there has to be a reason why, which I will elaborate on.

One question I would like to ask of those who do not allow toy-guns, playing war, cops and robbers, etc Is why are you doing that? Do these games somehow corrupt our young boys? Do you view these toys as encouraging aggressive behavior and violent attitudes? Do you see them as reinforcing gender stereotypes, with boys playing with guns or swords and girls playing with dolls or cooking sets?

To those questions I would add more questions. When was the last time you really, REALLY watched a group of boys playing some form of war? For those of you who did it as a young child, I would like you to think back. In all the war games we played, how much energy was expressed in the bloody carnage and the death and destruction? How important was the gun? Now ask yourself how much of the focus of these games was on the drama? The Oscar nominated, over-elaborate death scenes, or the hero tossing himself on the live grenade, or taking an arrow to the chest so that others may live? How many times did you hear the statement "Go on without me!" or "Save yourselves!"? How often did they go on without you? How often did they save themselves? How much of the game revolved around children, using their imaginations to model notions of courage and sacrifice? Were we just trying to experience the emotions at the extremes of human conduct: facing and overcoming fear to remain faithful to our fellow soldiers, cowboys, Indians, pirates, etc? How much of this pretend war was simply just the timeless theme of the struggle between good and evil in the face of overwhelming odds and certain death? Looking back now, I realize that we were not playing war, we were playing hero.

Everyone by the end of the day had at minimum, 4 purple hearts, a bronze star, and a company commendation. How many times during the playing of this war, were our toy guns pointed at each other? I can vividly remember where a group of 8 of us took on an imaginary army of no less than 500 enemies. How many times in playing can you remember pulling a comrade from the battlefield, to give them medical attention so that they could get back in the war? Again we were just playing hero.

But what happens when we suppress these behaviors in young boys? In todays day and age, we are suppressing natural behaviors inherent in boys. We stopped keeping scores at little league games so our little snowflakes dont know the horrors of losing. Everybody is a winner. We dont allow kids to play tag in school. Because God forbid little Johnny has to know what it is like to be out. Hell, in some schools running is forbidden on the playground.

Suppressing these behaviors is just a small piece in a bigger puzzle. The outcome of which is that our young boys are being setup for failure. Not only are we suppressing their inherent behaviors by not letting our young boys play and express themselves in ways they feel are natural, we are basically telling them that how they feel is wrong. We give them the impression that they are somehow lesser people because we demonize their behavior. So not only are we suppressing them at school, we are also suppressing them at home and on the playground. So basically, nowhere is it ok for boys to just be boys.

So what are the outcomes?
Boys get expelled from preschool at four times the rates of girls. They are prescribed the lion's share of ADHD medication, they get most of the C's and D's in middle school, and they drop out of high school more than girls. Currently, only 43% of undergraduates in the United States are men.
Let boys be boys by simply letting them engage in the aggressive fantasies that come to them naturally.
We might see them as doing something potentially dangerous. But actually what they're doing is playing around with ideas of courage and valor, good versus evil, and teamwork. These are ideas we want to inculcate in our culture.
Peg Tyre The trouble with boys

Let's examine the way our child rearing and our schools have evolved in the last 10 years. Then ask ourselves this challenging question: could some of those changes we have embraced in our families, our communities and our schools be driving our sons crazy?
Instead of unstructured free play, parents now schedule their kids' time from dawn till dusk (and sometimes beyond.) By age 4, an ever-increasing number of children are enrolled in preschool. There, instead of learning to get along with other kids, hold a crayon and play Duck, Duck, Goose, children barely out of diapers are asked to fill out work sheets, learn computation or study Mandarin. The drumbeat for early academics gets even louder when they enter "real" school. Veteran teachers will tell you that first graders are now routinely expected to master a curriculum that, only 15 years ago, would have been considered appropriate for second, even third graders. The way we teach children has changed, too. In many communities, elementary schools have become test-prep factorieswhere standardized testing begins in kindergarten and "teaching to the test" is considered a virtue. At the same time, recess is being pushed aside in order to provide extra time for reading and math drills. So is history and opportunities for hands-on activitieslike science labs and art. Active play is increasingly frowned onsome schools have even banned recess and tag. In the wake of school shootings like the tragedy at Virginia Tech, kids who stretch out a pointer finger, bend their thumb and shout "pow!" are regarded with suspicion and not a little fear.
Our expectations for our children have been ramped up but the psychological and physical development of our children has remained about the same. Some kids are thriving in the changing world. But many aren't. What parents and teachers seeand what this government study now showsis that the ones who can't handle it are disproportionately boys.
But when nearly one in five boys has such serious behavioral and emotional issues that their parents are talking it over with their pediatrician, you can bet we are facing a problem that requires a more fundamental change in our society than medication or weekly therapy. Let's take a moment, before the school year gets any farther underway, and ask ourselves whether we are raising and educating our boys in a way that respects their natural development. And if we are not, let's figure out how we can bring our family life and our schools back into line.

Peg Tyre: Newsweek, Sept. 8, 2008


If you would like to do your own homework here is some interesting reading If youre interested:
http://pegtyre.com/pdfs/wilmette_study.pdf
http://pegtyre.com/pdfs/Kleinfel.pdf
http://pegtyre.com/pdfs/amcounciled06.pdf
and...
http://www.whyboysfail.com/

And, if you dont agree with a damn thing I said or quoted from Peg Tyre, and would like an opposing viewpoint

http://www.educationsector.org/research/research_show.htm?doc_id=378705
http://www.aauw.org/research/WhereGirlsAre.cfm
http://fray.slate.com/id/2173028/

But just remember. We are/were just boys. We enjoy using our imagination. We enjoy expressing ourselves. We do it differently from girls. Dont demonize us for just being ourselves, use our imaginations and foster them. Dont suppress them. Men are not bad, nor are we the root of all evil. We are close, but not the root.

Thank you Im gonna go outside and build a fort. I hear the aliens are invading earth tonight.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. Just for the record, I work for a school district.
And if we expelled every boy that held his fingers like a gun and went "pow!", we'd be 50% lighter.

I don't know what those idiots were thinking.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. A couple of things...
"I work for a school district." Tough job... I applaud that.

There are many idiots out there... They are spreading.

In New Jersey, an 8-year-old boy used an L-shaped piece of paper in a game of cops and robbers during recess. School officials called the police, saying the child had threatened "to kill other students" by saying "pow pow" on the playground. He was held for five hours and forced to make two court appearances before charges were dropped.

Also in New Jersey Two 8-year-old boys were charged with making "terrorist threats" after they were found pointing paper guns at classmates. Charges were later dropped.

In Texas, a 13-year-old girl was suspended and transferred to a school for problem kids after she brought a butter knife to school with her lunch. Her parents had packed the dull knife so that she could cut her apple to make it easier to eat because she wore braces.

In Arkansas, an 8-year-old boy was punished for pointing a cooked chicken strip at another student and saying "pow, pow, pow."

In Georgia, a 5-year-old student was suspended after he brought a plastic gun the size of a quarter to his kindergarten class.

In Florida, two 10-year-olds were arrested after drawing stick figures considered to be threatening.

Nevada, teachers tried unsuccessfully to expel a boy for drawing a cartoon of the death of his teacher.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. What can I say?
There are almost 100,000 schools in the country. I have control of 17.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Baby Steps...
Has your district given consideration of segregating boys and girls classes?

I know that there were a few studies not too long ago that found that it was beneficial to both. Grades, attendance and participation increased where the girls were taught one way and the boys the other. If I dig I could probably find the study.
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. We have one school that does that.
But parents have to want it. I work for them, keep in mind.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. Understood.
In that school, does it seem to be working?
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. Well, it's better than it WAS.
But it's hard to say it's because of the splitting. The school also has much better leadership overall - how to separate the two?

A few years ago, that school was on the brink of meltdown. We had a community meeting where we closed the school for two weeks, retooled the leadership and reopened with new rules. Lost a lot of kids, but overall, it was the start of something much better. We now have pretty strict uniforms, a much better curriculum, leadership, etc. So I can say the school is working now - test scores are way up. But it's been a long, hard row to hoe.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. That is why we experiment.
I'm glad you had the freedom to try something new.

Good luck.
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. I disagree. It is more natural for the sexes to be together than apart.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. But they do have huge learning differences...
Some of the literature argues that the curriculum has become feminized to the detriment of boys learning while other literature suggests that the curriculum may reinforce popular gender stereotypes to the detriment of girls. Both views raise interesting points.

Evidence of bias against boys suggested in the literature is over-medication, trend against individual competition and toward teams discouraging the ways in which boys learn, publishers failure to publish and schools failure to provide books for boys such as action and adventure literature, lack of male teachers, decline in recess, and little outlet for boyish energy.

Evidence of bias against girls includes such items as lack of attention to educational achievement in certain subject areas, lack of attention to career aspirations, lack of literature with more positive role models, lack of co-ed teams for talented female athletes especially at the younger grades, and lack of encouragement to explore non-traditional areas of interest such as in math, science, engineering, and computer science.

There is another trend of thought that opines the reason girls have nearly caught up to boys in math and science because educators are using more verbal functional-reading and written analysis-to teach such spatial-mechanical subjects as math, science, and computer science. This literature calls for a new movement to change classrooms to better deal with boys learning patterns. (Gurian and Stevens, With Boys and Girls in Mind, Educational Leadership, November 2004; citing Rubin, 2004 and Sommers, 2000)

Quoted from http://pegtyre.com/pdfs/wilmette_study.pdf (page 18)

There have been studies recently that show how both sexes benefit from being separated. Some school districts are trying it out. The school is coed, and the students to intermingle. But their classes are segragated to study the benefit. So far both boys and girls are improving.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. One problem is the disappearance of men
from elementary schools.

There are many schools where the only males are ther custodians.

That's tough for role maodeling, especially in inner cityt neighborhoods where there are few dads in the home to begin with.

Another problem of course is zero tolerance.

Another problem is the different learning styles of boys and girls. If you have all women teachers, they're naturally going to gravitate toward the teaching style they, and girls do best under. Too bad for the boys.

The statistics are showing up everywhere of just how badly boys are doing in society, and yet the new exciting program will be how do we get girls to major more in math, or science or whetever. Never mind girls are already 57 % of all college students.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Abolutely...
"That's tough for role modeling, especially in inner city neighborhoods where there are few dads in the home to begin with."
It's not just the inner city. With divorce rates as high as they are, over 40% of children are raised without fathers.
http://www.boysproject.net/papers/The_State_of_American_Manhood.pdf (Page 13 outlines the numbers)

Notice also, how the incarceration rates increase with the same decline of father figures... Page 19.

The problems run much deeper than playing war... I know this. There are many, many areas where there are shortfalls.
Some interesting comparisons... http://www.postsecondary.org/archives/previous/ForEvery100Girls.pdf

"One problem is the disappearance of men from elementary schools. There are many schools where the only males are their custodians."
This is a difficult one to answer. There are several factors, but I can tell you that if given the opportunity, I would not teach elementary school. In America, as well as other developed nations, we do not trust men with our children. Think about this question. Why would a grown man want to surround himself by elementary school ages children? The answer is usually that he is a sexual predator. So all men in that position are placed under more scrutiny than women. Quote from a teacher. "As a male, you feel that personal contact is questioned more closely than if you were female," referring to the times he hugs and dresses children and deals with bathroom accidents. "You do not feel as comfortable as female teachers do. You are always aware that the way you interact with the kids is scrutinized. Females have an easier time handling these situations because they are accepted as natural caregivers, whereas men aren't."
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. Those punishments are beyond excessive
Simple detention would suffice. I wish teachers would crack down on bullies as hard as they do on kids wielding cooked chicken strips. :eyes:
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Newest Reality Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences!
So, you are starting to see it, too. You put it into perspective well and sound a voice of reason.

We currently can have two, aggressive invasions/occupations, but little boy behavior is a problem? Many of us boys played all the games you mentioned and many that I know, including myself grew-up to be pacifist and genteel, kind and considerate. Playing is playing and we seemed to figure out the difference.

Well, I am not going to add anymore of my own perspective because the result will be like asking for a pounding publicly.

Not that I agree with everything Henry Makow says and thinks, he has some views, (mixed with a lot of nostalgic romanticism) and information that point out what the problem might be. Let's say it is a question of balance.
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
7. In our society we have been conditioned from cradle to grave
to fight, what you see in play is imitation that has been observed and also learned from others and yes this is "natural". When you take away a toy gun the child will use a stick or their fingers. But I believe a more "natural" behavior would be hunter gather if not for our conditioning them to fight.
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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
8. great post. k & R. /nt
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
9. I played with toy guns as a little girl
A lot of girls play with toy weapons, and a lot of adult gun owners are female. Though I don't have the statistics, it's safe to assume these female gun owners aren't going to be reluctant to teach their daughters to use guns responsibly.

"Why boys fail" has nothing to do with Peg Tyre's theory. (Citing this one person as a source over and over again is hardly convincing. Sorry.) They fail because their fathers don't act as good role models--if they're even there for their sons at all. Boys fail because of economic and social problems that lead them into lives of crime. (Who needs fantasy gunplay, when you can get real guns illegally?)

You've failed to understand the main reason toy guns are banned in schools: So they won't be mistaken for real guns. You've also failed to mention that toy knives and pocketknives are also banned in schools.

Finally, just because a toy is banned in schools does not mean kids can't play with them at home, or at a friend's house. School recess is only a very small part of any child's day. No child, boy or girl, is going to be traumatized by not playing with a specific toy for a few hours each day.

Or, if a child is traumatized by such a thing, he/she has problems that extend far beyond anything that can be solved by fantasy play.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Were you a cop or robber?
"Citing this one person as a source over and over again is hardly convincing. Sorry"
She is hardly the reason that I have the opinion that I do. My opinion was formed after reading several books on the topic, however hers is most fresh in my mind as I read it last. Not to mention she put about 5 years of research into her book. She was quite thorough and seemed to cover all bases, of interviewing and researching with psychologists, educators, etc... Therefore I did give her a heavier amount of weight when forming my opinion. Her book "The Trouble with Boys" hits on education and failures therein.

http://www.boysproject.net/papers/The_State_of_American_Manhood.pdf, hits on you point of economic and social problems. But it is not so cut and dry. Boys are failing at all levels of poverty and prosperity.

Some other Books:
Men to Boys
Guyland
Save the Males

All of these books touch on many different factors of why boys are falling behind.

As far as playing with toy guns as a girl, I also played with the kitchen set that my friends sister had. She would play our war games with us. She always wanted to be a robber. We actually nick-named her "Bonnie". I think her brother still calls her that.

"Finally, just because a toy is banned in schools does not mean kids can't play with them at home, or at a friend's house. School recess is only a very small part of any child's day. No child, boy or girl, is going to be traumatized by not playing with a specific toy for a few hours each day."
The problem is that more and more parents are not allowing their children to exhibit this type of behavior. It is being suppressed to a level I feel is unhealthy. But that is just my feeling.
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TPaine7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. Interesting counter, but I think you oversimplify
Edited on Mon Mar-15-10 07:52 PM by TPaine7
You've failed to understand the main reason toy guns are banned in schools: So they won't be mistaken for real guns. You've also failed to mention that toy knives and pocketknives are also banned in schools.

Chicken strips and "L" shaped pieces of paper cannot reasonably be mistaken for guns. Either that, or legally blind teachers need to let their sighted counterparts make all of the gun safety calls.

I do think that America tends to sactimonious extremes. We impress upon our kids that sex and violence are bad. Period. A more sane approach is to teach them that UNPRINCIPLED sex and violence are bad, and an unhealthy obsession with sex or violence can destroy one's life.

Principled violence is a very good thing, and not only when engaged in by "authorities." It used to be celebrated as heroism.

Now children grow up hearing vacuous platitudes, like "violence never solves anything." In saner times, children (and even their teachers) knew that violence has solved issues like the world's Hitler problem.
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. +1000
Your last three paragraphs are golden.
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oneshooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #17
28.  These "teachers" would have a cow.
If they saw my 11yr old shooting 22rimfire benchrest!!!

Oneshooter
Armed and Livin in Texas
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
18. My only quibble is that you describe my childhood almost perfectly - and I'm female
Though, granted, my playmates in such games were almost always boys. I was a big tomboy who played soldiers/cowboys/cops with toy guns both real (my sister's toy replica Winchester rifle) and very make-believe (a stick that was shaped like a gun). And I think the demonizing of such play is extremely detrimental to children, and yes, probably has something to do with why boys are increasingly losing their way. Rather than promote a healthy attitude towards masculinity, our culture has glorified the "stupid lazy frat boy" stereotype - just watch any beer commercial or sitcom and you'll see what I mean. Fat, lazy schlubs who are overweight, sloppy, dress poorly, and are boorish, who always end up with or expect to end up with the "hot chicks," whose entire adulthood is an overextended childish fantasy of partying and drinking beer and hanging out with the dudes. The idea of mature masculine responsibility has been forsaken in favor of the glorification of the idiot man-child, and our entire society is suffering for it.

I am as feminist as it gets, and as such, I see that the destruction of responsible role models for boys is as detrimental to our culture as the rigid gender roles, lack of strong role models, and force-fed Suzy Homemaker crap was for girls.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Thank you.
Perhaps one day we will all realize there is room in this world for all of us. Your post reminds me of my wife. Although growing up she was Joan of Ark. Thank you for your post.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-10 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
21. agree
Edited on Mon Mar-15-10 08:32 PM by eilen
My friend's 7th grader son was suspended from school for 5 weeks (she had to request a special hearing to have it reduced down from 10 weeks-- an entire marking period!) for having a Boy Scout penknife in his possession. He didn't know he had it on him, just put on an older pair of pants where it had been left in a pocket from his last scout meeting.

The school officials kept referencing it as "a weapon". This penknife that you or I would use to scrape dirt from under our fingernails or whittle a stray branch.

This is a good kid, has lots of friends, is well-adjusted, active involved parents, no discipline problems ever. This was one of the dumbest things I ever heard of. But not the dumbest--here you go...

My nephew was given in school suspension for the entire day (was given it the day before but it was at the end of the day) for not having his shirt tucked in. A whole day of instruction. It turns out they had parties planned for the next day and this particular teacher hates my nephew (fundie republican-- every teacher he has had that was a fundie repub has had a big problem with him). So he acted out the whole day. The idiot principal had no fucking common sense that could aid and instruct her and possibly bring her to conclude that having one's shirt tucked not tucked in is not a threat or an impediment to the education of his peers thus warranting an entire day of ISS and maybe, just maybe they might have better test scores if the kids are in class and not some dumb detention where they have to sit quietly all day in one room. Fascist bitchfaces.

<<end rant>>>
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-16-10 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. The problem is when it comes time for the school board's annual report.
That pen-knife will be listed among other pen-knives, butter knives, nail files, actual knives, brass knuckles, guns, etc... As if they were one in the same.

Meaning the report will read;
57 Weapons were confiscated, among which was a 7" knife and a handgun. The parents will freak out thinking there were 57 assault rifles found in the school, demand tighter controls and securities. Without knowing that 53 of those "weapons" were just nail files. $$$ pours into the school for more security and enforcement.

Next thing you know, our schools become mini police states where little Johnny gets arrested for having an L shaped piece of paper. Oh wait, that already happened.
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gorfle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-16-10 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
25. War heroes have been looked up to since the beginning of time.
The simple fact is that children, boys in particular, have looked up to the chief hunter since men came out of caves, and in their play they emulate them because they want to be like them.

Whether it was two boys wielding clubs like their chief hunter, two boys playing with wooden swords like the tribal war chief, two boys playing with six-shooters like a cowboy, two boys playing with battle rifles like GIs on Iwo Jima or Normandy, or two boys playing with pistols like police officers, boys have always simulated playing the role of the alpha warriors relevant to their culture.

I don't think this will ever change. Man is, at the heart of his nature, a savage animal, no matter how we wear the trappings of civilization. Boys want to be tough, and they will engage in role playing while giving themselves the roles of the toughest guys they know. I believe this is a genetically-ingrained behavior.

The weapon of choice is immaterial. What these kids are really mimicking is being a tough guy projecting force through a weapon. Whether it's a play bow-and-arrow, sword, or six-shooter, it's all about role-playing as the alpha warrior.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 08:16 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. My son used to make up games
where each boy would choose to be a particular superhero and they would negotiate which super powers they had and then have adventures-- He would make up the story.

Or they would pick characters from video games. It was really cute.

I'd overhear "I'm using my super strength to break through the wall" -- stuff like that. The children would come for him everyday. Afternoons spent in pretend. Then they would have debates about the "rules" of the different powers they had. Sometimes they had pretend guns. They played in the basement or in the yard when the weather was good.

I had a "costume box" full of capes, helmets, armor, plastic swords, light sabers, flashlights, toy guns, arm covers, belts, masks, old halloween costumes, etc. These were used with great regularity.
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Glassunion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-17-10 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. Yet in school our educators are berating and expelling young boys for using that exact same behavior
I would have been arrested for some of my 5th grade writing assignments if I turned one of them in today.

It's truly a shame.
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Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-16-10 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
26. The ACLU recently launched a campaign regarding the "school-to-prison pipeline"
http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/school-prison-pipeline

I find it rather disturbing that the education system is displaying a trend of responding to the slightest infraction of discipline with a system that seems calculated not so much to correct the offending behavior, but to dump the offending child down a spiral of "dehabilitation," if you will.

Admittedly, we every fact that this stuff gets into the news tells us that it is not the norm... at least, not yet. But it's a worrying development.
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