Fighting education fanatics: Column
Glenn Harlan Reynolds
5:18 p.m. EDT June 3, 2013
For a while, I’ve been wondering if it’s parental malpractice to put your kids in public schools. More and more, it’s gone beyond wondering. For example, last week the Washington Post reported a nasty case of abusive behavior by school officials in Calvert County, Maryland: A five-year-old who brought a cowboy-style cap pistol on a school bus – orange-tipped, and something that no one could possibly mistake for a real gun – was interrogated for two hours …
The Post reports: “The case comes at a time of heightened sensitivity about guns in schools across the country. Locally, children in first and second grade have been disciplined for pointing their fingers like guns and for chewing a Pop-Tart-like pastry into the shape of a gun. In Pennsylvania, a 5-year-old was suspended for talking about shooting a Hello Kitty bubble gun that blows soap bubbles.”
What’s up with this? It’s not based on any concern with safety. Lego guns, cap guns, bubble guns, nibbled Pop Tarts, and fingers are no threat to safety. And the wild overreaction in these cases says there’s more going on here than simple school discipline. As I said, who treats a 5-year-old this way? It smacks of fanaticism.
In fact, it seems like a kind of quasi-religious fanaticism. I think it’s about the administrative class – which runs the schools with as little input from parents as possible – doing its best to exterminate the very idea of guns. It’s some sort of wacky moral-purity crusade. If a few toddlers have to suffer along the way, that’s tough. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
This is just one of too many areas of this country where stupid perversity reigns: the perps in mass shootings most often are mentally ill/disturbed or career criminals, yet government demonizes and pursues responsible gun owners and interrogates innocent 5YOs and 8YOs as if they were mass killers. It’s almost as if the authorities lacked the moral and/or physical courage to go after the real perps and potential perps, focusing instead on the safest and those least inclined to criminal violence.