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Old May 17, 2002, 11:51 PM   #1
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(CO) Boys punished for shooting imaginary aliens with their fingers,00.html

Game lands boys in trouble

School punishes kids for pretend shooting

By Robert Sanchez, News Staff Writer
May 14, 2002

CENTENNIAL -- Charles Andrew remembers walking into Dry Creek Elementary School and finding his son alone in the foyer, sobbing and clutching a tissue.

Ten-year-old Connor got in trouble at school, and the boy was sure he would be punished. After all, the school's principal wanted his dad to pick him up early.

"He was just sitting there," Andrew, 42, said of his son, a fourth-grader. "I worried about what happened."

The incident and ensuing detention all stemmed from a playground game of army-and-aliens -- Connor and six other boys rolled on the ground and pretended to shoot creatures, using their fingers as pretend weapons.

At least one other student and a playground monitor thought the March 25 game displayed "violent and aggressive behavior," said Mary Terch, executive director of elementary education for Cherry Creek Schools. All seven boys were brought inside to meet with Principal Darci Mickle.

The game violated the school's zero-tolerance policy against violence, she told them. The students signed an agreement earlier in the year saying they would follow school safety rules.

They would have to be punished.

"Then Mickle asked my son if we had guns in our home," said Kristine Kinney, the mother of another student, Jorge Marquez, 10. "It's none of their business if we have a gun.

"These are good boys," she said. "My son gets detention and I have to tell him that he didn't do anything wrong. That's confusing for a child."

Mickle did not return a call seeking comment, but Terch confirmed that the principal asked the children whether their parents had firearms in their homes. The school acted appropriately, Terch said, adding that Mickle "had to discern the level of threat against students and staff."

"These students crossed the line," Terch said. "From what I heard, the play was very dramatic. They were rolling around . . . and it demonstrated a level of aggression."

But the boys' parents said the incident is an example of post-Columbine-zero-tolerance run amok. State law determines required expulsions for certain violations, such as when students bring weapons or firearm replicas to school.

Districts have leeway in other cases.

"I don't really see children pointing their fingers at aliens as being a gun issue," said Arnie Grossman, co-president of the gun-control group SAFE Colorado. "There's no real threat. All of us played cops and robbers when we were young."

All seven children missed recess for a week as part of their punishment. Andrew, a sales representative, said his son endured students' jokes and dirty looks. Connor asked to stay home from school.

"He was so upset, and we all know he's not a troublemaker," Andrew said. "I feel like I've lost control over the lessons I want to teach my son."
Gun Control: The premise that a woman found in an alley, raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, is morally superior to allowing that same woman to defend her life with a firearm.

"Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house." - Jules Henri Poincare

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Old May 18, 2002, 02:56 AM   #2
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The brainwashing of Americas youth by government schools continues!
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Old May 18, 2002, 04:09 AM   #3
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That is just plain WRONG!
Something has gone terribly, horribly wrong with the interpretation of zero-tolerance policies. Kids should be allowed to be kids - who hasn't run around with a stick playing 'war' during his childhood?
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Old May 18, 2002, 08:42 AM   #4
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Dry Creek Elementary School
Attn: Principal Darci Mickle
7686 East Hinsdale Avenue
Centennial, Colorado 80112

(720) 554-3300
FAX (303) 770-1693Ê

I believe that I'll be faxing her a letter in support of young Connor Andrew. This zero-tolerance crap has gone too far. Those boy did nothing wrong.

Where's the victim of their "so-called" violence?
-Dave Miller
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Old May 18, 2002, 10:12 AM   #5
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Old May 18, 2002, 10:17 AM   #6
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"I don't really see children pointing their fingers at aliens as being a gun issue," said Arnie Grossman, co-president of the gun-control group SAFE Colorado. "There's no real threat. All of us played cops and robbers when we were young."
Wow. It's so bad even the antis think it's ridiculous.
Skip Pacheco, Libertarian for State Representative

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we can not be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference in having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

-Patrick Henry
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Old May 18, 2002, 12:27 PM   #7
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It demonstrated a level of aggression."
They better ban HS football, basketball, and ALL contact sports.
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Old May 18, 2002, 01:11 PM   #8
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"Then Mickle asked my son if we had guns in our home," said Kristine Kinney, the mother of another student, Jorge Marquez, 10. "It's none of their business if we have a gun.
Nice to see the spirit of the Inquisition alive and well in the U.S.A. Sure, we don't use hot pokers and racks anymore, but we've got the criminal and civil legal system to torture you with instead.

I am genuinely worried about what kind of generation we are raising these days. Any kid with individuality or initiative is either drugged into a conformist stupor or the entire weight of the System comes down on his individualistic butt like a ton of bricks until he becomes a good little conformist Prole like the rest of his drone classmates. We may acheive what Stalin could only dream of: the willing SELF-SUBJUGATION of an entire populace to the iron will of the State.
GOA, NRA Life Member - "Freedom is not a 'loophole' "
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Old May 18, 2002, 01:14 PM   #9
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"I feel like I've lost control over the lessons I want to teach my son."

- Gabe
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Old May 18, 2002, 09:40 PM   #10
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Growing up my friends and I used to have multi-day war extravaganzas involving "guns' (sticks, squirt guns, BB Guns) and "grenades" (green pinecones, dirt clumps, rocks). These were always team events and I spent many long days in hand-dug foxholes carefully camouflaged by yours truly. When someone contested how "dead" they were, a scuffle would usually break out. If you were "dead" you had to sit things out for a while, which was more agonizing than school. Eventually one team would win. Then it started all over again until enough families were on vacation that you couldn't get a team together. Then we played tag until a few got back.

We learned a lot from this. It never occurred to me that we might have been displaying abnormal "signs of aggression". What happened to "boys will be boys"?

I honestly believe that we might not be doing the best thing by trying to stem every sign of aggression in children. It is a natural part of mammals that probably shouldn't get cooked of our gene pool out anytime soon.

What if the aliens come? They can cause all the trouble they want with assurance that our children will smile and offer them a flower.
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Old May 18, 2002, 09:46 PM   #11
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good grief. our schools have so little respect for children that they think the kids don't know the difference between playing and reality?

granted there may be confusion for *some*, but i have to think that those *some* now, as when i was a kid, are *very* few.
"In all negotiations of difficulty, a man may not look to sow and reap at once; but must prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees." Francis Bacon.
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Old May 20, 2002, 01:37 AM   #12
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I'd have to tell them that they REALLY don't want to see a "level of aggression" and that I was taking my kid out of their sorry, "afraid to think and make a real decision" school and putting them where they could learn something useful instead of all of this govt. induced, PC BS!!!!!

America used to be a great country......
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Old May 27, 2002, 11:05 AM   #13
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Finger-gun families win small victory

First, here are links to two other TFL threads on this:

Now, here's today's Wash. Times update on the story:

Finger-gun families win small victory
By Valerie Richardson

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Children still aren't allowed to point their fingers like guns at Dry Creek Elementary School, but the principal can no longer quiz them about their family's firearms.

In a partial victory for the seven boys punished for wielding finger-guns on the playground, the Cherry Creek school district in the suburbs of Denver last week reversed its stance, stating that any questions about a family's gun ownership should be directed to the parents, not the children.

Dry Creek Principal Darci Mickle had asked the seven boys if their families owned guns after catching the boys playing army-and-aliens on the playground in March, prompting an outcry from some parents.

"Criticism was directed at Mrs. Mickle for asking the students if there were guns in the home," said Cherry Creek Superintendent Monte Moses in a May 16 letter to Dry Creek parents. "We agree that in the future questions of this kind, when based on a legitimate safety concern, should be directed to the parents, respecting family privacy."

But Mr. Moses said nothing about softening the school district's zero-tolerance policy, which was cited by the principal when she disciplined the boys. The seven fourth-graders were using their fingers to shoot each other in a game of army-and-aliens March 22 when they were pulled off the playground and taken to the principal's office.

The principal asked the boys about their families' gun ownership and then called their parents to tell them to pick them up immediately.

Parents later complained that the punishment was too severe for what they viewed as normal horseplay.

The district, which defended the principal's actions as "well within the boundaries of district policy and common sense," became a target for criticism after a report on the incident appeared earlier this month in The Washington Times.

The Denver Post awarded the school district its "Doofus of the Month" prize, while the Rocky Mountain News said that "it is simply none of a principal's business whether a family owns guns. And nothing we've heard about the game of army-and-aliens at Dry Creek school suggests it could pose any risk at all to anyone."

In his letter Mr. Moses stressed the need for "a learning environment that is physically and psychologically safe for every child." But he also adopted a more conciliatory tone by noting that Mrs. Mickle was a first-year principal who had "good intentions in trying to handle a situation in which children were pretending to shoot one another."

"Perhaps the consequence could have been a simple correction, but I support Mrs. Mickle in directing the students to stop pretending to shoot one another, particularly in view of the fact that all students had been instructed to refrain from this behavior at school," said Mr. Moses.

His response left some Dry Creek parents disappointed, saying they had wanted the superintendent to call for a review of the district's zero-tolerance policy.

"I think zero tolerance has its place, but the operative word is 'tolerance,'" said Charles Andrew, whose son Connor was one of the seven boys. "As shown in this case, we need to be much more tolerant of the individual student. Being 'psychologically safe' is fine, but how far do you carry that? Because the damage can be done on both ends here."

Dave Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute in Golden, Colo., praised the superintendent for backing off of the guns-at-home inquiry, although he said he would have also liked to see the district distance itself from zero tolerance.

"I think that's a wise step forward and a mature step by the school district to not keep defending its mistakes," said Mr. Kopel. "On the other hand, it's pretty clear they're still going to keep persecuting kids for finger guns. They were doing several things wrong, and now they've corrected one, which is good progress."

The district's conduct code prohibits "violent and aggressive behavior," but parents said they were never told that finger-guns were forbidden. The principal later directed teachers to explain the finger-gun ban to students.

Parents had also complained that their sons were shaken and humiliated by the episode. Mr. Andrew said that nearly two months later, Connor continues to dread school.
Sins can be forgiven, ills can be cured, but stupidity is forever.
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Old May 27, 2002, 12:04 PM   #14
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Yet another reason to homeschool
1st grade
period 1 : fieldstripping your firearms 101
period 2 : the truth behind the constitution
period 3 : conversational tactics to combat liberal ignorance
period 4 : hand to hand combat
period 5 : advanced mathmatics
period 6 : engineering basics
period 7 : computer aided design
period 8 : reloading and munitions handling
"Then you will see the rise of men of the double standard -- the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money -- the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law -- men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims -- then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them."

--Ayn Rand
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Old May 27, 2002, 12:16 PM   #15
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I do believe there is no such thing as "Psychological" safety.
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Old May 27, 2002, 04:19 PM   #16
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Any kid with individuality or initiative is either drugged into a conformist stupor or the entire weight of the System comes down on his individualistic butt like a ton of bricks until he becomes a good little conformist Prole like the rest of his drone classmates.
True... unless of course the kid has the backup at home to allow him to keep mentally (or verbally) telling the administators to "go ___ themselves". A dad willing to take a stand on things was the biggest asset I had getting through catholic grade school without being brainwashed into a good little liberal catholic. Whenever they thought of some bull**** excuse for sending me to their counselor (just a brainwasher who happened to think she knew more about it than the rest of them) my dad was there to pull my ass out. by the way did u know that US history is considered inappriopriate reading material by the sisters of mercy? they actually told me that because it involved war and violence, i should not learn any more about it than what they told me (F__ that)

p.s. u can have my finger guns when u pry them from my cold dead hands
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