Even Imagining a Gun Gets You Suspended from Florida School

Nothing is more precious--and more terribly dangerous!--than the imagination of a child. The mother of Jordan Bennett, a Florida 8-year-old suspended for a day from Harmony Community School in the Osceola County School District, is complaining to the press that her boy was suspended for a day from school (and she fears possibly branded as a violent problem child) for pretending his hand was a gun during a game of cops and robbers at school.

Orlando TV station WKMG has some video of the perturbed mom. While the school refused to comment on the specifics, it confirmed to WFTV, another local station, that their code of conduct forbids invisible (that is, nonexistent) guns.

Forbidding children's imagination from even conceiving of guns is a widespread enough practice that Texas Republican congressman Steve Stockman has proposed legislation barring federal funding from schools that punish kids for it.

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  • Brian D||

    How many invisible guns does one person need?

  • Anomalous||

    I'm glad I stocked up before the new Maryland law that took effect today.

  • WTF||

    Everyone agrees that possession of imaginary guns should be subject to reasonable, common sense restrictions.

  • gaijin||


    90% even!

  • Brian D||

    You should have to pass a background check before you can even have an imagination.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Bears repetition:

    Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime is death.

  • WTF||

    Texas Republican congressman Steve Stockman has proposed legislation barring federal funding from schools that punish kids for it.

    Tar and feathering would be more appropriate.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I could get behind that, as long as the tar and feathers are obtained with private funds.


  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    And this mom still doesn't get it:

    (Mother) Bennett told Channel 9 she believes there are more effective ways the district could have disciplined her son than having him miss school for the day.

    "A written apology," she said. "If he would have written an essay about why it was inappropriate, what he did, that would have made more of an impact."

    Lady, get your fucking pitchfork and torch out and stop being a sheep.

  • Paul.||

    for pretending his hand was a gun during a game of cops and robbers at school.

    There's a joke about shooting an imaginary dog in here, but I can't quite put the pieces together. Anyone else?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    "if only he had shot an imaginary dog, his suspension would have been paid"

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well played.

  • Anomalous||


  • Hey, you!||

    Was the child performing which craft? Are these enlightened progressives just forcing kids to read "The Scarlet Letter" for the fun of it?

  • kinnath||

    The country is not being run by people that couldn't take care of themselves without the utter protection of the state.

  • SIV||

    Do you know who else was a problem child?

  • sarcasmic||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bon Scott?

  • BakedPenguin||

    PWND. didn't even have the link.

  • Paul.||

    Macaulay Culkin?

  • Robert||

    Barack Obama? (The problem being where he was born.)

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fuck, this is just like Shore Leave. I'm sitting here, trying not to think of a gun, yet here I am, like Mr. Sulu, shooting targets while on duty.

  • sarcasmic||

    Was the kid pretending to be the cop or the robber?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If he were the cop, does he deserve to die?

  • sarcasmic||

    If Randian chose a different screen name, would he/she/it still wage personal attacks instead of arguments?

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    It's hard to tell when they're not in uniform.

  • creech||

    I'm lucky I didn't spend my youth in Reform School. When we had "Art Class" all the boys in grade school would draw pictures of Sabre Jets
    shooting down MIGs or Yankees and Rebs trading shots with each other.
    And run around the school yard at recess "killing" each other while the part-Cherokee kid practiced his "scalping."

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Not to mention the things I imagined about a few of my teachers.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    They did say their code of conduct prohibits students from playing with invisible guns.

    How about invisible trebuchets? Or, hell, invisible knives?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Isn't this restriction worth it if it saves the life of even one imaginary friend?

  • Pro Libertate||

    They're only endangered if the kids have imaginary silver bullets.

  • ||

    Personally, if we had a fully privatized school system schoools could set whatever rules they damn well pleased. And I can see the rationale for banning miming shootouts in certain areas. I.e. imagine an inner city neighborhood with a lot of gang activity. It might be a good idea to keep the kids from "playing" at being gang members. Plus, what looks like a kids game might actually be kids dividing along gang alleigance lines of their older siblings.

    If it's purely about not wanting boys displaying the feared aggressive behavior that is normal for boys, that's a different story. But if this is a school in a neighborhood with a lot of gang activity, I can understand the rationale.

  • Paul.||

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I would think that kids in bad neighborhoods should be allowed as normal lives as possible under the circumstances.

  • nipplemancer||

    Tar and feathers.

  • MJGreen||

    You all laugh, but what if the kid had imagined one of those shoulder things that goes up?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I am fairly certain that Reason's code of conduct forbids invisible (that is, nonexistent) alt-text.

  • oncogenesis||

    Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence

    The mom should sue, but in lieu of a cash payout, the entire school staff should be forced to read this book. And do a book report.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If they replied to the imaginary weapons with imaginary punishment, kind of like that judge in the story who made a guy pay for smelling food by jingling some gold coins at the restauranteur, then it would have been OK.

  • Bee Tagger||

    It could be that a 7-finger magazine is higher capacity than the law in Florida allows.

    Or that he was creating a gun in 3 dimensions which is like 3D printing if you don't think about it for very long.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I'm guessing he was a pretend robber, because it is always okay for pretend cops to have pretend guns. At least he wasn't a pretend dog.

  • croaker||

    How about stripping idiots like this of their teaching certification? It's obvious that these clowns have no business being anywhere near children.


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