Zero Tolerance

'A Pencil is Considered a Weapon When It's Pointed at Someone in a Threatening Way and Gunlike Noises Are Made'

The latest zero-tolerance nonsense

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I was all set to post something snarky about this story from Santa Clara, California, where a college went into lockdown because someone mistook a cardboard cutout of a gun for a real weapon. But hey, at least that incident involved a bona fide suspicion, mistaken though it was, that a ski-masked gunman was on the prowl. No such excuse is available for school officials in Suffolk, Virginia, who just did this:

Mightier than the sword.
CEI

A Suffolk second grader has been suspended for making gunlike noises while pointing a pencil at another student.

WAVY-TV reports the 7-year-old boy was suspended for two days for a violation of the Suffolk school system's zero-tolerance policy on weapons. He was playing with another student in class Friday at Driver Elementary. He heeded a teacher's order to stop….

Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw says a pencil is considered a weapon when it's pointed at someone in a threatening way and gunlike noises are made.

For more on school security scares and crazy zero-tolerance policies, go here.

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142 responses to “'A Pencil is Considered a Weapon When It's Pointed at Someone in a Threatening Way and Gunlike Noises Are Made'

  1. As the Brit cop says at the end of “Monty Python…”, “That’ an offensive weapon, that is!”

    1. If the kid had had a banana, they could have dropped a 10 ton weight on him.

      1. Or shot him and then ate the banana.

        1. What if he’s got a whole bunch?

          1. That potentially creates a slippery slope

          2. SHUT UP!

            1. *throws banana peel at $park?*

              1. You make a Monty Python reference then don’t play along? What is H&R coming to?

                1. *throws monkey feces at $park?*

                  YOU HAPPY NOW??? THAT’S WHAT IT’S COME TO! MONKEY SHIT!! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW??!

                  1. he came here for an argument. abuse is down the hall.

                    1. stupid git

          3. how many in a bunch in some states 7 is the max while others it is 10 bananas to a bunch and if you exceed the banana quota is that a felony or what?

            1. NOBODY NEEDS A BUNCH OF BANANAS!

            2. More than 6 makes a magazine, which means you have an assault banana.

              1. AKA the dreaded “Banana Clip”

                1. +30 rounds!

                  1. I’m glad you found it appealing.

                    1. TIMMEH!

                      THAT one gets a

                      *facepalm*

                    2. PS KNOCK KNOCK!

                      Who’s there?

                      BANANA?

                      Banana who?

                      KNOCK KNOCK!

                      Who’s there?

                      BANANA!

                      Banana who?

                      KNOCK KNOCK!

                      Who’s there?

                      ORANGE!

                      Orange who?

                      ORANGE YA GLAD I DIDN’T SAY BANANA!!!

                      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

                      *clunk*

                    3. Further discussion would be fruitless.

          4. What if he’s got a whole bunch?

            That would be an arsenal. Or the start of a fresh fruit salad.

          5. As long as it’s not a high capacity bunch…

  2. What if it had been a pen? Ink can be toxic, would he have been arrested for ‘chemical weapons’?

    1. A pencil is not capable of launching a projectile, so I don’t think reality has anything to do with anything here.

      1. The spring-loaded ones could be modified to launch a small projectile.

        1. Did it! In school, too.

      2. Perhaps not but it is loaded with lead.

    2. Possession of a WMD.

  3. a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gunlike noises are made.

    Anyone who says something like this obviously thinks something like this. Such a person should be locked away indefinitely for the good of society.

  4. For more on school security scares and crazy zero-tolerance policies, go here.

    Are you soliciting me to point and click?

  5. Get me off this fucking planet already.

  6. Yet God forbid his school gets attacked by a gunman, that same teacher will be begging for little Timmy to pull out his No. 2 gat and save her.

    1. a whole new meaning to ‘Fill you full of lead’

      1. Write on!

      2. The following contains graphite violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

        1. Maybe a local court will oferrule this decision.

          1. And maybe the local legislature will erase this stupid law from the books.

            1. You think those pencil-necked geeks have the cojones?

      3. I like your stylus.

        1. Top marks.

    2. I’m just glad they don’t know about my semi-automatic mechanical pencil with high capacity clip.

  7. Nobody *needs* a harder pencil than a number 2. I propose a limit on the graphite that pencils can hold.

    1. So much for drafting classes where the pencil leads range from HB to 6H you know the hard stuff for your hard core extremest drafters.

      1. Only the military should have access to those high grade pencil leads.

      2. HB is a gateway lead

      3. I don’t remember 6H, but I do remember 5H was something you could cut with.

        1. I got my pencil…now gimme something to write with…

          1. on

  8. At least he didn’t offer to show the other kid a magic trick.

    1. True, the disappearing pencil is an awesome trick.

      1. You mean this one?

      2. Concealed weapon! There’s not way you could get permitted for that in a weapons-free zone.

      3. I’ve always preferred the floppy pencil illusion.

  9. Suffolk Public Schools spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw says a pencil is considered a weapon when it’s pointed at someone in a threatening way and gunlike noises are made.

    “You are a slow learner, Winston.”
    “How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
    “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”

    And sometimes a pencil is a gun.

  10. Since this is near me, here’s the original article.

    It was two boys pointing at each other and here’s the real gem from the article:

    “There has to be a consequence because it’s a rule,” Bradshaw said. “And it’s a rule that the principals go over.”

    1. “Pointing a finger in a threatening manner and drawing a picture of a gun are also forbidden, she said.”

      Holy fucking fuck.

    2. Rules are rules!!!

      Wanna bet that’s what the FB crowd commented with?

    3. After a bit of searching, I found her email and shared with her my thoughts on this topic.

      1. But you’re not going to share that addy with us? Everyone hates a tease, Daytime Goblin Mullet.

  11. Somehow I don’t think this is what was meant by ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.

    1. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the pencil is mightier than the gun.

  12. If you put your children in public school, you are an abject fool.

    1. Or you don’t have the options of homeschooling/private school.

    2. I managed to really piss off some friends-of-friends opining that public schooling is tantamount to child abuse a few months ago. Apparently “socialization” is the holy grail of education and all other considerations are extremely distant secondaries.

      1. opining that public schooling is tantamount to child abuse

        To be fair, that is a retarded opinion.

        1. Is it?

          Perhaps the public schools in your neck of the woods are magical happy places where the children dance and laugh and play with gumdrop smiles, but the ones around here have policies like “if you defend yourself from an attack it’s the same as initiating the attack yourself” in terms of punishment, devote at least 30% curriculum time in religious instruction on how best to serve in the Church of Gaia, and push heavy FDR/New Deal glorification.

          Not to mention it’s even worse just a bit down south.

          My brother is a public school teacher (English), and he brought along one of his coworkers when we hit up a bar recently. The coworker broached the subject of how “austerity has been tried and failed” and other political gems totally unbiddened by either of us and it was blatantly obvious to me the reason he became a teacher is because he got off on having a captive audience to lecture.

          1. I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as “abuse.” Unless you’re in an elite school district, I think “neglect” is fair.

          2. Do you spend time riding your brother and calling him a child abuser too?

            Is it?

            Yes, it is. The public schools that my kids go to are the same as the public schools I went to 20+ years ago. I spend a little time with my kids every day deprogramming the bullshit they get fed and that’s pretty much all it takes. Having stupid rules != child abuse.

            1. Mine were all deprogrammed and parallel-educated, and they were in a damned good school system.

              My youngest came home from school yesterday and announced, “It’s funny how we learn more about real health in History and Biology than in Health.” And she does, too.

            2. I do give him a little shit for working for the state but not nearly as much as he would get if he was parroting the same lines as his co-worker. Thankfully we both grew up listening to relatives in the UAW boast of only going to work two days a week piss-drunk for extended periods of time with no consequences, so he understands that unions, teacher’s or otherwise, aren’t the greatest thing in the world, and that helps his perspective.

              And putting a child in an environment where the self-defense against an unprovoked attack is just as punishable as the unprovoked attack itself… well, that’s more than just a “stupid rule” to me, sorry.

              1. not nearly as much as he would get if he was parroting the same lines as his co-worker

                Wait, are you saying there’s a chance that not every public school teacher is a worthless shitbag? Either it’s abuse or it’s not, right?

                And putting a child in an environment where the self-defense against an unprovoked attack is just as punishable as the unprovoked attack itself… well, that’s more than just a “stupid rule” to me, sorry.

                All schools have that rule. And I’ve told my children to ignore it. If someone attacks them they should defend themselves. And if they get in trouble with the school for it they will never get in trouble with me for it.

                1. Either it’s abuse or it’s not, right?

                  In real life there are many shades of gray, and most things tend towards the center. Very rarely do you find a clear example of something that is totally right or wrong and those certainly make for good boundaries, but the rest of the observed events peskily fall in the middle.

                  1. In real life there are many shades of gray, and most things tend towards the center.

                    Don’t be absurd, Tonio. Many people believe that their way is the only right way and anyone who doesn’t agree is a piece of shit. It’s always easier to claim superiority than it is to understand differences.

                2. The environment is abusive. Even if you’re in a concentration camp you might luck out and have some softhearted guard patrolling your section. I still wouldn’t advise going there counting on that to be the case, however.

                  And considering how there are armed police “school resource officers” at nearly every school nowadays, who knows if some act will merely bring down the wrath of the administration or if the unforgivable offense of contempt of cop will occur.

                  Seems better to me to avoid all this and mandatory “deprogramming” altogether if possible–and it’s quite possible.

                  1. The environment is abusive. Even if you’re in a concentration camp you might luck out and have some softhearted guard patrolling your section. I still wouldn’t advise going there counting on that to be the case, however.

                    *headdesk* Alright, whatever. You hate public schools, to each their own. You try to tell me that I’m abusing my kids by sending them to public schools, all I can say is fuck you.

                    Seems better to me to avoid all this and mandatory “deprogramming” altogether if possible–and it’s quite possible.

                    I agree, first step is eliminating all public schools. We can work from there once it happens.

              2. putting a child in an environment where the self-defense against an unprovoked attack is just as punishable as the unprovoked attack itself… well, that’s more than just a “stupid rule” to me

                It’s pretty much guaranteeing that they’ll end up compliant little pussies who will cower to authority, whether that authority be a school teacher, a cop, a politician, an abusive boss at work, or a bully. They (the kids) won’t differentiate between them. They’ll just do whatever they’re told without even questioning it. To statists that’s a feature, not a bug. To us, it’s fucking disgusting.

          3. You bet on the Gaia crap. The local school district s website,etc. brags all the time about environmental consciousness etc. Then they go and burn electricity for the new football stadium lights because the kids will have low self-esteem if they are forced to continue playing under free sunlight.

      2. My kids socialize with all kinds of people, not just people of their approximate age and geographic location. They set their own appointments, do all of the talking in stores when they are the ones buying something, and deal with people their own age in various groups.

        I’ll put my kids’ ability to deal with social situations up against public school kids’ ability any time.

      3. Kids in school have to listen to the same teacher(s) all day long and the same kids (of their own age of course) all day long, while homeschoolers talk to people of all ages, all day long.

        Which is a better way to socialize again?

        1. while homeschoolers talk to people of all ages, all day long.

          Look, I’m not a high and mighty homeschooler, but I don’t put my kids directly to bed as soon as they get home from school. They have just as much opportunity to interact with a wide range of people as homeschooled kids do.

          1. I’m just saying the socialization argument is bullshit.

            1. I’m just saying the socialization argument is bullshit.

              Agreed, and I don’t homeschool. People act like homeschooled kids never leave the basement.

              1. People act like homeschooled kids never leave the basement.

                People who homeschool seem to think that parent with kids in public schools never actually talk to them. It kinda balances out I guess.

                1. On a typical schoolday, who spends more time talking to them, you or the teachers?

                  1. On a typical schoolday, who spends more time talking to them, you or the teachers?

                    Hard to say, the teachers aren’t constantly lecturing and sometimes we talk a lot. But what does that matter? Is this a quantity over quality thing?

          2. You know who else homeschooled their children…

            1. The Jamestown colonists?

    3. Maybe so but I’ll bet you $1 that a Montana (or some other such state) public school wouldn’t pull this. I don’t think my crappy state of Louisiana would either.

      1. I don’t think parents would stand for that here in rural Maine either.

        1. It’s the same states every time with this nonsense: Maryland, California, NY, NJ, etc.

          Apparently Virginia lost a lot of its mojo when it lost Mr. Jefferson.

          1. They tried this near me and we packed the school board and county board meetings for a year, letting them know it was unacceptable to equate pictures and unrealistic toys with weapons. At one point it got so bad they moved a daytime meeting into the parking lot.
            We would have let it go after a policy change had been sent out, but the first time we packed the place we were over the occupancy limit of the room. Did they move to a bigger room? No. They sent in police to choose who got chucked out of the meeting and kept picking our people, then let in some others.

            1. Good for you!

              1. This is where I break the old Ayn Rand rule and say “us.” You have to have a bunch of crosspatches to bring them to heel. One won’t do.

          2. It’s not all bad, yet, but I see it slipping at the margins. It’s hard when so many of our citizens suck at the teet of the federal gov. :[

            I practically live in the shadow of Monticello — it’s sad that the non profit organization that owns Monticello recently was trying to use the Federal government to regulate what is built in the “viewshed” of Monticello. Unfortunately, Albemarle County where Monticello resides is full of NIMBY fuckwits who fight development and population growth.

            1. A brilliant reply to the Albemarle County Board re: Monticello’s request:

              http://freeenterpriseforum.wor…..ty-rights/

      2. Suffolk used to be pretty rural, but is increasingly a suburb for the Norfolk metro area.

        Schoolteachers and administrators are not necessarily from the areas in which they are employed and don’t always share the predominate values of their employers. Often you get smug liberal types who feel it’s their mission to enlighten and uplift those poor little rural children.

        1. Yeah, plus you have to remember something: if the American Left has a more dedicated and ideologically lockstep group then academia, I don’t know what it is. The education schools are designed to take stupid people (check SAT scores by major, education is dead last) and turn them into leftwing indoctrination specialists. Add in a healthy dose of unionism, and you get a perfect storm.

          Doesn’t matter where it is, if they’re in public school, they’re most likely getting a constant stream of statist nonsense.

      3. Here in Texas they would show you the proper way to hold the pencil gun.

    4. Thanks I feel bad enough as it is, but I’m broke.

    5. If you put your children in public school, you are an abject fool.

      Fuck you Epi! Sometimes we are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

      A choice between my kids attending the same public school that the crown princess of Japan did (really!) and having a pissed off court take them away and hand them over to their abusive mother is a fucking no brainer.

      Like your love of Robin Williams and your hatred of the Big Bang Theory, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

      1. Epi doesn’t have kids. He has the absolutism of the childless, which runs smack dab up against the pragmatism you need when you actually have kids.

        I’m making the adjustment, and man, it’s hard.

  13. I just had a vision of myself in a straitjacket, slowly banging my head on the wall of a padded cell while mumbling morosely, “It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country.”

    1. You are free to ask permission and take orders. What more freedom do you need?

    2. why do you hate ‘mericuh?

    3. I just had a vision of myself in a straitjacket, slowly banging my head on the wall of a padded cell while mumbling morosely, “It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country. It’s a free country.”

      I’m pretty sure that was me you saw.

  14. The stupidest thing here (well maybe not, there are a lot of stupid things here) is that in some circumstances, a pencil can be a weapon. But pretending it is a gun it not one of them. If a kid had held the pencil like a knife and threatened to stab someone with it, some punishment may have been appropriate.

    And since when do 2nd graders get suspended?

  15. No one has the need to own an assault pencil.

  16. I still have a grey mark on my knee where the principle’s son stabbed me with a pencil.

    I assume he still has a mark on his sternum where I stabbed him back.

    Being that this was in the mid 80s, nothing else happened.

    1. I have a dot on my arm from my pencil stabbing when I was in the 1st grade. I sometimes tell people it’s my first tattoo, and that I got it when I was 6.

    2. I still have a mark on my finger where someone in my algebra class did the same thing.

    3. Oh hey, I have a dot on my left thumb for similar reasons.

  17. Here are a couple of gems from the article’s comments section:

    I support Suffolk School officials in this matter. It is not a matter of “punishing” the child, but maybe looking into whether he needs couseling for violent tendencies
    When violent school shootings happen, some people want to play Monday morning quarterback and want to question why the problem wasn’t dealt with early
    Suffolk Schools has the courage to step up to the plate for early intervention

    and

    Maybe counseling is in order to get to the root of the violent emotions and the suspension may wake up the parents into realizing there may be a problem. Schools need to involve the children in yoga each morning to give them balance and peace.

    1. Fucking idiot hippies are a scourge upon the earth. Yoga? STFU, hippie.

      1. I know. In my haste to post I didn’t catch the universal call to child yoga. I would feel more relaxed around the Taliban than these neo-liberal Nazis.

        1. How many girls have they burned with acid for going to school?

          1. How long has been since you lost all ability to recognize sarcasm?

          2. They wouldn’t do that. Burning girls is terrible. They just dose the boys with powerful drugs to make them sit still.

      2. Suffolk Schools has the courage to step up to the plate for early intervention

        Jesus fuck me goddamnit SHIT! I READ that! FUCK!! FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!

        I hate people.

        1. It takes courage to indiscriminately punish 7 year old kids you know

      3. Yoga (the poses, not the religion) is very good exercise. Don’t hate the Yoga because of the messenger.

        1. Yoga makes you fart. Plus it looks gay.

          1. Things that make you fart can come in quite handy.

            Two words for you “yoga pants”. Who’s gay now?

            1. Dudes that wear yoga pants?

      4. There is a large hippie population in Virginia Beach which is part of the metro area of which Suffolk is at the fringes. Ironically, also a large fundie population. Much lulz.

    2. he needs couseling for violent tendencies
      get to the root of the violent emotions

      Blame feminism. They hate it when boys behave like boys.

    3. Jesus titty fucking christ, there is no problem. Young boys pretend that things are guns. This is normal. Fucking people.

      1. I was going to post, but ^this is perfect, so I’ll leave it at that.

      2. But that’s the problem! We have to stop this masculine behavior at an early age before they turn into self-determined adults!

    4. When/ if I ever get around to writing the great American sci-fi/ cyberpunk screenplay set in a dystopian future, I’m going to include a scene where a class full of 2nd graders are doing their required morning yoga.

      Then pan over to a boy who’s frowning and clearly not “down” with the hole yoga thing. A red light implanted on his forehead for the purpose of monitoring for any non-approved thoughts lights up. Two large men enter and escort the child from the class…

    5. “Maybe counseling is in order to get to the root of the violent emotions”

      People like this are the root of my violent emotions. No counseling necessary.

  18. Schools need to involve the children in yoga each morning to give them balance and peace.

    Via telescreen, presumably.

  19. Does anyone else get the feeling that the real motivation of all these overreactions is to condition children to shit their pants in fear at the mere thought of a firearm? Not to mention to condition them to un-yielding devotion to authoritay? Actually that’s pretty much been the goal of schools for some time now, but still.

    I think anyone even thinking of enrolling their children in a public school is coldly considering an act of cruelty.

    1. I think anyone even thinking of enrolling their children in a public school is coldly considering an act of cruelty.

      *facepalm* Not another one…

      1. And I even paraphrased a line from a Nicolas Cage movie to say it. Truly I’m a monster.

    2. Does anyone else get the feeling that the real motivation of all these overreactions is to condition children to shit their pants in fear at the mere thought of a firearm?

      YES!

  20. I was all set to post something snarky about this story from Santa Clara, California, where a college went into lockdown because someone mistook a cardboard cutout of a gun for a real weapon.

    I hope they never discover the prop room in the theater department. They would probably shit themselves, and then call out the National Guard.

    1. I have to defend the student who phoned in. You catch a glimpse of what appears to be a gun from a hundred feet away. The holder is wearing a ski mask and acting goofy. Do you:

      A) Walk up to the guy wearing the ski mask and ask to examine the object?

      B) Mindful of recent mass shootings, call the police?

      C) Instantly recognize it as a class prop and figure that the student was wearing a ski mask because the dude had embarrassing acne?

  21. I live just a couple miles from the cardboard gun incident. Glad Jesse didn’t go full snarktard, because if I were walking through Mission College campus, saw a guy in a ski mask acting strange and carrying what appeared to be a gun, I definitely would have called the cops. How the hell am I supposed to know it’s cardboard? I don’t know all the details, but if Dillinger can fool trained prison guards with a crappy wooden gun, what are we supposed to expect from an untrained college kid?

  22. Man, I probably would have been suspended for a full year with all the fake sword fights with pencils I got in in second grade. Still have a bit of graphite inside my hand from one of my losses.

  23. I didn’t realize that an object becomes more lethal when you make noises while using it. Apparently school administrators are operating at about the mental level of those they teach.

  24. My three-year-old and I do lots of pretending with guns. There is no way I’m sending him to public school. He wouldn’t last very long.

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