A nine-year-old boy's love of The Lord of the Rings has gotten him in trouble with a power more terrible and despotic than Sauron himself: school administrators.
The boy, Aiden Steward, was suspended by officials at Kermit Elementary School in Kermit, Texas, after he tried to make a classmate disappear using his magic ring. Steward had just seen The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and was inspired by the timeless fantasy stories of J.R.R. Tolkien that have entertained kids, teens, and adults for generations.
Since Steward was not in possession of the One Ring To Rule Them All, his attempts at dark magic failed. Still, administrators considered it a "terroristic threat" and had no choice but to take action, according to Odessa American.
Steward has also been in trouble two other times: once for "referring to another student's skin color," (whether the reference was offensive or not is unknown) and again for bringing a book that featured a pregnant woman to school. Bear in mind—he's nine.
I hardly think a bit of harmless, imaginative make-believe is grounds for serious punishment. As Reason's Lenore Skenazy has observed, kids are supposed to make up stories with each other, cultivate their creative interests, and even get into a little mischief now and then. This doesn't even appear to rise to the level of mischief. Only under a culture of zero-tolerance discipline and safety paranoia, where every small act is assumed to carry maximum ill-intent, could Steward's actions be considered wrong.
School administrators: The orcs of childhood.