Public schools

School Suspends 5-Year-Old Girl for Holding Stick That Looked Like Gun

Zero tolerance for little girl pretending to be a princess's guard.

|

Caitlin
ABC News

Hoke County Schools in North Carolina are safe once again now that administrators have disciplined a public menace: 5-year-old Caitlin Miller, who was holding a stick and pretending it was a gun.

The rogue even confessed her dastardly crime to local reporters.

"I was playing with my two friends Chloe and Adelyn," admitted Miller. "Chloe was the queen, and Adelyn was the princess, and I was the guard."

A guard needs a weapon, and Chloe chose a stick that happened to resemble a gun. The school was not pleased. Officials claimed she had "threatened to kill her classmates," according to ABC News, and suspended her for one day:

"The Hoke County School system said Caitlin posed a threat to other students when she made a shooting motion—a violation of school policy, officials said. …

The Hoke County School school system defended its policy in a statement and said it would "not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student."

At least this is a win for gender equality. Little boys are ritualistically punished for typical boy behavior on the playground: now the same is happening to little girls.

But schools should not punish kids for having imaginations, period. While it's appropriate to discipline truly disruptive behavior, there's nothing wrong with kids engaging in some very light make-believe violence. A little girl should be allowed to pretend she's a princess or a stick-wielding guard.

If the stick-gun was actually a problem, why not simply tell Caitlin to put it down, or stop pointing it at her classmates? If she persisted in causing a disturbance, then her teachers could punish her. Instead, they overreacted, because too many members of the public school bureaucracy are condition to treat routine examples of kid behavior as dangerous or even criminal.

NEXT: Detroit Police Department Blames Drug War for Shooting So Many Dogs

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Caitlin returned from the one-day suspension on Tuesday, but her mom said was alienated by her friends and teachers over the incident.

    Well of course she was. Doing the time doesn’t mean you can be let off the hook for doing the crime. Ain’t nobody ever reformed.

    1. I bet within the year she’ll have graduated to selling cookies at bake sales.

    2. Sounds like she needs to move out of that school district pronto. Don’t want to raise her kids in a place where the adults are aghast that a little girl might wave a stick in the vague direction of other children.

      Seriously, fuck that school district if that’s the parents’ attitudes.

  2. Another Special Snowflake? mill.

  3. I once broke another kid’s toy gun because he kept pointing it at me after I told him not to.

    1. Euphemism?

      1. No, that one is another story entirely.

  4. “A shooting motion”? Everyone knows you have to hold your gun still when you shoot.

    1. OK, “recoil absorbing motion”.

      1. Such a great movie.

        1. See below. I’m in the minority (IME) in that I didn’t like it. Not only was the 1 gun switch a massive and irrecoverable goof, I can routinely *see* him discharging the gun in the wrong direction and standing directly in the line of fire.

          I admit my deus ex machina detector is calibrated a little different.

    2. Not when you are shooting at something that moves. Stopping the gun is one of the most elementary errors in trap/skeet/sporting clays.

  5. Hoke County School’s message from the superintendent clearly states that:

    The theme of Hoke County Schools’ 2016?2021 Strategic Plan is “Transformation?Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s World.”

    Caitlin learned two lessons:

    – zero tolerance is how pathetic adults in positions of power and influence cover their asses

    – if you don’t wanna be thug, don’t be actin like no thug.

    1. Caitlin didn’t choose the thug life Crusty, the thug life choose her.

      1. It’s one of those JumpStart programs that aim to get ever younger children on the path to the future.

        1. Warning, Caitlin Jenner.

    2. She learned that if you’re going to be one of the king’s men, you better be using that weapon to collect school taxes.

  6. Since when do elementary school students get suspended?

    I can recall one or two kids being removed from school because they were actually violent and seriously disturbed. But I don’t recall any kind of suspension or detention beyond missing recess or eating lunch in the principal’s office for small infractions like this. And of course, everyone was playing games involving pretend shooting.

    1. I got sent to the principal’s office in elementary school for talking too much.

    2. All the time these days. I had one employee with 2 sons in second and fourth grade when she worked for me. They were getting suspended every week. Sure, they had issues (so did the mom) but when I was a kid, you never got suspended in elementary school.

    3. Elementary school? This was kindergarten or pre-school!

      1. I consider pre-K and K a part of elementary school.

  7. The Hoke County School system said Caitlin posed a threat to other students when she made a shooting motion

    “The local captain of the guard has determined at present time that Officer Miller will not be charged with misconduct or disciplined in regards to the fatal shooting of an unarmed eight year old at the Royal Gaia Ball.”

  8. Things like this often make me wonder what the military of the future will look like. I suppose it’s possible that smart parents will be able to undo some of the programming, but what about the ones who agree with it?

    1. Boot camp is still perfectly capable of breaking you down and building you back up into a killing machine. Eventually the PTSD kicks in though.

      I see a future of drone combat where the real-time images have computer generation thrown over them to soften it for the operators. Don’t want the snowflakes seeing the bloody pieces of an Uzbek terrorist flying everywhere of course.

      1. I think Black Mirror did an episode about this.

        1. Roaches.

          A co-worker and I were just discussing it. I thought it was the worst episode of the series. Even if I didn’t know the factual errors, the relative superfluousness relative to something like Starship Troopers or a half-dozen other Sci-Fi/Horror plots made it seem distinctly sub par.

          1. Factual errors? It’s a scifi series.

            1. That’s my point. There’s a rant about people’s unwillingness to kill each other in war, there was no real need to include the facts they included in the rant at all and they were so unbelievable it was hard to tell if the writers themselves were factually mistaken, were trying to make some point, or were just doing a bad job of making an already pretty deplorable character seem even shadier. In any event, the character was spouting statistics and, in my mind, was a couple millimeters shy of saying ‘Forfty percent of all people know that.’

              This is, as I said, in addition or relative to plots like Starship Troopers, The 5th Wave, and District 9 where they, much more lithely or compellingly pull the wool over (or off of) your eyes. Even if the overall plot or movie was not as good in comparison. Mostly, as I said, the producers were known for producing a hot plate and this episode (IMO) wasn’t even as good as other rewarmed leftovers.

            2. Factual errors? It’s a scifi series.

              Like if They Live wasn’t intended to be campy or funny in any way and was a serious social critique.

        2. I believe it’s also an Outer Limits episode, but with drugs tricking soldiers into thinking rebels are aliens.

          1. How about “Enders game” where the kids think they are playing a game

      2. I see a future of drone combat where the real-time images have computer generation thrown over them to soften it for the operators.

        This is kinda what I see too. And mechanized infantry becoming actually mechanized with S.H.I.V.s and shit crawling across the battlefield.

    2. What’s bizarre is that Hoke County is suburban Fayetteville. There’s TONS of military families in this district. They seem to be giving an earful to the school district: too:

      The Hoke County Board of Education scheduled an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. Thursday to address the incident, which they said has led to “extensive harassment and threats directed at Hoke County Schools personnel.”

  9. BUT EMULATING A SOVEREIGN WAS A-OKAY? Take that shit to Canada, your majesty.

  10. Now this is how you create libertarian women!

    1. By oppressing them? Is that some weird male libertarian dream? They can’t become libertarian women because of our critical thinking skills?

  11. It wouldn’t be so bad if like every school in the country wasn’t doing this.

  12. Those teachers are pieces of shit.

  13. But schools should not punish kids for having imaginations, period. While it’s appropriate to discipline truly disruptive behavior, there’s nothing wrong with kids engaging in some very light make-believe violence. A little girl should be allowed to pretend she’s a princess or a stick-wielding guard.

    This takes things in the wrong direction. If parents want schools to be hysterically stupid vaginas when it comes to guns then fine. Make hysterically-stupid-vagina-gun-game-prohibition rules and enforce them. I think it has the opposite effect of making kids all the more interested in guns, but whatever.

    But they went the extra mile in going too far here. They accused her of threatening to kill people (a legit fucking crime) in order to defend their hysteria. That’s the real bullshit. They should have to prove it in court.

  14. Zero tolerance = we don’t think, assess, analyze, or attempt to use any form of judgement.

    0 possibility of differential treatment and any possible accusations of preference or discrimination.

    It’s just monkey see and monkey do. Every time, Period.

    “God created school idiots; this was for practice, Then he made school boards.”

    S. Clemens

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.