Zero Tolerance

Kid Expelled over Novelty 'Bang Snap' Toys Is Your Stupid Zero Tolerance Story Du Jour

Your childhood is illegal now.


Bang snaps
Eagle novelties

When you look back at your childhood, you might have fond memories of throwing around little "Bang Snap" noisemakers with your friends. Or possibly at your friends, if you were that kind of kid. You might have even brought some to school to share and have fun with during recess. I know I did.

But now we live in a world of school panics. A 10-year-old fourth grader in the Henry County School District in Georgia bought a handful of these little noisemakers to his bus stop, then had three left over in his backpack when he entered Flippen Elementary School. Another student told the principal, who searched his backpack and found them.

They didn't suspend him, which itself would be absurd. They expelled the boy, permanently. Indeed, they expelled him from the entire school district, pointing to a zero tolerance rule "that permanent expulsion is the punishment when a student brings an explosive compound to school," according to Atlanta's WSBTV.

Let's be clear: These toys work by having tiny amounts of silver fulminate combined with gravel, which detonates when stepped on or thrown into a high surface. While it is true that silver fulminate is an explosive, the extremely small amounts of it within these toys are absolutely harmless.

Some of these bang snaps are marketed as being safe for children over the age of 8, so I understand that an elementary school with children as young as 5 or 6 might not want them on the premises. But to treat this boy as though he brought an actual "explosive compound" to school is embarrassingly stupid. His mother now has to try to convince the school board to show mercy and let her boy back in.

As an aside to all Atlanta-based media outlets: "Poppers" are a completely different thing that you should maybe know about. When I saw headlines saying a 10-year-old had been expelled for bringing "poppers" to school, my mind went to a very, very different place.