In the past, a gunmaker’s name on a pen and a drawing of a space weapon have been enough to bring down school officials’ wrath on students; now it’s a piece of pizza.
At an elementary school in Smyrna, Tenn., student Nicholas Taylor, 10, has been ordered to spend lunches for the rest of the semester at the lunchroom’s “silent table” because he allegedly picked up a piece of pizza and waved it around like a gun.
According to a WKRN television report, school officials say Taylor “threatened” other students “with a piece of pizza with bites out of it so it looked like a gun.”
The station said his mother, LeAnn Taylor, described the punishment as “absolutely ridiculous” and said her son never said anything derogatory or anything about shooting.
“The kid across the table from him said it looked like a gun so he picked it up and started shooting it in the air,” she said, according the television report.
A school official, James Evans, said the punishment actually is because “some students reported he was making some threatening hand gestures, that he was shooting at other kids at the table, and they reported it to a teacher.”
The WKRN report:
Howard Portney’s irony-laced commentary at Hot Air.com speculated, “Evans did not reveal whether any of the students sustained injuries from the shooting, though a forensic analysis should help investigators determine whether any red splotches found at the scene are tomato sauce or blood.”
The commentary noted the punishment could lead to further trouble.
“I am no psychologist, but doesn’t associating mealtime with punishment send the sort of negative message that leads to problem eating? Paging Michelle Obama and the food police,” he wrote.
“In addition to the stigma of silent lunch, Nicholas was required to meet with the school resource officer to learn about gun safety. I submit that the school should have further required that the child … meet with the dietitian to discuss pizza safety.”
The controversy developed, according to the WKRN report, a few days ago at David Youree Elementary School in Smyrna, a part of the Rutherford County School District.
Evans wrote, “I realize some might say we are going overboard but the principal is just trying to use an abundance of caution and send the message that we don’t play about guns and it’s not something we joke around about.”
Taylor told the station the school made it clear if her son eats his pizza into the shape of a gun again and there is another incident, he would be suspended.
A T-shirt with a slogan like this bumper sticker has caused trouble for a student in Pennsylvania
Several years earlier, WND reported that a judge banned a student from wearing an anti-terrorism T-shirt because it “promotes illegal behavior.”
“Volunteer Homeland Security” and “Special issue – Resident – Lifetime License United States Terrorist Hunting Permit – Permit No. 91101 Gun Owner – No Bag Limit”
The shirt also had a silk-screened image of a handgun silhouette.
“It’s the district’s position the wording on the T-shirt advocated violation of the law and acts of violence,” Superintendent. Donald Stewart told WND.
According to a report from the Student Press Law Center, U.S. District Judge James K. Gardner has determined the T-shirt “promotes illegal behavior” and therefore can be banned.
WND also previously reported a student was threatened with a three-day suspension for bringing to campus and using a pen with the corporate logo of the Glock company, a large stylized “G” with the letters “lock” inside.
The father in that incident reported he convinced school officials to withdraw not only the threat but the formal reprimand that had been placed in his son’s educational file.
Earlier, school officials raised alarm over a drawing of a gun by a 13-year-old boy in Arizona. The boy was suspended for three days because his sketch resembled a gun, school officials said “absolutely” could pose a threat.
According to a report by KPHO-TV in Phoenix, the principal at Payne Junior High School kept the drawing, and officials with the Chandler Unified School District declined to release any information about the case.
The mother said her son “was just basically doodling and not thinking a lot about it.”
WND also reported a student’s punishment for advocating gun rights.