Pow-Pow, You’re Suspended!

If I hadn’t already made my contribution to our Gun Symposium, where I discuss the relationship between fictional depictions of gun violence and actual gun violence, I would add a discussion of this news item. Part of me wants to say only in Montgomery County, but I suspect that is not the case. In short, a 6-year-old boy was suspended from school for pointing his finger at a girl and saying “Pow.” This was described as a threat “to shoot a student.” A 6-year-old. Suspended. The suspension has now been rescinded. Reading this article, just about everyone involved comes off badly.

Allow me to quote myself from that post:

[D]esiring something to happen in a fiction does not mean we desire it to happen in real life. If you read an Agatha Christie mystery, you expect a dead body in the vicarage so the puzzle can begin. That does not mean you hope you stumble across a dead body when you happen to be in a real vicarage.

In pretend play terms, let’s say you are pretending that you are a monster gobbling up your child. I assume we are agreed that this does not mean you wish you were indeed a monster gobbling up your child, or that you are threatening to eat your child. Similarly, a pretend play shooting is by no means a threat or a desire actually to shoot someone.

Here’s the thing. In every study that’s ever been done on the subject, pretend play is occasionally neutral and almost always beneficial for children. I have never, ever seen one that shows a negative effect, and I’ve been immersed in this research for some time. In my real non-pseudonymous life, I have co-written a book chapter about pretend play and cognition. Pretend play enhances executive function, creativity, self-control, social skills, and empathy.

Here’s another thing. The content of the pretense does not have to be positive to reap benefits. Pretense is beneficial even if children are pretending to be sick and die, pretending to be cops and robbers, pretending to be Superman and Lex Luthor. In fact, child psychiatrists often initiate negative pretense scenarios with patients. Admitting, say, anger in pretense often allows a child to admit he is genuinely angry. In floor time with a child with autism, one way to draw the child out into a social interaction is with a negative pretense scenario, e.g., crashing your car into her car.

Part of the function of pretend play is mental rehearsal. Children rehearse all sorts of situations and emotions. They are then more prepared and can come up with more creative and successful solutions in reality. Doesn’t it makes sense that they should be prepared for negative scenarios as well?

I think children in general should be allowed to point a finger and say “Pow.”  Of course, the kid did break a school rule, and he shouldn’t have. I think the school rule is misguided if it occurred on the playground during recess, but a perfectly appropriate rule in other contexts (say, the classroom) when students need to learn manners.

But let’s turn to the specifics of the situation to see how everyone behaved badly:

The kid’s mom, Jeannie Lynch, actually gives The Washington Post permission to use her son’s name, thus insuring that there will be a public record of her kid’s suspension in internet perpetuity. “For the family, the main issue was [the child’s] permanent school record, [his mother] said…Jeannie said she wondered: What if he wants to be a police officer? Or join the FBI?” Excellent question, Jeannie! What if? What if, fifteen years down the road, an employer does, say, the Google search of the future? Might she find a Washington Post article?

For that matter, The Washington Post journalist, Donna St. George, did not have to use the kid’s name, once given permission.

Amusingly, the Montgomery County Public School administration and its legal team obviously hint that the child is a punkass-what-needs-a-whuppin’, but cannot come out and say so:

Earlier this week, they said the case was not “a knee-jerk reaction to a single incident”…

…Dana Tofig, spokesman for the Montgomery schools, said school leaders “always make sure there is clear conversation with the student and parents about any behaviors that have to change and what the consequences are if that behavior doesn’t change.”

He had added that school officials recognize that “suspending a student is a serious matter,” especially in the early grades. But officials must deal with behavior that affects a school’s sense of safety and security, Tofig said.

In suspending Rodney, an assistant school principal wrote in a Dec. 20 letter that the boy “threatened to shoot a student” and had been spoken to earlier about a similar incident.

Contacted by the family’s attorney, the school system gave more detail in a second letter, writing that a parent had been warned of the problem and that a counselor had talked to the child about “the inappropriateness of using objects to make shooting gestures.”

“Yet, after the meeting with the counselor and assistant principal, Rodney chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say ‘Pow,’ ” wrote school system attorney Judith S. Bresler.

I agree there should be consequences for breaking a school rule. But certainly not suspension. Suspension suggests that what he did was not merely impolite or very annoying, but actually threatening.

What the school system has done, ironically, is teach the kids that the distinction between pretend and reality is blurred. Don’t we try to keep this distinction very clear for children? We try to make sure they understand that the violence they see on TV is not real. However, we show them the opposite when we react as if a pretend play shooting is an actual threat. We communicate to them that in this case where an action looks violent — but the children know perfectly well is not really violent — the children are mistaken. That the action is actually violent, despite the children’s beliefs otherwise. That when things look as if they are threatening, even if they don’t feel threatening, they are indeed threatening. That what is pretend is real, after all. Actors on TV, then, may well be in danger. And if children have pretended or fantasized about killing their parents, siblings, friends, teachers – and I hope people who work with children know all children have done this – then that means they must really want them dead.

Would that everyone involved had some self-control and had some long-term perspective. Maybe they should all get together for a nice game of cops and robbers.

Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.


  1. In suspending Rodney, an assistant school principal wrote in a Dec. 20 letter that the boy “threatened to shoot a student” and had been spoken to earlier about a similar incident.

    Which makes it sound like the suspension punishes a pattern of refusing to obey rules. Was this a random occurrence during a game of cops and robbers, or has he repeatedly been finding ways to”kill” the same girl?

      • If she feels threatened, or unsafe, or simply unwilling to go to school because of the boy’s behavior, and warnings haven’t helped, then yes, suspension.

        (And yes, I’m inventing things, but there have been so many cases where incomplete reporting made something look ridiculous that tureds out to be entirely sensible, that I try to imagine what might be missing.)

        • Eh, maybe. I think it would have to be fairly extreme, though, before suspension. It should include separation, teaching the girl how to respond, etc. Of course there are 6 year old bullies. They don’t usually get suspended, do they? How are they dealt with? (genuine question by mother of a 5-year-old). At my kid’s school, I am almost certain what would happen is simply that the bullying kid would be separated from others for as long as necessary until he stopped doing it. Parents would be notified, but that’s all. If he was bugging someone specific (as happened to my kid), they would change playground times.

          • Something else to chew on is that suspension, while dire, is not always long spent. At the high school level we frequently suspend students for a day at a time as a “punishment” mostly because there isn’t much else we can do except remove them from their favored peer group for a period of time and force them possibly fall behind.

            We also, on the other hand, have a standing policy that students be given all the work they’ve missed, as well as time to make it up so there isn’t that much beyond the social stigma of being punished.

        • Here I am!


          What does suspension accomplish? Action may be justified, but punitive measures are rarely corrective with young children.

          Consider this…

          Assume the boy does have a preoccupation with violence. Violence is often a surrogate for power. What did the school just demonstrate with its actions? Its power. What has boy learned? The power of power. What does this boy now seek? More effective (but not necessarily better) power. The school showed that domineering someone can be pretty damn effective at fucking with them!

          • (When I get home, I’ll address more thoroughly the idea of pre-school bullying; I’m on a train right now. Maybe Russ will allow me to guest post here since it doesn’t seem germane to MD. Also, we can bring out a new form of crazy. Otherwise, I’ll just post it here.)

          • Again, assuming the stuff I made up, it makes the school safe for the innocent victim. This is a win.

          • Mike,

            You are absolutely right that if a student feels unsafe at school, that that is a situation that needs rectifying. If students, young or old, feel unsafe or insecure in their learning environment, learning is not likely to take place.

            However, I think this is far from the best method for correcting such behavior. And can lead to a bunch of other students feeling insecure, afraid that one wrong move will get them kicked out. This boy won’t develop empathy by being subject to harsh, punitive consequences; if anything, it will reinforce to him that might makes right and he’ll simply seek other avenues for power. And this assumes, of course, that the boy is preoccupied with power. He might just be a 5-year-old who likes to play guns and is still learning proper social skills.

          • “The child was reprimanded twice earlier the day of the incident, his mother said.”

            Six-year-old doesn’t immediately adjust behavior at urging of adults; film at 11.

  2. I won’t have gotten the opportunity to re-read it and summarize it here as I intended before the symposium ends, but check out the book “We Don’t Play With Guns Here”.

      • I grew up around guns. I remember playing with a cap gun at age 3. I remember the first .22 pistol I saw up close and personal, at age 5; there was no mistake in my mind at all that this was nothing like my cap gun. I knew this wasn’t the one to play cowboys with.

        Play is play. Real is real.
        You already know that at age 4; that the play fight of playing superheroes is different than really getting beat up.

        Legally, I think this is actionable. Any speech has to be a true threat to be subject to penalty.
        I think the school went out on a shaky limb on this one.

      • No. It explores the zero-tolerance iniative and largely finds it knee-jerking, otherizing, and lacking. I believe it was based on English schools.

        For the record, I let my students play ‘guns’. On the condition they only shoot people whose permission they’ve received. Ya know, autonomy and liberty and whatnot.

        • Note: I don’t supply any toy guns. But if they fashion them out of Legos or find one of the many pistol shaped items on our shelves, so be it. Also, most shooting seems to come from fighter jets. I don’t see many guns as guns, but I do hear lots of “POW!” (More accurately described as ‘PRSH!’)

          • I have not spoken to Russell, but my years of Russellian experience tell me he will be fine with it, and I would welcome it.

            I was going to be shocked if the book endorsed no gun play. As I said, I know the lit well, including cross-cultural studies, and I’ve never seen evidence of harm.

            Your policy is what I take with my children. Any scenario is okay in fantasy. I don’t give them guns because I don’t want to normalize them. Oldest does have a light saber, since I’m not so worried about normalization. Once in a while people give gifts such as Transformers with guns appended, and I let it slide. Interestingly, he less often does pow with those then he does with his hand or other object.

            I had thought about the school teaching, as I mentioned, that the line between real and pretend is not stark. Had not thought about your power point, which makes a lot of sense.

          • Check out Erikson’s dev stages. They’ll be pretty core to what I write. Power is the name of the game with five-year-olds. The ultimate weapon is “You can’t come to my birthday!”

          • I have not spoken to Russell, but my years of Russellian experience tell me he will be fine with it, and I would welcome it.

            I am horrified insulted appalled disgruntled vexed skeeved bemused discombobulated delighted by the idea.

  3. When my kids were playing Pow-Pow-You’re-Dead I would “arrest” the perp for murder and send his young ass up to the attic for half an hour.

    • That sounds like an ideal, and appropriate, way to speak with fantasy violence: fantasy consequences.

      Assuming that the story was reported correctly, it seems like a good illustration of why many people hate liberals. If I ever have children, I would hope that they wouldn’t incorporate violence or humiliation into their play, but resigned to the fact that they probably will anyway. And lots of parents consider the implantation and reinforcement of “traditional gender norms” to be part of their job as parents.

      But when I hear “zero tolerance” stories in which a student was expelled for bring an aspirin to school, or a student was suspended for finger-shooting someone, I despair of our culture. Rigid authority is not respected, and carries no moral weight: when I was in high school during the Nixon/Ford administrations, the ridiculous propaganda about the harm and addiction potential of marijuana (with which I was quite familiar) made me equally dubious of the official assertions about harder drugs.

      We are definitely teaching our children something when we wildly overreact to a typically childlike behavior. The kid might be traumatized enough by this experience with “authority” to become a libertarian.

      • A libertarian??? We need to put together a national policy for school administrators to follow, require training for teachers, maybe put some Ad Council posters together, and have travelling acting groups for schools to put on plays preventing this sort of thing!

        Maybe something like “nips in the bud today, newsletters tomorrow!”

      • Worth noting that the kid “won” in the end. Lawyer got his suspension rescinded. Family v. school, family wins.

        • So, it’s good to know that there’s still justice for rich people.

          • My impression is, actually, working class. I live about 3 miles from the school. Mixed population, but largely working class.

          • I was really just being snarky (hence, my nom d’internet), but most parents don’t have the time and resources to retain a lawyer for somthing like this…

          • If ever there were a case that *SCREAMED* “pro bono”, it’s this one. Win or lose, you’re going to be in the news.

          • I note she did not mention a worry about college apps, but police and FBI. This is BY NO MEANS any sort of sneer or suggestion that one should value college over police. Just a suggestion of what parents of different classes tend to have in mind.

          • It’s hard for me to picture a college caring that at age 6 you were sent home for not playing appropriately with others.

            As opposed to, say this.

      • A word on the Zero Tolerance regarding aspirin:

        I am not in favor of most zero tolerance rules except these. Here’s why:

        I’m not trained nor do I wish to be trained to recognize the difference between OTC medications, prescriptions, and illegal drugs. Likewise I am not trained in the appropriate dosages for legal medications, nor do I wish responsibility for their administration.

        When a student is “caught” with “drugs”, there are several scenarios:

        1) The teacher can identify what kind of drug it is and deal with it accordingly. This requires not only training but also liability in the case of a false positive for false negative.

        2) The teacher can remove the student from the class to have the drugs identified. This has all the fun of the first problem (a school staff member identifying the medication) as well as removing the child from class for a duration of time.

        3) The school can have a policy that removes “Drug Identification” from the list of teacher responsibilities and instead require that ~ALL~ medications be registered by the students guardians through the main office. Any drug, then, in student possession is treated as a violation of this rule regardless of the actual medication.

        The problem is that most teens and their parents don’t want to bother with the hassle of the office and they don’t respect that ~I~ don’t want to deal with being a walking drug dog on top of being everything else I’m supposed to be as a teacher.

        When I see a student who has a ziplock back with 5 pills in it, how am I supposed to know what they are? And what happens when she says “oh they’re motrin” (reference to such feminine things will always get a male teacher to back the F up) and it turns out they were Extacy? Am I going to be let off the hook for letting a drug dealer pass through my room unchallenged?

        The policy is neat, organized, and puts the responsibility for all medications in a single place: With the parent or guardian. All the school is expected to do is dole out the medication per parent instructions and (in theory) no student is ever out of sight with medications.

        I’m totally on board that most other Zero-Tolerance policies are crazy, but I don’t the responsibility of having any drugs in my room….

  4. Geez.

    I once brought in for “Show and Tell” a training bazooka* my father had in the basement from his time in the Army during the Korean War.

    With today’s rules I’d probably still be in prison.

    */i for those folks who are picky, its official name was the M72 Series LAW/i


    • In Kindergarten (in Denver…the year was 1980 or so), I brought a toy knife to school for show and tell. It was made or rubber (or a very loose plastic) and not dangerous at all, but it looked real (at least to a Kindegartner). The teacher wouldn’t let me show it.

      I wasn’t suspended or otherwise chastised. When I told my mom about it, she said what the teacher did made sense. (I don’t recall if my parents knew ahead of time I was going to bring it to school.) In retrospect, I think my mother and teacher were right.

      On other occasions in grade school, I occasionally brought a very small pocket knife to school. It was one of those knives that are so small, it’s almost impossible to get the blade quickly out of the protector-sheath (whatever it’s called). I was never caught with it, but in retrospect I wonder if I would have been suspended or expelled. I’m unsure about grade school, but my high school and middle school had harsh rules against bringing weapons to school. (I believe the penalty was automatic expulsion, but I might be misremembering.)

      • In high school in the late 90’s (pre-Columbine, but barely), myself and some friends were tasked with reimagining a scene from “Romeo and Juliet”. We did it a la the 1996 film version with Leo and Danes. We brought in water guns covered in electrical tape to make them look “real”. Before taking them out of our bag, we checked with our teacher, who herself was a bit of a rabble-rouser. She tepidly okayed it. When we went out in the hall to fill them with water, we encountered the VP, a large, imposing man who was a Vietnam vet and whom you did not fuck with. We made it VERY clear they were just toy guns and were part of a project and that we had teacher permission. He seemed pretty unperturbed. We did our skit and that was that.

        Nowadays? We might have been dropped by a school marshall.

        • How interesting. I wonder how that would have been managed at my school.

          By the way, even though we had a “no weapons” policy at my high school, we had a shooting range and our ROTC practiced there with real .22 rifles. (I was a horrible shot. When my father took me shooting, I realized the problem had been I was shooting with my right hand/shoulder and not my left. I’m left-handed.)

          • *In 1968, people went to college to get out of going to ‘Nam. In 1988, I joined ROTC to get out of gym. Thus does the wheel of life turn!

          • Yea, my school was an interesting place, especially given that it was public. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we were in an honor’s English class, which folks probably (wrongly) assumed meant we were less likely to be real trouble.

        • I remember a classmate of my sister’s being suspended for a week because the flare gun he had in his locker went off, causing an evacuation.

  5. My stepson was served a one-day, in-school suspension for drawing some super hero types shooting each other with guns when we first came to America and were living in a different town.

    Amazing! With Japanese teenagers (and artists across all ages and civilizations) depicting such violence all the time, you’d think they’d have a much higher violent crime rate than us instead of…

    … nearly no violent crime at all.

    When my wife and I were called in to discuss the “disturbing drawings”, “9-11” was given as the official reason for “zero tolerance”.

    Afterwards we told my stepson that we didn’t care about the drawings, that he should feel free to draw what he pleases, but at home. He had learned the important lesson that day that the people in power are often wrong, but they are still the people in power.

    We immediately started making plans to move to a different town.

    • I think a large problem with stories like this is because of zero tolerance stories.

      I have become increasingly sad about a realization that has dawned on me over the past few years that it might be easier (and in a strange way more fair) than to show discretion.

      I think many school officials love zero tolerance policies because it means not having to think and show judgment. They can just apply a big, dumb rule to everyone across the board and not show discretion. If school officials needed to think, they would have to make judgment calls on close and gray cases. Eventually one would be called incorrectly and possibly with bad results or at least a lot of grief.

      Big dumb rules give everyone a clear warning and known consequences.

      • On the other hand, zero-tolerance policies tend to indemnify institutions against any disruptive lawsuits.

        • See above… I am pretty okay with zero-tolerance for drugs because those “disruptive lawsuits” could destroy my own life. I make the wrong call with a kid who has a bottle of pills that she insists are must Motrin and I’m explaining why there is a dead kid from a drug overdose that “I Could Have STOPPED!”

          It is true that some Zero Tolerance is about “easy” and even “Fair” (no one can accuse you of playing favorites if everyone gets the same big gavel), but sometimes they are good policy.

          That said, we had a stduent suspended for two weeks for “being a part of” a scandal to bring a fake gun to school. Why so long as a conspirator who did not touch the toy gun? Zero tolerance.

          Now that I do NOT agree with…

  6. Nobody has commented yet on the fact that the kid in the post picture has a truly awesome woodshop raygun (with extended clip!).

    And now they have.

  7. I’m unsure how to react to this story. I want to join in with everybody and cluck cluck at the the PC state of our society, and all. But I’ve sat in the consultants chair for the employers on a lot of school issues like this, and my experience tells me that odds are there are other things at play with this child.

    It could be that one child said POW POW to another, and the school was so sissified that they suspended him. But I suspect that there were a variety of behavioral issues at hand that got the boy suspended.

    Normally what happens behind the scenes with these kinds of stories is that there are some very difficult issues the school is trying to work through with the child, usually in regard to impulse control. There are meetings with the parents (though often the meetings are called but don’t actually occur because the parents do not show up) until a “no-tolerance” line in the sand is drawn – when that is breached, a suspension is given.

    The problem from the public’s perspective is that the parent is often incensed at the nerve of the school for suspending the child, and if angry enough can bring in the media. This is almost always a clusterfuck, as the parent gives their (usually very skewed and purposefully incomplete) version of events, but for liability reasons the school isn’t really allowed to disclose their entire story of the facts at hand. The local media usually could care less, because a story about the school district gone mad with power plays so well.

    As I say, events could have transpired exactly as they are described in these news reports, but it seems highly unlikely.

    • Maybe I’m out there, but I don’t know that suspension is ever warranted. What is the message sent? Especially to a 6-year-old? I’m not saying action wasn’t warranted, especially if there are more/greater issues; I just think suspension is a stupid tack that schools employ.

        • That’s fair. But I bet there’d be less outrage if the headline was “Boy Disciplined at School for Playing Guns” instead of “Boy Suspended from School for Playing Guns”. The severity of the response seems to be as much, if not more, of an issue for people than a response existing at all.

          And it seems reasonable to suspect that the school might have been motivated by some sense of “risk management”. Which makes sense on one level. And is a bit horrifying on another.

          • Yeah. I find it telling that we live in a society where citizens sue schools, govt agencies, nonprofits and corporations at the drop of a hat – and then get all miffed when schools, govt agencies, nonprofits and corporations change traditional behaviors because they get tired of being sued all the time.

          • There is a practical logic to schools taking steps to avoid lawsuits. But, pedagogically, it is problematic as soon as that objective interferes with the school’s primary charge of teaching children.

          • Without knowing the details, it’s hard to say. I mean, you’ve seen the local news, right? “ARE SCHOOLS FEEDING POISON TO YOUR KIDS? STAY TUNED AT ELEVEN” is pretty standard fare.

            The headline could be “School spends three weeks disciplining child, struggling to contact uncaring parents. Finally suspends kid as wakeup call to family”.

            Which, you know, I find perfectly fair. Schools fall prey to the 80/20 rule on discipline, and in the end without parental invovlement, kids won’t change. Seriously — if the parents aren’t backing school actions, most kids will NOT change their actions at school.

            Suspensions are often more about removing a persisently disruptive kid so that OTHER kids can learn for once than trying to reform the kid. (Generally that’s more high school level).

            I know at least one school district that was fully prepared to suspend a student entirely because that student’s parent had flat-out encouraged the kid to disrupt class, over and over, and refused to meet with school officials to discuss things like “Should Susie threaten other kids with scissors”? Only the thought of tossing Susie onto her mother for a week got her Mom to tell Susie to knock it off.

            The kid would go home, with detentions or bad conduct grades for flat-out bullying, constanty yelling at teachers, disrupting class, and basically being a violent little prima donna. And her Mom would tell her something akin to “Don’t let anyone tell you what to do! Be yourself!” and the teachers got THAT screamed at them.

            Apparently the little girl SHOULD be herself. Unless it meant Mommy had to stay home from work to watch her.

          • Morat,

            You raise many fair points. In my ideal world, schools would be better prepared to support those types of students, even without parent support. We are far from that place.

          • In an ideal world, we could beam knowledge into kid’s heads.

            You’ve just added yet another impossible task to schools, you realize that?

            “Become a more trusted source of authority than your parents”

            My god, could you imagine the storm of crap that would fly up if somehow schools managed to do that reliably? Oh sure, we’re ALL for students trusting teachers more when their parents are the “wrong sort”…

            Actually, scratch that — you don’t NEED to imagine it. It’s called “evolution” and the sheer amount of screaming crap directed at schools because little Johnny might, even by accident, learn something that Mommy and Daddy disagree with is such an issue that presidential candidates have to weigh in on it on occasion.

            So how exactly are teachers to somehow handle kids whose parents tell them, by word or deed, to neither listen nor respect them? (Much less obey them). Without trampling over parental authority?

            They can’t. Which is why they bounce the kids out, so they can focus on the kids who can be reached. If the inconvience of a suspended kid gets the parents off their butts to get Johnny to pay attention, BONUS.

          • “In an ideal world, we could beam knowledge into kid’s heads.”

            Hey now! That’d put me out of a job! Ideal my tookus!

            To your larger point, why can’t the expectation be that teachers yield authority in the school building and parents yield authority at home? In the past, I have had to say to students, “That might be something that is okay for you to do at home. But it is not okay for you to do it at school. And I expect you to work within the limits we set at school.”

            But, generally speaking, the school/parent partnership is a tricky one, to say the least.

          • Actually, I have a dataless theory that we evolved specifically not to listen to our parents. Which is why a peer is so much more authoritative starting at oh, say, four? And why teenagers are pains in the asses. Strengthens community bonds, diminishes familial idiosyncrasies. Variation on incest taboo.

          • we evolved specifically not to listen to our parents…Variation on incest taboo.

            Absolutely so, IMO. Novelty-seeking behavior (most of which will be pointless or painful/deadly; some small amount of which will be evolutionarily fruitful) necessarily means ignoring those who came before. And novelty-seeking behavior (sex, drugs, rock and roll) coincides pretty neatly with teens (prime reproductive age).

            The human race wouldn’t get anywhere, if we listened to the good advice of our forbears. We’d still be in the trees – you just know it was a teen monkey who first came down, probably trying to impress a girl monkey. Columbus would’ve sat on his a** in Spain. We’d still be listening to Perry Como.

          • I have a dataless theory

            So you really are a philosopher!

          • So you really are a philosopher!
            Okay, that is totally awesome!

            Allow me to say, however, that as a sometime practitioner/fan of x-phi, I tend toward theories that misread data to dataless theories.


        Suspensions, as children get older and enter into their teenage years, have less to do with the parents than the kids (although it remains a useful tool to get a parent’s attention who has decided that he or she doesn’t care what daycare — I mean school — says).

        But at that age? I know a lot of teachers, but most didn’t teach elementary kids — but I’ve never heard of a flat-out suspension for kids that age that wasn’t either a real danger by the kid (it, sadly, happens) or basically a screaming message to parents who don’t show up for conferences, don’t return phone calls, and don’t seem to care.

        Sad you have to suspend the kid to do it, but generally that occurs after bad conduct reports, teacher phone calls, principle phone calls, notes sent home, conferences scheduled, and basically everything short of hanging out at the kid’s house waiting for Mommy or Daddy to get home.

  8. Hmm… I feel like a lousy parent. My kid and I comb our basement with flashlights and nerf guns looking for zombies. It is also important to note that you should NOT shoot dinosaurs because, even the carnivores, are there to help kill the zombies.

    Of course, on the other hand, when we were setting up a firing range for the nerf guns and I was drawing targets I first put a bell and an apple on the board we were shooting at, then he said:

    “Draw a deer.”

    “Why a deer?”

    “Cuz deer are for shooting.”

    Something he picked up at day care where two kids his age have a dad who is an avid hunter.

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