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I’ve got a problem with a bright yellow Nerf gun at school leading to “serious consequences.”

February 7, 2012

There were several stories today about toy guns being brought to school.  It’s a daily occurrence.  And a lot of good kids are on the receiving-end of “serious consequences” for bringing the toy guns to school.  There are certainly times when brining a toy to school should warrant serious consequences.  And other times, the answer is obvious.  No serious consequences should be considered.  Perhaps having the toy taken away and a detention should be adequate.

So today in Cupertino, students apparently brought Nerf guns to their “zero tolerance” school campus.  The story is here.  A companion story, which might be the story to read first, can be found here.

the gun wire

Nerf gun

The picture included in this blog entry was the picture used in the stories I’ve cited.  Assuming that is one of the toy guns – it’s clearly a toy gun.  Nobody would mistake this toy as a real gun.  Nobody.

However, at about 8:25, a janitor saw one of the students crouched behind a car and appeared to be putting a weapon into a bag.  The story doesn’t tell us if the “weapon” the janitor spotted was this bright yellow thing.  If it was, how could anyone think that such an object was a “weapon?”  Sure, it’s a toy that shoots like a gun – but who would mistake that thing for a real weapon?  Or something that would warrant a lockdown and a law enforcement response?

However, the school went into lockdown mode and the sheriff’s department was called in.

Before the police arrived, someone decided to approach this situation reasonably.  A teacher decided to approach one of the boys to inquire.  The boy stated that, on their free time, the boys play some sort of “Nerf wars.”  The incident lasted about 12 minutes.  Several parents reported seeing law enforcement rushing to the scene with lights blaring, and wondered what was going on.

The principal stated that the incident created great concern and that the boys faced “serious consequences,” as the school has a zero tolerance policy on weapons.

Only, this isn’t a weapon.  It really doesn’t even resemble a weapon.

Details on the punishment that will be handed down were refused.  But the consequences will be serious.  Law enforcement did not issue any citations or make any arrests.

The big issue, as I see it, is just how serious are the consequences going to be?  Can’t they just be told not to do it again and call it a day?  Confiscate the toys, and dish out some detentions?  None of that sounds “serious.”  I think it will be something more.

And is the janitor an idiot?  What threatening gun does that yellow Nerf thing resemble?  Okay, they have a zero tolerance policy regarding real and fake guns.  Got it.  But when an administrator or employee of the district sees a bright yellow cannon-type gun, can’t common sense come into play?  Does it have to set off alarms and send the school into a panic?

As stated above, this is a daily occurrence.  And it’s really quite silly – the reaction to situations that are obviously far from being threatening.





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