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Cloudy thinking? Colorado 8-year-old in trouble for gun picture

A Colorado 8-year-old is in trouble for looking at clouds and drawing a picture of a pistol as part of a school activity.
A Colorado 8-year-old is in trouble for looking at clouds and drawing a picture of a pistol as part of a school activity.
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

As the Memorial Day holiday weekend looms, KVI’s John Carlson spent part of Friday morning’s early drive time talking about a report from Colorado’s KKTV News about an 8-year-old elementary school student who got in trouble for going outside, looking at clouds and drawing something from his imagination, in this case the crude outline of a pistol.

KKTV broke the story Wednesday and it was quickly picked up by bloggers, including Downtrend and The youngster, Kody Smith, is a student at Talbott Elementary in Widefield, where the school district issued a statement that is indicative of a problem in schools that doesn’t rest with students, but with teachers and administrators.

The fact that this latest tale of Colorado “zero tolerance” has become fodder for a discussion in Washington suggests that the story has traction. Particularly disturbing to Carlson was the revelation that a “behavior report” was filed against this little boy by the teacher.

This story also provides an opportunity to compare the thoughts of anti-gunners with the more sensible attitudes of people unafraid of their own shadows. Read the comments below the KKTV story.

The school district’s statement, quoted by KKTV, is not reassuring. “Our primary responsibility as a school district is to ensure safety of all staff, students and community,” the statement reads. “We exercised an age-appropriate reaction to an incident. The student's education was never disrupted nor is this incident on the student's permanent record. Our response was in line with routine procedures focused on school safety.”

Incident? What “incident?” The kid was reportedly sent outside to look at the clouds and use his imagination, and he got in trouble for that. It’s not as though he carried an AR-15 into a restaurant and posed for pictures to post on Facebook. School safety was never in jeopardy, same as a different school was in no danger from a Pop Tart chewed away to look sort of like a gun.

It doesn’t matter that the district has promised that this “incident” will not be part of the youngster’s permanent record. There should never have been an “incident” in the first place. The fact that the Widefield district’s response “was in line with routine procedures” suggests that the district needs to change its procedures, and does not really pass the smell test, anyway.

KKTV’s report also noted that the teacher took the boy into the office and wrote a report. That report, the news agency noted, “says Kody showed behavior that is disruptive to the entire learning community.” One wonders if they teach mathematics or melodrama in that school district.

Stories like this suggest something else. One might easily presume, if not outright conclude, that there is a serious effort by educators to plant the idea early on in children that guns are bad and thinking about them can get you in trouble.

Here’s a better idea, one that should be planted in the minds of parents and property taxpayers, because this sort of hyper-sensitive hoplophobia has surfaced in other school districts. Gun owning citizens of these districts should descend on the next school board meeting and promise the school superintendent and members of the board that they will never again pass another levy or bond measure so long as anything remotely resembling a “zero tolerance” policy remains in effect.

This is not the America that all the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen and women gave their lives for, and whose sacrifices will be remembered on Monday at memorial cemeteries across the country. Schools should teach common sense, not nonsense. Somebody in Wakefield just flunked.

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