On Monday, a kindergartener at Southeast Elementary in Brighton, CO was suspended for a day for bringing her plastic Frozen-themed bubble blower to school. The school considered the bubble gun to be a "fake weapon," thereby protecting the other five-year-olds from the blower's dangerous barrage of soapy bubbles.
The child's mom told ABC News that she apologized right away and said she didn't realize her daughter had put the toy into her backpack, but added: "I appreciate that they’re trying to keep our kids safe, I really do. But there needs to be some common sense. It blows bubbles."
Clearly this woman's dismissal of the situation's severity indicates that she has no idea how much it stings to take a bubble right in the eye.
The little girl was suspended for the day, meaning the mom had to come back and pick up her daughter. The mom, who requested to remain unidentified, told ABC News, "I asked, 'Is it really necessary for me to come get her?' And they said, 'Yes, this is our zero tolerance policy, and somebody needs to come get her immediately.'"
The woman says that night her daughter was so upset she asked to stay home and help clean the house instead of going to school on Tuesday. She continued, "It’s a shame because it’s the end of the school year, and it’s kind of ending on a bad note now. And she didn’t deserve that. She didn’t deserve a punishment like that."
The elementary school, however, does not agree. They are standing by their policy, and issued the following statement:
While we hear and understand the parents of this student being concerned about this discipline in light of the student’s age and type of item, this suspension is consistent with our district policy, as well as how Southeast has handled similar situations throughout this school year. This has involved similar situations where students have brought items such as Nerf guns to school and also received one-day suspensions.
The bringing of weapons, real or facsimile, to our schools by students can not only create a potential safety concern but also cause a distraction for our students in the learning process.
Our schools, particularly Southeast because of past instances with students bringing fake weapons to school, make a point of asking parents to be partners in making sure students are not bringing these items to school. This includes asking parents to check backpacks.
Technically, the district policy says "discretionary discipline may be used if a student displays a "firearm facsimile that could reasonably be mistaken for an actual firearm."
Many CO school districts legislated zero-tolerance policies for weapons on school grounds. This has led to kids being suspended or expelled for bringing pastry guns to school, or for using their fingers as guns.
Nathan Woodliff, the executive director of the ACLU of Colorado told ABC, "It’s absurd to send a 5-year-old home for a bubble-maker. This is a silly example of a very real problem. Zero-tolerance policies often mean zero common sense."
Sadly, they also mean zero bubbles and zero fancy cupcake icing.