1. We punish them for being brave
A Calgary student was scolded for being involved in an incident with a weapon. Sounds pretty legitimate until you realize that he was stopping a potential stabbing from happening in his classroom. School officials hope to make the wayward vigilante an example to any other student who foolishly mistakes saving a life for an act of heroism.
2. We make them fear friendship
A young girl was temporarily removed from school for talking about using a bubble gun that she didn’t even have with her. In a typical five-year-old statement, the girl is quoted as saying that she wanted to shoot herself and her friends with the gun “so that they could all be together.” Such adorably flawed logic melts the hearts of most people, but for her school district, it was enough to spur a three-hour interrogation.
3. We don’t let them be themselves
One preschool is demanding that a deaf three-year-old change his name because the way he signs it could somehow be mistaken for a weapon. School officials claim that the whole thing is a big misunderstanding, but are continuing to ask the boy to change his name, leading many to wonder exactly what the misunderstanding is.
4. We punish them for sticking to their beliefs
A seventh grade girl in Indiana was suspended for ten days for violating her school’s drug policy by saying “no” to Adderall. When one of her classmates offered her the pill and placed it into her hand, the girl declined the drug and returned it to its owner immediately. School officials kicked her out of school for possession, and the girl decided that next time she’d say, “Eh, maybe once,” to drugs.
5. We reprimand them for pulling harmless pranks
A boy was arrested for causing alarm to patrons because a bunch of elderly players looked up when he walked into a bingo hall and yelled “bingo.” While the judge pretty much laughed off the case, getting cuffed over a case of boys will be boys is a pretty harsh overreaction.
6. We force them to be more dependent.
A Texas woman’s neighbor called the cops after seeing kids playing outside in the cul-de-sac where they live. The policeman who arrived at the scene proceeded to take the mother to jail citing reckless endangerment of children, presumably because arresting people is way more policeman-y than not arresting people. The woman spent eighteen hours in prison, and your hard-earned tax dollars wept silently in the corner.
7. We don’t let them play with their food
A young boy received a two-day suspension for biting a toaster pastry into the shape of a gun. The NRA gave the boy a free lifetime membership because one good lapse in logic deserves another. The student’s school offered counseling to anyone who was affected by the shocking sight of a half-eaten Poptart, which surely made the school psychologist feel like her Masters degree was finally being put to good use.
8. We don’t let them get their hands dirty
A first grader in Missouri was given a two-day in-school detention and now has a mark on her school record because she put dirt in a bag, tied it with a hair scrunchie, and gave it to her friend as a present. Her teacher decided to punish her after making the observation that the bag of dirt looked like a bag of weed, except brown and rocky and not resembling weed at all.
9. We punish them for being honest
A girl is not permitted to go to her school dance or picnic after she told her mom about two classmates who were gettin’ it on during a spring break trip. The school is unhappy because she waited until she got home to report the incident rather than telling the chaperones, all eight of whom were watching a movie at the front of a bus and clearly couldn’t be bothered by something so awkward as middle school ugly-bumping.
10. We crush their individuality
A five-year-old boy was removed from school because his hairstyle apparently was such a distraction that it caused friction in the learning environment. Of a kindergarten class. The boy had his head shaved after the school insisted that no, they really weren’t joking, and is now back in class looking like a shadow of the man he used to be.
11. We make them ask permission for everything
A thirteen-year-old was arrested for what most people would call “eating the food in your own house.” His mom, however, didn’t see it that way, and had him arrested for stealing her toaster pastries. He was charged with larceny. We can only hope that the Poptart robbery isn’t a gateway crime that escalates to the likes of grand theft Toaster Strudel.
12. We crush their dreams
Three young girls were told by the police to shut down their lemonade stand because they were not paying the fifty-dollar business and food permit required by city law. The police chief was also concerned about the fact that he didn’t know how or with what the beverage was made, leading many to wonder if he was in fact from this planet.
13. We take away their free speech
A sixth grader in Maryland was removed from school after saying that he wished he had a gun to protect everyone from bad guys. The boy’s traumatizing words were enough to prompt an interrogation from the principal and deputy sheriff, but stopping there was simply not enough to protect the innocent. The deputy sheriff then searched the family’s home without a warrant because sticks and stones may break bones, but words can shoot people in the chest.
14. We teach them to be ashamed of their bodily functions
A seventh grader in Albuquerque was taken into police custody after burping in gym class. The teacher alleged that he had caused a disturbance by belching audibly. This would probably warrant a scolding by the typical grandmother, but some people apparently take table manners a bit more seriously.
15. We made spreading cooties a sex crime
A teacher called the police because an elementary school girl kissed a boy on the playground. The teacher called the incident a “sex crime.” The officer who responded at the scene dismissed the charges and may or may not have recommended the teacher attend sex ed courses at the district’s middle school due to her apparent confusion on such matters.
16. We discourage close personal relationships
Some elementary schools in Britain are adopting the policy of telling students that they should have large groups of friends instead of having a single best friend. The informal ban comes from the concern that the kids’ feelings would be hurt if the relationship of ‘best friends forever’ turned into ‘best friends until we have a fight or drift apart as we mature as individuals and develop separate interests’.
17. We take away their balls
An elementary school has banned all non-foam balls citing safety concerns. The ban includes soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, volleyballs, and basketballs. Children and their parents are protesting the prohibition, since standing around doing nothing at recess is as much fun as it sounds like it is.
18. We prevent them from being educated
A parent’s complaint about the dictionary’s inclusion of the word “oral sex” has prompted a ban on the book in southern California. The book’s definition of the word, which is written, “oral stimulation of the genitals,” was considered too obscene for elementary school students. The concerned parent can now sleep well knowing that her child will go to more reliable sources such as the internet when he or she eventually hears the term and wants to learn what it means.
19. We prohibit them from acting like adults
A twelve-year-old girl was arrested for spraying perfume in school after her classmates were bullying her. She was charged with a misdemeanor after spraying the scent twice. Meanwhile, high school girls across the nation continue to hope for similar treatment of their male classmates who bathe in Axe.
20. We don’t let them up stand for what they believe in
A high schooler was suspended for five days after an anti-bullying video she made for her business and communications class. The assignment required her to make a persuasive promo, which she did so effectively that some of her classmates were moved to tears. The principal caught wind of the buzz and punished the girl for disrupting the learning environment, and under-achievers everywhere were given a reason to avoid doing their homework.
21. We don’t let them play rough
A little boy was suspended and had a count of sexual battery on his school record for brushing up against his friend’s leg or groin area during a game of tag. The school took the charge off the boy’s record after learning that “sexual assault by six-year-olds” does not legally exist in California. The boy’s parents were threatening legal action for making their son out to be a sexual predator when he was still young enough to believe that girls had cooties.
It’s time to reevaluate the way we coddle the future generation. Making mistakes and getting hurt is how you grow. Teaching kids to fear Pop Tarts is how you promote xenophobia. Let’s get it together, America.