In Arizona, a 13-year-old boy was suspended for for drawing — on paper — a gun on his homework. In 2000, four kindergarten boys were playing cops and robbers at recess using their fingers as “guns”; they were subsequently suspended for three days. These and other stories have led me to wonder whether things are any different in the Yukon. So, I decided to pay a visit to a local school to see for myself.
Upon entering the school, I was immediately threatened by a black-masked figure with a flowing cape, brandishing a long rapier. He wasn’t packing heat, but I’ll bet he’ll be suspended.
Trying to find someone with authority to mete out the suspension, I barely escaped a beheading by a Knight Templar in the principal’s office.
Grateful that I had escaped with my life twice, I decided to stay away from the office and make my way down to the gym, where a flurry of activity got my attention.
Instead of being in class, students filled the gymnasium. In one corner, a crowd egged on two students going at each other with pillows. A bystander was recording the whole incident on his cell phone.
A few feet further, suction-cup guns were being aimed at a boy moving about in a cage-like enclosure. The target was the skull-shaped mask being worn by the kid.
In yet another area, students were wielding hunting rifles, trying for a “kill.” Farm animals were scattered about on a flat board and the ammunition was a coin rolling down a slot on a carved wooden hunting rifle. Thankfully there was a sheriff sitting nearby. Surely he had the authority to take care of these gun-toting kids. But wait! He was the one encouraging the whole thing. Isn’t there anyone in this school that sees this behaviour for what it is?
I’d had enough of this and made my way to the nearest exit, which meant going through the girls’ change room and out the other side. As I hurried through the door, I suddenly heard muffled screams. A grizzly discovery awaited me: the change room was a scene reminiscent of a chainsaw massacre. I found myself in the dark, where flashes of light illuminated walls, ceiling, and floors splattered with blood. Trying to paw my way out of there, something (or someone) jumped out at me from a dark corner. I finally managed to find the exit where I needed a moment to regain my composure. We’re way past suspensions now, expulsion is in order!
By the end of day, the school would have been emptied had suspensions been given out. Instead, everyone had a great time. Kids had been talking about this event from the beginning of school in August and couldn’t wait for this day of Hallowe’en festivities. I’m guessing they’ll be talking about it for a couple of months to come.
Funny thing, I didn’t see any kids fighting at recess, nor any punches thrown. What I did see was a group of kids working the whole day before to set up the gym, and working through recess and lunch the day after to clean up. They were scrubbing walls using lots of elbow grease, while chatting about the day before. Could it be that there is a healthy way of letting kids just be themselves and have a bit of fun? No one condones violence, but could it be that because of news headlines, we have pushed the pendulum to the extreme?