Officials will be retrained in another victory against ‘Zero Tolerance’ idiocy

Steve Watson
April 1, 2014

Another victory was recorded in the ongoing battle against the zero tolerance crack down on school children this week, as an 11-year-old’s suspension was lifted and his record cleared following an incident where he voluntarily “turned in” a toy gun.

As we reported in February, rights lawyers with The Rutherford Institute took up the case after 6th grader Caden Cook was interrogated, intimidated and eventually suspended by school officials, regardless of the fact that he owned up to having the plastic toy after finding he’d accidentally left it in his jacket pocket.

Officials at Fredrick Funston Elementary School in Chicago will now be made to undergo further training after they punished Caden under a ‘Dangerous Weapons’ Policy, and ordered the boy to undergo counseling and psychiatric evaluation – all without a parent being informed or present.

Child Interrogated And Suspended After Voluntarily Turning In Toy Gun At School 110214capture

All references to the incident will now be expunged from the boy’s permanent record, and the demands for him to be counseled have been dropped.

In addition, security staff will also be retrained on proper search procedures, after the incident highlighted the fact that students were being subjected to indiscriminate physical pat-downs in public, as well as having their bags searched without probable cause or knowledge of their parents.

Metal detectors and bag scanners at the school’s entrance were seemingly not enough for some officials, who were taking it upon themselves to physically search children and their possessions at random.

When Caden was asked to line up for a physical pat-down, he reaslied that the toy was in his pocket and alerted security staff. Instead of recognizing that he was attempting to do the right thing, the officials freaked out, leveling threats and accusations of lying at the child.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute noted “This is one of those rare occasions where reason prevails in the midst of the lunacy of zero tolerance policies, which are transforming our schools into quasi-prisons.”

“Let us hope that other schools across the country will take note of this case, and realize that we will not stand idly by while our children are threatened by an increasingly authoritarian government that has no interest in the rights of students.”

Other previous idiotic cases include the infamous Hello Kitty bubble gun ‘terroristic’ incident, the miniature lego gun school bus massacre, the plastic toy soldier, holding a gun on a cup cake catastophe, and the perilous pencil pointing ‘pow powers’ of Virginia.

Even food bitten into the shape of a gun has been cracked down upon with suspensions.

In many of the cases, children as young as four or five years old were interrogated, or even arrested with potentially permanent criminal record repercussions.

The Rutherford Institute is setting a first rate example in fighting back on such cases. In January their attorneys ensured that justice was done for a fifth grader in Pennsylvania who found himself in trouble after “violating” the school’s zero tolerance policy on weapons by miming the action of firing an arrow from a bow using only his hands.

The list of previous incidents of this nature is now so long that it has prompted lawmakers to take action.

The latest to do so are Florida representatives who have introduced legislation that says “simulating a firearm” is not grounds for disciplinary action. The bill, which is continuing to progress through the Senate,  lists “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item” as something that should not land students in hot water.


Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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