22 Aug 2007

Arizona 8th-Grader Suspended For a Drawing

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Do you feel threatened by this?

Even Western states with strong hunting cultures, no gun control laws, and residents who overwhelmingly vote Republican contain suburban enclaves of liberal insanity.

Chandler, Arizona, a major suburb of Phoenix, is obviously just such a locality. One glance at the junior high school’s web-site indicates immediately that it sees its goal as producing Berkeley Breathed’s Lola Granola rather than Wyatt Earp.

And, in a fashion typical these days nation-wide, the liberal regime in Chandler intends to enforce its politically correct perspective with absolute ruthlessness via “Zero Tolerance” policies. Zero Tolerance, as enforced by American school systems, seems commonly to include “zero connection to reality.” Even a kid’s doodled drawing of a ray gun may be treated as a “threat,” resulting in serious disciplinary action.

East Valley Tribune:

An East Valley eighth-grader was suspended this week after he turned in homework with a sketch that school officials said resembled a gun and posed a threat to his classmates.

But parents of the 13-year-old, who attends Payne Junior High School in the Chandler Unified School District, said the drawing was a harmless doodle of a fake laser, and school officials overreacted.

“I just can’t believe that there wasn’t another way to resolve this,” said Paula Mosteller, the boy’s mother. “He’s so upset. The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good.”

Payne Junior High officials did not allow the Tribune to view the drawing. The Mostellers said the drawing did not depict blood, injuries, bullets or any human targets. They said it was just a drawing that resembled a gun.

But Payne Junior High administrators determined that was enough to constitute a gun threat and gave the boy a five-day suspension that was later reduced to three days.

The Tribune isn’t publishing the boy’s first name at the request of his parents. …

In the letter, school officials… indicated there would be a zero-tolerance policy toward gun threats.

Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the school is not allowed to discuss students’ discipline records. However, he said the sketch was “absolutely considered a threat,” and threatening words or pictures are punished.

The school did not contact police about the threat and did not provide counseling or an evaluation to the boy to determine if he intended the drawing as a threat.

The Mostellers said their son has no discipline record at the school because they just moved from Colorado this year.

The sketch was one of several drawings scratched in the margins of a science assignment that was turned in on Friday. The boy said he never meant for the picture to be seen as a threat. He said he was just drawing because he finished an assignment early.

School officials issued the suspension on Monday afternoon and notified the student’s father, Ben. He met with school officials and persuaded them to shorten the suspension from five days to three.

That kids’ parents should sue the pants off that school district, and the school board should obviously discharge all school officials incapable of, or merely disinclined toward, distinguishing between drawings and actual physical objects.

10 Feedbacks on "Arizona 8th-Grader Suspended For a Drawing"


Man, good thing they didn’t have such a policy when I was a kid – all my drawings of Japanese fighter planes shot down over the Pacific, all those dogfights with Russians over Alaska. No masters degree for me!

Homeschooling is the answer.

Dominique R. Poirier

Such a shame! To be in 8th grade and unable to do better than that!

Hey, come on! When I was in 8th grade I was able to sketch properly a Thompson 1928 with its drum magazine and a Colt 1911 or Walther P38 alike…

This sketch you published seems to have been done by a 4 year old kid.

Yes, he deserved to be excluded from art classes for 5 days, at least.


Yes, this is true. Thompsons, Lugers, S&W snubbies (like Dick Tracy), 1911s, Peacemakers, ray guns, the whole gamut. And it does seem to have been drawn by a much younger child.

MArine Dad

Sounds like the Chandler school system. My 3 kids graduated from there. Their theory on education is “if California does it, it has to be good!” Thus the stupidity like this. The good news is that a diligent parent can overcome the system (2 in college and the oldest in the Corp.). The funny thing is that they have one of the best high school football programs in the country.

Middle child defended himself in the classroom after being hit 3 times by a typical bully. Zero tolerance meant that both got suspended for a week. Had to meet with the school, etc. and bring him home. They called back a few hours later because he was supposed to due an interview with the AZ Republic for winning a national science fair contest. They told me that I could bring him back to the school. It appears that zero tolerance only works if they don’t need something from you.

Adam C. Martel

This is terrible. In 1991 I was in 2nd grade and all I drew were tanks and bombers and “army men”. I grew up watching the Gulf War. I never killed anyone or threatened to kill anyone. For crying-out-loud how far is this going, Do they think locking the poor kid up would be a better idea than just suspending him. Talk about over reacting.


I would have to say this is very excessive, maybe the parents should have been notified and the child and parents both aware of future penalty, the school rules and guidelines say nothing about this type of situation, they have a general, you can’t threaten anyone rule, but I know for a fact kids threaten other kids in much worse ways and are just brushed off… If this is a new policy due to recent tragedy over the last few years, it needs to be made very clear to students what the penalties are. Most young boys and even girls draw things that may seem out of line, but the bottom line is, without direct policy on the situation, the action of suspension is outrageous and I hope the school gets a little wakeup call and puts more effort into the student guide or handbook of conduct. The way schools push students and ignore the right to everyone of fair knowledge, is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Joseph Hensley

I found this article very interesting, but I would have to say that if I was this kids parents I would have the arazona school board in court sewing for publicly embaracing my child, for mentle angush, wrongfuly suspending my child and pure stupidity… the school could have kept it quite had D-Hall, Iss called his parents in for a confrence, but for them to go public and let the whole world know that was just plain dumb… now the kid will be marked as a threat to his fellow classmates, and other citizens.

Eugene Williams

Zero tolerance may appear to be insane, but there is a reason for the policy. The leftists who control public education are involved in what has been described as “A total transformation of society”.

The trauma inflicted on this thirteen year old is calculated to leave a fearful and negative impression of guns in his mind. It is also intended to create fear in the minds of other students. This deliberate and cruel punishment is no less atrocious becauseit is applied by a bunch of brain washed administrators in that school district.

Zero tolerance policy is a symptom of the disease of political correctness and ruthless enforcement of leftist ideology. Those administrators and teachers are criminals. They are child abusers.


Wow….. I feel ashamed that things like this can happen in our country. A child drew a gun and he is treated like he was in a fight, or lashed out at a teacher, or even brought alcohol to school. The Chandler School District needds to appologize to that child and his parents for their stupidity. We are turning into “The Land of the Free”, (unless you have a different opinion.) And that my friends is pathetic.

John Bauserman, Jr.

First God created Idiots. That was for practice. Then he created School Boards. — Mark Twain


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