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Have we lost our common sense? Another facet of the crisis in our schools

Updated on June 19, 2013


A five year old girl was recently suspended from school for talking to a friend about a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, saying they needed to get together and shoot each other with their bubble guns.

A five year old girl.

Shooting each other with their bubble guns.

Hello Kitty Bubble Guns.

Pink Hello Kitty Bubble Guns.

You know the kind that shoots bubbles out of it; soft, float on the air bubbles.

Suspended for ten (10) days from school, and she has to undergo a series of psychological tests to see if she is a danger to society.

Really.

The Principal felt so strongly about the perceived “terroristic threat” that the little girl was questioned for three hours before her Mother was called. Now, get this picture in your mind: a five year old kindergarten student was talking about shooting her friends and herself with a pink Hello Kitty Bubble Gun, bubbles, shooting bubbles. She is suspended for ten days, later reduced to two days and the verbiage changed from a terroristic threat to a threat to harm others.

Again, she said she wanted to shoot herself and friends with bubbles from her Hello Kitty Bubble Gun. The toy was not at school; it was at home. At no time was this little girl threatening, or throwing a tantrum, or hitting, or yelling, or screaming. She was in line, in the school room, ready to leave to go home. She wanted to play with her friends. Just play with her friends.

People, do we not have enough out there to worry about without jumping to the extreme measures of scaring a little child to tears while performing a Spanish Inquisition on her for three hours. Without her mother. Without a lawyer. My God, what have we become? Was she subjected to waterboarding? Did she have to sit in a circle of light for those three hours while the principal hammered at her with questions about her ties to Al Qaeda? I mean, she was termed a "terroristic threat" right? I understand we need to watch out for our children and be careful; that we need to seek the truth in every manner in order to maintain a level of safety for our students, but this? Interrogating children in this manner is absolutely ridiculous!

First, if there is a problem, it sure as hell isn't in Kindergarten! Although we may identify problems this young, do we need to kick a five year old out of school for this? Wouldn't it be more prudent if we were to assist the actual professional doctors by providing information, such as what is seen in the class daily on students who are having issues in class? Here is what it takes to become a School Counselor in my state of Missouri.

Educational Requirements: (Option 1) Completion of a master's degree with a major emphasis in guidance and counseling from a college or university meeting approval of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or (Option 2) A master’s degree or higher degree in education, school counseling, counseling, counseling psychology, or a closely related mental health discipline; and additional graduate course work specific to school counseling.
Required Coursework: (Option 1): Completion of a planned program of at least 24 semester hours of approved graduate credit in courses in guidance and counseling with at least 12 semester hours focused upon guidance in the elementary (elementary certification) or secondary schools (secondary certification). Complete one course in each of the following areas: Orientation to the Personal and Professional Development in Counseling; Foundation of Elementary and Secondary School Guidance; Theories and Techniques of Elementary and Secondary School Counseling; Analysis of the Elementary School Child and School Learning Problems; Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling; Practicum.
(Option 2): Must either possess a bachelor’s degree in education from a state-approved teacher preparation program or complete a curriculum in teaching methods and practices, classroom management and the psychology of the exceptional child, as specified by the recommending certification officer of a state-approved program;
Experience Requirements: (Option 1) A supervised internship of at least 3 credits OR (Option 2) at least 300 hours of a supervised internship
Examination: Option 1 - None; Option 2 - Praxis II; Must achieve a score higher than 590
Institution Recommendation Required?: Yes, must recommend for certification
Certification: (1) Elementary - Grades K-8; OR (2) Secondary - Grades 7-12
Reciprocity: Yes
Background Check: Yes

Now, this may seem like a lot, and it is; but is enough to make a diagnosis on a child this young? To term them as a “terroristic threat”? I know we have many, many issues in the school that the counselor must be aware of and cope with for the school’s sake, but is child terrorism within that person’s scope of expertise? Or is the school asking someone who is, at heart, a teacher to make decisions that may well color a child’s life for the rest of their time in school and possibly even after? This five year old kindergarten girl now has a permanent record of this diagnosis on her school records. PERMANENT! It becomes part of her scholastic record for all to see and judge her by forever. Should her family move, the new school will receive her transcript and view it, and make a determination as to how she will be received. Is this something that should be on her transcript to judge her by?

There are enough things in schools which require attention, serious issues like drug use, abuse, bullying, family home life, and behavior disorders, to say nothing of gangs, teen sex, and actual weapons. I understand we need to be on guard for everything, but at some point Common Sense needs to play a role. Common Sense tells me this little girl meant nothing harmful with her statement. Common Sense tells me a normal, intelligent person could have determined that within a few moments of questioning. Common Sense directs me to contact her Mother immediately, to discuss it with her in the presence of parent and child together rather than behind closed doors, treating the child as a criminal; one guilty until proven innocent.

What times we now live in. Schools fearful of guns and bombs; schools providing day care and busing for children who have children; schools having armed guards at the doors with metal detectors; schools calling the police when a Kindergarten aged child throws a tantrum because a Principal “fears for their life”; schools afraid of a Hello Kitty Bubble Gun. I have no issue, and a lot of sympathy for those whose job it is to determine what is and is not a threat to our children’s safety, but do we need to educate ourselves on what to really look for, rather than have a knee jerk reaction and red flag a child for a desire to play with her friends with a toy?

I believe we are asking school counselors to perform a job they are not necessarily prepared for. I believe we need more in depth and specific training to deal with the threats society is now facing, rather than throwing someone in to the fire who is not prepared to fight this fight. We wouldn't ask a plumber to take care of an electrical problem, or have an automotive mechanic perform root canal surgery, would we? Then why are we asking someone who is at heart a teacher to diagnose and treat a child in school with this type of behavior issues?

We all want to help our children grow up and become healthy, productive members of society; well-rounded and intelligent and able to think for themselves. I truly believe most teachers take our children and love and care for them as if they were their own. But has the position of School Counselor changed and become beyond what the position was originally intended to be? Are we behind the times? I am afraid the world has changed, and we are lagging behind.

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    • profile image

      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Wow, anyone with any sense would realize this little girl wanting to shoot her friends with bubbles will grow up to be a mass murderer. Thank goodness we have these diligent genius types working at our schools to head things like this off at the pass. They no longer teach subjects like Math, English, Geography, and cursive writing, so I guess they have to find something to do. I'm really surprised this little girl and her parents were not incarcerated in a mental health facility for a few years for observation.

      I wonder how these geniuses would have reacted back in our day. We had no TV or Video Games to occupy our time, so we played outside most of the time. We played, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, we built forts and had mock battles with our playmates. It is a wonder all of us didn't end up in prison or on death row for murdering innocent citizens.

      Thank god this 5 year old threat to society with her pink bubble gun was stopped before any real damage was done to society.

      My hat is off to these school officials who are watching out for us.

      I hope you realize I am being sarcastic.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      This particular statement sums up my feelings about this ridiculous situation perfectly: "There are enough things in schools which require attention, serious issues like drug use, abuse, bullying, family home life, and behavior disorders, to say nothing of gangs, teen sex, and actual weapons. I understand we need to be on guard for everything, but at some point Common Sense needs to play a role. Common Sense tells me this little girl meant nothing harmful with her statement. Common Sense tells me a normal, intelligent person could have determined that within a few moments of questioning. Common Sense directs me to contact her Mother immediately, to discuss it with her in the presence of parent and child together rather than behind closed doors, treating the child as a criminal; one guilty until proven innocent".

      Unbelievable and very glad you brought my attention to this as I was unaware of the incredible harm a pink Bubble gun could cause...especially a dreaded Hello Kitty bubble gun. Again, unbelievable.

      Voting up and sharing.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe F. 4 years ago from USA

      Can you imagine how terrified everyone was when she pulled out her Hello Kitty bubble gun..

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

      The child will probably be relegated to therapy all her life as people unknown press the effort to discover why she would "want to shoot anyone". This little girl has been label as "damaged" by people who are not in any way qualified to make such an evaluation and on the basis of something totally innocent. Bubble pistols are not evil. They are toys that operate and discharge soapy liquid forming bubbles which are fascinating to young children. Sadly, some idiot adult has turned a gesture of friendship into a threat of assualt. Just another indication of what happens when the government runs anything. ~WB

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Common sense is now an oxymoron, because it's no longer common.

      We need to get the federal government completely out of schools and let them all be run locally, as they once were when US schools were the best in the world.

      And let's also go back to neighborhood and small town schools, instead of big, consolidated schools, so that parents have a say again on what is being taught and who is teaching it.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Well now she is probably scarred for life and she will probably get a real gun and go crazy. Schools focus attention on the dumbest things. I am glad I opted not to even bother having children. Who wants to raise kids in a world like this?

    • Mr Archer profile image
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      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Well said, Sir. Although, you may have lost a few readers out there when you said you were being sarcastic. Up until then, they thought you were on their side. Those with no common sense would not understand sarcasm. Great comment and thanks for the read.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Unbelievable is exactly the term that came to my mind. Where has common sense gone? Are all educators educated idiots? Is their entire knowledge based in books, with nothing left over for real world applications? One has to wonder. Thanks for stopping by Becky. Take care!

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      I know. And she didn't even have it with her! The terror came from the THOUGHT of the bubbles emanating from the muzzle of that deadly weapon was enough to terrorize the principal. Thanks for the visit, faythef.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Wayne, I wholeheartedly agree with you. When will we learn to see what is there, rather than what we fear is there. I appreciate your visiting and taking the time to comment.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      When, exactly, did we lose our ability to see things as they are? Using common sense? Large consolidated schools have lost sight ofthe individual child, I feel. It becomes about the greater good, rather than the individual. This is where a lot of children get lost in the system.If we cannot come to where we have parents actually involved in their children's lives, and schools investing their time and effort in these same children, we are doomed to continue the mistakes we have and continue to make.

      One thing that drives me insane is the MAP testing, Measure of Aptitude Progress. Why in the world will we spend a full quarter of the year teaching the children to pass the test, rather than teaching a curriculum. My thoughts are this: if we are teaching the children properly, shouldn't they be ableto pass any test given to them that covers the studies taught to them? Thanks, Will for stopping by. I appreciate the read and comment.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      I know this poor little girl will be having some issues related to this for some time to come. A simple phone call to the parents and a conversation would have taken care of the situation in short order. Perhaps the parents could have had a calm discussion with her and let her know it was inappropriate to speak like that in school. Instead, we have a crying, scared little girl and a news item across the country. How very sad.

      Regarding having children in today's world: while it can be a challenge, I still love having my children. Simple things like their laughing, or a drive to see something new or reading a book together mean the world to me. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Thanks for stopping by, Jeannie. You have a great day.

    • Ushnav profile image

      Ushnav Shroff 4 years ago from INDIA

      You hub is brilliant. It hooked me on right from the beginning and was very informative too! Kudos! :)

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Why thank you Sir! Have a great day!

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 4 years ago

      Common sense is superseded by emotions and human agendas. In other cases its mostly dumb people. We debate abortion instead of birth control and sex with people we do not want to procreate with. Taxes and balancing the budget when those who use the most infrastructure and make the most money pay none. Health care when no one can afford it because its mostly over priced. Charity because its free advertising and a tax write off. Sex education when we are educated every hour we watch television. We jump on the band wagon when we know nobody who is on it to begin with. I could go on all day. I am hardly surprised that a child with a hello kitty bubble gun will forever be branded by authorities as high risk. One of them bubbles could have popped in someone’s eye. Soon we will have bunkers and machine gun nest protecting our schools, another big money maker. Billions in home land security and still a few million people crossed the border. If it was not for them it could have been millions more. Teachers should be made to carry hello kitty bubble guns for protection after proper training and a back ground check of course.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      I love it! Teachers carrying Hello Kitty Bubble Guns for protection! If they are such a threat, then they should be just fine for protection, shouldn't they? And I wholeheartedly agree with you: common sense is a fading commodity. I have a term for a lot of the educated people of today: Educated Idiots. This is not to say that every one of the college graduates are this, but there seem to be more and more whose intellegence comes from books, not real life situations. Thus, they rely on book knowledge and forget common sense still should play a part.

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