Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Overheard on CNN.com

toy gun, Stonewall, Obama

 

Comment of the Day

 

"Zero Tolorence? Only a Sith deals in absolutes."

 

Our comment of the day comes from KenMasters34, who compared officials in a Florida school district to Darth Vader and his evil brethren in the "Star Wars" movies. KenMaster34 was one of the many CNN.com readers who reacted to the expulsion of a 7-year-old boy who brought a toy gun to school. Many commenters say that common sense is the missing element here.

 

An assault at the historic Stonewall Bar in Manhattan also has people talking. Some are calling it a hate crime, while others wonder how a 17-year-old boy ended up in a gay bar in the first place.

 

Gloria Borger’s story on what went wrong for the Democrats  is getting a lot of attention.  Democrats say the Obama Administration didn't get much done because of GOP obstruction and Republicans say the administration has been unsuccessful because people oppose the president's agenda.

 

Most Commented stories

 

Toy gun leads to Florida boy's expulsion

1,006 Comments and 497 Facebook shares

 

TreyMck

May we please have some common sense applied? Child brings a toy gun to school. Said toy never left his backpack. Child has lost a year and half of education. Absolute lunacy. Whatever happened to a week's detention and writing "I will not bring toy guns to school" a hundred times?

 

TJ14

Zero Tolerance policies are just the lazy man's way of dealing with problems. They all too often prevent common sense from being employed. The people in charge need to seriously reconsider why they are in charge.

 

Aezel

NO! This kid needed to be expelled. I'm sick of this bull in America of everyone blaming the schools. Where the hell were this kids parents? What were they doing? Where is their responsibility in this? His dad said his kid "made a mistake?" No, as parents, you failed and made a mistake. All the other 7-year-olds in the school seem to have it figured out that you can't bring a toy gun, why do we make exceptions. Parents need to TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY.

 

2 accused of hate crime at historic gay bar

357 Comments and 662 Facebook shares

 

TheVoices

Normally I'm extremely skeptical of "hate crimes" and I think they are thrown way out of proportion, but this seems to have been done exclusively because the man was gay.

 

CoastCodger

Hate crimes are laws against thought. If you can convince a jury that I THOUGHT something when I committed another crime (whether assault, murder, robbery, spraying graffiti, or hiring or promoting someone other than you), then you can have me punished. If one does not have freedom of thought, one has no freedom at all. These boys should be punished for WHAT they did, not WHY they did it.

 

iketomoveit

I don't understand everyone's confusion. Two homophobic guys go to the famous site of the Stonewall uprising. They attack a guy after making sure he's gay. And this is not a planned hate crime...because.....?

 

The Sweep: What went wrong for Democrats

649 Comments and 117 Facebook likes

 

zbind66

To sum it up, the Dems have been the geeks and nerds on the playground, and the GOP were the school bullies. The geeks tried to play nice, share their lunch and snacks, and the GOP whooped up on them, and gave them wedgies whenever they got the chance. Yes, the bullies will be voted back into office, thanks to the tiny attention span of the voters... What was the question????

 

forrestoak

How did it come to this? We wanted hope and change, like promised. Instead we got more of the same and in some cases like the deficit and health care bill we got worse.

 

ifly2

Yes, Congress is broke. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, you aren't doing the job we're paying you for. You continue to fight for your party's platform regardless if it's wrong or right. Mainstream America really doesn't care if you're on the blue or red team, we only care that you're on the Red, White and Blue team and "working" for the people who put you into office. All politicians are fair game at this point and newly elected officials had better learn where their roots are!

 

Tell us what you think!

 

If you've got something to say about the stories on CNN.com, or have suggestions for improving the experience for commenters on the site, please let us know in the comments below.

32 Comments
October 6, 2010
Click to view driftss's profile

Zero Tolerance is part of the liberal school culture of avoiding ANY personal responsibility or decision-making repercussions for the school administration.  No need for common sense or fairness.  All blame the rules.  "Sorry.  Rules say no tolerance so its out of my hands."  This does NOT improve the school's safety in any way just like strict gun laws in DC have always failed.  We NEED common sense in our school and government policies and personal responsibility and accountability of the administration.

October 6, 2010
Click to view firearms's profile

Fake guns like this one in the dark could get your child killed. I sold guns for years and under a shirt or in the dark you can not tell the difference if it is real or not. Also from a distance glare on plastic looks like nickle plating used on real guns.

October 6, 2010
Click to view gpoetx's profile

Well come to idiocracy, hmmm, I mean America...

October 6, 2010
Click to view gizmocj's profile

What has our world come to? I remember taking rubber band guns to school. it was a right of Spring, and Fall,and Winter.

Senior skip day in High School(Go Lancers!)we had squirt guns.

It is unfortunate for all the children to miss school. What are the parents doing before school. My mom or dad made sure i had all my stuff. Cap guns and dart guns were not allowed, period. We would get sent home and told to leave those things at home, but we weren't expelled.

I agree that toy firearms would get someone killed. C'mon mom and dad. Do your job and supervise your kids!

October 6, 2010
Click to view firearms's profile

I wish all of you would go to a sporting goods store and take a look at bb guns and soft pellet guns. It is only in recent times that these guns look so real. Also some of these new bb guns have enough energy for a bb to penetrate skin. Many kids also have eye injuries from bb guns.

October 6, 2010
Click to view And101101's profile

Look at the picture of the gun does it even seem real its crazy how they can stop a 7 year with a fake plastic see through gun. But the can't stop a teen with a real one.

October 6, 2010
Click to view vance310's profile

Aezel, Please, school is a place to teach and educate, many states are just applying crazy blanket rules without using any judgment on a case by case basis.. This is Lunacy, you want someone to become a criminal? well don't educate them. Please some sense here.. Oh and maybe if we were not so gun happy in in this country the kid may have bought another toy to school instead..  Expel the school board!!!! they are the ones who are out of line and not doing a smart job..

October 7, 2010
Click to view gen81465's profile

The expulsion seems drastic, yet not really surprising.  Recently, a child was expelled from school for pointing his finger (in the shape of a gun) at another child.  The charge? Brandishing a weapon.

October 7, 2010
Click to view chet99's profile

The little boy was wrong and should be punished, but you don't have to take 1 or 2 years out of his life for it.  The school administrator should lose their job.  They are the ones who should know better.

October 7, 2010
Click to view BLIERSO's profile

It's insane to ban a 7 years old for that, for a year? It is absurd, and to use a zero tolerance for a toy gun left in his back pack. There is no common sense anymore, are these people ever raised a child? The zero tolerance should apply only to adults over 15 or 18. In this case the school board should be fired for making such an incompetent and harsh decision. 

October 7, 2010
Click to view skywire's profile

Funny how something so seemingly simple as zero tolerance for breaking a rule is utterly twisted into cruel lunacy, breeding disrespect for law and authority figures. The idea of zero tolerance for weapons in schools was supposed to be that if you bring a weapon to school, it doesn't matter what your excuse is, or who you know, or who your parents are -- you pay the price. Instead, it is treated as requiring punishment for what manifestly does NOT violate the rule. Examples have included a plastic GI Joe with a tiny facsimile of a gun, which is NOT a weapon. Period. A child was suspended for drawing a picture of his father in combat in Iraq carrying a weapon. What that zero tolerance for possession of a weapon in school? No, it was an inexcusable crime on the part of the school authorities.

October 7, 2010
Click to view Stan77's profile

Expulsion is a very drastic step to take in this case. In law enforcement you are taught to use to tools which every person has; common sence and your own discretion. Ok, the common sence thing may not be in everyones tool box or else the school could have used their discretion in this case by takeing the toy gun and having the parents pick it up at the princepal's office, instead of making a 7 year old a criminal for a MISTAKE that he didn't mean to make. He didn't even take it out of his bag or have the intent on using it, it was a mistake that he made that a lot of people would make, like misplacing your keys when your in a hurry to get to work.

October 7, 2010
Click to view GrampsX9's profile

Another example of zero tolerance equals zero intelligence.

October 7, 2010
Click to view Andulamb's profile

Responding to Aezel's featured comment...  I agree that not enough parents these days take responsibility for their children's misbehavior.  Far too many are unwilling to teach their children that there are consequences for breaking the rules or for poor performance, and would rather blame anyone BUT their children or themselves.  And if the punishment fit the crime in this case and the child was suspended for a few days and the parents were still complaining I would be agreeing with you here as well.  But it was a TOY gun.  Not a real weapon.  Not a knife or a gun or anything that could have hurt anyone.  Why does mistakenly bringing a toy gun to school (and not even a toy gun that resembles a real gun, but a toy gun that is clearly a toy) warrant depriving a child of over a year of education?  Okay, his parents had the option of sending him to a school for bad kids.  But if the kid isn't bad (and no, one mistake doesn't suddenly make him bad), it would be like putting someone in jail with rapists and murderers for a parking violation.  Do you really think a good person is coming out of a situation like that IMPROVED?  These zero-tolerance policies are supposed to increase safety, aren't they?  How does it increase safety to treat good kids like criminals, and even force them into the company of bad kids with serious problems?  It doesn't make any sense, which is what everyone is complaining about.  The rule is completely devoid of logic.  Treating good kids like criminals accomplishes what exactly?  Teaches them to hate authority?  To hate school?  Marks them for life?  Makes them an outcast when they do return to school?  Sounds great.  Suspending the kid for a few days wouldn't have taught him the error of his ways without destroying him as a person?  Of course, I'm willing to consider the possibility that there is more going on here than meets the eye.  I don't believe the school is providing many details, and I'm guessing they can't legally.  But maybe this kid IS a problem student, and the school used this to get him out of their hair.  Could be.  I'd support them in that case.  My wife is a teacher and has a few horrific students who the school can't handle, who are constantly disrupting class and interfere with every other students' right to an education.  If such a kid did something "harmless" that could be used to expel him/her, I'd be all for it.  Public schools are saddled with too many problems that they aren't given the resources to solve.  They're basically charged with the obligation to undo all of the mistakes made by bad parents without having the tools to do so.  I agree with Aezel in that respect, as I've said -- all the responsibility is put on the schools and none on the parents.  So.... If this particular kid is basically a good student, what the school did is crazy and could ruin his life.  If the kid is a nightmare student, then congrats to the school for finding a way to get rid of him.

October 7, 2010
Click to view zeroza's profile

I rather give my son a gun and teach him how to shoot himself then give him a cellphone or worse a computer!  

October 7, 2010
Click to view Killbane's profile

Absurd. Just absurd.

Brainless bureaucrats unable to think for themselves or apply logic to the situation.

This is what you get from mindlessly following rules written by brainless idiots.

 

...and for those brainwashed cogs who are blindly blithering that "the rules are the rules!", may I remind you that you either question authority or you are merely a slave to it!

 

October 7, 2010
Click to view nicco18's profile

COMMON SENSE... one thing that seems to be lacking in this country... and many others...

October 7, 2010
Click to view Hutch462's profile

"Aezel

NO! This kid needed to be expelled. I'm sick of this bull in America of everyone blaming the schools. Where the hell were this kids parents? What were they doing? Where is their responsibility in this? His dad said his kid "made a mistake?" No, as parents, you failed and made a mistake. All the other 7-year-olds in the school seem to have it figured out that you can't bring a toy gun, why do we make exceptions. Parents need to TAKE SOME RESPONSIBILITY."

 

GOOD POST! Parents are a child’s first teacher and they have a much larger impact on a child’s life than most people want to admit. Besides blaming schools and school systems is fun it takes personal responsibility away from the family / parents. If a family makes a mistake it's like "oops my bad" if a teacher or a school makes a mistake it's like "hey lest sue them, as I can't seem to win the lottery." Schools systems have deep pockets.

 

October 7, 2010
Click to view Shadrack1's profile

"Zero Tolerance" takes away a teacher's ability to make a sane decision regarding this problem. It could have been better handled by a stern warning from the principal.This is another case where so-called "Political Correctness" took over and went horribly wrong. Well, so much for common sense, which had to move aside for "Zero Tolerance".

October 7, 2010
Click to view gigotz's profile

They employ a "Zero Tolerance" stand for children. Well, where is the "Zero Tolerance" for actual criminals, the ones who commit violent crimes?!?!?!

October 7, 2010
Click to view Biodot's profile

The 6 degrees of zero tolerance can be traced back to my mom.  When she was little she got shot in the eye by a kid who brought a BB gun as a prop for the school play and pointed it at her.

 

(She also had a filing cabinet fall on her big toe at a doctor's office...)

October 7, 2010
Click to view wordswords's profile

A missed opportunity to teach instead of punish.  A 7 year old makes a mistake and fully grown adults compound it into him missing a year plus of school.  Idiocy.

October 7, 2010
Click to view lessersol's profile

I know from first had experience exactly what has happened here. I was expelled my sophomore year of high school for basically the same exact thing.

I had a pellet gun, pistol, with me the day before school started as a friend and I went to check out our locker locations. we did not plan on going to the school that day, but we did.

the principal called me into his office, there was a police officer waiting for me. I was expelled.

But it was my fault, no if, ands or buts. this kid is gonna be fine, he will learn to take responsibility for his actions, which is lost with the children of these generations.

I graduated high school, went on to college years later, nothing on my record because i was a minor.

people today need to get their heads on straight. this kids life is not ruined, it merely has taken a detour.

October 7, 2010
Click to view TJ1000's profile

They should have taken the toy and not given it back.  But to expel for this?  As a child I played with toy guns on the playground all the time-playing war or army with tons of friends was as common as playing football.  In fact when going to a friends farm to hunt with him and his father after school, I was allowed to take a cased shotgun and shells on the bus, check it in at the office, pick it up while leaving, ride the bus to his house and hunt away.  This was in the late 1970's.  Of course my parents had called ahead to advise, but this was no problem with the schools.  My oh my it was a better time then. 

October 7, 2010
Click to view Steve0001958's profile

The main point here is "Zero tolerance for weapons".  A plastic toy gun, a picture of a gun, a GI joe with a gun, and pointing a finger; Guess what they all have in common?  Correct!  They are not weapons.  Some of our school administrators have become so ignorant that they cannot even interpret a simple rule banning real weapons.  They all need to be fired and replaced.

October 7, 2010
Click to view hookycop's profile

As a veteran public school official(29 yrs), I'll say that Primary aged kids should be viewed different than the older ones. The older ones are capable of "intent" while the younger ones probably are not. Judgement needs to be exercised with the younger ones. That said, the older kids can do terrible things. See CNN story on recent girl suicide caused by harassment as a result of sexting. The older kids can be intentionally cruel and stiffer penalties need to be used. All parents need to wake up and pay attention.

October 7, 2010
Click to view Johnnyzurich's profile

I would have been wowwed had the school administration found a real weapon. This discovery should be a Monty Python skit.

 

A clear plastic, what appears to be an airsoft gun?

 

I can picture John Cleese threatening someone with it as the trigger falls off. He drops the toy and it breaks into 3 pieces. He asks his victim for glue.

 

This country has turned into a collection of no-minds.

October 7, 2010
Click to view shp3's profile

This child has learned a valuable lesson - authority figures are out to get you and will punish you severely for even the most minor infraction, for no other reason than to show you who's in charge.  Zero tolerance policies like this create an adversarial relationship between students and teachers/administrators and severely limit a teacher's ability to educate.  This "us vs. them" mentality has manifested itself in all aspects of our society and is an extremely destructive force that keeps people from working together for everyone's benefit.  The idea that a child who brings a toy gun to school is a threat that needs to be removed from the school population would seem to be refuted by the thousands and thousands of children who played with toy guns at school in previous decades without ever harming anyone later in life.  There is simply no immediate threat here and no reasonable way to correlate this behavior with future violent behavior, so why do we treat children playing with toys as criminals?  If anything, it's policies like these that will turn kids to crime.

October 7, 2010
Click to view etwatson's profile

@ Aezel - I find your opinion to be a little short sided and intolerant. I would agree with some who have said a zero tolerance policy is just a lazy excuse to keep one's hand's clean by leaving it up to "policy" as a scapegoat. I personally was suspended multiple times as a result of these zero tolerance bullshit policies including but not limited to a time when I, at the exact same age, accidentally brought a cap gun to my elementary school. I was playing with it the night before and hid it in my bookbag as part of the game and forgot to take it out. I turned it into the principle upoon getting to school and I was almost suspended had my father not thrown some legal jargon at the school. Again in 6th grade I accidentally hit a kid who was running around the classroom in the face with a brown lunch bag and i was suspended for 10 days b/c of zero tolerance. Principles have post graduate degrees, which means they should be smart, which means they should have a brain to use and decide where a danger actually is. For this child to be expelled from school for over a year is absolutely inhumane. An honest mistake deserves the consequences appropriate for and honest mistake, not those of a pre planned transgression.

October 7, 2010
Click to view Rbnlegnds101's profile

When the child was discovered to have a toy gun, what was done with the toy gun? I am guessing that the principal took the gun. If so, the principal had a gun. What are the rules for an adult on school property with a gun? The same zero tolerance/zero sense approach needs to be taken for an adult with a toy plastic gun as a child with a toy plasic gun. His excuses for why he had the gun are not relevant, the school has, as he well knows, a zero tolerance policy.

October 7, 2010
Click to view snazzyone's profile

Expulsion is a bit extreme.  What ever happened to common sense?  I sure this 7 yr old child would have learned a lesson by serving detention a few days and writing 'I will not bring a toy gun to school' 100 times.  Supposedly he put it in his bookbag after playing with a friend and had forgot about it.  Who among us, at one time or another, hasn't forgotten that we put something in our purse or pocket only to find it later.  This boy didn't take it out and show it to anybody, he just mentioned it to a classmate.  Probably while getting something from his bookbag and seeing it in there and then remembering it was still there.  There are so many restrictions put on kids these day, that they aren't even allowed to be KIDS and so what normal kids do.

October 7, 2010
Click to view sunethra's profile

Its Friday 8th October,  12.10 a.m. and I am waiting for the roundtable on boot camp to open, but there does not seem to be anyway to comment on the blog, as the post a comment is yet not open, how long more have I wait????

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