Last night The Foliage and I were talking about a kid he'd heard about, who got suspended from school because he mimed throwing a grenade into an empty box which he called the "enemy bunker." The kid was only 7.
Several issues arose. The alarmist mentality of our country, how terrifying it must be to be a teacher these days, liability-hedging by administrators, limited resources for addressing issues within the school. We got a little argumentative. These discussions always wind up being so circular.
So we veered off course to talk about this: when (yes, when) our kid does something that results in an overreaction from school administration, what do we do? Because we don't want to tell our kid that playing pretend is bad. But saying the administrators are outright wrong also seems problematic.
In high school, I had a RIDICULOUS choir teacher. She made her own passes so you could excuse yourself from any class TO DO CHOIR. In real life. She had me give one of these to my US History teacher once. Who was, obviously, not thrilled. What with him teaching an actual academic subject and her not clearing anything with him ahead of time. Just BAM I'm the choir teacher and screw your stupid history class we're gonna SINGGGGG!!
(Guess who has weird residual issues about high school choir!)
My senior year she planned a Caribbean cruise for us. And everyone was all excited when she announced it, but I said, in the middle of class, "...why?" Confused, she expressed all the reasons it would be so fun! And I said, "yeah, it'll be very nice but doesn't this seem a little silly to you? to spend our parents' money so we can go on a cruise to...sing? we're not even COMPETING. and we'll have to miss classes when it's almost finals time."
This went on for a while. Then I went home. And she'd called my mom.
And Mom told me that even though she didn't necessarily think I was wrong, I had to respect my teachers, and criticizing my teacher's decisions (especially in front of so many other kids) was really disrespectful. So that was the day I learned I had to have TACT when dealing with authority, and that even though I might really really strongly disagree with a teacher/boss/etc, if they'd made a final decision I just had to work with it.
So I guess I'd tell my kid the administration had their reasons for having rules about pretend weapons, and some of them are very good reasons, and just throw your pretend grenades at the dog from now on.
Ugh parenting for fcks sake.