Toy soldiers with guns breach school’s no-weapons policy

By Calvin Palmer

A boy’s hat decorated with an American flag and toy soldiers has fallen foul of a Rhode Island school district for breaching the district’s no weapons policy.

The plastic soldiers adorning the hat featured soldiers doing what soldiers do – carrying weapons.

Christan Morales says her son, eight-year-old David,  just wanted to honor American troops for the day when his second-grade class met with penpals from another school. She and her son came up with an idea to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.

“His teacher called and said it wasn’t appropriate because it had guns,” Morales said.

The principal of Tiogue School, in Coventry, said the hat would be fine if the soldiers holding weapons were replaced with ones without weapons, according to Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro.

Morales said her son only had one toy soldier without a weapon – one carrying binoculars – so her son just wore a plain baseball cap on the day of the visit.

“Nothing was being done to limit patriotism, creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon,” Di Pietro said.

The district does not allow images of weapons or drugs on clothing. For example, a student would not be permitted to wear a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it, the superintendent said.

The principal “wasn’t denying the patriotism,” he said. “That just is the wrong and unfair image of one of our finest principals.”

Morales said her son was inspired to honor the military after striking up a friendship last summer with a neighbor in the Army.

Banning the hat “sent the wrong message to the kids, because it wasn’t in any way to cause any harm to anyone,” she said. “You’re talking about Army men. This wasn’t about guns.”

I doubt her son was “inspired to honor the military”, my guess like any boy of that age he just wanted to stick the toy soldiers on his hat. He probably thought it was cool.

Any honoring the military is more than likely down to his mother who was so inspired that she forgot about the school rules.

Rules are rules and if a person does not like them, they make representations to have those rules changed. Isn’t that how government works in a democracy?

A person can disagree with the rules and openly flout them, as Morales did, but don’t start complaining when the rules are enforced. Morales broke the rules, clearly stated by the superintendent, and has chosen to hide behind patriotism and the military to justify her actions.

It would be interesting to know the political background of Morales because it strikes me that she is just trying to make a cheap political shot.

Sorry, “shots” violate the school district’s no-weapons policy, I meant “point”.

Clearly the school’s principal is over officious by equating toy soldiers with the no-weapons policy and has little or no common sense .

I take it if police officers are called to a school to investigate an incident, they have to leave their guns outside school property. I would be interested in Superintendent Di Pietro’s views on that scenario. It kind of puts him and the policy in a bit of a cleft stick.

[Based on a report by the Associated Press.]

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