What?! According to NBC News, a 5-year-old kindergartner in Alabama was forced to sign a contract promising that she will not commit acts of violence or suicide. This isn’t some school policy that all the kids sign and parents initial either. Apparently the kindergartner is accused of drawing something that looks like a gun and then, holding her crayon up to a classmate while making the noise: “Pew, pew.”
First, I’m so happy school officials didn’t ignore this, because at age 5, many would and in this sick day and age you just can’t. However, I don’t think making a child scribble her name on a contract that promises she won’t kill herself or others is warranted. I think the language in the contract is clearly over the young child’s head, really scary, and extremely alarmist. (As a test: I asked my 7-year-old son what suicide means. He did not know and the conversation was over.)
A better approach would have been to sit the child down and ask her about the art she drew and where she learned to make that noise and point a crayon like a gun. Was it even a gun—a violent weapon? See, if someone asked my son the same questions I know what his answers would be: TV.
But my kid isn’t watching shows above his head about murder and cops and robbers. A lot of the superhero shows and even Power Rangers use zappers, not exactly a gun-gun. In fact, every morning at the bus stop my son and his friend Ryan run around and make that exact same “Pew, pew” noise and point their fingers at each other. But, they’re not shooting each other with guns or being violent—they are imitating superheroes and protecting the universe.