Wounded toy soldiers

School officials snipped off toy soldiers’ weapons on the mortarboard caps of fifth-grade boys graduating from a California elementary school. The tiny plastic rifles violated the Rancho Palos Verdes school’s zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus, reports the Daily Breeze.

Each year, students decorate wide caps with princesses, football goal posts, zebras, guitars and other items to express their personalities and career goals . . .

On Thursday, before the ceremony, one boy was told he couldn’t participate unless he agreed to clip off the tips of the plastic guns carried by the minuscule GIs on his cap. Ten others complied with the order before the event.

Two of the boys said they wanted to wear the toy soldiers to show support for the troops in Iraq. One of the boys had a clever response to the principal’s order:

To treat the “injuries” caused by the order to remove the offending weaponry, Austin wrapped the plastic stumps in white gauze and painted on faux blood.

Sparks From the Anvil has a close-up of the wounded toy soldiers.

Classical Values worries about the desire to neuter the American boy.

I think the larger issue is an anti-military, anti-boy mindset, and I see the cutting off of the tiny plastic guns as a perfect example of the bureaucratic eunuchoid class run amok.

I predict the school will stop letting students decorate their caps at the promotion ceremony.

Update: Some states are relaxing zero tolerance rules so that kids can carry their asthma inhalers and use a plastic knife at lunch.

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Zero tolerance, minimum wage.

  2. Just John says:


    And James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal pointed out the obvious: that the kids, in order to remove tiny fake weapons, were given sharp-bladed scissors, which are certainly more dangerous.

  3. So am I to assume that the school history books don’t have a single picture of guns or weapons?

  4. SuperSub says:

    I’m still fazed at the idea of a 5th grade graduation ceremony… did they have a prom too?

  5. egrheaultjr says:

    Good heavens the whole school should have trauma consultants available for all of the trauma both mental and phisical damage that the unruly students have caused the poor children in all of the state to under go, They are ruined for life just imagine that they all have seen a toy GUN! i am sure that lifetime nightmares will follow all of the students and teachers for the remainder of their lives.

  6. Bill Leonard says:

    In the fine tradition of bureaucrats and time-servers everywhere, rather than make a rational decision about something as silly as a toy soldier on a graduation cap, the administration has hidden behind a federal regulation about zero tolerance for firearms in schools.

    If I were a taxpayer in this school district, I would be asking the local board of trustees, in an open meeting and in letters to the editor, to explain exactly why the school principal (or other administrator(s)sponsible for this nonsense) still have their jobs.

    And yet when these same mediocrities meet among themselves, they all whine and decry the public who are abandoning them for home schooling, private schools and charter schools.

  7. Andy Freeman says:

    Since all of the school-side folks involved seem to believe that a toy soldier is a weapon, they’ll have no objection to being paid with play money. And, the district will have no objection when folks pay school taxes with same.

  8. I doubt it really had anything to do with the school’s weapons policy. More likely just some neo-Quaker administrator who doesn’t like the military.

  9. That’s what I was thinking, Andy.

  10. Here’s my favorite comment from the Classical Values post:

    The school that forced the kids to cut the guns off the plastic soldiers cited the federal Gun Free School Zone Act as authority for its “no weapons” policy. I actually had to write to the principal of the school to inform her that law had been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court way back in 1995. Not only do these bureaucrats bully students, they use unconstitutional laws to do it.

    Richard Fagin · June 18, 2007 05:08 PM

  11. Ross N. says:

    This demonstrates the Conservation of Stupidity Law which states that, in any society, the total amount of stupidity is conserved. The net amount of stupidity can neither be increased nor decreased.

    When we got rid of the discriminatory laws against Blacks, women, etc, it unleashed an enormous store of stupidity which was tied up in the discriminatory laws. Now that unleashed stupidity is finding new forms of expression such as what we see here.

  12. Ragnarok says:

    I must disagree with Ross.

    Clausius said “Die Entropie der Welt strebt einem Maximum zu”, which can be translated as “The entropy of the world tends to a maximum”.

    Substitute bureaucratic stupidity in general, and public school teacher|administrator stupidity in particular, and the law becomes even more rigorously predictive.

    There are exceptions, of course, but they serve merely to prove the rule.

  13. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    A fifth grade graduation ceremony? Sheesh, my high school one was painful enough. Back in my day, when I was in fifth grade, we were merely told what middle school we were going to next. (In my case I was also told by my fifth grade teacher that I should not expect to advance beyond sixth because SHE didn’t like my handwriting. She would be enraged to see that I have a bachelor’s!)

  14. Sigivald says:

    Darren: To add to that, the GFSA doesn’t ban any guns except real guns.

    (Nor, on reading it, does the district’s own “Safe Schools” policy, also claimed to justify the actions of the Principal.)

    (And GFSA is still on the books – presumably what was found unconstitutional was some manner of enforcement, or the “no guns within a thousand feet of a school” bit or some other specific section, though I don’t know if that one was in GFSA as originally enacted.

    [Unconstitutional in that it blatantly infringed on the second amendment rights of anyone who lived or traveled near a school.])

  15. > And GFSA is still on the books – presumably what was found
    > unconstitutional was some manner of enforcement, or the
    > “no guns within a thousand feet of a school” bit or some
    > other specific section, though I don’t know if that one was
    > in GFSA as originally enacted.

    What was found unconstitutional was that congress was attempting to restrict firearms by stretching the commerce clause past the breaking point.

    It’s still on the books because it was amended to add text about “the gun, or any component, having been involved in interstate commerce, yada yada yada…”

    I don’t know if it’s been challenged *again*, but Ron Paul keeps offering bills to drive s stake through its heart. There’s one before congress now – http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2424

    Write your reps to support it!

  16. Now, this is just stupid. I can sort of see not wanting kids to bring realistic toy guns that might reasonably scare someone into thinking they were real, but tiny guns on plastic soldiers?

    You know how there’s a Florida tag on fark.com? Maybe there should be a California tag on Joanne Jacobs.

  17. I also realized that I had addressed the site owner pretty informally there for someone I had never even met. My apologizes to you Ms. Jacobs.

  18. Richard Aubrey says:

    I see two possibilities.
    One is that the morons responsible actually believe their stated reasons. It’s hard to think a grown-up could be that stupid, but I suppose it could happen.
    Or, if we give them the benefit of the doubt, then they aren’t dumb enough to believe that stuff, but they are using it to fob off critics. They don’t think they can sell their real reasoning to the rest of us. So they use the lame excuses about the gun law and so forth.

  19. Of couse they had a prom and everything – I remember my 5th grade post-graduation party where every body got drunk on Espolon Reposado and I snuck off into the stretch-limo with Betsy Muldowney and we got in the hot-tub… Damn those were the days.


  1. Stupid schools two-fer…

    Since I started blogging I have blogged way too many cases of stupidity in our public schools, but every time I turn around, it seems like the schools are in a bid to out do each other.

    Take this story, where at a middle school Virgina, they …

  2. […] School officials snipped the weapons off of toy soldiers. […]