An 8 year old boy in Oregon gets suspended from school because he brought a 4 inch plastic toy gun to school – a toy gun that is part of an action figure’s lineup. School officials defended the principal, stating that she followed policy. (KPTV) Yet another example of the idiocy of zero tolerance.
When we look to the Law of God, we often think that God is indeed the original author of zero tolerance. “Lest ye die” is riddled all through the Law. But, a careful examination of Scripture finds an amazing amount of room for grace and common sense. Murders were to be put to death. (Ex. 20:3) However, the Law also setup cities of refuge for those who accidently – without premeditation or malice – kills another. The determination of guilt or innocence in such a case was left to the elders of these cities. (Joshua 20:2 – 6) The Law determined that one must not be clean in order to observe the Passover, yet at the same time allowed for accidental exposure. (Numbers 9:6 – 10) Adultery is a sin punishable by death, yet Jesus told the repentant woman to go and live her life. (John 8:11) Clearly, our God has laid out a system of rules, regulations, and moral codes – enabling us to live as people of God. While the breaking of these Laws leads to serious consequences, it is also clear that God intended the elders and rulers of the community to apply that Law with love and grace as well.
A student who brings an actual gun to school should be punished – along with his parents. A student who brings a toy that looks like a realistic gun should be talked to – then handed over to his parents. An 8 year old who brings a 4 inch toy gun that is clearly not a weapon of any sort should be allowed to go play. Instead, the boy gets suspended, and it goes on his permanent record. What idiocy.
Contact the Portland School Board to express your desire that they change their minds – and to institute a common sense – and Godly – policy.