First Graders Suspended for Playground "Cops & Robbers"
  • LoveLove
    Posts: 14,066Administrator, Moderator

    First-graders reportedly suspended for using fingers as ‘guns’ while playing cops and robbers

    In a move parents condemned as excessive, two 6-year-old boys at White Marsh Elementary in Trappe, Md. were reportedly punished with suspension for allegedly ‘shooting’ each other with imaginary guns.

    Stephen Grafton said he is upset that his son was removed from school for pretending to shoot a gun during playtime. He thinks the school's staff missed a valuable teaching opportunity. 

    Two first-graders were reportedly suspended for forming imaginary guns with their fingers for a game of cops and robbers during recess.

    The disciplinary action against the 6-year-old boys at White Marsh Elementary in Trappe, Md. aroused controversy after parents condemned the punishment as excessive.
    One boy’s father, Stephen Grafton, considers the suspension ridiculous.
    “This was in no way a threatening act,” Grafton told the Daily News. “It is indicative of a school system that is not attempting to teach the problem but just removing students.”
    Grafton thinks that the faculty should have used the incident as a teaching point to explain what is or is not appropriate playground behavior.
    “They could simply sit down and say, ‘Hey, this is why we do not shoot at each other.’ That did not happen and that really is why we are so upset about this,” he said.
    The boy’s mother, Teri Bildstein, is worried about her child’s self-esteem and academic performance,” reported local newspaper The Star Democrat.

    “If you tell him he is bad over something like this, how can this be the best learning environment for him?” she asked.
    The gun gesture came to a faculty member’s attention after another student reported reported it. That employee alerted the school’s principal Marcia Sprankle, who decided to suspend the child for the rest of the day, according to Grafton.
    The Daily News reached out to Sprankle as well as the president of the Talbot County Board of Education, Sandra Kleppinger, but did not receive a response from either by publication.
    The board did, however, release the following statement:
    "It is frustrating for school systems, because a complete explanation of events cannot be provided due to confidentiality requirements under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)."

    The school eventually removed the suspension from the child’s record, but Grafton is still concerned that the school might miss out on future learning opportunities.
    “If he was running around pointing his finger at people saying, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ it would be one thing. But the actual story was that he was playing cops and robbers,” he said.
    Earlier this month, another 6-year-old boy was suspended from Roscoe Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. under similar circumstances.


  • JustAConfusedMamaJustAConfusedMama
    Posts: 4,527Member
    Wow, this is over the top.  I agree with the parents that this was an opportunity to sit down and talk to the children about appropriate playground behavior.  They are 6 for goodness sakes.  Cops and robbers is totally normal 6 year old behavior, but if it isn't allowed to be played on school grounds so be it.  Just talk to them about it. It sounds like there wasn't even a warning given, asking the students to stop playing them game.  They just outright suspended them?I understand Sandy Hook was tragic but suspending two kids for playing cops and robbers does nothing to solve the problem.
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  • MarySunshineMarySunshine
    Posts: 7,953Member
    Soooo over the top. My PreK kiddos made guns out of Legos everyday. Everyday I had them dismantled the Legos and we'd talk about why, but the thought never crossed my mind to have them suspended.

    I know, in light of Newtown, people are touchy. However, I agree with Mr. Grafton. It wa a teachable moment, not time to crucify two 6yos. 8-| #-o
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  • WickedDunkieJunkieWickedDunkieJunkie
    Posts: 8,649Member
    I don't even like guns & that's the biggest bullshit ever.
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  • sidsmommy3sidsmommy3
    Posts: 2,522Member
    Ridiculous.  2nd one in Maryland in like a week.  The first kids suspension got overturned.  
    Mary :-)

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  • AAA08
    Posts: 427Member
  • I don't even like guns & that's the biggest bullshit ever.

    Same here.

    And don't kids play fireman, house, dr. etc---
  • meandmy243meandmy243
    Posts: 9,474Member
    Yep its in our school handbook.. my dfs little brother got suspended for bringing a little green plastic solider to school cause it had a gun on it....
    let them eat cake! because id rather have pie!!!
  • WhoDatIsWhoDatIs
    Posts: 1,453Member
    Some kids go overboard. And by some kids I'm referring to my own son. His dad played halo while my son was visiting him(have i mentioned that i hate that man?) and now DS will NOT QUIT pretending to shoot people especially when other boys are around. Do I think he should be suspended for it? No!
    I'm not sure what suspension teaches a kid besides that he can have a day off school if he acts up. IMO suspension is a parent punishment for a kid who won't conform.
    You and me, we go way back.
  • beambeam
    Posts: 1,579Member
    I do not like guns and especially kids around real guns... but geez that is so wrong. First I played tons of "war" games and even video games in my day and I abhor violence. But rules are rules, if they want non- violent games and the kids break the rules then the teacher need to teach (and re-teach) or a trip to the principle for a stern talking to but suspension could be reserved for serious offenses (like hitting).
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  • gramalibbygramalibby
    Posts: 3,744Member
    OK all that was needed was a little communication and less knee gut reaction.
  • GritsGrits
    Posts: 4,370Member
    There is a lot to be said for early intervention, don't get me wrong. But I fail to see where two little boys playing a game as old as time itself is cause for suspension. A simple explanation would have been sufficient, and maybe a note home to the parents. But suspension? Causing a child to miss time in the classroom? No. Too much.
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  • shate98shate98
    Posts: 5,020Member
    Ugh, of course it was another MD school.
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  • MarySunshineMarySunshine
    Posts: 7,953Member
    @shate98 & @sidsmommy3 Am I correct in my assumption our state is pretty divided about gun reform?
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  • TheMomFactorTheMomFactor
    Posts: 5,092Member
    This is very over-the-top. I would definitely have made it clear that guns are bad, and that shooting each other is not nice, etc, but I wouldn't have suspended them! Then again, tension is high right now. Everyone is on edge because of all the shootings recently. I imagine it was just a severe overreaction on the part of the school due to the stress that the shootings have caused.
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  • momofdbbmomofdbb
    Posts: 10,900Member
    I think it's a bit too much. DS hit suspended once because of a mistake. We went camping, well he and his dad did. Well a small cooking knife got left in his bookbag. He found it at the end of the day and then showed it to his teacher. Poor guy he was a substitute and here comes a kid with a knife ! Only one day suspension though.
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  • shate98shate98
    Posts: 5,020Member
    @MarySunshine not really sure.

    If anywhere needed better gun regulations/enforcement it would be the city. Esp with the murder rate way up so far for the year.
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  • MarySunshineMarySunshine
    Posts: 7,953Member
    @shate98 DH and I joke that if the day goes by without a shooting in Baltimore the following day will just make up for it. It really is sad. I just get the feeling, especially with Cecil & Harford counties they're anti gun control as a majority.
    "I don't poop. I create magic."- ABC

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  • shate98shate98
    Posts: 5,020Member
    @MarySunshine, yeah, but the area where this particular school incident happened is a red county.
    "As you wander through your life, whatever be your goal,
    keep your eye upon the doughnut, not upon the hole."
  • RosamundiRosamundi
    Posts: 1,412Member
    This rule is in place at both elementary schools my son has been in, one in Massachusetts and one in Oklahoma.

    Due to recent bullying instances involving my son as the target, I've had a couple of conversations with our principal regarding playground rules and why they exist.

    The cops and robbers thing (or jailbreak, or aliens and astronauts), tag, and touch football are all agaisnt school policies in many areas. The reasoning behind the rule is to keep kids safe. Sometimes the "gun" is isn't as much of the problem as the pushing, shoving, pummeling, restraining, and other physical aspects of the game. And the "gun" making out of fingers, arms, rocks, sticks, and LEGOs is considered by many schools to be aggressive behavior.

    By the time a student is 6, they should know how to follow the rules on the playground with minor infractions. If the rule is "no gun making" they should be able to follow that rule. It's probably in their student handbook, signed by their parents. If the rule is the issue, it should be argued in front of the school board before the infraction happens.

    It might be over the top, but school needs to be a safe place in order for children to learn. What seems like fun and games to one child could bother and threaten another.
  • kcsmommykcsmommy
    Posts: 264Member
    This is the type of crap you get when you have 0 Tolerance Policies!! I HATE 0 TOLERANCE POLICIES!! While it's something that looks/sounds great on paper the results of applying it to real life you get issues like this little boys innocently acting like little boys.
    I personally do not like guns, real, fake/play etc, and I see kicking kids out of school for this as an extreme overboard action.
    My six year old little boy does this same exact thing with his friends and cousins, and I have to constantly remind him that we do not use body parts, toys and other objects (sticks) as weapons even pretending because you could accidentally hurt someone.
    The school in this case failed these little boys they could have told them that cops and robbers (good guys vs. bad guys) was not appropriate for school, and remind them of this because for heavens sake they are 6 years old!! I have to tell my 6 year old hundreds of times not to do something or to do something.
  • undercoverbanana
    Posts: 12,609Member
    there was a little girl here who got suspended for bring a pink bubble gun to school. So fucking stupid. Can't believe those little boys got in trouble for using their fingers.
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  • KrabbyKay
    Posts: 5,914Member
    I am in the "over the top" camp. If it's rule breaking then a conversation is in order. Suspension is nutty for a pair of 6yo over this sort of thing. 
    We too played war, cops & robbers, *looks around furtively* cowboys & indians, etc etc. We even did really rotten and dangerous things (I now realize) to a boy next door we didn't like. We weren't trying to HURT him, just cause misadventure. We were little. I am a very non-violent adult.
  • somanyboysandmesomanyboysandme
    Posts: 361Member
    Isn't this just normal behavior? I had always said my boys would never play with guns and since I wouldn't buy them they just made their own with whatever was laying around. Finally I just bought some nerf guns and such. I don't think they are going to turn out to be serial killers. The older they get the more they grow out of it.
  • HorridWenchHorridWench
    Posts: 702Member
    What are they going to do next get rid of fingers? Imagination? Kids have been playing these games for years, this is just stupid.
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  • 3bluetulips3bluetulips
    Posts: 19Member
    I worry every day that I am going to get a call like this for my DS7. He knows we don't like it, but as with everything else, he is stubborn and wants to do what he wants. He is a little boy, plain and simple, and this is what he does. I think it is sad that we have become so sensitive, that our children can't even play without being put into a box.
    He was almost suspended last year, when he was 5, because he told his imaginary friend he was going to kill him. He had seen it in the movie Rango. He did not say it to a kid, but they didn't care. I'm sorry, but children cannot tell the difference between reality and fantasy until they are about 8. Our expectations are too high. They need to stop jumping the gun and look at the child's intent and situation.
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