Second-grader's suspension for throwing an imaginary grenade raises ire locally, nationally

Categories: Education, News

alex suspended student.jpg
Pics, video below.
Last Friday, Alex Evans, a second grader at Loveland's Mary Blair Elementary, was suspended for playing an imaginary game that included throwing a pretend grenade. Such stories are manna from heaven for those who think political correctness runs amok at schools. But while a local critic of Mary Blair policy gets why so many beyond Colorado are upset, she's baffled by threats that have resulted in the school pulling down its website.

"I don't understand why people are doing that," says Nancy Rumfelt of Liberty Watch, an organization made up of "Citizens Uniting to Defend Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness" according to its website. "Why you would take a story about a little boy playing a game and a school district overreacting and do something like that doesn't make any sense to me."

The incident was first reported by (correction) Fox31, with followup by the Loveland Reporter-Herald. According to the paper, Alex Evans was engaged in superhero role playing when he acted as if he was hurling a grenade at a box with something evil inside during recess.

vakerie lara black.jpg
Valerie Lara-Black.
Problem is, doing so violated a list of "absolutes" posted on the Mary Blair website. Among them are restrictions against physical abuse, fighting and use of weapons, whether they're real or not. Hence, principal Valerie Lara-Black reportedly phoned Mandie Watkins, Alex's mom, on Friday to let her know her son had been suspended for breaking these rules.

A spokesman for the Thompson School District declined to answer specific questions from the Reporter-Herald about Alex's suspension, but implied that there was more to the story than Watkins was sharing. For her part, Watkins said Alex had gotten in trouble on one occasion for accessing other students' reading accounts on a computer, but she had no knowledge of instances when he had been chastised for violent or aggressive behavior.

Whatever the case, the story soon went viral, with TV stations as far away as Alabama covering it; a clip of one such report is on view below. But mentions by the likes of Rush Limbaugh led to unintended consequences, as the Reporter-Herald notes in a followup report. The school was inundated with angry phone calls, and its website was pulled down as the result of an e-mail sent to principal Lara-Black by a man from Atlanta that included a photo of a gun and the passage, "There are multiple records of your crime. I recommend that you resign immediately."

Last night, the district's board of education had a previously scheduled meeting, and Rumfelt attended, assuming that the Alex Evans matter and its fallout would be a prime topic of discussion and debate. But she says that wasn't the case.

"They had already planned to talk about their discipline statistics, and that was really all they focused on," she recalls. "They made some remarks about the media blowing this out of proportion and how it wasn't fair, but they really didn't address the story."

In her opinion, this approach represents a big mistake.

Continue for more about Alex Evans' suspension, including a video.


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22 comments
Stephen Dalton
Stephen Dalton

What if he was pretending to drive a car, Would he have been arrested for driving without a license?? smh

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

The state is paranoid of its people. I'll take it as a sign of its end times.

Testecleese
Testecleese

Interesting that the kid is some 7-8 years old and we've been at war for the entirety of his life, yet he's being suspended for throwing an imaginary grenade? That's just pitiful.

Shane Kennedy
Shane Kennedy

If you make all laws to the lowest common denominator of our society out dosnt make our society safer it just makes the rest of the world think we are stupid as a society

Lavonne Gonzales
Lavonne Gonzales

I honestly thought this was an Onion headline for a second. Sadly, it wasn't.

No Snakes
No Snakes

You know, Columbine was sad.  Sandy Hook was sad.  Bad things happen and I don't want us to get into a crap session about gun control...

With that said, I think it is SADDER that because of these shootings, people have chosen to OVER react.  Children are SUPPOSED to play army, and cops and robbers, and alien invaders and human defenders.  That's how children develop their imaginations and creativity.  Granted, those aren't the ONLY ways the develop creativity, but they are still healthy.  There is nothing wrong with that.

What is HORRIBLY WRONG is when adults make these CHILDREN feel like CRIMINALS for pointing a finger and saying "BANG-BANG," or tossing an imaginary hand grenade, or for kissing a classmate on the cheek.  None of these activities mean the child will be a mass murderer, or a rapist, so school administrators should not make the child feel like one.

An 8 year old kissing a classmate on the cheek is not "Sexual Harassment," it's an innocent child saying "I like you."  Maybe appropriate... maybe not, but there are better ways to handle it that calling the cops, throwing the child in handcuffs, and having them register as a Sex Offender.

Please, a little perspective from the "Educated?"

Wayne Lee DeNucci
Wayne Lee DeNucci

Im so glad i was a kid when i was a kid...Brady bunch days !

weldcountysucks
weldcountysucks

SAD DAY IN AMERICA WHEN WE PUNISH OUR KIDS FOR HAVING AN IMAGINATION...

weldcountysucks
weldcountysucks

@BackOffImStarving I said the exact same shit it may not be a real word but america is becoming wussified next they wont be able to play tag oh yea sum schools have even banned that.If you didnt have an imagination when you were young you were considered weird and usually a loner and last time I checked most people who commit these shootings are weird loners.

Casey Kratzer
Casey Kratzer

Its a sad day in america when our kids get punished for having an imagination next they wont be able to play tag oh wait sum schools have already banned that too...

Sarah Black
Sarah Black

Are you kidding me? So maybe if we punish kids for playing with imaginary friends we will have less mentally disturbed too. Because you know we all ended up so disturbed from our traumatic childhood filled with playing outside, getting hurt, and not being picked to be part of the team. If you don't let kids be kids and learn on their own they are more likely to become a societal hazard in some way.

Nicki Swearingen
Nicki Swearingen

Yeah because pretending to be a be soldier and throwing imaginary grenades is a real threat to society.*sarcasm*

Chris Estus
Chris Estus

If it saves one life it is worth it!

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Interesting.  We used to play army games on the playground with imaginary weapons.  Nobody got expelled or arrested.  Nobody wound up shooting up schools or workplaces later on, either.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Stephen Dalton Funny, Stephen. Thanks for the post.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@No Snakes Very interesting post, No Snakes. We're going to make it an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Wayne DeNucci Of course, Marcia getting hit by that football was pretty brutal. Thanks for the post, Wayne.

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