Teachers reprimanded two seven-year-old boys for playing army games – because it amounted to ‘threatening behaviour’.The youngsters were disciplined after they were spotted making gun-shapes with their hands.Staff at Nathaniel Newton Infant School in Nuneaton, Warks., even told the boys’ parents to ‘reprimand’ them.A father of one of the boys said: ‘This is ridiculous. How can you tell a seven-year-old boy he cannot play guns and armies with his friends.‘Another parent was called over for the same reason.
‘We were told to reprimand our son for this and to tell him he cannot play “guns” anymore.
What prevents kids from misusing either is instilling in them a much broader ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, as well as a basic respect for human life. The likelihood of misusing a gun isn’t an isolated issue that pops up in a vacuum. It’s either symptomatic of, or enabled by, broader problems that telling kids what they can’t play at recess just isn’t gonna solve, such as bad parents who don’t safely lock up their weapons or don’t teach their kids morality and responsibility.
Indeed, in their zeal to end “threatening behaviour” wherever it arises, the practical effect of such rules is more likely to be the message that military and police service aren’t something children should emulate or look up to, because they’re inherently “threatening” professions.