By Victor Skinner
MARYSVILLE, Wash. – If anyone knows about the hypersensitivity of school officials in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, it’s Hunter Lance.
The 14-year-old middle school student from Marysville, Washington is serving a nine-day suspension and likely will have to make up his class work during summer school for pretending to shoot several of his classmates … with his hands, according to KOMOnews.com.
“The one student was walking down the hall pretending to shoot at students and saying what his ‘kill count’ was,” Gail Miller, assistant superintendent at Marysville Middle School, told the television station. “This is definitely inappropriate behavior and it frightened some children.”
The boy’s mother agrees with school officials that her son’s behavior was inappropriate, but doesn’t agree his actions warranted such a strong punishment.
“I am not questioning the suspension or the discipline actions. Definitely they should’ve done what they did, but I think it’s really extreme,” Rondi Lance told KOMOnews.com. “You don’t get to clean out your locker, you don’t get to finalize your grades. It’s like, ‘get your stuff, you’re done for the year.’ Nobody has taken any steps to talk to him and explain to him how serious this is and why we have to do this.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me. How can they cut him off at the knees and be done with him?” she questioned.
Lance has a point about the manner in which the situation was handled. If school officials decide to remove a student from school for the remainder of the school year, the can at least explain to the student the reason behind such a stiff penalty.
School officials told the television station Hunter has had behavioral problems at school in the past. We suspect the district’s reaction to the incident, and lack of explanation, will only breed contempt for school officials. Instead of helping Lance realize why he’s facing the consequences he is, and why the play shooting is such a touchy subject, they’re simply hanging him out to dry.
Hunter’s stint in summer school will undoubtedly give him something to ponder, but we’re not convinced – without a better explanation – that he’ll get the message school officials hope he’ll get.