Once upon a time, a 7-year-old boy was suspended from school for making his pop-tart into a gun. With the outrage that ensued over such a punishment, one would have thought that common sense would have returned by now in regards to harmless incidents with little boys and guns.

Kristy Jackson’s 4-year-old son Hunter is exhibit A in demonstrating that it has not. In a recent Facebook post, Jackson explained that her son was sternly suspended from his preschool program for seven days because he had brought an empty shell casing to class in his pocket. According to Jackson, the casing was a souvenir the 4-year-old had picked up while learning about gun safety from his grandfather, a local police officer.

Jackson went on to note that the suspension was accompanied by “a threat that if his enthusiasm for guns continued, he’d be permanently expelled.”

Commenting on the incident in an interview with local news media, Jackson declared her son’s suspension resulted from “paranoia”:

“It’s something that’s become quite an epidemic where guns are automatically assumed that they’re bad…and I’m not sure how a 7-day suspension teaches my son anything about tolerance or anything about why he was wrong.  It just means his school doesn’t want him there because of things he enjoys.”

Upon hearing of Hunter Jackson’s enthusiasm for guns, I couldn’t help but think of another famous individual who expressed similar feelings. His name? Thomas Jefferson.

In a letter to his 15-year-old nephew Peter Carr, Jefferson wrote:

“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind.”

Unfortunately, independence, boldness, and enterprise are not valued in today’s education system. We certainly give lip-service to them, but when push comes to shove, we expect children to toe the line, fit into the same cookie-cutter mold, and teach them to be dependent upon others.

It has become a common query as to why today’s men are so soft. Is it possible that our educational system has played a role? Have we gradually shamed little boys into avoiding bold, independent, and enterprising interests?

Image Credit: Fox2now