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Toy Soldiers Run Afoul of School's Weapons Ban

Toy Soldiers Run Afoul of School's Weapons Ban

This image made from video provided by WPRI on Thursday, June 17, 2010 shows a hat created by 8-year-old David Morales to honor American troops, for an assignment to decorate a hat. (AP)

AP via YellowBrix

June 18, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Christan Morales said her son just wanted to honor American troops when he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and small plastic Army figures.

But the school banned the hat because it ran afoul of the district’s zero-tolerance weapons policy. Why? The toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns.

“His teacher called and said it wasn’t appropriate,” Morales said.

Morales’ 8-year-old son, David, had been assigned to make a hat for the day when his second-grade class would meet their pen pals from another school. She and her son came up with an idea to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.

Earlier this week, after the hat was banned, the principal at the Tiogue School in Coventry told the family that the hat would be fine if David replaced the Army men holding weapons with ones that didn’t have any, according to Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro.

But, Morales said, the family had only one Army figure without a weapon (he was carrying binoculars), so David wore a plain baseball cap on the day of the pen pal meeting.

“Nothing was being done to limit patriotism, creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon,” Di Pietro said.

The district does not allow images of weapons or drugs on clothing. For example, a student would not be permitted to wear a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it, the superintendent said.

The principal “wasn’t denying the patriotism,” he said. “That just is the wrong and unfair image of one of our finest principals.”

On Thursday, Di Pietro and the principal met with the retired commander of the Rhode Island National Guard, at the commander’s request.

Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio praised the school system for supporting the military in the past, including with a junior ROTC program.

But he said he disagreed with the decision to ban the hat and hoped it offered a chance for the school to review its policies.

“The American soldier is armed. That’s why they’re called the armed forces,” he said. “If you’re going to portray it any other way, you miss the point.”

He said he intends to give David a medal to express veterans’ appreciation that he would pay tribute to their service.

Morales said her son was inspired to honor the military after striking up a friendship last summer with a neighbor in the Army.

Banning the hat “sent the wrong message to the kids, because it wasn’t in any way to cause any harm to anyone,” she said. “You’re talking about Army men. This wasn’t about guns.”

  • Juggernaut___max50


    over 3 years ago


    What the hell is wrong with people?

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    What..I remeber them..

  • Teller_star1_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I wish we could go back to the days when we solved our problems ourselves instead of telling on someone and watching the powers that be take over. To the days when we weren't so afraid to live our lives that we are always looking for someone to blame when things don't go just right, and the days when the sight of an American soldier in arms was a sight that brought pride to every American heart. (even if it is only a tiny plastic one.) Do we really think that our kids will think they can bring a gun to school or that real guns are toys just because a kid wears a hat with tiny army men on it?! Let's grow up and get back to our roots!

  • Th_untitled_max50


    about 4 years ago


    The school reversed it's ban! There is still hope America.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50


    about 4 years ago


    It's hard to believe that Idiots like this Principle and Teacher are responsible for the Education of our Children or in my case Grand Children . These Liberal Morons are at the bottom of the Gene Pool with no Common Sense only the ability to "FOLLOW LIKE SHEEP" the leadership prescribed written propaganda that has replaced our abilities as American Citizens to use "COMMON SENSE" when dealing with our children. The other night I listened to Dennis Miller commenting about how the "PRESENT ADMINISTRATION HAS A WAR ROOM FOR EVERY CONTINGENCY EXCEPT WAR". Today even the commanding General of our Armed Forces in Afghanistan is criticizing the Politically Correct stature of the Liberal Administration .

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    This is so stupid, it would be funny if it wasn't so sad. How can people who are as well educated as teachers are supposed to be come up with this stupidity. If anyone is frightened by a little green army man and his toy gun, then maybe they need to have a long talk with a shrink. I understand weapons bans at schools, but there also has to be some common sense involved or no one will take them seriously. I hope that the district will use this incident to review their policy and come up with some common sense rules on the subject.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    jeez,i think id worry about the ones that are bringing in real guns.thats about a slap in the face to our veterans.

  • Goatface_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Common sense is so rare these days, it should be considered a superpower!

  • Don_27t_20tred_20on_20me_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Wow...over sensitive anyone?

  • Tigerstripe_002_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Beyond that point, a Toy-Soldier isn't an imagine on clothing, it's an object attached to clothing. Like cufflinks, or something you'd put on your tie. Also it isn't just A-Weapon it's a soldier holding a weapon.

    This is just like,, is this the freedom so many men have died for to protect and uphold? What are we doing to ourselves man...

  • Picture_008_max50


    about 4 years ago


    This is crazy.. A toy soldier isn't a weapon.. WTF is wrong with people....

  • Jack-sparrow-pirates-of-the-caribbean_max50


    about 4 years ago


    For something as ridiculous as that I would have stuck more soldiers on the hat. Schools are getting really ridiculous nowadays.

  • Quickley-b240_max50


    about 4 years ago


    It's called political correctness and it is time for that to go to the bottom of the class. This is unbelievable.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    RoboCop33 said it all.

  • 04-10-08_1552_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Sounds like the Principal has watched "Toy Story" to many times. I guess he believes that the little plastic army guys will come to life, if the hat is left unattended, and take over the school. What has this country come to?!?!?!

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