Stories of public schools dishing out ridiculous punishments to students who did absolutely nothing wrong generally fail to shock me at this point. They have to clear a very high bar of absurdity to be even noteworthy, given how common they are.
Okay, brace yourselves.
A Mobile County, Alabama, 5-year-old allegedly pointed her crayon at a fellow kindergartner and said something like, “pew, pew.” (That’s the sound some guns make when fired, I suppose, although for obvious reasons I don’t know what noise imaginary guns make when fired.) School officials at E.R. Dickson Elementary responded with what is perhaps the most uniquely crazy punishment I have ever heard of: They made the girl sign a contract promising not to kill anyone, including herself. According to NBC News and Rare:
Without her permission, [the girl’s mother] says her five-year-old was then given this Mobile County Public Schools safety contract to sign, stating that she wouldn’t kill herself or others.
“While I was in the lobby waiting, they had my five-year-old sign a contact about suicide and homicide,” she said.
NBC News notes that the contract is not legally binding, since the kindergartner was about 14 years shy of the age of adulthood.
The little girl was also forced to take a psychological evaluation to gauge her likelihood of suicide. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t even know what the word meant:
“My child interrupted us and said, ‘what is suicide? Mommy, daddy, what is suicide?'”
At least she learned something at school today? District officials did not respond to NBC News. If I have better luck, I will post an update.