In a recent internet story, a little girl named Laura did what a lot of kids her age do — she put her lunch in a Wonder Woman lunch box and took it to school. She was then sent home with a note, explaining she had violated the school’s dress code and zero tolerance stance toward violence. It read:
“The dress code we have established request that the children do not bring violent images into the building in any fashion — on their clothing (including shoes & socks), backpacks and lunch boxes. We have defined “violent characters as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes … fall into that category.”
On one hand, I wholeheartedly support the notion of teaching kids that violence is not a good way to solve problems. Philosophers have long argued that the problems in this world is not one of good vs evil, but rather one of everyone willing to justify their aggression against others. case in point: even as the US decries “terrorists,” they continue to drop bombs on houses and apartment complexes in other parts of the world, killing at least 10 civilians for every combatant they might hit.1 President Obama killed more children his second day in office than were killed in the Sandi Hook School shooting when he ordered an air strike on Yemeni village, killing more than 70 people, including dozens of children. The single terrorist target they were after had long since lift the area.
Though I wholly support the idea of teaching the kids the pitfalls of violence, yet this action seems to take things way too far. Superman, Spiderman, Battman, — they don’t use violence to hunt, they use it to restrain and protect. There are a few isolated cases where violence is necessary. Case in point: the 4 people who recently worked to subdue a gunman on the Paris train. If we were being attacked, few of us would want the policeman responding to our house who could only use nice words. Sometimes force is necessary. Superheroes are like policemen … just way cooler.
Violence is a reality of our culture, and something our kids are exposed to all over the media. Taking away a little girls lunch box is like trying to train a lake with an eyedropper. So lets try and use some common sense. Let the kids have their superheroes, and let’s combat the culture of violence in ways that really matter.
1. Jonah Goldberg, “Softhead Moralizing At School” Sept 1, 2015, USA Today, p 7A
2. Singer, 2014; PVS, Rise of the Drones, 1/7/2005