Originally written in 2010 for a local newspaper in Savage, MN.
Eight-year-old David Morales of Coventry, Rhode Island, finished his second grade year at Tiogue Elementary School the spring of 2010. His year did not end so well. His teacher telephoned his mother, Christan Morales, to inform her that little David was in big trouble. David’s teacher explained to the boy’s incredulous mother that her son’s cap violated the school’s zero-tolerance policy against weapons.
It seems that in fulfillment of a class assignment, David had chosen a patriotic theme, took a camouflage cap which bore an American flag patch, and creatively affixed several of his plastic toy soldiers to the cap. He intended his artistry to honor our nation’s armed forces. But to the horror of his vigilant teacher, those tiny toy soldiers were actually armed! And that, David’s mom was informed, breached school policy against inappropriate behavior.
Tiogue’s principal weighed in, allowing David to wear his cap to the school program for which it was originally designed, if he promised to adorn it with only unarmed soldiers. David found one such soldier in his collection, but the prospect of decorating his cap with a single commando holding a pair of binoculars was off-putting to the lad. With dutiful resignation to his school’s unflinching policy against weapons, David wore the cap sans soldiers.