"Mommy? Daddy? What is homicide?"
This week, school officials in Alabama put a 5-year-old girl on a suicide and homicide watch after she pointed a crayon at a kindergarten classmate and said “pew! pew!”
Yes, this is real. The 5-year-old, identified only as Elizabeth, is said to have drawn a picture resembling a gun before picking up the deadly crayon and going “pew! pew!” – which, in America, could mean that she’s a homicidal maniac!
The girl was then forced to sign a contract declaring that she pinky-promises not to kill herself or her classmates.
Of course, seeing as the girl is only 5, the school first had to take time to educate the toddler on what the words homicide and suicide mean. After making that clear — preferably with film strips and stick figures, or perhaps a friendly demonstration of Russian Roulette — they asked her if she was depressed. And then they forced her to undergo a psych evaluation questionnaire which assessed “Past thoughts of hurting self,” “Current thoughts of suicide,” and “Frequency of suicidal ideas.” All because she made a gun noise with a crayon.
Is Alabama being a bit... alarmist? Granted, all Americans are on edge these days. John McCain can see Ebola and ISIL crossing the border from his porch, Robin Thicke says he didn’t write "Blurred Lines," Mitt Romney is trying to be funny and Michael Bloomberg is no doubt plotting to take over the country and ban the holes in Swiss cheese.
But is it a fret too far for the good people of Alabama to think that a kindergartener, armed with a crayon — in drawing class – is an immediate threat?
The 5-year-old’s mother, identified as Rebecca, is livid. As for the anti-suicide/homicide contract her daughter was forced to sign, Rebecca pointed out that “most of these words on here, she’s never heard in her life.” Well, she’s heard them now.
We don’t know what happened to the girl — aside from being evaluated and then sent home from school for the day. But we’re worried. Because an operative at the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking got a hold of the “psych evaluation questionnaire” that Alabama school officials are administering to suspected homicidal kindergartners.
Yes, we have the actual questionnaire -- and it’s a doozy. It seems a bit unfair to expect a 5-year-old — or anyone — to figure out how to answer these questions the way the psych evaluators want them to. See for yourself. Take the Alabama psych quiz for kindergartners and find out: Are you more homicidal than a 5-year-old?