Bonehead Awards

March 1, 2005

Writing a science fiction story is a felony in Kentucky. Police not only arrest a kid for a zombie story he was writing for English class, but a local judge agrees to up the bail to $5K at the request of prosecuters.

From the Green Bay News Chronicle 25-Sep-00

Finally! A zero tolerance bonehead award. And why not? School is back in session, right?

For those who are new to this, a Zero Tolerance bonehead award is given to a group or individual who applies a "zero tolerance" policy without using any thought or common sense. Who uses new definitions for words to make them fit more serious crimes so a more severe penalty can be applied.

This first of the school year zero tolerance bonehead award goes to the school district in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The story, within hours of publication, had already reached European news services which will no doubt have fun with it.

Green Bay school superintendent Tom Joynt suspended a third-grade boy from school. Why did he do this? Joynt explains it thusly, "The student was suspended for having a replica of a gun. School district policy states, 'The possession of facsimile firearms is also prohibited (including) any replica, toy, starter pistol or other object that bears a reasonable resemblance to, or can be perceived to be, an actual firearm.'"

If you go to the original article at:
you will see this "replica." It is at the end of a key chain, bought at a gumball machine, and is no more than 1 3/8 inches in length and kind of resembles a gun thing. Is this perceived to be an actual firearm?

The mother is appealing and wants this taken off her son's record. "I don't think this falls into that category," she said. "It's a key chain. I think it's a little extreme. How far will this policy go? I think they just should have taken it away from him with a warning to not bring it back before suspending him."

Joynt actually believes he is being a nice guy. He says that because of the gumball key chain, that the student could have been expelled "and the police could have been called."

Interestingly, back in January, we gave a zero-tolerance bonehead award to the Bloomington, Illinois Irving Elementary School for the exact same situation. You can see that story at:
Do you think the boy should have a dangerous weapon violation on his record? You can send your views to superintendent Joynt at

It may be a good idea to copy the Green Bay News Chronicle into your correspondence. Their Email address is

More available at