A fifth-grade promotion ceremony in Rancho Palos Verdes turned into a free-speech battleground Thursday, when students were asked to remove weapons from toys that had been placed on mortarboard caps because of the school's zero-tolerance policy for weapons on campus.What possible response can be made to this by the logical mind except a wordless howl of despair?
Each year, students decorate wide caps with princesses, football goal posts, zebras, guitars and other items to express their personalities and career goals. Cornerstone at Pedregal School is the only Palos Verdes Peninsula public school to practice the tradition.
On Thursday, before the ceremony, one boy was told he couldn't participate unless he agreed to clip off the tips of the plastic guns carried by the minuscule GIs on his cap. Ten others complied with the order before the event. . . .
In enforcing the decision, the district cited its Safe Schools policy and the federal Gun Free Schools Act of 1994, a federal law designed to remove firearms from schools.