The Difference Between a “Cut” and “Cutting”

Hi Readers — Got this note yesterday and it really resonated, mostly because it shows another instance of the authorities being deliberately dense, “for the sake of the children.” The case reminds me of the Zero Tolerance laws, when schools deliberately refuse to acknowledge the difference between a Lego gun and a Glock, or a Cub Scout “spork” and a spear. While I applaud the idea of helping kids if they have problems like cutting, I am sick of this cultural decision to be dumb as a stump. So read on, if you don’t mind getting mad, too. This comes to us from Kathy, a mom of two in Maryland. — L.
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Dear Free-Range Kids: I had to share this latest outrage I heard today. A mom was telling me that her friend’s daughter cut her finger while in shop class.  I believe this girl was 11 years old.  Of course, she went to the nurse, and the nurse immediately started making a HUGE stink over the cut.  The reason?  Because they want to prevent children from purposeful self-mutilation or “cutting.”
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They forced this girl to fill out a range of forms stating that she did not cut herself on purpose, and that she would pledge NOT to start cutting herself on purpose in the future.
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This cut in class was an ACCIDENT.  This little girl had no intention of cutting herself when she walked into that class, nor did she have grand plans to start self-mutilation.

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I am stunned at the reaction of the school.  In my opinion, they are grossly overreacting to common in-school injury.  What’s next?  If someone breaks their arm on the playground, they have to sign away their recess rights for the rest of their school career?!  If a kid doesn’t finish their lunch, do they have to sign a pledge saying they won’t become anorexic?  Yikes! — Kathy

Self-expression -- or self -mutilation?