School Bans Young Girl’s Wonder Woman Lunchbox for Being Too “Violent”

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So as you see from the photo above, young Laura’s Wonder Woman lunchbox was very throwback to 1950’s era Wonder Woman and was also quite safe and tame. But apparently her school system did not think the same thing, as she was issued the following letter and had her Wonder Woman lunchbox banned for ‘violent images.’ Um, am I not seeing what is violent above? The following is the letter:

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There’s not much you can say about this other than wow. Superheroes are not the problems, people.

[Images via Imgur, story via GeekTyant]




31 Responses to School Bans Young Girl’s Wonder Woman Lunchbox for Being Too “Violent”

  1. A less click-baitey headline (and write up) would read, “School bans superhero images and depictions, Not Surprisingly Wonder Woman included”

    Not that I agree with the ban, but they include a reasoning that I can identify with:
    They feel like violence should not be promoted as a primary means for conflict resolution (which Wonder Woman does in all incarnations even the 50’s era). And have as a result banned ALL superheros, I have a feeling this would extend to non-violent supers as well, but to be honest, I am having trouble thinking of a super that doesn’t have to resort to violence at some point in time.

    My bigger problem with this post is it is making light of a rule just because the poster disagrees with it. That policy was approved, enacted, and applied properly. By an authority that is fairly (apparently) applying its policy to all students.

    School systems are crazy silly, this just isn’t an example of it.

      • The ban is not just on “Violent Images” themselves, it also falls on depictions of characters “who solve conflict through violence”. In the image she is even armed with her lasso, which is certainly used for violence.
        I do disagree with their definition of a “Violent Character” especially with the nebulous definition of violence.

        • The school’s letter says the ban is on “violent images.” They then extend that to “violent characters” without any direct support or citation.

          You said that the parents should have spoken up prior to this happening, but it seems clear that no logical or right thinking adult or child would ever assume that the image of Wonder Woman would be considered a “violent image.” It also seems clear that the statement / regulation on :super heroes is not within the handbook.

          Schools have standing to restrict freedom of speech and expression when there is an expectation that the speech or expression will be disruptive. However, schools can not regulate speech and expression that is not disruptive on not instructional time. Unless I miss my guess, lunch period is not an instructional time and the school does not have a say in what the kid brings into the lunch room at all.

  2. At my daughter’s preschool, they banned ALL characters of any kind because they presented a distraction. That makes more sense to me then banning “violent” characters.

    Hippos kill more human than any other animal so technically a cutesy hippo shirt should not be allowed.

    Banning “violence” just sounds like lip-service.

    • Please explain how it is unfair, it would only be unfair if they singled her out.

      The parents agreed to the handbook when they sent their child to school, If they had a grievance with the dress code it should have been addressed BEFORE their child was in violation. If they did not read or understand the dress code that is on them. But by all means, lawyer up, they need the money.

      • Not sending their child to the designated school (or spending tens/hundreds of thousands on a private school) would have resulted in arrest and criminal prosecution. NOTHING about a public school is consensual. Anything signed is done under threat of arrest and imprisonment if they do not.

        The dilemma here is: Keep sending your daughter with a superhero lunch box and she will be expelled and you will be arrested and imprisoned and lose custody of your child.

        It sounds like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not.

        • Excellent points, but there is a line somewhere that needs to be drawn, and from the schools perspective it has to be flexible enough to allow freedom of expression but solid enough to enforced. These rules have to be sterilized so that the majority of the subjectivity is removed so that the rule is universally fair, even when it is silly.

          The 3rd option is to comply with the schools request, which is only unreasonable if it is ONLY being applied to certain students/superheros

        • yeah, all that stuff you just said…

          Or…

          Follow the reasonable rules instituted by the school and let your daughter cry it out overnight that she can’t bring her favorite lunchbox anymore.

          Or

          Forget the rules and teach your child that rules do not apply to them because you don’t like them and they can do whatever they want. That’ll work out great for them when they get to a job with a dress code.

  3. schools often have a no-branded or licensed character clothing rules in place.

    However, the reasoning behind this ban (“violent characters”) sounds uniformly ridiculous and subjective?

  4. Deflects bullets with her bracers. Captures bad people with a Lasso of Truth. Hands them over alive to the authorities. Yup very violent.

  5. Oh, I see. But when it’s a depiction of a submissive, no-brain feminine character, I guess it’s all-right ? Let’s all buy Barbie lunchboxes for our daughters, then.

    • Barbie is only a submissive, no-brain feminine character to the child who imagines her as such. No such barbie has ever been in my house :)

  6. I don’t agree with the ban, but it seems pretty clear that they have an establish anti-superhero policy in the dress code and even something as innocent as this picture of Wonder Woman DOES violate that dress code.

    • It doesn’t seem clear to me that is the case at all. The letter states that the ban is on “violent images.” The school then extended “violent images” to cover “super heroes.” It does not seem clear that there is a dress code prohibition on super heroes at all.

      The real question is whether the school has the right to ban something that is not causing trouble and is used during non-instructional times.

      The legal answer is “no.”

      The real problem here is that there are people in this thread that are saying “well, because the school says so, we have to go along.” That’s bull.

      The school has to comply with the law and the kid’s lunchbox is without question an expression and or speech covered by the First Amendment. The school can restrict speech / expression during instructional time because of their belief that the expression may cause a disruption. During non instruction time, the belief that belief must be proven.

      • Kids here, nor parents, are at all happy about school uniforms, but all public schools in the area have them.

        There is always the option of home schooling if your children are too special to comply by the mandated dress code.

        And you could always waste your money trying to sue the school because they say no super heroes and your little darling is just so much more special than everyone else that she HAS TO have a Wonder Woman lunchbox.

        • Craig Trunzo,

          Of course, a dress code implies the standard applies to how a child is dressed. That is not the case here.

          This is not about a child being “special” which is completely condescending as the parents don’t seem to be saying anyone is “special,” but rather pointing out the stupidity of the letter and the thinking of the school itself.

          The school says “no violent images” on lunchboxes. The image is not violent in any way. The school has a responsibility to follow its own rules and not make them up as they go along.

        • The school != government.

          You are free to take that position but you would be wrong. That is why First Amendment cases apply to public schools and not to private schools.

          There are literally hundreds of things the school restricts both because they are impediments to learning and because they are expedient.

          If the school wants to ban superheroes during instructional time because they believe the image impedes learning, they are free to do so. During student’s free or non-instructional time, the school must show the disruption. It is impossible to say that a child eating their lunch with a 1950’s image of Wonder Woman is any disruption.

          Running in the halls is a fantastic example, does not impede learning, still banned.

          Once again, you are showing an ignorance of the law. The government requires students to attend schools. When the school has the kids, the school assumes “loco parentis,” or “in place of the parents.” The school takes on the duty and responsibility for the safety of the child which allows them to prevent running in the halls.

          Are you really trying to make the argument that running in the halls is the same thing as a kid sitting at a table eating their lunch?

          I would argue that there is merit to teaching your child to know their rights, but more value in teaching them when to assert them.

          I would argue that any time the government tramples the rights of anyone, there is merit to asserting and protecting those rights. When is the government / school’s ability to deprive people of the rights enough for you?

  7. Just one more example of the dumbing down of America. All stories of Heroes have some violence. I grew up with all manner of violent tv: Pop-eye, Three Stooges, Tom and Jerry, Road Runner and Coyote, not to mention so many Super Hero comics.

    None of that prompted me to go out and hit somebody in the head with a hammer or blow anything up or solve my problems through violence. I was raised to understand the difference between reality and fiction, and to understand the metaphor being communicated.

    Only a sociopath could look at such things and not understand. And a well adjusted person can see the humor, or the moral to the story, and without being prompted to directly imitate the actions of some fictional character.

    The “fight” between Good and Evil is something often simply depicted as a physical fight in literature and in art, but the deeper meaning is what is important. And how can that meaning be taught without stories of heroic deeds, great battles, and icons that embody the ideals of our culture?

    To teach that all violence is bad, to avoid at all costs exposing a child to violence, and to try to strip a child of her heroes because they don’t meet some politically correct perspective, is just appalling, and in my mind, an injustice to the child and the entire next generation.

  8. Craig Trunzo wrote:

    Follow the reasonable rules instituted by the school and let your daughter cry it out overnight that she can’t bring her favorite lunchbox anymore.

    You are making the assumption that the rules are reasonable. Heck, one might even wonder if they are legal much less “reasonable” as they are dealing with her speech in a non-instructional period of time.

    Forget the rules and teach your child that rules do not apply to them because you don’t like them and they can do whatever they want. That’ll work out great for them when they get to a job with a dress code.

    Or…. forget your rights and teach your child that the government can suppress your rights at their will. Teach your child to roll over and play dead and follow what may very well be illegal actions of the state in order to “get along.” That’ll work out great when the kid works at a company that breaks the law when it comes to wages, safety, etc.

    • Even though the school is a governmental entity;The school != government. Your arguments in this case all follow that the school is acting as the state. While that certainly supports your “My Rights trump all” argument it is far from the case. There are literally hundreds of things the school restricts both because they are impediments to learning and because they are expedient. Running in the halls is a fantastic example, does not impede learning, still banned.

      I would argue that there is merit to teaching your child to know their rights, but more value in teaching them when to assert them.

  9. Does this mean the school can’t get a policeman in to tell the kids “Drugs are bad!” because policemen use violence to resolve conflict? Can they not teach history, where violence was stopped and peace resumed and millions of lives saved because the ‘good guys’ used violence to stop the ‘bad guys’?
    This is just a stupid rule, that’s been taken way to literally in it’s creation by people with no common sense. Or they just can’t be bothered to have to have a discussion about why Wonder Woman posing is OK, but Hulk smashing isn’t.

  10. Did you folks read the letter? It says the school has “defined ‘violent characters’ as those who solve problems using violence. Super heroes clearly fall into that category”.

    You can argue about the rule, but most of you aren’t. You’re arguing about the image doesn’t look violent, read the letter!

    • Many of us have read the letter. Have you?

      The school says it does not allow “violent images” as part of their dress code.

      It then ridiculously expands that definition to include what it considers “violent characters.” It seems that the school knows that “violent characters” is not the same as “violent images” and therefore banning the non-violent image on the lunch box is contrary to the handbook policy.

      You may argue that the school has the right to set their rules and policies and to a great extent they do. At the same time, the parents and students have the right to interpret the rules as written as a normal, common person would understand them.

      Clearly no adult would consider the pictures on the lunchbox as a “violent image.”

      The school opened themselves to well deserved ridicule and scorn for making a rule and then trying to expand upon that rule without prior notice.

      It is not the people here who brought into the discussion whether the image is “violent.”

      It was the school itself.

  11. So send the kid to school with an American soldier and Ol’ Glory on the lunchbox. Would the school have any problem with that? If they sent my kid home for that, I would put her in a private school.

  12. The complete lack of fight to what is a massive government overreach (assuming this is a public school) is truly depressing. Tinker v. Des Moines established 1. That, “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” And 2. In order to censor a student the administration must prove that the speech, “[M]aterially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.” The court specifically excluded censoring speech merely because it makes the administration uncomfortable. If anyone can explain to me how the image above is a danger to school discipline, instead use your genius to bring about world peace and claim your Nobel.

    But what truly confuses and frightens me is the obvious sense of entitlement that the administration is showing by imposing its own moral code, not simply in disregard for the student’s family code, but with knowledge it is actively opposed to its own. When did governmental lackeys, civil *servants*, decide they know best, universally?

    Finally, re: “actually reading the letter”, am I the only one who noticed that the administration reference the parents as “Daniel and Sarah” implying either A. The administration is their friend (who can order them around) or B. These little tin despots see the fully grown parents on par with their daughter.

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