After watching The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies with his dad, 9-year-old Aiden Steward brought his “One Ring” replica to school and told a classmate he could turn him invisible. Kermit Elementary School officials, who clearly need to be schooled in Tolkien lore, suspended him for it.
In the same world where a bill has been introduced to allow individuals with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in schools, a little boy with a toy ring has been considered a threat. If this seems ridiculous to you, that’s because it really is. Kids threatening to kill their teacher? Yes, that deserves swift discipline. A little boy pretending to be Bilbo Baggins? Not so much.
The entire incident sounds far more like a school district feeling threatened by non-Christian mythology than any reasonable concern for a child’s safety. Being fascinated by Gollum’s ring is kind of understandable. In fact, the allure of the One Ring is kind of the point of The Hobbit and most of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and these school officials should probably read a book.
Aiden’s parents are understandably defending their son’s imagination.
“I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” the boy’s father, Jason Steward, said in an email to the Daily News. “If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.” Steward’s humorous response is just about the only way to deal with the kind of absurdity his family has faced since moving into the Kermit Independent School District last fall.
Their son has been suspended three times already. Before he attempted to walk into Mordor school with the One Ring, Aiden was suspended for referring to a classmate as black and for bringing in a book that depicted a pregnant woman.
At this point, the family must be walking on eggshells. No imaginative play, no completely normal observations, no books with illustrations that might suggest that people have babies? Is this school district operated by Sauron?
Moving forward, young Aiden should probably avoid discussing Harry Potter, Neil deGrasse Tyson or evolution if he hopes to continue attending the fourth grade.