School to 5-Year-Old Girl: Promise You Won't Kill
Alabama school has girl sign contract against murder, suicide
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 5:07 PM CDT
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – An Alabama mom says her 5-year-old daughter got in a heap of trouble for drawing a picture of a gun and aiming her crayon in a gunlike fashion, Local 15TV reports via BuzzFeed. In fact, little Elizabeth was assessed for suicidal thoughts and told to sign a contract promising not to kill others or herself. "This isn't right," says mom Rebecca, who kept her last name private. "She's 5 years old. Most of these words on [the contract], she's never heard in her life." So what exactly happened at ER Dickson Elementary School in Mobile, Ala.? "They told me she drew something that resembled a gun," Rebecca says. "According to them she pointed a crayon at another student and said, 'pew pew.'"

School officials informed Rebecca that Elizabeth would be sent home, and while Rebecca waited in the school lobby, she says, her daughter was given the suicide questionnaire and "safety contract"—even though state law says children can't legally sign contracts. Rebecca says Elizabeth later asked, "'What is suicide, Mommy? Daddy, what is suicide?'" Mobile County school system Superintendent Martha Peek says the contract-signing will be evaluated, reports. School officials were given a "one-size-fits-all" safety protocol for students who "may be considering any actions such as hurting themselves or hurting someone else," says Peek. "I think if we had stepped back and looked at the situation ... we could have probably had some additional guidance." (Earlier this year in South Carolina, a 16-year-old was arrested after writing a story about killing a dinosaur.)