When 9-year-old Texan Aiden Steward threatened a fellow classmate with his version of J.R.R. Tolkien's "One Ring," he probably didn't expect that his school would call his play a terrorist threat and suspend him.
That's right, a school in Kermit, Texas suspended a boy for using his imagination and "threatening" a schoolmate with an imaginary magical object with imaginary magical powers.
The so-called "threat" came after the boy watched The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies with his father. The movie inspired the boy so much that he created his own play version of the ring that Bilbo Baggins steals from Gollum and started pretending that he could make himself, and other people, disappear with it.
However, when he took that imagination to school, he was punished for it after he was caught playing and telling a classmate that he could use the ring to make his classmate disappear.
Although the entire incident was playful, the school called the act a terrorist threat, even though the threat was entirely imaginary and the child was obviously playing at the time.
"I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend's existence," says the boy's father.. "If he did, I'm sure he'd bring him right back."
The school, though, stated that threats of any kind are taken seriously there, imaginary or not.
This same school previously suspended Aiden for bringing a copy of The Big Book of Knowledge to class. Although he'd hoped he'd impress his teachers with the book, the school confiscated it and suspended the boy after they saw illustrations that depicted a pregnant woman.
However, Texas isn't alone in targeting geeks. One New Jersey girl caused a stir after her father, a university professor, posted a photo of her on social media wearing a Game Of Thrones t-shirt that stated "I will take what is mine with fire and blood." Fans of the George R.R. Martin books and the wildly popular HBO series know that quote well, but apparently, the university the girl's father worked for didn't: the university suspended the man, after apparently feeling threatened by a fictional character and her dragons.
Maybe these two stories are good examples that U.S. school officials need to read more books. Or perhaps, they should just learn to do a Google search for things that they know little about.
[Photo Credit: New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers]