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A school board in Canada has banned the word "gun" from all spelling tests in its district after the parents of a first-grader complained about the word appearing on a spelling list distributed by her teacher, reports the Ottawa Citizen.
According to the report, 7-year-old Chloe Sousa, a student in the Lombardy, Ontario, Public School, came home with a list of spelling words last week that included "gun." Her parents, Amanda and Mark Sousa, who consider themselves pacifists, were shocked that the offending word was on the list.
"I realize people hunt in this area, but I still don't think that warrants the teaching of this word to my daughter or any other child," Mrs. Sousa told the Citizen.
"The word gun is synonymous with death. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out why a 7-year-old would need to learn this word."
According to the report, Chloe's mother was hesitant to bring her views forward for fear of backlash from the school toward her daughter, and because some may view her problem with the word as another political correctness issue gone too far.
"For a split second I considered whether or not I should raise this issue, but I knew I had to stand up for what I believe in. This was not right," she said.
Mrs. Sousa wrote to her daughter's teacher about the issue, but didn't hear back. Instead, Chloe brought home another list later in the week that included the word "gun" along with an illustration of a pistol next to it.
"I was horrified that not only were we ignored, but now my daughter is carrying around a picture of a gun," Mr. Sousa told the paper.
Mrs. Sousa then decided it was time to call the school to speak to the principal.
After her call yesterday, according to the report, she received an apology from both the teacher and Terry Simzer, a PR person representing the school board.
Simzer explained that the word gun had been in the curriculum for a number of years, but as of yesterday, gun has been removed from the spelling test because of the Sousas' complaint.
"I can't say how many years it's been used, but a number of years, yes," said Simzer. He defended the word as being a good phonetic word and short vowel word that is easy for young readers to learn.
"We do appreciate the sensitivity around the word, especially in these times, and have taken the word from the list because of this parent's complaint," he told the Citizen.
"We are quite happy that the whole matter has been resolved and the word will no longer be included in our curriculum."
Said Mrs. Sousa, "Even after all of the obstacles I'm happy with the conclusion.
"I accomplished what I set out to do and that was to have this word removed from my daughter's spelling list."
In other related news, Foreign Terrorists invaded Canada with what locals could only describe as "sticks that make fire and noise". On local resident said, "They would point these sticks at people and then the people would just explode! It was horrible! We don't even have a word to describe it!"
Another Canadian national could only comment, "Uh Uh UH! Fire BAD! Uh uh UH!...."