It may not be quite as universal an experience as it seems when you're 8 years old, but for millions of children around the world, carrying a lunchbox to school is not only a right of passage, but a rare chance to express their identity to the world around them. In an environment often defined by parents' choice of clothing, school's choice of subjects ,and the Disney Channel's choice of after-school programming, a lunchbox can be a unique opportunity to visually proclaim: "I really like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," or "I love Marvel Superheroes."
For one schoolchild, though, that particular freedom seems to have recently been surprisingly curtailed...
You Might Not Believe Why This Superhero-Themed Lunchbox Was Banned
Y'see, as Redditor Twines18 recently posted, it seems that the above lunchbox caused something of a stir at their friend's daughter's school.
So much so, in fact, that the young girl's parents received this letter:
Which, just to clarify, was referring to this lunchbox:
On which Wonder Woman was depicted as being wise, and carries only her lasso of truth.
Which, it seems, was sufficient grounds to ban the lunchbox, since Wonder Woman is apparently a "violent character," a phrase defined by the school as including all of "those who solve problems using violence."
So, What's the Big Deal?
After all, with school shootings horrifyingly common (well over a hundred in the US alone since 2012's Sandy Hook), it makes a whole lot of sense that schools worldwide are cracking down on potential causes of school violence - and idealizing heroes who punch their way to victory could, theoretically, have something to do with that (even though science doesn't really seem to think that it does).
On the other hand, though, stopping a child from having a superhero-themed lunchbox on the grounds that the hero is a "violent character" is inherently problematic. Not only does it send the message that those who employ violence to protect society (i.e. the police and the military) are fundamentally wrong, irrespective of the circumstance, but it also raises a whole bunch of distinctly problematic double standards.
For instance, if Wonder Woman and other superheroes are banned from schools for being "violent characters" who "solve problems using violence," then how on Earth is anyone supposed to teach children about George Washington and the Revolutionary War, or Winston Churchill and World War Two? How are we even going to teach history classes at all?
Sure, there are complex moral arguments on every side of that debate - and a strict position of pacifism is completely valid - but the idea that absolutely anyone willing to solve problems using violence should be banned from schools would require the removal of any mention of every single US president, anyone who's ever served in the armed forces, pretty much every police officer going, and virtually every religious text that's ever been written.
It is, in other words, an impossibly broad definition - and one that seems a little bit unfair to apply to a child's lunchbox.
Unless, y'know, that letter isn't mentioning that someone got bludgeoned with it, while a child screamed 'Merciful Minerva,' and another kid started tying children up with 'truth-telling' rope and forcing them to admit to stealing their invisible jet.
Something tells me that didn't happen, however, since otherwise there'd be a whole lot of news footage...
What do you think, though?
Is it right to ban a superhero lunchbox for featuring a "violent character"?