By Gino Vicci
Caro, MI (WNEM) -- A local third grader who took cupcakes to class in celebration of his 9th birthday was told a topping on those cupcakes was inappropriate.
Last week, Casey Fountain's third-grade son had a birthday party at his school in Caro. His wife decided to whip up 30 cupcakes for the boy's classmates. She topped the treats with plastic army guys like the ones countless boys and girls have played with for decades. Fountain says he never thought his innocent act of party planning would lead to controversy.
Fountain says the principal of Schall Elementary School called him personally and told him that dressing the cupcakes with soldiers was, in the principal's words, "insensitive" considering recent gun-related tragedies. Fountain says the principal was referring to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
That didn't sit too well with Fountain, and he says his frustration prompted him to call TV5.
The green plastic figurines are representations of WWII soldiers, and Fountain said he doesn't see a comparison to Sandy Hook.
The school is standing by its decision to remove the Army soldiers from the cupcakes. The school's principal, Susan Wright, didn't want to go on camera with TV5 on Thursday, but did release a statement:
"In the climate of recent events in schools we walk a delicate balance in teaching non-violence in our buildings and trying to ensure a safe, peaceful atmosphere. On one hand, there are those who advocate arming teachers, having armed security guards and creating a fortress of defense in our schools. On the other hand, there are those who feel that guns create fear in schools and we need to put solid security measures in place plus practice routines to be prepared in case an emergency should ever occur. Living in a democratic society entails respect for opposing opinions.
Recently, a third grade boy brought cupcakes to school with plastic soldiers carrying weapons atop each one. These are toys that were commonplace in the past. However some parents prohibit all guns as toys. In light of that difference, the school offered to replace the soldiers with another item and the soldiers were returned home with the student.
In hindsight, one can always second guess a course of action. Schools walk a tightrope on many topics. By not permitting toy soldiers on cupcakes at school, no disrespect for our military or for the brave men and women who defend our right to have differences was intended. Our commitment is always to our children and creating a safe place for them to learn, grow and have respectful dialogues about their differences"
In the end, Fountain wants to set the record straight. He says just because he disagrees with the school's decision it doesn't mean he doesn't care about the safety of school kids.