An Arkansas school teacher who gave her students a fish-shaped water gun is under fire from a parent who says she disapproves of weapons in her house, reports KPOM-TV in Ft. Smith, Ark.

The teacher at an elementary school in Rogers, Ark., gave her students the squirter following a lesson about animals in the rain forest. School officials say she feels horrible about the entire situation and didn't mean to offend anyone.

The parent who complained, Karen Young, doesn't want fish-shaped toy guns in her house because she accidentally shot an ex-boyfriend one time when the gun she was beating him with went off.

Mississippi Offense

Two Michigan high school students who showed up for the last day of school with Confederate flags -- one of them in the form of the Mississippi state flag -- have been removed from school and could be expelled and not graduate, reports the Flint Journal.

One of the students from Grand Blanc High School held the flag out the window of his truck and drove briefly through the school parking lot. The other attached the Mississippi state flag, which includes the Confederate emblem, on the tailgate of his truck.

Students who witnessed the display, one of whom was apparently driven to tears by it, reported it to school officials, who promptly removed the boys from class.

Principal Michael Newton said any flag with the Confederate emblem on it has no place at his school.

"It's symbolism that causes our students to be enraged," he said. "It's not just our African-American students. It's white students as well. They're just as offended as many blacks are."

Ronald the Troublemaker

Kids at a hospital in the United Kingdom will no longer get coupons for free burgers during their stays because some in that town think it's part of a conspiracy on the part of fast-food companies to make children fat, reports the Press Association.

Some parents of kids at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said the practice contradicts government warnings about childhood obesity and fatty foods.

As a result of the complaints, none of the hospitalized children will be receiving the coupons or the balloons and toys that McDonald's used to bring to the ward as part of its charity efforts.

More Crosses in California

The ACLU is threatening to sue the county of Los Angeles unless it removes a tiny cross that has been on its official seal for some 47 years, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.

The southern California chapter of the group contends that the cross represents a government-sponsored endorsement of Christianity.

"Los Angeles County is the most diverse county in the United States, and if the city of Redlands decided it had to do something, we think the county of Los Angeles should also," ACLU Executive Director Ramona Ripston said.

The county says removing the cross from the county's 5,000 buildings, thousands of vehicles, stationery, business cards, plaques, flags and Internet sites would cost a fortune.

The city of Redlands, Calif., quickly relented recently when faced with a similar lawsuit threat about a similar cross on its official seal.

Commandments Redux

An Alabama chamber of commerce employee has been fired after refusing to remove a lapel pin featuring an image of the Ten Commandments, reports The Associated Press.

Christopher Word of the Hoover Chamber of Commerce said he started wearing the pin in January and was asked to remove in a couple months later. When he refused, he said, he was accused of making "political statements" on the job and removed from his post.

"The reason for my firing was that my principles were different than someone's opinion," Word said. "I lost my job for standing up for what I believe in."

Horns of a ...

A wise crack about how "horny" Ft. Worth, Texas, is prompted complaints from tourism officials and a personal apology from the mayor there, reports Ft. Worth Weekly.

The head of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, Doug Harmon, reportedly told a female Air Force representative at a trade show in Washington, D.C., that, "Fort Worth is a very horny place." The remark came after she commented on a pin he was wearing shaped like cow's horns.

City officials called the crack inappropriate, unprofessional and in violation of the city's rules regarding sexual harassment. Harmon was forced to write a formal letter of apology to the offended party.

For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Thom M. writes:

What you didn't include in your report on the director of the Virginia Military Academy changing the words to my alma mater's song is that in his letter to class presidents and alumni association officers enlisting their support for his unilateral action, he preemptively classified anyone objecting to the modification as "mistaken," "incorrect," or basically sexist.

While I can understand (understand, not respect) a senior officer's blatant attempt to further his career, I cannot accept this type of back-door effort, and the ham-fisted attempt to paint opponents of this idiocy the way he has attempted to do.

Dennis M. writes:

They'd better not replace "Eeny, meeny, miney, mo" with "one potato, two potato." The Irish would be up in arms.

Matt F. in Boston writes:

When an institution chooses a mascot, is the intent reverence or ridicule? Apparently the PC police cannot decide, as their answer to the question continuously shifts from situation to situation. On the one hand, a team being known as the Crusaders is unacceptable because it is honoring a symbol of religious intolerance. Yet, on the other hand, when a team is called the Indians it is somehow denigrating its mascot.

Well, which is it? Please make an effort to be more consistent and limit the nonsensical subjectiveness.

David T. in Alaska writes:

Something about the way this column tries to address extremely complex issues with a paragraph of biased reporting kinda' rubs me the wrong way. In all honesty, it isn't fair or balanced, is it? And if Fox News is all about fair and balanced, then might we hear some good news about what the ACLU has done in the past or even some context about WHY "eenie, meenie, miny, moe" is offensive to blacks? Once the public hears about where the rhyme came from, they might agree that it should not be in a commercial.

You simply failed to explain.

Sam in Lawrenceville, N.J., writes:

I truly feel for the plight of the McDonald's employee, Keith S., who was forced to learn a couple Spanish phrases to communicate with customers. If they're coming into our country, they should learn our language! Imagine the horror of being able to converse with a greater portion of the human race! What a tragedy!

(I'm being sarcastic, by the way.)

Kelly V. writes:

The irony of the senior's statement that she wishes to respect all beliefs by excluding prayer from commencement ceremonies is that she completely trounces on every "belief" that incorporates prayer, which includes all beliefs except for atheism -- in which people have no "beliefs" at all!

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