In Arizona, a 13 year old boy was recently suspended from school for making a drawing that resembles a gun. There is no indication that he has a history of preoccupation with violent visual imagery, has made explicit or implied threats, engaged in violent behavior, tortures animals, or any other issues that would make a drawing of a gun part of a pattern that responsible adults might reasonably be concerned about. A 13 year old kid makes a doodle of a gun and gets kicked out of school.
I consult in schools and have worked with extremely dangerous adolescents. I spent the last three days teaching a course for special educators and school psychologists on how to prevent and manage violence. So I’ve seen lots of kids who need intervention and discipline. I think that suspending a kid for making a drawing is an incredible act of bureaucratic cowardice.
This may have only a peripheral association with art, but it still concerns me. If teenagers are afraid to make art because an adult might find their work to be politically incorrect, then we all, in the long run, will live in a world with less good art.
Ultimately, I think this trend is related to the increasing median age in core Western societies. As more people find the young to be alien and frightening, there is more and more push for “zero tolerance” of behaviors would in their own youth have been considered innocuous.