Virginia second-grader suspended for holding pencil like gun

Virginia second-grader suspended for holding pencil like gun

Second Grader Pencil GunChristopher Marshall, a seven-year-old boy attending Driver Elementary School in Suffolk, Va., was suspended from school for pointing a pencil at another student and making gun noises, WAVY reported Monday.

“When I asked him about it, he said, ‘Well I was being a Marine and the other guy was being a bad guy,'” Paul Marshall, the boy’s father, said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Marshall, a Marine for many years, believes the school overreacted.

The school, however, says otherwise.

“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,” Suffolk Public Schools spokesperson Bethanne Bradshaw said.

The school has a “zero tolerance” policy that Bradshaw says has been tightened in recent years because of recent school shootings.

“Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community,” she said. “Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”

But the boy’s parents see it differently, saying the school failed to use common sense.

“Enough is enough,” the elder Marshall said. “I see it as the tail is now wagging the dog.”

Since the Newtown school shootings, educators have taken steps they say are intended to keep children safe. But some of their actions are causing many to believe educators have thrown common sense out the window.


A young Philadelphia girl, for example, was berated and called a murderer over a piece of paper torn in the general shape of a pistol, and another girl was called a terrorist threat for saying she would shoot a classmate with a Hello Kitty bubble gun.

In March, seven-year-old Josh Welch found himself suspended from school for two days after chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun.

A post at says these actions actually do more harm than good.

“Branding young children as violent when their offenses are hardly anything more than simply being kids, much as we all were once, can have long lasting negative effects on these students. Schools risk doing more harm than good with such policies. And parents aren’t likely to tolerate it for much longer,” wrote blogger Liberty Chick.

WAVY says that suspensions can last up to 10 days, but Marshall’s will only last for two.

Watch video of the report below, courtesy of WAVY.


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Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.


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