A five-year-old boy attending kindergarten at Dowell Elementary School in the town of Lusby, Md., was interrogated for more than two hours and suspended for ten days after bringing a cowboy-style cap pistol on the bus, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
According to his family and a lawyer, the boy hid the orange-tipped pistol in his backpack and showed it to a friend on the bus. The family also said his friend had brought a water gun on the bus a day earlier.
The unidentified boy’s mother said she had no problem with the youngster facing consequences for bringing the toy on the bus, but questioned the severity of the school’s actions, saying that he uncharacteristically wet his pants during the episode.
“The family’s attorney appealed the suspension late Thursday, asking that the action be reversed and the child’s record be expunged,” the Post reported.
If allowed to stand, the incident will remain on his permanent school record and keep him out of class for the rest of the school year.
The issue will be examined at a disciplinary conference Friday, Donna St. George wrote.
The boy’s mother said the principal contacted her at 10:50 a.m., claiming the boy pretended to shoot someone on the bus, but the boy and his first-grade sister disputed that. The school also interrogated the sister and told the mother that police would have been called if the pistol had been loaded with caps.
“The school was quite obviously taking it very seriously, and he’s 5 years old,” she said. “Why were we not immediately contacted?”
At issue is the lengthy interrogation without parental guidance or support.
According to attorney Robin Ficker, the boy’s age is a factor, and the school missed a teachable moment.
“Kids play cowboys and Indians,” Ficker said. “They play cops and robbers. You’re talking about a little 5-year-old here.”
Since the Sandy Hook school shootings, educators have taken steps they say are necessary to protect children from gun violence, but many say school administrators are going overboard.
A Maryland boy was suspended after chewing a pastry into the shape of a gun and a five-year-old girl was called a “terrorist threat” after saying she would shoot her friend with a Hello Kitty bubble gun.
In Philadelphia, a fifth-grade girl was searched, harassed and called a murderer over a piece of paper torn into the general shape of a pistol.
According to the Post, the boy’s mother is an area high school teacher who says she strongly supports the school system and loves the teachers at her son’s school.
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