In a now all too familiar scenario, a 5th grader has been suspended in Massachusetts after pointing an imaginary gun and saying “pow”.
Ten year old Nickolas Taylor was suspended for two days by officials at Stacy Middle School in Milford, following the incident which took place in the school cafeteria.
Nickolas, who has no history of bad behaviour, is said to have cut in line at the lunch queue and “mouthed laser sounds” coming from an imaginary ray gun, otherwise identified as his own finger, pointed at other students in the line.
Nickolas himself told reporters that he was not pointing the “weapon” at any other students, but was simply amusing himself.
The Assistant Principal of the school cited the incident as a “threat” on a conduct slip given to the 5th grader, giving justification for a suspension.
Nickolas’ father, Brian Taylor, is unhappy with the school’s actions.
“I think this is very slanderous toward Nickolas and his character,” said Taylor. “It was non-threatening. He’s just a typical boy with an imagination.”
Taylor added that his son has been diagnosed with ADHD and sometimes is disciplined because he is “hyperactive” and can become easily distracted.
“He’s confused as to why he got suspended,” said Taylor. “He doesn’t realize he did something wrong.”
Taylor hit out at school officials, saying “There’s a complete disconnect between policy and reality,” when it comes to such situations.
School officials have not returned requests for comments.
The story represents another idiotic over the top zero tolerance case where a child has been punished for displaying an imaginative mind.
Scores of cases across the country have seen children as young as 4 or 5 being suspended, or worse, sometimes for just talking about weapons. Several students have even been branded as “terroristic” for simulating firing a gun with their fingers, or bringing plastic toys to school.
The frequency of such cases has prompted lawmakers to introduce legislation aimed at protecting students from punishment by schools over ridiculous infractions.
In June, the Governor of Florida approved into law a so-called ‘Pop-Tart Bill,’ named in reference to a Maryland 8-year-old who was suspended for chewing a Pastry into the shape of a gun. The bill now ensures that no punishment will be handed out if students brandish a food item, a toy, a pencil, or a finger to simulate a firearm or weapon. Vocalisations of gun noises are also cited in the bill as not being adequate grounds for discipline.
Similar legislation to the Florida bill is progressing in other states, including Maryland and Ohio. Supporters of the legislation are hopeful that the Sunshine State has set a precedent others will swiftly follow.
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