Boy Pretending to Be a Marine Suspended from School for 'Pencil Gun'
The father of a second grader from Suffolk, Virginia, who was suspended for making "gun noises" while pointing a pencil at another student says the school's zero tolerance policy on weapons lacks common sense.
"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, Christopher's dad and an ex-Marine himself, told WAVY.
But Bethanne Bradshaw, Suffolk Public Schools spokesperson, said other students might find the 7-year-old's pencil gun threatening, given recent school shootings.
"A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made," Bradshaw 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 Paul says the school didn't need to suspend his son for two days, particularly since, as noted in his suspension notice, Christopher stopped as soon as the teacher asked him to.
"It's gone too far. Enough is enough," Paul told Fox 43. "Where do we draw the line? A pencil - was it sharpened? Was it now? Is it a No. 2? I mean what's the big deal? He's just being a kid."
Christopher is far from the first victim of zero tolerance policies gone too far.
Back in January, a first grader from Maryland was suspended for pointing a "gun gesture" at another student. More recently, a 7-year-old, also from Maryland, was suspended for — allegedly — eating his pop tart into the shape of a weapon.