An Ohio principal suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pointing his finger like a gun at another student, the latest in a long string of disciplinary actions taken in response to zero-tolerance gun policies.
The official suspension letter last week cited the fifth-grader with exposing other students to a “level 2 lookalike firearm.”
The boy’s father, Paul Entingh, is outraged, and accused school officials at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in Columbus of acting like children.
“He said he was playing,” Entingh said. “It would even make more sense maybe if he brought a plastic gun that looked like a real gun or something, but it was his finger.”
The fifth-grader, Nathan, said he was “just playing around.”
“People play around like this a lot at my school,” he said.
But the school sees it differently.
Jeff Warner, a spokesman for the district, told the Columbus Dispatch that Devonshire Principal Patricia Price has told students on numerous occasions that they’re not to invoke images of guns when playing and said the students should be aware of the rules.
Warner said warnings have been included in at least three school newsletters sent to parents.
The district spokesman said Nathan put his finger to another students head and pretended to shoot him “execution style.”
“The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences,’” Warner said. “It’s just been escalating.”
But the boy’s father said no one actually felt threatened by his son’s horseplay and that the other student didn’t even see the gun motion. The only person who saw it was a teacher.
Entingh said that it would have been better if his son, who has never been in trouble with the school, was given an in-school suspension. But three days? That’s going overboard, Entingh said.
Like many school districts across the county, Columbus has adopted its zero-tolerance policies in response to recent mass shootings.
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