A first-grade student in New Kensington, Pennsylvania has been suspended and may face expulsion for bringing a plastic toy gun to school, despite the fact that he realized he’d made a mistake and voluntarily handed it over to teachers.
In an all too familiar story, 7-year-old Darin Simak faces a disciplinary hearing Friday, all because he used a backpack that he doesn’t normally take to school, not realizing that the toy was inside.
The boy’s parents are fuming that the incident has not been quickly resolved by officials at Martin Elementary School officials, and has instead been needlessly exacerbated.
“He found the toy gun on the outside pocket,” the boy’s father Chris Simak told local reporters. “He took it straight to the teacher and said that he wasn’t allowed to have it.”
“In the middle of math, I had to go to the principal and have a talk with her. As I’m telling the truth and then I got expelled,” Darin himself said, meaning that he’d been suspended.
Instead of dealing with the incident in a rational way, the teacher in question “followed protocol” by escalating the case to the principal, who in turn escalated it to the superintendent for review. The boy is suspended until a decision on punishment is made.
Darin’s parents have been left fuming, initially sending him to school the day after the suspension was handed down. “I said, ‘I’m sending him to school because he is entitled to be in school and be educated,’” said the mother Jennifer Mathabel.
“What kind of message are we sending to our kids? To tell the truth, yet you get in trouble for it and you get punished for it,” Mathabell said.
Darin was then subjected to an in-school suspension until his father came to pick him up and take him home.
“He did the right thing, and we’re trying to teach him the right way,” Mr Simak said, “and now they’re teaching him the wrong way.”
“What was he supposed to do?” he said. “Just hide it and keep it in his bag so he doesn’t get in trouble?” the father added.
The district’s policy outlines that there is a potential one-year expulsion for bringing “replicas of weapons” onto school grounds. School officials have refused to comment on the matter.
In an almost identical incident earlier this year, an 11-year-old was interrogated, intimidated, and then suspended by school officials in Chicago after he voluntarily “turned in” a toy gun to school officials. The child was also ordered to undergo counseling and psychiatric evaluation.
Following media scrutiny and a legal case brought by rights group The Rutherford Institute, the suspension was eventually lifted and the boy’s record was cleared. School officials at Fredrick Funston Elementary School were mandated to take further training after they needlessly punished the boy under a ‘Dangerous Weapons’ Policy.
These cases are common now under idiotic zero tolerance policies across the nation.
Other previous idiotic cases include the infamous Hello Kitty bubble gun ‘terroristic’ incident, the miniature lego gun school bus massacre, the plastic toy soldier, holding a gun on a cup cake catastophe, and the perilous pencil pointing ‘pow powers’ of Virginia.
Even food bitten into the shape of a gun has been cracked down upon with suspensions.
The Rutherford Institute is setting a first rate example in fighting back on such cases. In January their attorneys ensured that justice was done for a fifth grader in Pennsylvania who found himself in trouble after “violating” the school’s zero tolerance policy on weapons by miming the action of firing an arrow from a bow using only his hands.
The latest to do so are Florida representatives who have introduced legislation that says “simulating a firearm” is not grounds for disciplinary action. The bill, which is continuing to progress through the Senate, lists “brandishing a partially consumed pastry or other food item” as something that should not land students in hot water.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.