Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Boy, 8, suspended from Florida school for using hand as pretend gun in game of 'cops and robbers'

A Florida school pupil has been suspended for using his hand to mimic a gun whilst playing the childhood game 'cops and robbers' with his friends.

Bonnie Bennett, the child's mother said she is now concerned that her son could be labelled as violent in future because his suspension will be visible on his academic record.

Speaking about the incident Ms Bennett told television network WFTV: “He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun. He didn't threaten violence. He didn't utter words that were inappropriate. He made a sound and used his fingers and that was it.”

Harmony Community School in Florida suspended the boy because they considered the gesture an act of violence, the network reported.

The school refused to comment specifically on the child's case but school district officials said their code of conduct prohibited children from playing with invisible guns.

Ms Bennett argued that there are other ways the incident could have been dealt with. "If he would have written an essay about why it was inappropriate, what he did," she said, "that would have made more of an impact."

The school's action follows other incidents where pupils have been suspended for playing with pretend or toy guns. Another eight-year-old boy from Maryland was not allowed back into a classroom at Park Elementary School in Anne Arundel County for two days after nibbling a pastry snack into the shape of a gun.

Two students were suspended for the rest of the academic year last month for playing with airsoft guns in their front garden whilst waiting for a school bus. The Larkspur Middle School defended their decision, asserting that the institutions zero-policy on guns extends to private property.

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