Charlotte Co. Florida Boys Suspended for Toy Guns

On Thursday Rick Kipper of Charlotte County found out a co-worker’s 10-year-old son and two other boys got in trouble at Neil Armstrong Elementary School. “His son had been suspended from school for bringing a gun, or actually a whole cache of guns to school in his backpack,” explains Kipper. He says the “cache of guns” were action figure guns that can fit in your palm. “I think this is over-zealous, it’s over-stepping. It’s ridiculous,” insists Kipper. He wants to know: “What is zero tolerance? Where do you draw the line?”

Four in Your Corner took his concerns to Michael Riley, a spokesperson with the Charlotte County School District. “We have a code of student conduct that goes home at the beginning of the year and we don’t allow toy guns of any kind on campus. The children read it and sign it. So the first situation was that they shouldn’t have had those here,” says Riley. He adds, “There were a number of children that felt threatened by this. They (the boys) were pointing them and even on the internet you can find tiny guns that will fire a projectile 300 miles an hour.” In terms of drawing the line, Riley says the district upholds its no tolerance policy. He says, “After Columbine, the FBI issued a statement if someone were to point their finger and make a threat at you, it would be something that you should report. And that’s what we encourage the kids.” Riley adds the district would rather err on the side of caution.

But Kipper still questions the policy. “I don’t think the punishment fits their lack of discipline. They’re kids by the way, they’re 10 years old in 5th grade. They’re little boys doing what little boys do. They’re just playing.”

Kipper says he is also upset because the boys are missing schoolwork and the tests they take at the end of the week.

The boys had to leave school early Thursday and were suspended all day Friday. They can go back to school on Monday.



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