This article is from the Staten Island Advance
NO TOLERANCE FOR TRIFLES
Big brouhaha over tiny toy gun
Fourth-grader narrowly avoids suspension for 2-inch plastic 'weapon' in South Beach school
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
By AMISHA PADNANI
ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A 9-year-old New Dorp boy learned there is no wiggle room in the Department of Education's "no toy gun" policy -- even if the toy gun is just two inches long.
Patrick Timoney, a fourth-grader at PS 52, South Beach, was nearly suspended yesterday after playing with LEGOs during his lunch period because one of the action figures was carrying a toy machine gun.
He and his friends had planned a playdate with their respective toys, and were sitting around the cafeteria table when the principal walked in and saw the action figure carrying the fake gun.
While the action figure was a standard LEGO policeman figure, the brand of the gun could not be determined.
"She took him into her office in the middle of the lunch period and he was crying," said the boy's mother, Laura Timoney. "He was afraid."
The principal called Ms. Timoney and said she considered the toy suspension-worthy, and that she was going to double-check with a security administrator from the city Department of Education.
According to Ms. Timoney, the administrator said the toy should be confiscated and returned to the parents at the end of the day, and that no other action was necessary.
"It's crazy," Ms. Timoney said. "He's missing class time, all for silly toys. The boys are just trying to relax. If there's a real threat, why not call the Police Department?" She pointed out that another child had an action figure that was holding an ax, but that only Patrick was reprimanded.
"When are we going to take responsibility for common sense and logic?" Ms. Timoney said.
The DOE's discipline code says that all imitation weap- ons are prohibited, but, be-fore considering suspension, it is up to a principal to decide whether a fake gun looks realistic, by evaluating the color, size, shape, appearance and weight.
A message left for Principal Evelyn Matroianni was not returned. However, Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said there is a no-tolerance policy when it comes to fake guns because they are considered harmful to the school community.
"Toy guns are not allowed in schools," she said, adding that a conference was held among the principal, the parents and the student about the topic.
"The issue was resolved," Ms. Feinberg said. "The child will not be bringing the toy gun into school."
Amisha Padnani covers education news for the Advance. She may be reached at email@example.com
Doesn'tthat frost the pumpkin?
I had a similar situation happen in my family. My 11 year old grandson was reprimanded under a no tolerance rule in a Wisconsin school. He is allways playing army and wants nothing more than to grow up so he can join up. Recently the students in his class were asked to write a report on a subject they liked. My grandson decided to do a report on Army small arms. He pasted pictures of the Army guns on sheets of paper and included them as part of the report. He was reprimanded and almost sent home.
When is enough, enough. The schools claim the no tolerance rule is "to protect the children". Horse Apples, the no tolerance rule is just to protecta school's Gluteus Maximi so that the school district does not get sued for dereliction. My opinion