Via masslive.com -
Palmer boy was 3rd Massachusetts kindergartener in 4 months to run afoul of ‘zero tolerance’ school gun policies
“PALMER — The young Palmer boy who brought an inch-long plastic gun onto a school bus last week was the third Massachusetts kindergartener in the past four months to run afoul of a school district’s zero-tolerance gun policy.
Palmer school officials say they will discuss the issue at an upcoming School Committee meeting following a public uproar over the May 24 episode, which happened on a bus bound for Old Mill Pond Elementary School.
The mother of the boy, Mieke Crane, told a local TV news station that her son had to write an apology to the bus driver and was expected to serve a one-day detention on Tuesday. WGGB/abc40 reported Tuesday night that after a meeting with the principal, the discipline order was lifted.
School officials say no disciplinary action was taken against the boy.
“As far as I know at this point, there has been no detention or disciplinary action,” Gary Blanchette, a School Committee member, said during a live interview on the Bax & O’Brien radio program Wednesday morning.
Palmer School Superintendent Thomas Charko didn’t respond to an email message from The Republican/MassLive.com seeking more information about the incident. The message also was sent to Maureen Gallagher, chairwoman of the School Committee, who also didn’t reply. However, Gallagher told The Republican on Tuesday that the child would not be disciplined.
The Boston Herald reports that Crane met with school officials, who then agreed to drop the detention term for her son. That could not immediately be verified with Palmer officials.
The gun in question – a coin-sized toy gun that fits into the hand of a small action figure – apparently caused a tense moment on the bus. School officials, who have yet to provide details of what transpired, have not publicly indicated if the school’s zero-tolerance gun policy needs tweaking.
Officials also haven’t indicated if the 6-year-old boy made any threatening remarks with the 1-inch gun, nor have they revealed if he engaged in any simulated shooting. No matter, the words “gun” and “school” trigger strong emotions, particularly since December’s mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other similar tragedies.
“It’s a tough situation with what’s going on in society today,” Blanchette told Bax & O’Brien this morning.
After Friday’s incident, school officials sent a letter to parents emphasizing that a real gun wasn’t involved and their children were never in danger. The letter included a photo showing the gun was only slightly larger than a quarter.
“I think they overreacted, totally,” Crane told abc40. “This is just a toy.”
She said she could understand if it was an Airsoft gun, which resembles a real pistol, but her son was carrying a small, plastic accessory that’s difficult to mistake for a real weapon.
In March, a 5-year-old Hopkinton boy got in trouble for bringing a toy gun to school, but officials decided against discipline after his mother appealed the punishment.
On Cape Cod, a 5-year-old boy was threatened with discipline in January after making a gun from Legos and pointing it at another child.
Friday’s incident was not the first time a phony gun has caused a stir in Palmer schools. In May 2011, a 9-year-old Old Mill Pond Elementary School student was disciplined and summoned to Juvenile Court after bringing an Airsoft gun onto a school bus.”
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