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7-Year-Old Boy Suspended for Using Pencil Like a Gun

The debate over guns in schools has taken a turn for the unusual.

A second grade student at Driver Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia named Christopher Marshall was suspended for two days last week after he and a classmate pointed pencils at each other and made machine gun-like noises.

Christopher’s mother, Wendy, said her son’s teacher called her and explained what happened, adding that the boys did not point the pencils in anyone else’s direction.

Wendy quickly darted to school to her son, at which time she discovered Christopher, 7, had been suspended because he violated the school’s zero tolerance policy.

The school, which has received a lot of attention over the matter, defended its decision:

A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made….Some children would consider it threatening, who are scared about shootings in schools or shootings in the community. Kids don’t think about ‘Cowboys and Indians’ anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day.”

Wendy said Christopher was simply trying to be like his father, an ex-Marine. She also said that even though kids are told at the beginning of the year that they can’t pretend objects are guns, it’s not fair because, “Kids need to be reminded to bathe and brush their teeth.”

Wendy said she told Christopher he did nothing wrong and allowed him to eat ice cream and play video games during his suspension.

It’s unclear if the boy who was playing with Christopher was also punished.

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