According to the local Fox affiliate, Christopher Marshall was playing with another student when their teacher asked them to stop pointing pencils at one another like they were guns. While Marshall stopped at his teacher’s request and apologized for his behavior, the school went ahead and suspended him for two days, citing a “zero tolerance policy” for weapons.
“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made,” Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokesperson for Suffolk Public Schools, told Fox 43 Hampton Roads. ”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.”
Nonetheless, Marshall’s father believes the school was completely out-of-line by suspending his second grade son. “Enough is enough. I mean, where will we draw the line?” Paul Marshall told NBC Washington. ” I mean, a pencil. Was it sharpened? Was it not? Was it a No. 2? What’s the big deal?”
The elder Marshall, a retired Marine, added that his son was portraying a Marine while his friend was playing the ‘bad guy.’
This is not the first time that a school in the mid-Atlantic has overreacted on gun suspensions of late. In March, a seven-year-old Maryland boy was suspended for nibbling on a gun-shaped breakfast pastry, and in January another Maryland boy was suspended for pointing his fingers in the shape of a gun and saying “Pow” during playtime.