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US: First-Grader Suspended Over Plastic Squirt Gun

Six-year-old suspended 10 days for bringing squirt gun to school. With pic of bright orange plastic squirt gun. Hooray for zero tolerance!

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri mother is angry that her first-grader was suspended from school over a plastic toy gun.

"I asked her, 'You're going to suspend my son for 10 days for this? He cannot harm a soul with this,'" said Danielle Womack, whose son, Tawann Caskey, was suspended from Milton Moore Elementary School in Kansas City.

Tawann was suspended over a 2-inch plastic squirt gun.

"She told me it's a weapon, a little girl saw it and reported to a teacher that he had a weapon," Womack said.

According to Kansas City, Mo., School District policy, the squirt gun is a simulated weapon and a class IV, which is the most serious school offense. Principals claim to have no discretion in cases like Tawaan's. It is an automatic 10-day suspension.

"We ask our principals for safety of students and staff, and we do follow the code of conduct and do not give exceptions to Class IV offenses. We take it very seriously," the school district's Phyllis Budesheim said.

The incident will stay on Tawann's permanent school record. But Womack said her son does not understand why he's not in school.

"I think this could have been resolved in a different way. It's wrong to bring it school, but come on, he's 6 years old. This would not hurt a soul," Womack said.

The school district said it is all policy -- one that the school told students and parents about at the start of the year.

"We regret that this happened. My feeling is that by not giving any exceptions, this young man will not bring a toy gun to school again," Budesheim said.

The school district said that the incident should be a reminder to parents to check their children's backpacks before they go to school.

Womack will state her case before a school district hearing Wednesday morning.


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Posted by: SoulRiser
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Posted in: News by NewsBot on September 21, 2006 @ 12:00 AM

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