An irate Staten Island mom blasted a grade school principal Wednesday for treating her son like a pint-sized Plaxico Burress after he brought a 2-inch-long toy gun to school.
"This principal is a bully and a coward, and needs to be held accountable," said Laura Timoney, 44, after her teary fourth-grader was nearly suspended for playing with the tiny toy at lunch.
"The school should be embarrassed. This is a common-sense issue."
Patrick Timoney, 9, was terrified when he was yanked into the principal's office to discuss the teeny-weeny plastic "weapon."
"The gun was so little," the boy said. "I don't understand why the principal got so upset. I was a little nervous. They made me sign a statement."
Patrick and a friend were playing with Lego figures in the school cafeteria on Tuesday when he pulled out the faux machine gun and stuck it in the hands of his plastic police officer.
Boom! Trouble ensued, with Patrick's mom getting a phone call from Public School 52 Principal Evelyn Mastroianni saying her son had somehow gone from straight A's to the NRA.
"I was in disbelief," the still-fuming mother said. "Why didn't anyone step up with an ounce of common sense and put an end to the harassment of my child?"
Timoney said her boy loved the toy figure because her husband is a retired police officer.
The elder Patrick Timoney, a former 72nd Precinct cop, couldn't believe his son was nearly busted over something so obviously inauthentic.
"It's a 2-inch gun," he said. "She went overboard. She should have said, 'Put the toys away,' and that would have been the end of it."
After a meeting between the principal and the parents, the boy was spared any disciplinary action. City school officials said Patrick agreed to leave the "gun" at home.
"I'm never bringing a toy to school again," said Patrick, whose favorite subject is math.
Laura Timoney remained upset. Her son, a typically eager student, asked to stay home yesterday because he thought the principal was mad at him.
The mother said she expects an apology and may sue.
"The toy gun is not the issue," she said. "A lack of common sense is the issue."
Several parents at the school felt the principal overreacted, including Kim O'Rieley - whose son was playing with Patrick in the cafeteria.
Her boy's Lego man was toting a tiny ax, which the principal deemed less threatening.
"It's ridiculous," said O'Rieley, 36. "He felt so bad for his friend. They're taking things way too far ... No one is saying guns are okay.
"Come on, it's a Lego."News by SoulRiser on February 16, 2010 @ 10:19 PM