Second-grade Loveland student reportedly suspended for imaginary weapon
posted by: Guest Blogger
A 7-year-old Mary Blair Elementary School student says he’s confused about getting in trouble for trying to save the world from evil, though Thompson School District officials contend that the boy broke one of the school’s “absolutes.”
Parent Mandie Watkins said Mary Blair principal Valerie Lara-Black called her Friday afternoon to inform her that her second-grade son, Alex, had been suspended for throwing an imaginary grenade during recess on the playground.
Alex did not have anything in his hand at the time and made no threats toward other people, Watkins reportedly was told.
Watkins said Alex’s story matched up with the principal’s account: He threw the pretend grenade at an imaginary box that had something evil inside.
He was going to save the earth this way, and when he threw the grenade he pretended that the box exploded, in apparent success.
“He is very confused,” Watkins told the Reporter-Herald on Tuesday. “I’m confused as well, so it makes it hard for me to enforce these rules when I don’t even understand them.”
The rules are laid out by Mary Blair Elementary School in a list of “absolutes” that are posted on the school’s website and are aimed at making Mary Blair a safe environment.
Included in those absolutes are no physical abuse or fighting – real or play – and the no-weapons absolute also covers real or play weapons.
District policy does not prohibit imaginary weapons, but Superintendent Stan Scheer said individual schools are permitted to add enhancements to the general student code of conduct.
“It fell under that set of local policy they have in the building, and it was shared with all parents in the community at the beginning of the year,” Scheer said.
The district does not discuss disciplinary issues, but Scheer said there’s more to the story than he was able to comment on.
“There’s a whole student side that we just don’t talk about,” he said. “It’s a bit one-sided with the parent’s point of view.”
Watkins said her son has been in trouble one other time at the school, for accessing other students’ reading accounts on the computer, but she has not been informed of him making threats or acting violent.
According to Mary Blair’s absolutes procedure, a student is allowed two non-severe, non-suspension occurrences, and a third occurrence leads to a formal suspension. Every absolute that is broken following the first suspension automatically results in a suspension.
Watkins has a meeting Wednesday with Lara-Black and Paul Bankes, director of elementary education. She’s hoping to get the suspension lifted and would also like the rule itself to be revised.
“They need to have rules that are clear-cut, easy to understand and realistic for this age group,” Watkins said.
By Jessica Maher Reporter-Herald Staff Writer