(Billy Hallowell) The angst surrounding two seven-year-old students who were suspended for pointing pencils at one another and making gun sounds has led the Suffolk School Board in Suffolk, Va., to rethink its zero tolerance policy on firearms and weapons.
One of the kids, Christopher Marshall, claims that he was merely pretending to be his father, a former marine, when he used a pencil as a faux gun, WAVY-TV reports.
Now, under amended policies, so-called “ordinary objects” will no longer be considered weapons, meaning that the pencil, under the new policy, wouldn’t be considered a threat.
Moving forward, under new rules, the school district will allow school principals to determine punishment on a special case-specific basis. Rather than a zero tolerance policy, officials will examine the punishment and the crime more in-depth, looking at student age, intention and the weapon being used in each instance.
Christopher’s father, Paul, said that he and his family deserve an apology.
“The school board could have done the right thing, not just on paper like they did at the meeting last night, but they could have actually apologized, said ‘hey you know it’s unfortunate that it happened, but we’re coming to you to say things will be changed to mitigate the problem in the future,’” he said in an interview with WAVY-TV.
The school board voted unanimously on the new provisions.