Six-Year-old Suspended for Pointing his Finger

School officials in Montgomery County rescinded the suspension of a 6-year-old Silver Spring boy who they said pointed his finger like a gun and said, “Pow,” agreeing to clear school records of an incident they had described as a threat “to shoot a student.” The reversal, was laid out in a letter, resolved an appeal filed by the family’s attorney the previous day.

His mother said that he was playing and did not intend harm when he pointed his finger like a gun at a female classmate.

A spokesman for the Montgomery schools added that school officials recognize that “suspending a student is a serious matter,” especially in the early grades. But officials must deal with behavior that affects a school’s sense of safety and security.

She explained the school’s position on who made the gun sound. “The teacher heard him say it, and Rodney admitted it before he denied it and then equivocated about whether he said it or not,” she wrote. “Regardless of who said ‘Pow,’ there is no doubt that the student had been warned and counseled about the behavior.”

School officials have become hypersensitive about school safety since the horrible Sandy Hook incident.  But knee-jerk reactions need to be tempered with rational, thoughtful reactions.

My new book addresses this issue, “Creating Safe Schools: A Guide for School Leaders, Teachers, Counselors and Parents” will be published by Routledge on April 3, 2014.  It can be pre-ordered on their website, www.routledge. com or from Amazon.