A Maryland boy was suspended from school for 10 days last December for telling other students that he wished he'd had a gun to protect the students who were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. The suspension was later reduced to one day.
In a radio interview, Bruce Henkelman, the boy's father, claimed that a school bus driver overheard the boy use the word "gun" and then took him to the principle. The boy was then questioned by both the principle and a Sherriff's deputy.
Henkelman said that the school's principal, Darrel Prioleau, told him that "[W]ith what happened at Sandy Hook, if you say the word 'gun' in my school, you are going to get suspended for 10 days."
In a Monday interview with Washington, DC-based radio station WMAL, Henkelman claimed that the young boy was telling fellow students how he would have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting if he had been there with a firearm.
"He said, 'I wish I had a gun to protect everyone.' He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That's the context of what he said," Henkelman said. "He wanted to be the hero."
The school principal has not been reached for comment, but the ACLU has said that, if Henkelman's story is accurate, then the suspension was inappropriate.
Recently, it has been reported that several U.S school children have been reprimanded for various instances of "gun"-related behavior:
- In January a Pennsylvania, kindergarten girl was suspended for bringing a Hello Kitty automatic bubble gun to school. The school called the incident a "terrorist threat."
- In March, a Michigan school confiscated cupcakes from a third grader because they had small, toy army men that were holding guns on them.
- That same month, a Maryland school child was suspended for biting a toaster pastry into a shape that resembled a gun.
- In January, a six year-old was suspended from a Maryland school for pointing his finger in the shape of a gun.
- Another Maryland elementary school student was suspended for bringing a toy cap gun on to a school bus to show his friend.
- In May, a Virginia second grader was suspended for pointing a pencil like a gun.