Yet another student has landed in trouble for having something that represents a gun, but isn’t actually anything like a real gun.
This time, the student is 12-year-old Joseph Lyssikatos, a student in advanced math who had perfect attendance last year. The seventh-grader made the mistake of bringing a ridiculously small, silver keychain shaped like a gun to Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School in Coventry, R.I, reports local NBC affiliate WJAR.
The two-inch keychain fell out of Lyssikatos’s backpack while he was at school.
After another kid picked it up and displayed it to other students, a teacher intervened and impounded the keychain.
Apparently fearing that the roughly quarter-sized hunk of cheap metal was somehow a danger to life and limb, school officials sprang into action. They suspended Lyssikatos for three days. He has also been banned from an upcoming class field trip.
The boy’s parents aren’t pleased.
“This boy was the one waving it or showing it to other kids. Not Joseph,” Bonnie Bonanno, Joseph’s stepmother, told WJAR. “Joseph wasn’t doing that so why weren’t both of them reprimanded?”
Lyssikatos noted that he got the tiny keychain at a local arcade with go-karts and such in exchange for 25 tickets.
School officials have clammed up concerning the incident, according to WJAR. The school released a brief statement saying: “Because this is a student discipline issue, we cannot comment on any specifics.”
Someone called a behavioral specialist at Feinstein Middle School informed the boy’s parents of the suspension. The parents say the principal and the school district superintendent won’t return phone calls.
The Feinstein Middle School handbook entitled “Serious Disciplinary Infractions” declares: “Possession/carrying/use of/threat of use of a firearm or replica shall result in a recommendation for expulsion for a period of time up to one full calendar year.”
The boy’s father, Keith Bonanno, claimed on WPRO radio that the behavioral specialist told him his son was “lucky that he didn’t get suspended for 10 days, or even worse expelled.”
According to the Feinstein Middle School website, the behavioral specialist at the school is Kim Sturdahl.
This incident marks at least the second episode during this newly-minted academic year involving school officials in the United States overreacting insanely to things that aren’t guns .
Also this week, two seventh graders were expelled from a public school in Virginia Beach, Va. for an entire school year for playing with an Airsoft toy gun on wholly private property. (RELATED: Awful: School expels kids who played with Airsoft gun on private property)