School district officials in Columbus, Ohio have upheld the three-day suspension of the 10-year-old boy who made the universal kid sign for a gun with his hand and pointed it at another kid, thus violating the zero-tolerance policy at Devonshire Alternative Elementary School against “lookalike weapons.”
The decision to affirm the suspension against fifth-grader Nathan Entingh came down on Monday, local CBS affiliate WBNS reports.
Entingh was playing with a friend when he moved his hand in the shape of a gun and fired a pretend shot. (RELATED: School suspends 10-year-old for pointing finger like a gun)
The district hearing officer who upheld Entingh’s suspension Monday did graciously offer to amend the charge to committing a “volatile act,” though — apparently a lesser offense.
It’s not clear if this offer means that school officials now realize that a kid’s hand can contort to constitute a “lookalike weapon.”
Jeff Warner, a spokesman for the school district, described the imaginary shooting as “kind of execution style,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The boy’s father, Paul Entingh, never bought it.
“It would even make more sense maybe if he brought a plastic gun that looked like a real gun or something, but it was his finger,” he observed.
The boy’s grandfather has promised that the family will appeal the ruling. School district officials responded by sniping that only the boy’s legal guardians could make such a decision.
Zero-tolerance school punishments have become a staple of American elementary education. The best-known and most bizarre case is, of course, the kid who got suspended for chewing his pop tart into the shape of a gun. (RELATED: Second-grader suspended for having breakfast pastry shaped like a gun)
In January, the Obama administration released a wide-ranging series of guidelines urging school districts to abandon 1990s-era zero-tolerance policies concerning truancy, cigarettes, weapons — even including “lookalike weapons” and fingers — and the like.
This being the Obama administration, the recommendations are in response to its concerns that suspensions, expulsions and arrests of students overwhelming involve minority students, PBS reports.
Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association, told PBS that “out-of-school suspension is outdated and not in line with 21st-century education.”
He also complained that school superintendents somehow don’t have enough federal money to come up with any creative lesser punishments.