School reviews zero-tolerance gun policy, begins to tolerate

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor
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A Suffolk, Virginia school board has begun a review of their zero-tolerance gun policy after two 7-year-old boys were suspended for brandishing pencils as “weapons” and making “gun noises.”

The two students were allegedly intending to use the pencils to represent guns. As they played with the pencils, their movements were accompanied with “gun noises.”

One of the students involved, Christopher Marshall, spoke to a local television station and said that he was trying to be like his father, a former Marine.

After the punishment, the Driver Elementary School board decided to reconsider their zero-tolerance policy.

School board members voted unanimously to change the policy, ABC 10 reports.

Paul Marshall, Christopher’s father, spoke up in support of the school board doing the right thing “on paper,” but expressed distaste that he and his son were not consulted on the new changes.

“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.

Under the new policy, ordinary objects will not be considered weapons, and other aspects of the disciplinary issue will come into play as well.

Administrators will be able to determine intention of harm, as well as look at a list of weapons, which will affect the punishment.

Punishments will be determined on case-by-case bases.

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Elizabeth Dorton