Crisis averted: 10-year-old who pointed his fingers like a gun suspended from school for three days

To cleanse the palate, via Legal Insurrection. Lest you think the punishment was unwarranted, the school district wants you to know that the kid was pointing his finger, and I quote, “kind of execution style.”

You ask me why I’m an atheist. I ask you in response: Would a just God allow people like this to run our schools?

“She said if it happened again the suspension would be longer, if not permanent,” said Entingh, who also received a letter explaining the reason for Nathan’s suspension as a “level 2 look alike firearm.”

Ohio’s “zero-tolerance” rules in public schools came under attack in January when state Sen. Charleta Tavares introduced bill SB 167 to reverse or reform the original 1998 law introduced as part of SB 55. The 1998 bill mandated schools “adopt a policy of zero tolerance for violent, disruptive, or inappropriate behavior, including excessive truancy.”…

According to state disciplinary figures for the 2012-2013 school year, a total of 419 statewide students, from various grade levels, were suspended because of an incident in the category of “firearm look-a-likes,” and an additional 38 students were expelled.

In the Columbus City Schools District, where Nathan goes to school, 12 students were expelled because of incidents in the “firearm look-a-likes” category, while 69 students were suspended. Contrast that with categories such as harassment and intimidation, in which zero students were expelled, though 1527 were suspended district-wide.

The obvious compromise here: Allow finger handguns but ban assault fingers.

Jokes aside, I’m trying to imagine a case where bringing a lookalike gun to school really would warrant the trauma and upheaval of expulsion. I can imagine it being justified if a kid brought a real-looking plastic gun or BB gun to school for the purpose of menacing his classmates, although in that case you’ve got “harassment and intimidation” as grounds — and as noted above, literally no one’s gotten expelled for that. When would it be right to kick a kid out of school for using a facsimile gun if he’s not harassing or intimidating people with it? Anyone? The only explanation I can come up with is that maybe there are legal headaches involved in accusing a kid of “harassment” that aren’t present when accusing him of carrying a lookalike, i.e. in the first case you might need to show intent whereas in the second simple possession is enough. For a “problem” kid, the lookalike rule might be a way of removing him from school expeditiously. If that’s not what’s happening here, though, I’m stumped.