Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

First Grader Suspended for Voluntarily Surrendering Toy-Gun

Friday, June 13, 2014

As useless as the practice may be, anti-gun crusaders typically love a gun turn-in, even those aimed at toy guns. Yet in this week’s example of zero-tolerance zealotry, even that act was cause for punishment.

On Wednesday, June 4, seven-year-old first grader Darin Simak was at Martin Elementary School in New Kensington, Pa., when he discovered that he had accidentally brought a toy six shooter, complete with bright orange tip, with him in his backpack. The innocent mistake was the result of Darin’s mother, Jennifer Mathabel, resorting to a spare backpack after Darin had left his usual bag with a friend the previous evening. Ms. Mathabel failed to realize that the toy was in one of the backup bag’s pockets.

When he discovered the mistake, Darin alerted a teacher so he could turn in the toy. The teacher responded by notifying school administrators, who immediately suspended Darin.

When contacted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, New Kensington-Arnold School District officials refused to discuss the incident and directed the reporter to the school’s “weapons” policy, which typically calls for expulsion. Banned items, according to the report, “shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nanchaku (sic), firearm, shotgun, rifle, replication of a weapon, and/or any other tool, instrument, or implement capable of inflicting serious body harm.”

Despite Darin’s suspension, Mathabel sent her child to school the following day.  As she explained to Pittsburgh television station WTAE, she told the principal, “I'm sending him to school because he is entitled to be in school and be educated.” The administrators, however, simply assigned Darin to in-school suspension until his father, Chris Simak, picked him up.

With regard to the school’s handling of the incident, Simak stated, “[Darin] did the right thing, and we're trying to teach him the right way… and now they're teaching him the wrong way.” 

A follow-up report by the Tribune-Review recounts that during a disciplinary hearing involving Darin’s parents and school officials on Friday, June 6, Superintendent John Pallone determined that the seven-year-old’s two days of suspension were sufficient punishment. Darin was allowed to return to classes the following Monday to complete the last day of school. In the penal system, which schools like Martin Elementary increasingly resemble, they refer to such a disposition as “time served.”

This latest incident, along with numerous others, demonstrates how zero-tolerance policies are regularly employed in instances involving objects, images, messages, and circumstances which pose no threat to the safety of students or faculty. In Darin’s case, even blamelessness in bringing the object to school and attempting to correct the mistake were irrelevant.

Cases like this are why NRA has been working with state legislators to reform school zero-tolerance policies. Earlier this year, for example, the Florida legislature passed HB 7029 by wide margins in both chambers. Nicknamed the “Right to be a Kid” Act or the “Pop-Tart” Bill, the legislation encourages a more thoughtful approach to handling incidents involving what has historically been recognized as perfectly normal, harmless behavior for elementary-aged children.

Meanwhile, as Darin’s sad tale illustrates, no child can be considered innocent, and even a parent’s innocent oversight will be visited upon their offspring, where the iron-fisted rule of zero tolerance remains in effect. 

IN THIS ARTICLE
Toy Guns
TRENDING NOW
“Fact Checker:” Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

“Fact Checker:” Joe Biden’s “Gun Ban” Not a Gun Ban Because Some Guns Wouldn’t Be Banned

Facebook has teamed up with what it calls “third-party fact-checkers” to punish users of its platform that post information embarrassing or inconvenient to the political outlook of its principals. Yet like most sources of what ...

Hollywood Fantasy v. Reality on Firearm Suppressors

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hollywood Fantasy v. Reality on Firearm Suppressors

It’s no secret that Hollywood has a very loose relationship with reality.  The movie industry, after all, is based on fantasy and escapism, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  If someone wants to forget ...

Oregon: Initiative Filed to Restrict Self-Defense

Friday, July 19, 2019

Oregon: Initiative Filed to Restrict Self-Defense

On July 18th, Initiative Petition 40​ was filed in Oregon to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law abiding adults by imposing a broad, one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms.  This egregious attack on our freedoms uses virtually ...

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

News  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Presidential Pretender Who Campaigned on Gun Control First to Call It Quits

On Monday, Eric Swalwell became the first of the many pretenders for the Democrat presidential nomination to bow (or perhaps slink) out of the race. The U.S. Congressman from California’s 15th District had tried to distinguish himself from ...

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

News  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

NRA Statement On Virginia Special Session

FAIRFAX, Va.–   The interim executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet, released the following statement today regarding the special session in Virginia:  "The National Rifle Association has a long ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Hawaii: Governor Ige Signs Anti-Gun Legislation

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Hawaii: Governor Ige Signs Anti-Gun Legislation

On July 9th, Governor David Ige signed the final remaining anti-gun bill awaiting his consideration, Senate Bill 600. This comes on the heels of him signing Senate Bill 1466 on June 27th. 

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

California: Injunction Request to be Filed in Lawsuit Challenging California Ammo Law

CRPA, with the support of NRA, challenged the ammunition background check law in court months ago with the filing of the Rhode v. Becerra case. The lead plaintiff in the case is Olympic gold medalist shooter ...

California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

Friday, July 12, 2019

California: City of San Diego Considers Gun Control Ordinance

San Diego City Attorney, Mara Elliott has asked the City Council to consider a draft ordinance that would require mandatory locked storage of firearms in the home and would propose a conflicting law regarding the reporting of ...

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

News  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Recent Poll Shows Gun Control Not as Popular as Some Would Like to Believe

A recent Morning Consult/POLITICO poll, conducted immediately prior to the recent  Democratic debates and gathering responses from 1,991 registered voters, asked about views toward the candidates, issues of potential importance in the election, voting intention, and ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.