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
Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Illinois Committee Passes Bill to Increase Cost of FOID 1000

On May 21st, the Illinois state House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 to pass House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966.  While it has not yet been scheduled for further action, the House may take it ...

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Washington: Lawsuit Against I-1639 Proceeds After Motion To Dismiss Denied

On May 20th, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington rejected a motion by the government defendants to dismiss the lawsuit filed by NRA and the SAF against Washington’s gun control ...

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Out of Style: Levi’s Fawns Over Shannon Watts in Pantmaker’s Latest Gun Control Effort

At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part ...

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Only What We Want Ye to Hear

Can we finally put the claim that “gun violence” research is underfunded to rest? The Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Webster, and his colleagues at the Hopkins ...

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Monday, May 20, 2019

California: Firearm Excise Tax Bill Fails to Meet Fiscal Deadline While Other Gun Control Bills Move Forward

Last week, the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees took up their respective suspense files ahead of the Friday, May 17, fiscal deadline. Some of the more egregious gun bills failed to meet the deadline including ...

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Trump Administration, Other Pro-Gun Heavyweights Lend Support on Pending Supreme Court Case

As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox reported in March, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a challenge by an NRA state affiliate to a New York City gun control scheme that effectively prohibits lawfully ...

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Gov. Abbott Signs NRA-Backed Tenants' Rights Bill

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday for signing NRA-backed legislation that protects tenants’ rights by prohibiting “no firearms” clauses in residential leases.   

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Illinois: Committee To Receive FOID Cost Increase Legislation

On May 21st, the Illinois state House of Representatives Rules Committee will hear House Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 1966 and send it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.  HA 1 to SB 1966 would ...

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

News  

Hunting  

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Working Together to Save the Second Amendment Part II: State Success Stories

When I started with NRA in 1995, most of the attention our organization received was over legislative efforts in Congress. Firearm-related legislation at the federal level obviously has an impact on far more law-abiding gun ...

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

News  

Friday, May 17, 2019

Retired Justice Stevens Continues Crusade Against Guns

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens does not believe a law-abiding citizen has a right to possess firearms under the Second Amendment, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. He made his ...

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.