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
The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

This week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed multiple pro-gun bills, including House Bill 1721, House Bill 2323, and House Bill 2322. 

Continuing to Fight in California

Friday, March 24, 2017

Continuing to Fight in California

We are excited to inform you of our new California specific webpage – Stand and Fight California.   On this page you will find State Legislation, Legal Updates, and How to Get Involved, among other California ...

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

The National Safety Council released the 2017 edition of its annual Injury Facts report this week, and it contains welcome news about firearm safety. 

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

The Illinois House of Representatives could consider House Bill 2354 at any time.

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Today, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 724, an anti-gun bill which undermines some of the key advancements made with the passage and enactment of House Bill 1249.  SB 724 is now headed to the ...

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Tonight, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 198 into law.

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 by a 97-41 vote.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
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.