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
New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire Governor Signs Constitutional Carry Into Law

Measure Effective Immediately. Today was a great victory for gun owners in New Hampshire when Gov. Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law, allowing law-abiding New Hampshirites to carry their firearms in the manner that ...

North Dakota: Important Self-Defense Bills Pass House

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

North Dakota: Important Self-Defense Bills Pass House

Today, February 21, two important pro-gun bills passed the House of Representatives.  House Bill 1169, the constitutional/permitless carry bill, passed the House with a 83-9 vote and House Bill 1310, the school carry bill, passed ...

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kentucky: Senate Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation Amended

Today, Senator Robin Webb (D-18) offered a strike and insert amendment to constitutional/permitless carry legislation, Senate Bill 7.

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

News  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Ignores Heller: No Protection for Guns It Deems “Dangerous”

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions in Heller and McDonald, many of the lower U.S. courts have been making up their own rules when it comes to the Second Amendment. Tuesday’s outrageous opinion by ...

New Hampshire: Governor Sununu Signs Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Into Law!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Hampshire: Governor Sununu Signs Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Into Law!

Today, in a private signing ceremony, Governor Chris Sununu signed Senate Bill 12 into law.  Similar legislation had been vetoed by former Governor Maggie Hassan for two years in a row, but thanks to your active involvement, ...

New Mexico: Beware of "Fake News" Regarding HB 50!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Mexico: Beware of "Fake News" Regarding HB 50!

Late last week, instead of voting on House Bill 50, the New Mexico House referred the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee.

California DOJ Withdraws “Assault Weapon” Regulations

Monday, February 13, 2017

California DOJ Withdraws “Assault Weapon” Regulations

As previously reported, after the California Department of Justice submitted regulations regarding newly classified “assault weapons” to the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) for publication in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), NRA and California ...

Massachusetts: Legislation Introduced to Challenge AG Healey’s Gun Ban

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Massachusetts: Legislation Introduced to Challenge AG Healey’s Gun Ban

The Massachusetts General Court’s 2017 legislative session is in full swing with the introduction of numerous pro- and anti-gun bills.  Among the pro-gun bills are Senate Docket 1157 and Senate Docket 1889.  Both SD 1157 ...

Senate Votes to Block Obama Social Security Administration Gun Ban; Legislation Heads to President Trump

News  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Senate Votes to Block Obama Social Security Administration Gun Ban; Legislation Heads to President Trump

On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 in favor of H.J.Res.40, which would block the implementation of an Obama-era rule under which the Social Security Administration (SSA) would report the names of tens of ...

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.

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.