The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance notes with concern the recent multiple day suspension of a 7 year old second grade student for bringing a toy to school. The reason for the suspension appears to be that the toy was in the shape of a gun.
Middleton School District Policy 541 states “Disciplinary action will be taken after reviewing all factors, including, but not limited to, the mandates of federal and state law; the student’s actions; the risk of harm to the students, District personnel, and patrons; the student’s academic standing; the likelihood of recurring violation; and the student’s prior conduct.”
According to the Idaho Statesman, Middleton Superintendent Rich Bauscher stated “He didn’t point it at anyone. He didn’t threaten anyone.” Bauscher continued “The boy likely played with the toy gun at home and may have inadvertently brought it to school.”
These statements from Mr. Bauscher are incongruent with the suspension. Mr. Bauscher’s statements indicate there was no risk of harm to students, District personnel, and patrons. Accidentally bringing a toy to school did not violate federal or state law. No mention has been made of prior conduct that would warrant a suspension.
So why was the student suspended? Could it be that the District’s overreaction to an unverified claim and having 18 armed deputies responding at high speed with guns drawn created significant risk of harm to students, District personnel, and patrons? It is unconscionable for the Middleton School District to punish a 7 year old to cover up their irresponsible reactions to a benign event.
The Idaho Second Amendment Alliance recognizes the safety of students is a top priority for our schools and we are concerned for students and teachers. We urge Middleton and all Idaho school district to learn from this series of events and avoid taking actions that bring more danger to the students than the potential event being responded to. Children acting like children and using imaginative play with toys should not be treated as a serious offense.