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Boy suspended for pretend-gun prank

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A central Ohio principal said she suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun and pointing it at another student’s head.

The boy’s father said it is the adults who are acting childish for suspending the boy from Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in Columbus last week.

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The fifth-grader said he was ‘‘just playing around.’’ But district spokesman Jeff Warner told The Columbus Dispatch that Devonshire principal Patricia Price has warned students about pretend gun play numerous times this year, and that everyone should know the rules by now. He said warnings have been included in three newsletters sent home with kids.

Warner said the boy put his finger to the side of the other student’s head and pretended to shoot ‘‘kind of execution style.’’

‘‘The kids were told, ‘If you don’t stop doing this type of stuff, there would be consequences,’ ’’ Warner said. ‘‘It’s just been escalating.’’

The boy’s father said no one felt threatened. The other student did not see it happen, but a teacher witnessed it.

‘‘I was just playing around,’’ said the fifth-grader, who had never been in trouble before. ‘‘People play around like this a lot at my school.’’

Since zero-tolerance policies were adopted following school shootings around the country, Columbus schools have disciplined students for violations including firing a foam-dart gun at school. A similar policy was cited last year when a Maryland school suspended a 7-year-old boy who had chewed a Pop-Tart
into a gun shape.

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