Pasco School District overturns 6-year-old's suspension for discussing toy gun

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMarch 7, 2013 

The Pasco School District has overturned the suspension of a 6-year-old boy who talked about his toy guns at school.

Mike Aguirre's son Noah, a first-grader at James McGee Elementary School, was sent home Feb. 28 after another student told their teacher that Noah had a gun with him.

Noah had no gun, toy or otherwise, but Aguirre said his son still was punished for talking with other students about the Nerf guns the family recently bought during a trip to Lincoln City, Ore.

Aguirre said he and his wife were told their son was suspended for talking about guns at school, and because the girl who reported him felt her "health and safety were threatened" when they were called to the school last week. Officials said the issue is addressed in the district's discipline handbook in the section on student rights and responsibilities.

But Aguirre said there's no provision that students are prohibited from talking about guns at school, nor did the district provide evidence that the boy threatened to harm a student.

The parents met with district officials Monday to review the suspension. The district downgraded Noah's suspension to a "disruption" instead of a threat after that meeting. However, the family said they were concerned that all the children involved in the gun conversation were not treated the same. They believed their son was the only one disciplined.

The family planned to appeal the suspension but was contacted Wednesday afternoon by Superintendent Saundra Hill.

"After a review it was determined that no disciplinary action is warranted and all record of the incident will be expunged from the student's record," according to a district statement sent Wednesday to the Herald.

District spokeswoman Leslee Caul said there is no plan to review current policies in light of the issue.

Aguirre said he was happy his son's record will be cleared but that he still plans to look into the issue. "I still believe there's a lot to be said," he said.

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