Jessie (sailorangei) wrote in ontd_political,

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Big brouhaha over New Dorp boy's tiny toy gun

Here on Staten Island, the following story broke before the one here:

The next day, my entry was in the Daily News, and after that the one I just linked above. They're both being discussed in heavy detail locally now.


Source: Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A 9-year-old New Dorp boy earlier today learned there is no wiggle room in the Department of Education's "no toy gun" policy -- even if the toy gun is just two inches long.

Patrick Timoney, a fourth-grader at PS 52, South Beach, was nearly suspended after playing with LEGOs during his lunch period because one of the action figures was carrying at toy machine gun.

He and his friends had planned a playdate with their respective toys, and were sitting around the cafeteria table when the principal walked in and saw the action figure carrying the fake gun.

While the action figure was a standard LEGO policeman figure, the brand of the gun could not be determined.

"She took him into her office in the middle of the lunch period and he was crying," said the boy's mother, Laura Timoney. "He was afraid."

The principal called Ms. Timoney and said she considered the toy suspension-worthy, and that she was going to double-check with a security administrator from the city Department of Education.

According to Ms. Timoney, the administrator said the toy should be confiscated and returned to the parents at the end of the day, and that no other action was necessary.

"It's crazy," Ms. Timoney said. "He's missing class time, all for silly toys. The boys are just trying to relax. If there's a real threat, why not call the Police Department?"

She pointed out that another child had an action figure that was holding an ax, but that only Patrick was reprimanded.

"When are we going to take responsibility for common sense and logic?" Ms. Timoney said.

The DOE's discipline code says that all imitation weapons are prohibited, but, before considering suspension, it is up to a principal to decide whether a fake gun looks realistic, by evaluating the color, size, shape, appearance and weight.

A message left for Principal Evelyn Matroianni was not returned. However, Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the DOE, said there is a no-tolerance policy when it comes to fake guns because they are considered harmful to the school community.

"Toy guns are not allowed in schools," she said, adding that a conference was held among the principal, the parents and the student about the topic.

"The issue was resolved," Ms. Feinberg said. "The child will not be bringing the toy gun into school."


This is a case of following the letter of the law and not the spirit.

Here's another one with a small update. They made the boy sign a paper saying he admitted to an infraction!


Source: NY Daily News

Apologies came too late for the still-angry mother of a Staten Island fourth-grade student who was yanked from lunch for bringing a tiny toy gun to school.

"The principal called me and said, 'I'm sorry, I never meant for it to go this far,'" said Laura Timoney, who also received a call from the superintendent.

"She sounded upset," said Timoney, unmoved by the call from Public School 52 Principal Evelyn Mastroianni. "I think she is sorry that this is happening. I wish she was sorry for Patrick."

The apologies came after the widespread attention accompanying Tuesday's near-suspension of Timoney's 9-year-old son, Patrick.

The fourth-grader and a classmate were playing with their Lego figures and miniature toy guns in the school cafeteria Tuesday.

Then Patrick was taken to the principal's office and told to fill out paperwork admitting an "A-4 infraction."

"She told me to write that I had a gun," Patrick said. "She said, 'A gun is a gun.'"

Only his gun was a teeny-tiny plastic machine gun, about as deadly as a crayon.

"The principal made an error in judgment by overreacting when the toy was found," acknowledged Education Department spokesman Matthew Mittenthal.

While Mittenthal said the principal apologized to Patrick, the Timoneys insisted that never happened.

"The principal hasn't spoken to me at all," the boy said.

Mastroianni remained silent on the issue, with a school security officer chasing off a Daily News reporter.


What both these sources don't mention for some reason was also the fact that his friend's Lego man was carrying AN AXE, and the principal didn't think that was on the same level.

Because I'm a giant nerd and Star Trek as always tried to be deep and meaningful, I leave you with this quote from TNG, season one, Justice:

Picard steps forward announcing to every living creature within the sound of his voice, "there can be no justice so long as laws are absolute." and that "life itself is an exercise in exceptions." Riker adds, "When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?"

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