Elementary students suspended after pretending pencils were guns

Suffolk school board revises gun policy

SUFFOLK, Va. - Two elementary school students' suspensions for pretending pencils were guns have prompted the Suffolk school board to revise its weapons policy.

The old weapons policy was zero tolerance.

Under the revised policy, school administrators can look at factors such as intentions of harm and whether the object is listed as a weapon to determine the punishment. Ordinary objects will not be considered weapons

A local television station reports that school board members voted unanimously to approve the revised policy last week.

Last month, two 7-year-old Driver Elementary School students were suspended for pointing pencils and making gun noises.

One of the boys, Christopher Marshall, told a local television station that he was impersonating his father, who is a former Marine.

"The school board could have done the right thing, not just on paper like they did at the meeting last night, but they could have actually apologized, said `hey you know it's unfortunate that it happened, but we're coming to you to say things will be changed to mitigate the problem in the future,"' said Paul Marshall, the boy's father.

With the new changes to the school's weapons policy, principals will determine punishment on a case-by-case basis.

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