Author Topic: Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school  (Read 1499 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school
« on: October 06, 2010, 10:09:40 AM »
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  • Miramar, Florida (CNN) -- It's quite clear. No guns may be brought to school. Period. It's the law.

    So, when Samuel Burgos brought a gun to school last November in Broward County, Florida, the zero tolerance policy kicked in, and Samuel was suspended and then expelled.

    A just punishment? Did he deserve it?

    Well, here's more. The gun wasn't real. It was a toy gun that never left his book bag. And Samuel -- he was 7 years old at the time.

    A just punishment? Did he deserve it?

    "No child should be disciplined in this manner," said Magdiel Burgos, Samuel's father. "He made an honest mistake, OK. And he's paying dear life for it, and it just isn't fair."

    Samuel, now 8, has been out of school for almost a year. His parents have home-schooled him since he was expelled for bringing a clear plastic, spring-action toy gun to school, which fired plastic beads.

    "He has been deprived of an education. My son made a mistake, and they kept him out a year," said Samuel's mother, Karen Burgos.

    And it may be longer than that before Samuel is permitted to rejoin his classmates. A hearing will be held this month as his family fights his expulsion. Because the school board's order has not yet been finalized, his punishment could be extended into next year.

    "I miss my friends," Samuel said.

    Samuel spends his days playing baseball and practicing his studies with his parents. He should be in third grade now, but he's already missed most of second grade and may find himself two years behind by the time this matter is resolved.

    In an interview with CNN correspondent John Zarrella, Samuel said that he was playing "army" with his friends one weekend, and he decided to hide the toy gun from his brother, so he placed it in his school bag. He went to school on Monday and said that he forgot he had the toy with him.

    Samuel told one of his friends the gun was there but said he never took it out.

    When the toy gun was discovered, according to school board records, the principal of Pembroke Pines Charter Elementary School West determined the gun to be a toy, but she felt compelled to report the incident to the school board. The school board classified the toy gun as a weapon because it fired a projectile device. The punishment: mandatory expulsion.

    According to school records, school district Superintendent James Notter recommended the boy be expelled. Samuel was not charged criminally.

    Notter did not consent to CNN's request for an interview. However, a school board spokeswoman e-mailed this statement to CNN.

    "A hearing officer ruled in favor of the School Board of Broward County to uphold [its] recommendation of expulsion. ... Students have the right to personal privacy and the District is exercising responsibility of respecting this right."

    Zero tolerance policies, such as this one in Florida, exist in some form in all 50 states, according to the Education Commission of the States.

    In the post-Columbine world, schools have taken a hard line in increasing safety by increasing punishments. But the laws are constantly evolving, according to experts, so that the less serious, often petty cases of misconduct are not handled the same as the serious ones.

    In Louisiana, a child who brings a knife to school with a blade 2 inches or longer will be expelled, except when the student is under 11 in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, according to the Education Commission of the States.

    And, in Broward County, where Samuel lives, school officials have amended their policies this school year and require mandatory expulsion only for possession of a firearm.

    But it comes a year too late for Samuel. One expert said there's been a definite error of judgment, and now Samuel has missed a large part of two school years.

    "This is a 7-year-old child," said Kathy Christie of the Education Commission of the States. "This is a case where it was not brandished. It's a plastic gun. ... It just seems a long time to penalize a young man like that, a long time to take him out of that educational experience."

    During their son's expulsion, Samuel's parents were offered the chance to send their son to an alternative school. The school, for "at risk" kids, has about 200 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

    "We said this is not an option, this is unacceptable," Samuel's father said. "I cannot, as a concerned parent, send my child, to a correctional school at 7 years old, who committed a mistake."

    The Burgoses worry that this blemish on Samuel's permanent record will follow him, so the family is challenging the school board's ruling. Samuel could also be penalized for not attending the alternative school, according to his attorney.

    "If he applies to certain colleges and universities, they too will be aware of an expulsion that happened in second grade," said Burgos family attorney, Alfreda Coward. "They'll know that he was expelled from school for having a class 'A' weapon, and the No. 1 item on that is a firearm."

    For now, Samuel spends his days at home, but he said he misses going to school and doing his homework.

    While that may be hard to believe, his mother works with him and helps him with his lessons each day. But is she a good teacher?

    "Nope," Samuel said. "No offense, Mom."
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    Offline Matthew

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    Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school
    « Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 10:11:50 AM »
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  • I don't like the dig against home school at the end -- true, some parents are more cut out to be teachers than others. The ability to teach is a gift, just like the ability to draw, sing, do calculus, or write computer programs.

    But it sure doesn't "advertise" homeschooling very well, or put it in the best light. I guess that's to be expected from CNN.


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    Offline ServusSpiritusSancti

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    Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school
    « Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 10:15:47 AM »
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  • Deprived of his education? Give me a break. Government schools are not only big wastes of time, but also allow the government to indoctrinate innocent children with garbage. Alot of the schools now are endorsing gay mariage. I do think it was ridiculous of the school to expell him for simply bringing a toy gun to school, but if it were me I would have leaped for joy at the opportunity to be homeschooled over going to a government school. It sounds like the kid has an unhealthy love for public schools, maybe even a bad attitude as well, saying "nope" when asked if his mother was a good teacher. If you ask me, the whole thing is a blessing in disguise.

    Offline Belloc

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    Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school
    « Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 10:28:54 AM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    Miramar, Florida (CNN) -- It's quite clear. No guns may be brought to school. Period. It's the law.


    Letter of law, maybe-but not intent nor spirit of the law.

    If I was the responding officer, would have a hard time arresting kid, esp of higher ups made me do it....this is crappola....
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline MrsZ

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    Boy suspended for 2 years for bringing plastic BB gun to school
    « Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 11:19:29 AM »
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  • The story shows how indoctrinated the parent's are that their son has to be "educated" at a government facility.  They're like most people who've been "educated" to believe that education is something that mysteriously takes place after one has gone through years of college and teaching school.  

    With that mindset, it's no wonder the boy isn't at grade level or exceeding grade level at this point.  Mother and father think this is only able to be done by the "experts."

    The other thing was the mentioning of the boy missing his friends.  Can't he see them after school or on weekends?  Again this proves that the main function of schools is indoctrination and "socialization."  Kids only get to "see" their friends at school.

    The suspension however is absurd ... but I guess those are the rules and the boy clearly hadn't been indoctrinated enough to remember the BB gun was in his bag.  Really, the parent's should have been indoctrinated better as well.  Why have they even allowed him to have such a thing even at home?!  Don't they know the "rules" ?

    I'm even surprised that in the zero tolerance atmosphere they are even allowing backpacks to be brought to school!  What are they thinking?  Weapons can be carried in backpacks!!  Why don't they set up a workbook at school only system ... or everything on computer at school and at home .. and then no backpacks.  Even in high school and college.  And then of course, no purses and metal detectors at all doors ...

    I'm only half joking.  With the school system's reasoning, the kids shouldn't even be able to have book bags.



     

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