TROY, ILL. - A Collinsville mother says her son was unnecessarily suspended for bringing a shell casing to pre-school.
Kristy Jackson took to Facebook this week to vent her frustration over the punishment. Her post has since gone viral with shares, comments and reaction coming from across the country.
“I haven’t received one message that said the school handled this appropriately. They’ve all been supportive,” she told Five on Your Side.
The whole issue over the casing began on Tuesday when Jackson went to pick up her son Hunter, 4, from A Place 2 Grow on Dorothy Dr. in Troy.
Jackson said as soon as she saw his teacher, she could tell something was wrong.
“She had this look on her face. She said he had brought a shotgun bullet to school,” Jackson said.
But it turns out, Hunter had actually snuck in an empty .22 caliber shell casing that appears to be from a rifle.
She said he probably picked it up after spending time with his grandfather, who’s also a police officer, last weekend.
“Hunter and grandpa love to roam the woods. He wanted to show his friends what he found. He was excited about it,” Jackson said.
She added that she had no idea it was even in his possession and that he managed to hide it in his pocket.
But leaders at Hunter’s preschool weren’t so thrilled.
They sent a letter home to Jackson and Hunter’s father, stating that he had been suspended for seven days.
The letter also threatened to expel Hunter from the school if there were any further incidents.
It’s a decision that Roy Jarman, the owner of A Place 2 Grow, said was based on a history of Hunter violating the school’s behavior and discipline policies.
Jarman said it was to the point that other parents were concerned and complaining.
“There have been several events that have led up to the decision. This isn’t because we hat guns or hate Hunter,” Jarman explained.
Still, Jackson expressed her dismay with the disciplinary action online, calling the suspension excessive and unfair.
She said it could’ve been used as a teachable moment.
“There’s nothing wrong with children being exposed to gun safety early and often. It’s something we’re passionate about,” Jackson said.
But Jarman said the school has behavior policies for a reason and that gun safety isn’t an appropriate issue for preschool.
“It’s not our place to teach kids about gun safety. Then we’d be taking heat over teaching kids about guns in preschool,” he said.
Jarman added that any other student with the same behavior issue as Hunter who brought a shell casing to school would also be suspended. He said had there been no previous incidents with Hunter, he probably wouldn’t have been suspended.
“It was the tipping point. This was not about the casing. People need to get that out of their head. I’m pro-gun. I support the Second Amendment,” Jarman said.
Jackson admitted that in the past, they’ve worked with Hunter on issues of using other toys as pretend guns.
She said that probably stems from her family talking with him about gun safety at an early age. Jackson does not foresee returning Hunter to A Place 2 Grow.
“It just boggles my mind that he’s been punished so severely,” she said.
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