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6-Year-Old Boy Is Suspended for Pointing Fingers at Classmate Like a Gun

by Jeanne Sager on January 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

fingers shape gunTalk about an over-reaction! A 6-year-old boy has been suspended from school for pointing his finger like a gun and saying "pow" to another student. The Maryland first grader is unlucky enough to have gotten caught up in the mass anxiety that's swept American school districts in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Let's just set aside the debate over kids and gun play for a second, shall we? Unfortunately, his school record isn't going to reflect the national distress at the exact moment of his little mishap. Instead we have a 6-year-old whose minor transgression will follow him for the rest of his school career. Is that really fair?

The child's family is fighting to have this little guy's suspension expunged from his record, and I can't help but agree with them. Because let's face it, this was pretty minor. This kid used his FINGERS in the shape of a gun! He didn't bring a real gun to school.

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What's more, he's only 6. He's at an age when adult supervision is a must, when kids' brains are still so underdeveloped that something as simple as tying their own shoes is often a challenge. And we expect them to think out the repercussions of pointing their fingers at a pal right after a mass school shooting?

I don't think so.

We have put school administrators in a tough spot in America. We expect them to come down hard on kids who act up. We want to strike out bullying, end school violence. We mean well, but we're hurting our kids.

Six-year-olds are suspended for pointing their fingers. Six-year-olds are haunted forever by actions done when they were SIX!

It's as this 6-year-old's attorney pointed out to the Washington Post:

They took the worst possible interpretation of this little child’s actions, and five years from now, if he gets into a tussle, they’re going to look back and say, ‘This is one bad little kid.'

We need to strike a balance here. Can't we hold little kids accountable for their actions without forcing them to pay for being young and immature forever? Can't we hold off on the hardcore punishments, on marking the "permanent" record until they're old enough to actually understand what they're doing?

Do you think it's right to brand this 6-year-old for something so silly? Should transgressions for kids this young go on their record?


Image via TheChanel/Flickr

Filed Under: discipline, elementary school, behavior


  • BirdCo


    January 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM
    What a load of horse shit. If that was my kid they would go back to that school after the suspension.
  • cmjaz


    January 3, 2013 at 10:49 AM
    I don't know what is happening to this country sometimes
  • lulou


    January 3, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Two flags in the article that this was not soley based on his finger pointing.  For one - the school saying it wasnt a single incident/knee-jerk reaction.  And secondly - the attorney saying the child was "skinny and meek"  nice stereotyping, perhaps this is a big part of the issue.  And also a wake up call to the parents.

  • Doomy234


    January 3, 2013 at 10:54 AM
    I think it is an absolute overreaction. He didnt have a weapon, he had a finger, which yes could put somebody's eye out, but is likely he didnt intend to. He didnt threaten anybody. He didnt say "hey I am going to bring a gun and shoot you", he pointed his finger and said pow. So if he didnt hurt anyone and the only real rule he broke was having an imagination and being social with other students then why was he suspended, or rather why not suspend all the other children who are imaginative and social?
  • Flori...


    January 3, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    What are "the repercussions of [him] pointing [his] fingers at a pal after a mass school shooting"? Aside from the adults around him acting like complete idiots, of course?

  • Carme...


    January 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    I was taught from a very early age not to even pretend to shoot someone (using my finger or otherwise) but for crying out loud, the kid's six.  SIX.  You tell him no, don't do that, it's not appropriate, and if he keeps doing it, then yeah, maybe some punishment is in order so he gets the picture, but seriously?  Suspension is WAY over the top. 

  • amber...


    January 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    ""What's more, he's only 6. He's at an age when adult supervision is a must, when kids' brains are still so underdeveloped that something as simple as tying their own shoes is often a challenge. And we expect them to think out the repercussions of pointing their fingers at a pal right after a mass school shooting?""

    I think this is the most interesting part of the article.  Why?  Because after the shooting we were bombarded with "experts" giving advice on how we should talk to kids about the shooting and even IF we should talk to them about it.  So not only are we talking about a six year old who is not at an age where he can always see cause and effect...........we're talking about him in adult terms as though he knows that the's doing this right after a mass shooting.  For all we know this child (especially being in another state) has had little to no exposure to what happened in Connecticut.  If you handle it from an adult point of view where we've seen every news report, talked about gun control, read message boards like this one and so on your adult mind would immediately know that a pointed gun finger and saying Pow would be wrong.  But we need to take it down to his level; and his perception of the event is an entirely different matter.

  • Mona
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM
    My kid would be out of there, but I just avoid the entire mess-- we homeschool. We may drive old cars and live modestly on a single income, but our kids aren't being brainwashed by the liberal garbage agenda in the schools.
  • Autum...


    January 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM
    Sorry but I seem to disagree with this article and with most people on here..

    I doubt this has much to do with the sensitivity of guns going on this country right now. I doubt his suspension had much to do with him acting like he had a gun at all, except possibly being the straw that broke the camels back.

    We don't know this child's background at school. The people who do, as in the teachers and administrators from his school, made this decision. This child could have repeatedly and deliberately disobeyed the teachers after they told him to stop. Maybe he kept refusing to follow the rules, and that is, IMO, grounds for punishment, and yes, suspension possibly.

    I actually think the kids family is just looking for attention... Their child was not following the rules. Bottom line. Does anyone else think its fishy for a six year old to have an attorney??
  • Shand...
    -- Nonmember comment from


    January 3, 2013 at 1:52 PM
    Autumn... why would we need to know the background? HE'S SIX YEARS OLD! This is just idiotic, and a total over-reaction.
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