The suspension of a 5-year-old boy for bringing his toy gun to a Hopkinton kindergarten class on Wednesday has left his mother shocked and vowing to fight the disciplinary measure.
Christina Stone said Thursday night that her son Jonah ended up in the principal’s office at Center School after his kindergarten teacher spotted him showing a friend the toy gun he had in his pocket. When Stone arrived at the school to pick up the boy, she was told that Jonah would receive a half-day suspension because of the incident.
“I think they are going a little overboard. He really wasn’t doing anything wrong,” she said. “He had no intent of hurting anyone and he was even sharing.”
Jonah attends an after-school program and is out of the house for up to 10 hours a day, his mother explained. He regularly brings toys with him to keep himself busy.
School Superintendent Steven Hiersche could not be reached for comment Thursday night, and a number for Center School principal Mildred Katzman could not be immediately located.
Stone said if she had known what her son put in his pocket on this day, she would have told him to leave the toy at home. But to him, it is just a toy and he did not understand why it was a bad choice, she said.
“At first, I went along with the half-day suspension because I didn’t want to go against the school. I was just shocked,” Stone said. “But when I thought about it overnight, and then noticed that there is nothing in the handbook about toy weapons, I decided to appeal.”
When Stone and her son met with Katzman and a school police officer, the Newtown school shootings were brought up, according to Stone. She later had to explain to Jonah about December’s tragedy in which 20 children and six adults were shot and killed by a gunman walking through the Connecticut school, which Stone said was not easy.
“I think they’re trying to make an example of him,” Stone said. “But it is a bad example. He is so young and I shouldn’t have had to explain Newtown to a 5-year-old.”
Stone will be meeting with Hiersche on Friday to appeal the suspension. If the decision is not changed, she plans to follow up with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
“Jonah now understands why you can’t bring toy weapons to school,” his mother said. “I just hope they will do what’s right tomorrow and take back the suspension.”