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Milford fifth-grader punished over pretend gun

By and The Boston Globe Staff  


MILFORD — On Friday, Milford fifth-grader Nickolas Taylor was in line for lunch, with the weekend just around the corner. But like a lot of 10-year-old boys bursting with energy, he didn’t wait quietly.

Instead, he played a game of shoot-em-up to pass the time, pointing his index finger like a ray gun and making “pew-pew” shooting noises, according to Nickolas’s father, Brian Taylor.  Image via NRA-ILA

As he battled his imaginary foes, he jumped in front of two girls in the lunch line. They told the assistant principal, who suspended the boy for two days for making a threat.

Nickolas didn’t mind all that much, but his father did.

He aired his grievances to The Milford Daily News, fueling the debate about whether schools have gone too far in cracking down on toy guns — even imaginary ones.

Taylor said he understood that schools are on heightened alert these days to any perceived threats or potential bullying, but criticized the suspension as an overreaction.

“He wasn’t pointing at anyone in particular,” he said. “He was just playing. There were other ways they could have handled it.”

Taylor, 40, said he met with the assistant principal Monday to explain that the incident was just “innocent playing.” But he said the principal told him Nickolas had pretended to shoot directly at the girls, which amounted to a threat.

“He just kept saying it was against policy,” the father said in an interview Wednesday at his Milford home. “He wouldn’t see the common sense.”

In a “conduct referral” form the school gave to Taylor, school officials wrote that “the young ladies informed Nick he was not allowed to cut the line.

“At that time Nick acted out, shooting the two girls with a gun made from his hand. He then blew on his fingers as if to cool off the gun barrel,” it said.

In a statement, school officials said the girls reported “what they believed to be a threatening gesture,” and that the suspension was consistent with discipline handed down “with other incidents of a threatening nature.”

The superintendent of schools, Robert Tremblay, and the Stacy Middle School principal, Nancy Angelini, had a “productive meeting” with Taylor on Wednesday that resolved the matter, according to the statement.

“All parties agree that this particular incident has raised our collective awareness of the need to better identify and respond to how our students interact with each other and how we respond as adults,” read the statement. “Perceptions of threats can be as real as the threat itself.”

Tremblay said in an interview that school officials will review their zero tolerance policies to determine if there are instances where rules “need to be considered more carefully.”

He also defended the suspension of Nickolas.

“Was it overreacting to it? I don’t think so,” Tremblay said. “You can’t minimize how the person on the receiving end of the gesture felt.”

But the chairman of the town’s school board, Scott Harrison, criticized the penalty.

“If this was an issue where we believe that the child could possibly cause some harm, I don’t know how sending him home resolves the issue or gets this child the help that he needs,” Harrison said.

He said the school should have found “a remedy, not a punishment.”

William D. Buckley, a member of the Board of Selectmen, was also critical of the suspension.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Buckley said. “For a 10-year-old who used sounds like a laser [when pointing his finger] . . . I would tell you that the appropriate response is to reach out to that child and talk to him, in my opinion.”

Taylor said Nickolas loves video games and told him all the boys play pretend shooting games at recess and shout laser-like sounds.

Nickolas has attention-deficit disorder, which can affect his schoolwork, his father said. But he is a solid student and generally enjoys school.

At the school, several parents said they were surprised by the suspension, saying Nickolas meant no harm and that punishing students for pretending would never work

Said one mother: “Boys will be boys.”

Peter Schworm can be reached at .

Source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/11/19/fifth-grader-suspended-for-pointing-imaginary-gun-his-hand/I7MqowzO5yEP5yb4IFXemN/story.html

#NaplesGunSchool  #Naples  #ConcealedWeapon  #suspended 

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I really enjoyed the class yesterday, and it was very nice to meet David and Ginny. David is very knowledgeable, helpful, and best of all: has a sense of humor. I was more nervous than I thought I would be because this was the first time in my life that I've ever shot a semi-automatic weapon. David lives and breathes this stuff and his presence and ease with weapons was very calming for me when I was at the range. Ginny was also very supportive throughout the whole class. Thank you guys so much! It's a pleasure and I will be back to purchase supplies from you! - Shenandoah Webb

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Naples Gun School - 5 stars I’d like to thank The Naples Gun School for the time and effort they took in order to help me become a more responsible hand gun owner. By taking your CCWP class on 3.31.2018, I’m honestly a better person today than I was yesterday. Your course is not only interesting, but informative as well. The time we had together flew by. Throughout the whole process, they were calm and patient with every student. Especially after everyone seemed to drop their cartridges on the floor during the revolver training portion of the program. I highly recommend Naples Gun School to anyone that’s interested in becoming a CCWP holder. And I definitely will use their services by purchasing all my gun needs through their establishment. David & Ginny, thank you so much. I had a wonderful time!Chris Shaffer


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Naples Gun School - 5 stars Thorough, energetic, knowledgeable, PATIENT, and even entertaining at times! As an Educator, I know it can be daunting sometimes to teach the same material over and over, but David certainly didn't show it. You can tell how passionate he is about what he does.
I researched multiple options around town in choosing the provider for my CCW class. David & Ginny as a husband & wife team, provided the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE in answering all of my questions thoroughly and promptly before even signing up. And somehow, Naples Gun School was also able to provide the LOWEST COST in town!
As a female and brand new to guns, David & Ginny made me feel safe, secure, and comfortable. THANK YOU! A+++ -
Jessica Payne


I took the class on 3/10/18 and I was blown away. David and his wife are excellent people and David is an excellent instructor. The class is excellent and exceeded my expectations with information on the laws of Florida, and as well to carry properly, load the weapons as well as placement of holding weapons. If your looking to buy a weapon he is the man to go to. I personally bought my firearm from and he equipped me with great knowledge during my time there. I give this class 100 out of 100 and highly recommended. David is a great guy and instructor with many years of experience!! - Cory Duffy


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Naples Gun School - 5 stars I attended the conceal carry and gun safety training class on Feb 17th, 2018. David was very knowlegable and provided a lot of information that I think should be part of any gun safety or conceal carry training. He was very professional and took the time after the class and before we met at the gun range to answer several questions I had as well as show me a few different gun options they sell. I highly recommend David and Naples gun shop & school for anyone wanting to seriously learn what they need to before purchasing or using a firearm. Thank you, David! - Amanda Daves


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I had an amazing experience in the CCW class that David teaches! This class was so informative and interesting. The way David presented everything made it extremely fun and easy to retain. The size of the class was 12 people, so we all got one on one training and I feel it was the perfect size of class. I learned so many important things that I never would have even thought about without this class. Ginny was also so wonderful, and so supportive when I was nervous. I had so many questions that were answered, and the amount of knowledge Ginny and Davis shared with the class was astounding. I feel very confident now about gun safety and self defense and I would highly recommend this class!! David and Ginny know their stuff!! -Senae Hughes

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