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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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Naples Gun School - 5 stars Love this place. Dave treated me like a V.I.P. He's a cool guy. He takes time teaching you throughout the course. This is the place to buy firearms, supplies and for class. A++++ Anthony Rojas

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great class!! There was a lot more hands on instruction than the class that I had in Tennessee. David was knowledgeable and entertaining. Good insights on Florida law. My wife will be taking the class shortly. Thanks David. Kevin 9/15/2018

  I thoroughly enjoyed the concealed weapons class on 8/11/18. The class went beyond my expectations. Dave you are an awesome instructor and made the class fun. I would highly recommend Naples Gun Shopping and School! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! - Teresa Cannon

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. - Carlos Casiano

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Martha Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  This was a very good class. I did not have to take it, as I am a Veteran, however it is a good idea. I learned a lot about Florida Law I did not know. It will in the long run help keep you out of trouble. David was very patient with my wife when we live fired, because she has arthritis and had a hard time pulling the trigger in double action mode. Good Job David thanks so much..Joseph Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  The class was engaging and as fast paced as it can be. The instructor was knowledgeable and worked well with a class spanning all the levels of experience and age you can imagine. I also felt it was fairly priced, especially as you just had to bring yourself and an ID - all other supplies were, er, supplied.Cliff Elam 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Naples Gun Shop & School gets an A+ in my book! David and Ginny were great. I took the CWP class today 7/21/18. Both are extremely knowledgeable and easy to talk to. David is one of the best instructors that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I highly recommend Naples Gun Shop & School. Best prices, Great training, and easy to deal with. I will definitely be returning to do further business. Thank you David & Ginny....see you soon!Nicholas Lupo

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  I've been a repeat customer for FFL transfers with Naples Gun School for quite some time. Dave's customer service and knowledge are second to none. After speaking with Dave for a few moments, you start to feel as if you have known him for quite a while. I look forward to continuing my business when the new location opens. - Robert Boyette

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

Naples Gun School - 5 starsTook the 3/31/18 class and loved it! Dave was very informative and his laid back teaching style made the 4 hour class fly by. Would recommend this class to anyone interested in a CWP. Thanks Dave and Ginny! - Kelly Gardner

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

Naples Gun School - 5 stars This class kept me very interested, informed and didn’t even realize 4 hours went by! Would recommend everyone to take this class! - Douglas Shaffer

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Lurybella Lora Trejo

 

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