A second-grader has been suspended and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, because school officials said he brought a toy gun to school.
The Marion County School District has zero tolerance for guns in schools, whether they be real or a toy. The student is learning that lesson after the district said the boy was showing off the toy gun to other students in class. District spokesman Kevin Christian said one of those students told a teacher. Now, the boy who brought the toy gun to school has been suspended for two weeks.
Most parents we approached after school on Wednesday did not agree with the punishment or did not want to talk about the situation. Others thought the punishment was justified but that the suspension period was excessive.
"It's pretty shocking!" said Sharmarah Simmons. "I mean, to give a kid two weeks for toy gun, and then have him do a psych evaluation, I think that's a bit much."
"I think it's extreme," said Michelle Wise. "I mean, kids can't be kids anymore."
Christian said schools do have an amnesty clause allowing exceptions for students who accidentally bring a weapon to school, providing the student owns up to it as an accident. He said the case at Ocala Springs is much different, because there was a threat involved.
"When you bring something onto campus and you make a threat with it to harm another student, that changes the scenario one hundred percent," Christian said. He added that the district, "will always overreact, instead of under react," in situations involving guns or threats to students and staff. "Because, God forbid, the next time it happens, we don't act appropriately, and something horrible happens."
Christian said district is investigating and that the process could take a while before it's completely resolved. There is a also a chance that the second-grader could end up at an alternative school, or another school within the district.