A mum has spoken of her devastation after her son was pulled out of school for bringing a ‘toy gun’ to McDonald’s. The pupil has been kicked out of the new school in Birmingham after the 12-year-old took the toy to the fast food joint.
Mum Pauline said her son Michael brought the toy gun to McDonald’s and gave it to a friend who Pauline said “fired a few pellets at two students”, BirminghamLive reports. The school said a decision to exclude a child was not taken lightly, but the 53-year-old mother suggested its methods of punishment were “over the top”.
Pauline, a cleaner, accused the school of “unfair treatment”. The mother also compared the Church of England academy at Yardley Wood to a “military camp”.
Mark Bowman Dalton, the Principal of Christ Church, said: “Any exclusions are not taken lightly and will follow statutory guidelines set out by the Department of Education. Each case is treated fairly and will be considered by a panel of Governors Christ Church, The Church of England Secondary Academy sets clear boundaries that encourage excellent behavior and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the learning environment.”
Pauline said her son was not a “stray” child. She said Mitchell was now “considered a danger” even though he did not threaten or harm anyone. “We found out pretty early on that school was pretty tough,” she said. “While we appreciate that they are trying to set a benchmark and precedent for a brand new school, they are a bit over the top when it comes to punishment.”
At a hearing – at which the school board upheld the exclusion – Pauline claimed she had provided “impeccable credentials” on behalf of her son. She claimed that included an employee at the local McDonald’s where Mitchell gave the gun to her friend.
Pauline claimed the gun was turned over to police who found no reason to investigate. But she claims there was a “misunderstanding” a week earlier that left a “stain” on Mitchell’s record.
During a class debate about the three things students would take to a desert island, Pauline said her 12-year-old child joked about bringing a pair of scissors to ‘stab himself in the neck’ because he wouldn’t want to be alone. She claimed a teacher misheard that remark and thought Mitchell was threatening them.
Now Pauline has said she is in the process of appealing the decision. She said, “It’s not a BB gun and that’s where my argument lies,” she added. “A BB gun obviously shoots ball bearings at high speed [and] this shoots small plastic glitches. It is gold and black, which makes it possible to identify that it is not a firearm. It’s ultimately for the fact that it’s totally unfair to Mitchell. Is he going to be subjected to a school of naughty boys or what? Right now, I don’t know. He is in no way educated.
“It’s a school, not a military camp.” According to one police department, BB guns that fire plastic or aluminum bullets “may or may not be firearms, so may or may not be banned.” West Yorkshire Police said this was because the pellets were fired by different methods.
The force said “The toy-like type of soft air BB gun”, although perhaps a little too powerful to be officially classed as a toy, does not meet the definition of a section 1 firearm as it is generally too underpowered and is likely designed to fire plastic [or] aluminum pellets. If you are unsure whether your BB gun is legal or not, you should check with your police force’s firearms department who can advise you. Given the nature of BB guns and their capabilities, it is not advisable to allow young children to possess them.
“Also be aware that many BB guns are extremely realistic and that police treat all reports involving guns as if they were actual, real firearms. Please note that all calls to police involving guns firearms are treated as if they were a real firearm, so be aware that if you wave a fake firearm around you, you may find yourself surrounded by firearms officers pointing real guns toward you.”
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