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‘Zero tolerance’ being enforced in city district

The Brookhaven School District has sent out the message thatincidents concerning even the most remote possibility of violencewill not be tolerated.

A Mamie Martin kindergarten student was suspended two weeks agounder the district’s zero tolerance punishment policy afterbringing a plastic toy gun to school.

“The policy refers to any weapon or look alike and any drug orlook alike,” stated Superintendent of Education Dr. Sam Bounds.

After a conference between school officials and the child’sparents, it was determined that the student meant no harm bybringing the toy gun to school, said Bounds.

“It was an accident and there was no intent, but we wanted tomake sure,” Bounds said.

Nevertheless, the disciplinary action of suspension was followedthrough because the zero tolerance policy calls for immediatesuspension with the possibility of expulsion for students caughtwith weapons, real or unreal, Bounds explained.

“We immediately suspend the child and then we investigate it,”said Bounds. “We’re trying to protect the safe environment of everychild in the school, and I think the parents realize that.”

He said it is important for school officials to act quickly, andthen ask questions because of the increase of school violence overthe last few years, even among elementary students.

“We don’t take anything lightly because there was a secondgrader in another state that shot and killed a classmate,” saidBounds.

He added that even though the kindergarten student had only atoy gun and did not use it for violent purposes, it was stillconsidered serious.

“There have been situations where older kids have brought a toyor unloaded gun and pulled it out in a threatening manner,” saidBounds.

The recent incident was resolved, and the student was allowed toreturn to classes after a short suspension, Bounds said.