A Colorado first grader was suspended because he pointed his finger in a manner which exhibited a "gun shape" and said, "You're dead" to a Stratton Meadows Elementary School classmate. The child's father, Austin Thurston, felt a school suspension over the Monday incident involving Elijah Thurston was excessive.
Elijah Thurston, 6, was suspended from Stratton Meadows Elementary School for one day. An official at the Colorado public school reportedly explained to the first grader what the word "dead" meant and told him not to "confuse" activities in gameplay with reality.
"I know they have zero tolerance, but more of a maybe no recess. Going as far as a one-day suspension is a little extreme for a 6-year-old in a first-grade class," Austin Thurston said during an interview with KRDO News. "Of course I think he was playing. What 6-year-old doesn't play cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians?"
A Harrison School District 2 representative told the local media that the Stratton Meadows Elementary School suspension for the finger gun was appropriate. The spokesperson would not elaborate on the finger gun pointing incident, stating student privacy. The suspension will be included on Elijah Thurston's permanent record.
Austin Thurston had this to say when asked what he and his wife has discussed with Elijah in regards to guns.
"We just told him there's a time and a place for everything, and we told him school is never a place for that. We let him know that the guns in the wrong hands will be very dangerous. He knows the difference between really doing that, and just putting your finger up and saying, 'boom you're dead.' We made sure he understands the severity of what he said."
The Colorado first grader is writing a letter of apology to the school and stating in his own words that he understands his actions. The apology letter was not required by the school district. The school suspension for the finger gun-pointing incident is just one of many cases where a young student was punished for a similar act, making a paper gun or a gun shape out of food, or bringing a toy gun to school.
Many adults can still remember taking guns to school and making or buying pretend swords and knives to go with Halloween costumes for school parties. Many schools in America used to have gun clubs and shooting teams. During this long-gone era, school shootings were not making national headlines.
What do you think about the Colorado first grader being suspended for making a finger gun shape?