South Carolina School Expels Six-Year-Old For Bringing Toy Gun To School

130130054219_Naomi McKinneyBoozer PhotoWhile they are arresting seven-year-olds in New York, South Carolina schools are expelling a six-year-old girl for bringing her brother’s toy gun into school. We have been discussing the steady stream of absurd actions taken by school officials under “zero tolerance” policies. For a prior column, click here. This is yet another example. This little girl picked up her brother’s toy gun. Rather than call the parents into the school and reprimand the girl, these school officials chose to expel her from Alice Drive Elementary in Sumter, South Carolina. It is bizarre that Principal Sheree T. Boozer (right) could not simply see a child’s mistake for what it is.

Yet, officials insist “Sumter School District takes any potential threat very seriously.” That’s funny because if they wanted to be taken seriously, they would not be expelling six-year-old with toy guns. Instead, they look like tyrannical clowns.

Naomi McKinney grabbed her brother’s toy gun without telling her parents for show-and-tell. Her father was told by the principal that his daughter had shown up with “a gun” at school and would be expelled. When he got there, she pulled out a clear plastic gun.

The family has appealed in vain and has been told that Naomi cannot be in the car when they pick up their other children because she is presumably a danger to the other children.

She has now been out of school for a month and placed on “Administrative Homebased Services” where she is supposed to “receive services through the homebased (sic) teacher.”

She is not alone in being expelled for a toy gun.

As an attorney and an educator, I am furious to read such accounts. It makes a mockery out the school system and shows a virtually moronic enforcement of these policies. What these educators are doing is avoiding any requirement of personal judgment or thought. These abuses continue because principals and school officials face no discipline for abusing a child in this way. They teach the students a dangerous form of authoritarian learning with the imposition of senseless and arbitrary rules.

Source: WLTX

47 thoughts on “South Carolina School Expels Six-Year-Old For Bringing Toy Gun To School

  1. “The family has appealed in vain and has been told that Naomi cannot be in the car when they pick up their other children because she is presumably a danger to the other children.” -Jonathan Turely

    …a danger to others. Sure she is.

    Too many idiots in positions of authority. Tyrannical idiots.

  2. As a teacher I would call this situation a “teachable moment”. Sadly the school didn’t see it as such. I feel for Naomi and her family. I only hope that the decision will be reversed or that the school’s failure to provide her with the ability to, “receive services through the homebased (sic) teacher” will financially enrich her.

  3. I was thinking about this a few days ago….. When I was in school….. We used to make dice guns….. What else could a slide rule be used for if you had… A thumb tack….a rubber band….a die….. And a wooden slide rule?

    The nuns loved the creativeness….. Until….. They got popped…… Then it was a change of habit……they confiscated…. But at the end of the day…. Returned just the slide rule…..

  4. School administrators are fightened senseless of taking the responsibility of making a decision. And, chances are, the local school board would fire the principal for doing anything other than marring this little girl for life.

  5. AY, yeah, I remember when I lead some of my homies on a diversion to a canyon, while on the annual school trip (they don’t do those any more).

    We were way down deep at the bottom and found an incredibly huge frog near the stream.

    On the last day of school I got a paddling in front of the class with a wicked paddle the teacher evidently carved himself with a knife.

    No suspension, no expelling, just a little burnt rubber. ;)

  6. Dredd,

    I was very patriotic in school….. I had a red, white and blue a$$….. I got my fare share of paddlings…. One for smoking cigarettes behind the gym…. Although we had a lounge to smoke it…. They frowned on weed…. But…. No one really did anything if you smoked it outside…..

  7. “I am furious to read such accounts.”

    Ditto, and to the rest of that last paragraph. It’s really the stuff of parody; Onion-esque. And yet, here it is, in living color. Truly UFB

    I’m quite glad that my sons are grown and out of the sights of these idiotic people; and lucky to never have been caught in the zero tolerance web during their schooling.

    This nonsense is endemic here and in Europe. It’s just one symptom of how far off the path we’ve gone.

  8. I truly do not understand why the US allows adults real guns, that can really kill people, but does not allow children toy guns, that are for play.
    It is the wrong way around. Ban the real guns, allow the toys.

  9. Is this a give it back in spades to the white devils?
    We got a black President, so we’ze gonna fix whitey.

    Not speaking as a racist, but don’t you think that 200+ years of slavery, and all the stuff since emancipation, might heve some deep-rooted effects?

    Don’t you remember the video link posted here which let us here the discussion between a black history teacher in NC, saying to her HS ckass that they were not allowed to criticize Obama, because as she said, he is President? And nobody insults the President in my class. Their attempts to reason with her was met with blank no’s.

    How do the parents explain this? How does a child not be traumatized in front of her classmates?

    Everytime blacks look at each other in their different shades of brown, black, coffee, then somewhere they are reminded that somebody raped their maternal ancestors.

  10. I love living in a culture that will toss a kid out of school for a toy gun, or even a pointed finger saying ‘bang bang’, but they will NOT arrest and lock up someone like the nutcase holding a five year old hostage —when he had a reputation of carrying real guns, terrorizing neighbors and killing animals. We can’t seem to get our priorities straight on real dangers vs political correctness. Alabama’s Mr. Dykes wouldn’t be sitting in his bunker with a child hostage IF he had been incarcerated after shooting at a neighbor and her child. Instead, he was left at liberty till a court date. Maybe we should let the school teachers determine who gets out on bail?

  11. On the surface it does seem excessive. However, I feel quite strongly than guns are a societal problem in the US that must be dealt with. A HUGE societal problem. Smoking cigarettes used to be a huge societal problem and so was drunk driving. Both needlessly took American lives when in fact many of those deaths were preventable. I don’t recall anyone suggesting the solution to either being more cigarettes or more alcohol. What was done was to have the death and destruction of these constantly in front of the American public so they became more aware of the insanity of continuing to smoke or drive drunk along with some new common sense regulations and restricitions. This, though a bit clumsy is a welcome part of re-educating Americans that we should have zero tolerance for guns in our society. If we can’t rid our society of guns with laws, I fully support using the facts as well as public humiliation to shame people away from them. Republicans vehemently opposed seat belts, OSHA, anti-smoking measures and now they uniformly oppose common sense background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high capacity clips. With that record, it’s pretty hard to understand why anyone would listen to a Republican on any issue, let alone such important ones as protecting Americans’ from harm and even death.

  12. Bring a toy gun to school, get expelled.

    Carry a loaded automatic weapon in the streets, or a shopping mall, it’s a “constitutional right”.

    And Americans wonder why the rest of the world thinks the US is FUBAR.

  13. I too am glad my son is old enough to be out of the reach of these people.

    When he was in 1st grade he took a box cutter to school because the teacher had asked them to bring in an empty cereal box and they were going to cut it up for a craft. He didn’t realize he was doing anything wrong, as he said “how else would I cut up a box?” since his father and I used box cutters for just that purpose.

    They confiscated the cutter, told him he couldn’t bring that kind of thing to school, called us and told us what happened and that was that. If that happened today, I’d probably be headed to the police station to bail him out.

    So sad. No child left behind indeed.

  14. There was totally no threat from a clear toy gun.

    I agree most definitely with our professor’s prediction on the terrible lesson this teaches to children to accept arbitrary and authoritarian rule by officials.

    This school is more like a prison than the elementary school I attended from the early 70’s. At that age I and probably most other boys usually carried pocket knives. In second grade I bought a realistic cap gun for another boy during our Christmas party and when the boy opened up the present he was overjoyed along with most of the other boys. I think the only thing the teacher would have said was not to fire the caps off in class.

    There was never any thought that the pocket knives or the cap gun would have been used against another student any more than some kid would have walked into the janitor’s shop (which was always open) grabbed a chisel and attacked someone.

    I wonder how the school administrators in these articles would like it if they were forced to live their own lives under the same draconian and arbitrary rules they force upon their students.

  15. Darren:

    I went to nursery school in the mid 60’s, I had 2 capguns and the holster to carry them. I wore them to the nursery school and they told me “real cowboys check their guns at the door to schools and churches”. So I did and quite willingly too.

  16. Darren:

    “I wonder how the school administrators in these articles would like it if they were forced to live their own lives under the same draconian and arbitrary rules they force upon their students.”

    They are and so are we.

  17. Darren:

    I am sure the government could arrest me for something and make it stick. I am sure there is some obscure, arbitrary law that I am violating without knowing it.

    That is what arbitrary, capricious laws are for, you cannot control a free man. But you can easily control a man worried about breaking some ridiculous law.

  18. I suspect many of these incidents are handled just as we’d expect them to be handled but they never make the newspaper. Teachers, administrators, and police exercise discretion all the time. I’ve been both the beneficiary and the target of this discretion thus I know it does exist. It’s just the lazy and stupid who cause these unjust results when they live up to the letter but not the spirit of the rule. Usually the inflexibility comes from “on high” and the principal is left to clean up the mess wrought by superintendents or school boards afraid of any negative repercussion. It’s the aberrational case that gets the publicity and leads us all to the conclusion that the sky is falling.

    Of course, it may be that common sense is not so common in South Carolina but we sort of thought that already didn’t we?

  19. Just for the heck of it, someone tell me how everyone here declaring the principal a racist or a moron can be positive this little girl doesn’t live in a home packed with loaded weapons and her brother wans’t merely training with a toy gun first? Expulsion is certainly over the top, but consider the gun crazies of SC too.

  20. Here is the irony in this for me, as P. Smith Alluded above. South Carolina is a gun loving state with lax gun laws. An example of some of these laws is followed by a link to the article where I found them.

    “Concealed Carry

    South Carolina is a shall-issue state, meaning authorities are required by law to issue carry permits to qualified applicants. Qualified applicants must be at least 21 years of age and not be barred from possessing a gun under state or federal law. Unlike most states, South Carolina also has a vision requirement for carry permit applicants. To receive a permit, applicants must have proof of 20/40 vision, or proof of corrected 20/40 vision. Those barred from possessing handguns under South Carolina law include anyone convicted of a crime of violence, fugitives from justice, anyone who is a member of a “subversive organization,” anyone who has been declared mentally incompetent and anyone who is a habitual drunkard or drug user.

    Carry permits in South Carolina are issued by local chiefs of police. The permits are valid for four years, at a cost of $50. South Carolina’s carry permits are honored by the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. South Carolina honors carry permits from the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.”

    “Castle Doctrine

    South Carolina has a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine. The law permits the use of physical force, including deadly force, when persons are attacked in a place they have a right to be, including their place of business. The law does not require a duty to retreat from attackers. It provides civil and criminal immunity to persons who use force to stop an attacker. In order to apply, the law requires that the victim not be engaged in illegal activity and that the force be necessary to prevent death, serious injury or a violent crime.”

    “Pro-Gun Provisions

    While open carry is generally prohibited in South Carolina, the state does allow loaded handguns to be transported in a vehicle, with or without a permit. However, those who do not have carry permits must have the gun stored in a glove compartment, console or the trunk of the vehicle. South Carolina has a state firearms preemption law that prevents cities and counties from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law. The state also has a range protection law that extends protection to gun firing ranges.”


    Gun bans: None.
    Waiting period for gun purchases: None.
    Licenses or permits required to purchase guns: None.
    Registration of guns required? No.”

    So while you have a State that encourages the ownership and carrying of firearms, a 6 year old is expelled from school for carrying a clear plastic toy gun, does this come within reason?

  21. Wasn’t this Sumter, as in Fort Sumter, SC? Symbolism? The sins of the father are paid by the sons in all succeeding generations

    Who was it that sinned? Our FF created a nation which allowed slavery.
    Do we fault them, the slave plantation owners, this being a normat way of exploiting colonies in the time. Witness the Caribbean.
    Africa itself, the prize for all of Europe to fight over.

    And how this hangs together with forbidding shooting a finger-gun in school is more than I can comprehend.

    Is It a secret Obama led conspiracy to use Newtown as a reason to learn our kids to obey, just as some say he wants the adults to do. We do blame Obama and his MIC; AG; FBI, CIA, XYZ for this and many abuses, constitutional violations, etc. So why not teach us a lesson or at leaxt our kids?.

    Mark says that this is the exception to the rule. I don’t know. Do we know or is it media hunger or the signs of coming times?
    BTW, Mark, nice kick at SC. Really helps your argument!!!

    Somewhere between WWII and now, the boys fight and make good soldiers to send to die went too far. Was it because that we waged war for profit, on the deaths of our sons and the sales of munitions?
    The VA hospitals can’t take all the PTSDs, and our psychiatric care can not take care of those who need care either.

    Is war the common denominator?

    Conspiracy theorist? In your hat.. Think about it. Solve the problem, In 140 words or less.

  22. Is Boozer her proper surname or a nickname? With thinking like that which she displayed in this instance, I think it’s a valid question.

  23. ID:

    “BTW, Mark, nice kick at SC. Really helps your argument!!!”


    You really need a trip there. I think it’s in the water. Nice people but the ideas coming out of there are something else. Think Jim Demint, Strom Thurmond, and Lindsey Graham.

  24. idealist707 1, January 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Is this a give it back in spades to the white devils?
    We got a black President, so we’ze gonna fix whitey.

    Not speaking as a racist, but don’t you think that 200+ years of slavery, and all the stuff since emancipation, might heve some deep-rooted effects?

    Don’t you remember the video link posted here which let us here the discussion between a black history teacher in NC, saying to her HS ckass that they were not allowed to criticize Obama, because as she said, he is President? And nobody insults the President in my class. Their attempts to reason with her was met with blank no’s.

    How do the parents explain this? How does a child not be traumatized in front of her classmates?

    Everytime blacks look at each other in their different shades of brown, black, coffee, then somewhere they are reminded that somebody raped their maternal ancestors.
    That is quite real.

  25. Mark,

    My simple point, albeit poorly expressed, was that the exceptions do not prove the rule. You said yourself that these abuses were exceptions.
    But then you were ready to say the whole state was “whatever I say it is”.

    Pardon my hubris daring to reprove a lawyer. :-)

    S.C. has a lot going for it. It is close enough to NC, where I come from (Raleigh) that it was a favorite place to get a shotgun wedding, or elope to over the weekend to get a quick marriage with your underage cousin. My knowledge is limited to that, and how it is today is more than I know.

  26. idealist707 1, January 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    … Pardon my hubris daring to reprove a lawyer. :-)
    Here is how you properly explain it ID …

  27. Law School is a gonna take a two minute. You gotta tell em firsta, you gotta say yes-a your honor. Juss a say allatime yes-a-your honor. An the odder thing you needa know, you gonna say the retainer issa ten a thousand dolla, an you bringa da file, I gotta reada da file. You reada da file, that-a taka you 25 hours an den you gotta say, oh this case a gonna be very hard ta win, maybe I can do-a but you never be sure. I usedupa da retainer so gimme two tousand dollaz and I mak-a de motion.

  28. I had another thought, they interrogated this kid an hour for each dollor allegedly stollen. How about we take some AIG and other bank CEOs and interrogate them an hour for each dollor they stole?

  29. I don’t remember if it was on this blog or another site, but there was a story a year or two ago about a kid who was either expelled or suspended for bringing a knife to school. His mother had packed a plastic picnic knife in his lunch so he could spread his peanut butter or some such.

    The plastic knife was exactly like the kind we use at the prison for inmates on their meal trays.

    Bqhatevwr !

  30. Otteray, he was probably related to the child that brought the tea to school and almost got expelled. I can’t remember what kind, I think it was a macrobiotic tea. It was good for you anyway! packed in the lunchbox, by the health conscious mother!

    This little girl was in KINDERGARTEN! All the people that were involved in this need to be fired–yesterday! These are not the mental giants that we want teaching and being an example to children. 5 year old kids playing cops and robbers and using their hands to make guns and say pow? My imagination could not even have gone so far as to think a day like this would EVER arrive in this country. Can ya’ll imagine trying to explain these to your grandpa?

  31. Mespo,
    remind me to stay away from South Carolina. You are also correct that most of these crazy school situations are due to administrators and board of Ed policies. Anyone who was involved in this decision needs to be tested to see if they have a pulse.

  32. Well said Jonathon.

    Oh so this is the way society treats 6 yo kids now if they pick up the wrong toy.

    This is an innocent little 6 yo with a plastic toy and the treatment dished out to her is outrageous. Any normal person would have simply taken the toy from the chld and advised that those toys are not permitted at school. Then the parents should be quietly advised of the situation and the toy returned to them. Instead we have this nonsense and it is nothing short of emotional and mental CHILD ABUSE by the teachers and administrators involved. Just another example of how “common sense” is not common at all.

    The code of conduct for the school district reads in part:

    “Code of Conduct

    The district’s code of conduct and discipline is established to achieve and maintain order in the schools. In administrative rule JICDA-R, the board and the administration offer a list of offenses along with the required or recommended dispositions for the information of students, parents/legal guardians and school personnel.

    Disciplinary actions will include appropriate hearings and review. The removal of a student from the learning environment will occur only for just cause and in accordance with due process of law. The administration will consider extenuating circumstances when taking disciplinary action.”

    It would be interesting to know what proper processes were adopted in this very minor case to exclude this poor innocent child from school, a child who would have never understood the implications of bringing a toy gun to school which, to her, was nothing more than another play thing.

    I wonder, if the 6 yo child was from a ” minority group”, whether the same hideous and excessively harsh and unjust treatment would have been dished out by those in charge of this circus. I suspect the treatment by those involved in that event might have been very, very different.

    It would be nice if some generous lawyer could now take up the case for the parents and make the lives of those involved an absolute misery as various civil law suits are filed against those persons that administered this dreadful treatment to an innocent child.

    Thank heavens for professional teachers like this lot. Without them showing us the way we would all be so totally lost.

    I am sure she and her counterparts sleep much better at night knowing that they have saved their school from immeasurable future harm from this innocent 6 yo girl with her brother’s toy in her school bag for a day.

  33. Do we hold Romney, former Governor, against the state of Massachusetts?
    Do we hold Senator Warren against the same state?

    So why say Lindsey Graham is proof that South Carolinians are bla bla.

    Divide and conquer. United we win. Even if we have some that need 24/7 guidance in life.

  34. Is Sumter, SC, inside of Fort Sumter? Did they mean Some Tier when the spulled it? Maybe all the kids there should skip the notion of Charter schools and be home schooled. If all the kids were home schooled then teacher and principal would not have a job. Also the kids would not grow up to be dumb or dumber than teacher and principal. None dare call a principal a pal. Its a matter of principle.

  35. As Naomi’s father I would like to say that the teachers and pricipal were in support of my daughter. The policy was the problem, they were just C.Y.O.A. on how to handel it and all went to bat for her. But “if you let one slide you have to let them all slide” sooooooo I shed a little light on how the policy needs to be re examined, and it worked things will change and instead of “one size fits all” it’ll be case by case- Intent, use, and history will decide the out-come in the future in our district. Thankyou for your support and yes I accept some of the blame….. you cant watch them all the time

    Hank Mckinney

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