Criminal Charges for a 7-Year-Old Who Brought a Nerf-Style Toy to Class

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The 7-year-old boy was a student at Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center in Hammonton, NJ. The police were called after a report of “suspicious activity.” The “suspicious activity” involved a $5 toy gun, similar to a Nerf toy gun, that the child brought to school. The boy was charged with possession of an imitation firearm in or on an education institution, a misdemeanor offense.

The real offense is that the police took this incident seriously.

How much money will be spent prosecuting this child? Is Hammonton, NJ so awash with funds that it can afford this ridiculousness?


The boy’s mistake was he didn’t claim that the toy was a religious symbol as in Bentley Elementary School, in Canton, MI, where a Sikh boy wore a Kirpan to his fourth grade class. After finding the Kirpan had no sharp edges, the principal returned it to the boy. However, the Plymouth-Canton School District at first overruled the principal and banned Kirpans, saying it resembled a weapon. After numerous meetings and legal research, the Plymouth-Canton School District later relented and allowed Kirpans in school with restrictions. At least the Sikh boy wasn’t arrested.

H/T: WCAU Philadelphia, WJBK Detroit.

14 thoughts on “Criminal Charges for a 7-Year-Old Who Brought a Nerf-Style Toy to Class”

  1. Zero tolerance policies have led to this. These policies take away the teacher and principals ability to use common sense in these issues.

    Our school district has just eliminated their zero tolerance policies because to many students were losing scholorships due to minor infractions that resulted in arrest that marred their records.

  2. Let’s just hope the prosecution posts their names and pictures of the prosecution team so that Justice can be properly served in that district. Let them prosecute, then whatever the potential sentence may be given to the boy, have the entire prosecution team serve the sentence, then fire their butts

    Just freaking ridiculous imo.

  3. These toy gun issues have got to stop. We are going to have a whole generation of children afraid to play and use their imagination. I can remember my son who was probably around 2 or 3 sitting in the child seat of the grocery cart and I threw in a plastic bottle of Heinz Ketchup and he proceeded to pretend that the ketchup bottle was a gun and was “shooting” everyone in the store! Could a ketchup bottle “resemble” a weapon by today’s standards??

  4. I would point out that this wasn’t actually a nerf-gun, so it might be much more realistic than the picture you choose — however, I don’t really give a damn how realistic the gun was when the person being charged is 7.

  5. Odd how they still sell them eh and they arrest a 7 year old for a nerf gun??.Good point culheath

  6. Let’s stop and analyze the deeper problem. Our children are being taught by such people. They are such concrete minded bureaucrats that they cannot differentiate a toy from a real firearm. They are obstinate in the extreme, and do not seem to remember the mission is to teach the children. Rather than use this as a teachable moment about guns and safety, they react by calling the cops.

    I recall some time back a first grader had a meltdown in the principal’s office. Somebody called the police and the little boy was tasered, twice, when he refused to calm down. If a principal and a law officer cannot handle a 45-pound first grader having a temper tantrum without tasering him, they are in the wrong line of work.

    And a few years ago, a first grader had sexual harassment charges filed against him by the school. Seems this budding sex pervert gave a little girl a peck on the cheek, so he had the full weight of the legal system come down on his head.

    I worked on a case where a nine-year-old mentally retarded boy was charged with rape. He had no concept of sex and could not tell me why sometimes his “dingus” as he called it, stood straight out and he could not make it stop. At least the judge threw the case out when after he got my report. That district attorney lost the next election, at least in part because of his penchant for grossly overcharging defendants.

    I await, breathlessly, for sanity to return.

  7. Must be something in the water in Hammonton NJ, or else you have some very paranoid cps and officials there. One look at the kids toy would tell you, ” its a toy.” This goes to show you just how far the paranoia has gone and how deep. The school officials, teachers & principal should have had enough common sense to deal with the situation, take the kids toy away and call the parents.

    So instead they run up a huge bill of time and money over this. Glad I don’t live there as who knows what nonsense they will come up with next. Maybe it will be the C-4 hidden in baby soothers, shakes my head in utter wonder.

  8. Are the Hammonton, NJ PD facing charges for sending imitation police officers?

    If not, this hardly seems fair.

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