Feb 4, 2010 11:16 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
A tiny toy led to big trouble for one fourth-grade New York City boy.
Patrick Timoney, a 9-year-old student at PS 52 in Staten Island, N.Y., was in the school cafeteria Tuesday playing with LEGOs when he was taken to the principal's office and threatened with suspension. One of his toys was a LEGO policeman that holds a 2-inch plastic gun. The school has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to toy guns.
"[The gun] was so little," the boy told WNBC. "I wouldn't really think that the principal would cause a lot of commotion just for a little gun."
The boy's mother, Laura Timoney, 44, was fuming over the issue.
"You don't traumatize a child who loved to go to school, who wanted to be early every day to school, you don't make him cry, you don't make him fill out statements," she told WNBC, holding back tears. "You don't do it."
Pat Timoney, the boy's father and a retired police officer, was also upset, saying that he's dealt with people who use imitation weapons as a way to threaten others and commit crimes, and that this situation is different, considering the pinky-size gun in question.
The toy was confiscated by principal Evelyn Mastroianni, a conference was held with the boy and his parents, and ultimately, no further disciplinary action was taken.
Department of Education policy states that there can be no imitation guns on school property, and a representative said that the principal has ultimate discretion, and this one felt there was reason for "concern."
"You need to exercise good judgment," said Laura Timoney. "In my opinion, this was the wrong call."
She says she may sue over what she calls "a lack of common sense."