6th-grader with toy gun is suspended

Dumbarton boy told classmates it was real

April 11, 2003|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Dumbarton Middle School in Rodgers Forge has suspended indefinitely a sixth-grade pupil who brought a toy gun to school and told classmates it was real, school officials said yesterday.

Assistant Principal Michael Etzel said he removed the boy from his first-period class on Tuesday, after a classmate reported the remarks.

"At no time was there a threat to any kids in the school," Etzel said yesterday.

The boy, whose name was not released by school officials for confidentiality reasons, will be suspended until he receives a hearing from the school board. The minimum penalty he faces is suspension; the maximum is expulsion from the school. A hearing date has not been set.

Dumbarton, which has 900 pupils, is one of Baltimore County's top-performing middle schools.

The assistant principal said school officials would meet with the boy and his family to make sure he understands that he made an unwise decision, especially in light of the threat from terrorism.

At the beginning of his first-period class, the boy told four or five classmates that he had a gun for protection and that he brought it to school, against his mother's orders, Etzel said.

Etzel said the chamber on the plastic, metallic-colored handgun was missing, so the boy showed classmates either the handle or the barrel.

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