Gun sense Our view: Don't expel first-grader with guns

April 04, 2008

What should happen to the 7-year-old boy who brought two loaded guns to Randallstown Elementary School, apparently thinking they were toys?

The police are satisfied that he had no malicious intent and will not charge him. That should also be the approach of the Baltimore County school system. He has been suspended under the system's disciplinary rules and could be expelled, but that would serve little purpose.

Bringing a weapon to school is unquestionably a serious offense, and the first-grader must be made to understand that - and the possible deadly consequences of his action. He faces a hearing where his mother must also appear and where any mitigating circumstances will be taken into account. The relative from whose Baltimore home the guns were taken might also face charges.

Although Baltimore County admirably offers an extensive array of alternative education programs for expelled students and others, some find it hard to recover from the disruption. In this case, the system should follow the lead of the school principal, who calmly treated this as an isolated incident. It should not be allowed to derail a young student's academic career.

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