TUPELO, Miss.—Tensions have remained high since the Sandy Hook school-shooting tragedy, and one instance in Mississippi shows just how society has changed.
A six-year-old boy that attends the Tupelo Public School District has been suspended indefinitely for pointing a pencil at another student and saying he was going to shoot her.
Trace Young the father of the boy described what happened.
“He picked up his little pencil he was drawing with and pointed it at a little girl across the table and said something to the extent of I’m going to shoot you.”
Young said he knows it was in a playful manner, and described how all six-year-old little boys play.
This instance happened to occur on the exact same day as the Sandy Hook tragedy in Connecticut and Young said he didn’t even know of the situation with his son until the following Monday, two days later.
That’s when Young said he got a call from the school.
“They said I needed to come get him and get him right now. He was now suspended from school and he was going to have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.”
He clearly wasn’t too happy with the decision.
“I was just beside myself. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
One might be inclined to think that this could have been a culmination of things that led to a suspension but Young says that isn’t the case.
“As far as I’m aware of he’s never had any disciplinary problems at school.” He pointed out there has never been any meeting regarding disciplinary problems with his son with any administrators.
News Mississippi contacted to Tupelo Public School District and due to the privacy policies in place at all schools they could not comment specifically on the case.
Spokeswoman for the district Kay Bishop said, “The district has a safe schools plan and throughout the year it conducts training for all staff in relative to the various components to the plan.”
But what exactly does that mean?
“It outlines how to do the investigation to decide if this does warrant action from the principal,” added Bishop.
Ultimately we wanted to know was there any leeway for an administrator, in this instance the principal, to step-in and decide psychiatric evaluation didn’t need to be undergone before a student could be allowed to be in the classroom again.
Apparently the answer is yes.
Bishop said, “It all depends on the results of the investigation. There are steps that help them determine if a situation arises.”
So in this case the six-year-old boy that held a pencil up and said he was going to shoot a classmate will now be forced to sit at home until he sees a licensed psychiatrist, of which the costs of about $80 will fall on the parents.
That ultimate decision was determined during the investigation evidently by school administration and their judgment.
“Somewhere along the line common sense has to prevail,” exclaimed Young.
He has told News Mississippi that there are possible plans to remove his son from the district and put him in another one, even if that involves moving his family.
Most might agree that with the way things have happened around the country it’s not surprising, nor wrong, for institutions such as school districts to have such policies in place. In fact, it just makes good sense.
But where does the line with liability and common sense cross in society as these types of occurrences become more common?
There’s really no right answer, but we want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments section of our Facebook Page. You can do that here.