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Kids Suspended for Using 'Finger' Guns: What do you Think?

Three six-year-olds have been suspended in Maryland this month for playing with guns made from their thumbs and index fingers at school. What are your thoughts?

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches in which local parents, caregivers and other members of the community are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting topics.

This week’s Moms Talk question relates to distinguishing between child’s play and real danger.

Three 6-year-olds have been suspended this month in two separate incidents in Maryland for playing with pretend guns “made” from their thumbs and index fingers. The parents are upset. In one case, a school psychologist says there was no malicious intent. Other mental health professionals say that at the age of six, children cannot even understand why adults are upset when they point a finger and go “pow, pow.” One school district reversed the suspension after the parents appealed. The debate has centered around what’s child’s play, what’s not and how to tell the difference between the two in a society that is debating the issue of gun control at unprecedented level in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting in December 2012.   

And that brings us to this week’s Moms Talk question:

What do you think about children being suspended from school for using pretend “finger guns?”

Our Moms Council members include:

  • Lisa Amey of Upper Milford Township is a stay-at-home mom to an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and longtime member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International.
  • Lisa Drew of Emmaus is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17 years of experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
  • Jennifer Elston of Emmaus has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
  • Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother of a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, NJ in January.
  • Lisa Merk of Lower Macungie is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
  • Zoila Bonilla Paul of Bethlehem is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
  • Beth Sharpless of Emmaus works part time in a local emergency department as a nurse and part time from home as a customer support specialist. She has two children -- a boy who is almost 2 and a 5-year-old girl. She says they love spending time outdoors and dancing.

If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email jennifer.marangos@patch.com.

Kim February 08, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Actually very well. It was Parkland H.S.. I was very impressed with the new principal. I'd rather not get into particulars.
Jan Earp February 09, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I'm glad it went well! Hopefully, people will come to their senses.
Anonymous Poster March 19, 2013 at 02:38 AM
This is absolutely ridiculous. Even as a person with a strong dislike of guns in general, I cannot see what danger or disruption pretending to use your fingers as a gun poses for any school in the country. If I were still young and in elementary school, I would have been suspended many times over with policies like this. School officials need to wake up and realize that these reactionary zero-tolerance policies—however well-intentioned—are doing more harm than good.
Parkland Parent March 19, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Take a CLOSE look in the home of this child. VERY CLOSE LOOK.
Jill March 19, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Parkland Parent, What do you mean? Are you talking about the three 6 yr. olds?

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