LEGO My Gun: S.I. Boy Faced Suspension Over Tiny Toy Weapon

By Grace West
|  Thursday, Feb 4, 2010  |  Updated 6:46 AM EDT
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A fourth grade New Dorp boy faced the prospect of suspension after the principal at his South Beach school saw him playing with an action figure carrying a toy machine gun.

Patrick Timoney, a 9-year-old student at PS 52, and friends were playing with LEGOs during their lunch period when the principal took him into her office over the two-inch toy gun carried by a standard policeman figure.

Margie Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, told the Staten Island Advance that there is a no-tolerance policy for toy guns in schools.

Therefore the principal, Evelyn Matroianni, deemed the pinky-sized toy gun suspension-worthy. Matroianni told Laura Timoney, the boy’s mother, that she would check with a DOE security administrator.

But Ms. Timoney told the Advance that the DOE administrator said no other action was necessary after the toy gun is confiscated and returned to the parents at the end of the day.

According to Ms. Timoney, while another child had an action figure holding an ax, her son was the only one to be approached by the principal.

"It's crazy," Ms. Timoney told the Advance, "He's missing class time, all for silly toys. The boys are just trying to relax. If there's a real threat, why not call the Police Department?"

A conference about the matter was held among the principal, parents, and the child.

"The issue was resolved," Ms. Feinberg told the Advance. "The child will not be bringing the toy gun into school."

The DOE states that all imitation weapons are prohibited because they are regarded as harmful to the school community. The principal can evaluate if the weapon looks realistic before considering suspension. 

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