The Insane Punishment a School Gave a Teen Over a Water Gun


The Insane Punishment a School Gave a Teen Over a Water Gun


What is the appropriate punishment for a high school student found on campus in possession of a water gun?

The Autauga County Board of Education, which covers communities near Montgomery, Alabama, decided that a 16-year-old girl with a water gun was in violation of the board’s firearms policy. So Sara Allena “Laney” Nichols received a one-year expulsion.

According to a report in the Montgomery Advertiser, Laney explained that she acquired the water pistol “as a joke” from a male classmate in a school hallway at Prattville High School.

The school’s security cameras captured footage of Laney holding the toy gun, but not of the male student holding it at any time. He received no punishment.

Laney said she put the water pistol in her backpack and then, the same day, on the back seat of her car in the school parking lot. It went unnoticed by the principal and school officials until a classmate reported to the administration a few days later that Laney had a gun.

Prattville High officials, following proper procedures, questioned Laney. She told them that the purported gun was really a water gun and was in her car, parked on school grounds, at that time. Confirming that Laney, in fact, possessed a harmless piece of plastic, school officials successfully cleared the threat.

Laney’s mother, Tara Herring, says her daughter got a 10-day suspension. Herring conceded that the black water pistol may have looked like a real gun at first glance, but is made of plastic and clearly distinguishable the second someone touches it.

That could have been the end of the story, but the school board decided to hand down a one-year expulsion for Laney’s violation of the Parent/Student Code of Conduct, which classifies possession of a weapon as a “major offense” punishable by expulsion.

The board’s Policy Manual prohibits students from possessing firearms on school grounds, including cars parked in the school lot. “Any student who violates this policy shall be expelled for a period of one year,” it says.

The Policy Manual, however, also provides that the superintendent of schools “may modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.” Thus far, Superintendent Spence Agee has declined to comment on the incident, although if he has any common sense, he’ll modify this draconian penalty.

Also at issue is whether Laney’s water pistol even qualifies as a prohibited firearm under school board rules. The Code of Conduct broadly defines a firearm as an object that “is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive charge or by compressed air or by spring action.”

A water gun could fall under this broad definition of a firearm only if water qualifies as a projectile and the plastic toy uses compressed air or a spring mechanism to release it. Surely, the board did not envision a harmless water gun when it adopted its firearm prohibition.

The Policy Manual provides an even stricter definition by adopting the definition of a firearm provided by federal law (18 U.S.C. § 921). Under the statute, a “firearm” is “any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.” Notably, not a water gun.

As the New Jersey State Supreme Court once reasoned, the statute is “talking about a real gun capable of discharging a projectile of some sort, not talking about a toy gun, not talking about a water gun, not talking about a plastic gun that can’t fire a projectile” (State v. Gantt (1986).

Laney’s water pistol is not a firearm under the adopted definition of Autauga County schools’ Policy Manual.

Education officials are understandably hypersensitive to threats of guns on campus, but the danger posed by real guns at school should not allow for a gross overreaction that could derail a student’s academic career.

Conflicting standards, overly broad definitions, and vague policies plague the criminal justice system with the possibility of absurd results. The same is happening here.

In this case, Agee should yield to reason, if not compassion, and use his discretion to modify the expulsion or yield to the statutory definition of a firearm to reduce the level of Laney’s offense.

Laney’s family has hired a lawyer and is threatening to sue if the school board does not act to remove the “scarlet letter E” (expulsion) from Laney’s record. It should not take a lawsuit to determine that a water pistol is not a firearm.

A 16-year-old girl deserves more from America’s public education system than a one-year expulsion for possession of a water gun. (For more from the author of “The Insane Punishment a School Gave a Teen Over a Water Gun” please click HERE) http://joemiller.us/2017/04/insane-punishment-school-gave-teen-wate...

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Comment by Karma Miller on April 21, 2017 at 8:25am

        MAYBE WE THE PUBLIC SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT TOY GUNS LOOKING SO MUCH LIKE REAL ONES !!   THEY COULD BE DESIGNED VERY DIFFERENT FROM REAL ONES !!!!  WOULD THIS BE TO MUCH TO ASK OF THE MANUFACTURES ????  WHY NOT JUST PUT IT IN THE HAND BOOK OF THE SCHOOL NO GUNS OF ANY KIND EVEN PLASTIC TOY ONES !!!!

LIGHTER SIDE

ALERT ALERT

Refugee Complains:
‘Too Many Laws’ In Western World

 During a recent interview with local media in Australia, a Sudanese refugee and mother of six suggested that the Australian government deserves the blame for her eldest son’s propensity for crime.

According to Nine News, Asha Awya’s eldest son is an unemployed gang member who has spent time in prison. Instead of pinning the blame for her son’s actions on him, however, Awya feels the Australian government deserves it for passing “too many laws.”

She said so during an appearance last week on the Australian program “A Current Affair,” where she also appeared to slam actual Australians for allegedly not making it easy for refugees to assimilate.

“They (her kids) came from a very traumatized environment, and coming to Australia, trying to fit in with the religion and the friends around them at school, is very challenging,” she said. “We have all these laws, so it’s just very confusing, and I feel sorry for the kids because they don’t know how to deal with this.”

But that’s not all. Awya also complained that the government provides her with too little money.

“The Centrelink money is not enough,” she said, referencing a welfare program operated by the Australian government’s Department of Human Services.

“Sometimes I cut some of their entertainment,” she added, saying in effect that she sometimes stops handing out allowances so as to reduce her costs.

And this, she believes, only serves to incentivize her son’s desire to commit crime.

“If mum always not giving me money, there’s no pocket money, then maybe I have to find a way of stealing and get my own money,” she said, articulating what she believes goes through her son’s mind.

So even though the Australian government graciously (and perhaps naively) allowed this Sundanese woman to migrate to the country, she basically resents this same government because it refuses to lavishly provide for her and her family’s every single need, including their desire for entertainment.

Behold the perfect example of a spoiled-rotten, ungrateful refugees, ladies and gentlemen.

You know, the media often accuse those who criticize their respective governments for allowing refugees to flood their neighborhoods of harboring racist views. If only it were that simple.

Many Westerners, including your truly — a citizen whose family immigrated to the West from India over three decades ago — take issue with the behavior of refugees.

Besides making nary an effort to assimilate, many refugees wind up on welfare, eschewing hard work and effort for a life of government subsistence and oftentimes a life of crime as well.

Now, consider what Awya told “A Current Affair” and answer me this: Is it really “racist” that Westerners such as yours truly prefer that migrants such as her remain in their own country instead of being allowed to migrate to ours?

Please share this story on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think about this Sudanese refugee’s disgusting lack of gratitude.

What do you think about this migrant trying to blame her son’s behavior on the Australian government? Scroll down to comment below!

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