April 27, 2009

Students suspended for making slingshots

A Pittsburgh elementary school said five fourth-graders were suspended on weapons charges for making slingshots from pencils, rubber bands and paper clips.

Principal Kathi Shirey of Fawn Elementary School said a teacher and three students were hit by paper clips launched from the slingshots, created by the children from their school supplies, WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, reported Monday. The teacher and students were not injured.

Everyone uses pencils while in school, but you would never think someone would use them to create a weapon, but that's exactly how the district sees it, Shirey said. It's an object that could have caused serious injury.

The principal said the school district could have expelled the students for an entire school year, but due to their ages, they were only suspended for one day and one of their scheduled field trips was taken away.

However, Melanie Chelko, mother of one of the suspended students, said the punishment was still too harsh.

This was not a weapon to them. This was a toy, she said.

Chelko said her son came home and cried for three hours on the couch because he was suspended. That was torment enough for him.