Pretend gun suspension reversed

8-year-old suspended after using finger as toy gun

HARMONY, Fla. - The Osceola School Board admitted wrongdoing Tuesday night after administrators suspended an 8-year-old for using his finger as a toy gun in September.

Bonnie Bennett told Local 6 that administrators took away her son's suspension late last week and replaced it with an excused absence.

"This should not have happened to an 8-year-old child," Bennett told board members. "This punishment was a result of an overzealous administration in my opinion."

Her son, Jordan Bennett, had been suspended after using his finger as a play gun with another student at Harmony Community School near St. Cloud. Staff members at the school said he violated the code of student conduct.

Jay Wheeler, the Osceola County School Board Chairman, disagreed.

"I don't think the code of conduct is the issue. What happened in this incident was not violent, there was no assault, no battery, and no profanity. It defies logic," Wheeler said.

After a public outcry, the school initially offered to change Jordan's punishment from an "act of violence" to an "inappropriate or obscene gesture," but Bennett refused.

"I kept pushing because they did come back with a second offer and I didn't like it," Bennett said.

At the meeting, Wheeler apologized to Bennett and told Local 6 that school administrators need to do a better job of following procedure.

"There are rules and state statues in place for contacting of parents for suspension and that I don't think we followed," Wheeler said.

Bennett is grateful her son's record was cleared but is still encouraging other parents to speak up.

"If its wrong, speak up. Say something, because schools are not one hundred percent right."

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