“Me and my friends were at the lunch table, and we showed each other our Legos,” he told WABC-TV, referring to a show-and-tell session Tuesday. His parents were flabbergasted that the toy has caused this big of an issue. “He’s really a good kid and the fact that he was this upset over something that need to just be, ‘Hey, don’t bring that to school, just put it away in your bag.’ And it would’ve been done.” His mom, Laura Timoney, told Fox 5 News.
PS 52 Principal Evelyn Matroianni didn’t think the little gun is anything to take lightly – it violated Department of Education rules and she felt entirely justified in threatening to suspend Patrick. The city has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to guns in school though, even fake ones. They leave it up to the principal to decide whether or not a fake gun looks too realistic, and if it does, what the punishment would be. After a meeting between Principal Matroianni and Ms. Timoney, Patrick was not suspended.
Patrick’s mother is confused about why Patrick’s armed Lego figurine is so much worse than another child who had an action figure clutching an axe. “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? It could poke you in the eye?” She wondered to WABC.
Zero tolerance policies regarding toy guns have become common place in American schools since the infamous school shooting in Columbine that brought school violence into the national spotlight. Suspensions and even expulsions over the toys have become more common as districts struggle to make children, and parents, feel safe at school.