A first-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Cincinnati, Ohio is serving a three day suspension for pretending to shoot another student with an “imaginary” bow and arrow at recess last week.
There was no bow. There was no arrow. It was pretend.
Yet according to WLWT, Principal Joe Crachiolo called the first-grader’s mother at work last Thursday to tell her what her son had done “while playing a game of Power Rangers at recess.” Crachiolo told the mother that the first-grader would be suspended for three days over his actions.
The mother–Martha Miele–pleaded with Crachiolo not to suspend her son over something he did in a pretend game, but the principal refused to budge. Instead, Crachiolo said, “He was going to stand firm and that he was not going to change [the punishment].”
The next day, Crachiolo sent a letter home to the first-grader’s parents, part of which said, “I have no tolerance for any real, pretend, or imitated violence.” And he went on to emphasize once more that “out of school suspension” would be required.
The suspension began Friday, October 30, and included Monday and Tuesday, November 2 and 3.
Martha and her husband Matthew contend that the principal did not have the power to issue the suspension to begin ith, according to rules regarding suspension set forth by the archdiocese in the Education Policy Manual.
For example, page 18, Section 407.02 of the Educational Policy Manual For School Administrators says that “in cases where a student is suspended, these procedures must be followed:
a) Written notification is to be sent to the parents and student indicating the reason for suspension. The notification should also include the length of
time of the suspension.
b) A conference must be held between the school representatives and the family before or during the suspension.
c) When a student’s behavior constitutes a threat, physically endangers herself/himself or others, or causes serious disruption to instruction, she/he may be removed immediately, with due process requirements to be fulfilled as soon as practical.
The Mieles say these steps were not followed when their 6-year-old was suspended three days for pretending to shoot a bow and arrow that did not exist.
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