RAEFORD, N.C. — Make-believe is now a forbidden activity on the playground at some schools – but only if it involves a pretend gun.
Five-year-old Caitlin Miller discovered this the hard way when she was taken to the principal’s office during recess and suspended.
Her misdeed: “turning a stick into a gun and threatening to shoot and kill other students,” a note from the assistant principal said. Or, at least, that’s how the school saw it.
Caitlin and her friends were playing “king and queen” during recess on the Raeford, N.C., school playground when she noticed a stick shaped like a Star Trek phaser pistol on the ground.
She picked up the stick and used it to guard the castle’s king and queen against an intruder – at least until teachers noticed and took her to the principal’s office. There, Caitlin was given a note to take home to her mom. It included a picture of the stick. Caitlin was suspended from school for one day.
“One minute she’s playing with her friends and the next her teachers are dragging her to the principal’s office,” her mother, Brandy Miller, told WTVD TV. “She’s confused. Nobody explained anything to her.”
The school stood by its action against the kindergartener.
“Any student engaging in such behavior will be removed from the classroom or school environment for as long as is necessary to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning,” a press release from the Hoke County School District reads.
Caitlin has grown up around guns, as her father serves in the Army. Her mother did not know what to tell the girl, not wanting to bring up the subject of school shootings.
Now, the girl feels uncomfortable at school.
“She feels like all the teachers hate her,” Miller wrote on Facebook. “I can’t imagine being five and feeling that way.”
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