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Punishment Upheld for Kindergartner Who Imagined Finger as Gun
AP ^ | June 22, 2003

Posted on 06/21/2003 11:47:10 PM PDT by sarcasm

SAYREVILLE, N.J., June 21 — The Sayreville school district did not violate the civil rights of a kindergartner it suspended three years ago for pretending his hand was a gun and threatening to shoot his friends as they played during recess, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The ruling, issued Thursday by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and first reported in The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, affirmed a federal court decision last year. In that decision, a Federal District Court in Newark had dismissed a lawsuit filed by the boy's parents.

The parents, Scot and Cassandra Garrick, sued the school district after their son and three other pupils at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School were suspended for three days after an incident on March 15, 2000.

The children were playing at the time, pretending that their fingers were guns and saying to one another, "I want to shoot you." Their words were overheard by classmates, who told teachers.

The suspensions, part of the district's "zero tolerance" policy on violence, came just two weeks after a Michigan first grader killed a classmate with a handgun he had taken to school.

The Garricks were the only parents to bring a civil suit against the district. They sought unspecified damages and wanted the suspension removed from their son's permanent record. The Garricks enrolled their child in private school after the incident.

The court ruled that the district had not violated the Garrick boy's rights to free speech and due process. It said there must be a balance between the "freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in the classroom" and "society's countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior."

The superintendent of schools, Dennis Fyffe, called the ruling a victory for the district.

"These students were suspended under the school policy that deals with general school behavior," Mr. Fyffe told The Home News Tribune. "This was not cops and robbers."

Nisha N. Mohammed, a spokeswoman for the Rutherford Institute, a conservative Virginia-based nonprofit group that is representing the Garricks, said the parents were outraged by the ruling and were determined to appeal.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: banglist; education; federalcourts; guns; newjersey; nj; schools; students; zerotolerance
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1 posted on 06/21/2003 11:47:11 PM PDT by sarcasm
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To: sarcasm
I remember this one when it was posted here
2 posted on 06/21/2003 11:50:48 PM PDT by dennisw (G-d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: sarcasm
Oh, those wacky educators!
3 posted on 06/21/2003 11:52:16 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This tagline has been banned.)
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To: sarcasm
The court ruled that the district had not violated the Garrick boy's rights to free speech . . .

Pointing your finger as you would a gun is not protected speech, but burning the flag is. I don't understand.

4 posted on 06/21/2003 11:55:32 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: sarcasm
Does this mean that, unless the elementary school child has
a concealed-carry permit, he must NEVER put his or her hands in their pockets?
5 posted on 06/22/2003 12:00:08 AM PDT by C210N
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To: sarcasm
"when fingers are outlawed, only outlaws will have fingers"

(is it OK to use sarcasm, when replying to sarcasm? ... LOL)
6 posted on 06/22/2003 12:11:58 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: Bobby777
seriously, America has gone insane ...
7 posted on 06/22/2003 12:12:23 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
Fools and their freedoms are soon parted.
8 posted on 06/22/2003 12:18:18 AM PDT by The Duke
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To: Bobby777
is it OK to use sarcasm, when replying to sarcasm?

Is that like a double negative?

9 posted on 06/22/2003 12:19:22 AM PDT by sarcasm (Tancredo 2004)
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To: The Duke
Fools and their freedoms are soon parted.

agreed ... but what to do? ... we need to toss the entire NEA, n'est pas?
10 posted on 06/22/2003 12:19:34 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
As for those who meted out the punishment, stupidity hath its own rewards. May they come swiftly.
11 posted on 06/22/2003 12:21:05 AM PDT by LTCJ
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To: Bobby777
Their words were overheard by classmates, who told teachers.

Nobody likes a tattle-tale!

12 posted on 06/22/2003 12:21:35 AM PDT by ActionNewsBill (Police state? What police state?)
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To: sarcasm
I think so ... LOL ... or is it an adjective to a noun? ... or an adverb to a moniker? ...

it's late ... 8)
13 posted on 06/22/2003 12:21:39 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
A few years ago I took two years of Japanese at our local community college. The ( Japanese ) instructor would occasionally "shoot" one of us with his finger as mock punishment for especial stupidity. Just think! I could have sued! I could be rich!

I have to say that, even at the time, I would think, "Wow, does he know what he's doing?"

O tempore! O mores!

14 posted on 06/22/2003 12:23:29 AM PDT by dr_lew
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To: sarcasm
The children were playing at the time, pretending that their fingers were guns and saying to one another, "I want to shoot you." Their words were overheard by classmates, who told teachers.

The programming is almost complete.

15 posted on 06/22/2003 12:24:15 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe
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To: ActionNewsBill
you know, if the kid had a real gun with real bullets that would be one thing ... soon I imagine, America's students will be wearing Chinese gray uniforms, marching in lockstep to state-approved mantras ...

well, I'm stretching that a bit, but this is just silly ... like the kid who pointed a French Fry at a teacher ... imagine if it had been a Hot Pocket!
16 posted on 06/22/2003 12:24:42 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: dr_lew
The ( Japanese ) instructor would occasionally "shoot" one of us with his finger as mock punishment for especial stupidity

thank goodness you survived! ... hehe ... good story though ...
17 posted on 06/22/2003 12:27:03 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: Smokin' Joe
bingo.
18 posted on 06/22/2003 12:27:26 AM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
And the NEA doesn't understand why so many parents are choosing private or homeschools over public schools.

A finger gun? Geeze!

19 posted on 06/22/2003 12:29:24 AM PDT by bjcintennessee
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To: ActionNewsBill
Nobody likes a tattle-tale!

True but sadly the government school system is indoctrinating the students to all be tattle-tales.

20 posted on 06/22/2003 12:46:48 AM PDT by c-b 1
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To: sarcasm
The superintendent of schools, Dennis Fyffe, called the ruling a victory for the district.

Not really .. especially when parents stop sending their kids to public schools because of crap like this ..

21 posted on 06/22/2003 12:50:57 AM PDT by Mo1
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To: sarcasm
This kid should be punished in a way that meets his crime:

Since he "pretended" to have a gun, then they should "pretend " to make him stay after school or "pretend" to have him sit in the corner.

22 posted on 06/22/2003 3:16:56 AM PDT by waterstraat
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To: sarcasm
The children were playing at the time, pretending that their fingers were guns

kindergartners suspended for that?

Ridiculous.
Wrong finger. Wrong use.
To the Sayreville school district and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia :



23 posted on 06/22/2003 3:35:00 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: bjcintennessee
A finger gun? Geeze!

If you let them use finger guns,
the next thing you know, some
kid will be pointing fish sticks
at innocent onlookers.  It has
to stop now!
24 posted on 06/22/2003 12:24:58 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: dennisw
Wasn't there also an incident recently where a boy was suspended for drawing a picture of a gun in school?

I homeschooled!! And we're taking the youngest, now 16, for shooting lessons this summer. I know we're late in getting started, but he'll be a fast learner.

25 posted on 06/22/2003 12:32:54 PM PDT by RightField (the older you get ..... the older "old" is ......)
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To: Calpernia; dbwz; Freemeorkillme; ladylib; backhoe; EdReform
I wonder if the Rutherford Institute helped them out or not.
26 posted on 06/22/2003 8:26:45 PM PDT by Coleus (God is Pro Life and Straight http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/notify?detach=1)
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To: sarcasm
Not that I'm adding too much here; but, I was at Discovery House (children's hands on museum in East Brunswick) 3 days after this incident with my children. Woodrow Wilson Elementary had a class there for a school trip at the same time.

I spoke to some of the parents and teacher about this. The children were only playing at recess. Reinacting some in vogue cartoon. On paper it is referred to as Cowboys and Indians; however, I think it was Power Rangers.

How can anyone possibly teach children they can't reinact their shows?
27 posted on 06/22/2003 8:54:19 PM PDT by Calpernia (Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.)
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To: sarcasm
Our NJ county paper had a nice article on homeschooling this week.

One mother is an adjunct professor at William Paterson(I believe it's William Paterson) and one father is an administrator at Columbia University.

The impression I got is that they are homeschooling for reasons other than academics.
28 posted on 06/23/2003 4:03:53 AM PDT by ladylib
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To: ladylib
"The impression I got is that they are homeschooling for reasons other than academics. "

According to CBS they must be child abusers.

29 posted on 10/15/2003 8:32:40 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: Bobby777

Support the right to own and bear arms......
Literally... arms, hands, fingers...


30 posted on 10/15/2003 8:36:26 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: TomGuy
Got a permit for that finger?
31 posted on 10/15/2003 8:37:38 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: sarcasm
The Sayreville school district did not violate the civil rights of a kindergartner it suspended three years ago for pretending his hand was a gun and threatening to shoot his friends as they played during recess, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Is there some court that can rule that they violated the laws of common sense, and confine them to live on an island somewhere so us normal people can be spared their company? At least for a while?

32 posted on 10/15/2003 8:38:50 PM PDT by Snuffington
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To: sarcasm
Pathetic. Schools are turning into a bunch of pansies.

How many kids haven't used the finger as a gun.

33 posted on 10/15/2003 8:40:18 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan ("I don't want to Raise Taxes" "I think everything must be looked at" - Jennifer Granholm. (D))
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To: *bang_list
Bang!
34 posted on 10/15/2003 8:42:08 PM PDT by Ches
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To: Dan from Michigan
How many kids haven't used the finger as a gun.

quick! write down their names ... we've got to turn them in ...

just kidding ... people are so freakin' paranoid ... at the point one feels threatened by a kid pointing his finger, it's time for a little analysis and some prescription pills ...
35 posted on 10/15/2003 9:02:50 PM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. " ~ Albert Einstein (1879-1955) ~

36 posted on 10/15/2003 9:06:39 PM PDT by HoustonCurmudgeon (PEACE - Through Superior Firepower)
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To: Bobby777
"just kidding ... people are so freakin' paranoid ... at the point one feels threatened by a kid pointing his finger, it's time for a little analysis and some prescription pills ... "

But how do we get the teachers on Ritalin?

37 posted on 10/15/2003 9:38:32 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: sarcasm
SAYREVILLE, N.J

I don't know where Sayreville, NJ is. But they must have an elected school board. Doesn't this kind of crap make the local news? Wouldn't sane people in the district laugh the principal out of town or raise a ruckus with the board?

Evidently not. Therefore, they deserve what they've got.

38 posted on 10/15/2003 9:47:55 PM PDT by DeFault User
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To: DannyTN
make 'em watch Gigli and Madonna's Swept Away over and over ... that oughta do it ... but it may be against the Geneva Convention ...

we'll have to use the Leroy Neiman paintings ... hehe
39 posted on 10/15/2003 10:01:42 PM PDT by Bobby777
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To: Bobby777
Except for knowing a little about Madonna, I have no clue what you are talking about.

And somehow I feel grateful for that. LOL
40 posted on 10/15/2003 10:24:28 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: DannyTN
"Gigli" is the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez movie dud of the summer ... all Madonna movies are bad (I've heard, never actually saw one, except about 5 minutes of "Desperately Seeking Susan") ... the Leroy Nieman paintings, I believe, are like the dogs playing poker, etc.

referenced in "Top Secret" ... fun if you liked "Airplane" ...

41 posted on 10/15/2003 10:54:09 PM PDT by Bobby777
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To: sarcasm
Its insane. We're punishing kindergartner toddlers for playing cops and robbers. This isn't zero tolerance; this is political correctness run amok. Shame on the court for upholding this travesty of justice!
42 posted on 10/15/2003 10:58:34 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: gcruse
Hows that Florida Heat getting to ya ? Ready to get back up here to the Panhandle . Gonna be near zero this December....I know you'll miss that !

Stay Safe !

43 posted on 10/15/2003 11:36:05 PM PDT by Squantos ("Ubi non accusator, ibi non judex.")
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To: sarcasm
Can you imagine what these feeble-brains must think of the game "cowboys and indians"?
44 posted on 10/15/2003 11:38:52 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: sarcasm

45 posted on 10/16/2003 6:04:27 AM PDT by Joe Brower ("Man has only those rights he can defend.")
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To: DannyTN
I think poor Dan Rather is getting blasted by everyone about his program on homeschoolers/child abusers, especially when people found out that the producer of the show told a North Carolina homeschooling group that they wouldn't be "happy with the report" and that the reason for the show was to increase governmental control over homeschoolers. That's pretty one-sided reporting as far as I'm concerned. I e-mailed CBS saying that.

The reporting staff and Rather just showed their ignorance of homeschooling and the fact that they have an agenda (regulating homeschooling). I wouldn't doubt it if the NEA put them up to it.

46 posted on 10/16/2003 7:17:04 AM PDT by ladylib
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To: sarcasm
Okay. So, thinking this through, you can "give" the finger and it's ok. You can "point" a finger and it's ok. But you can't point a finger and verbalize. Or was it the 5 yr olds powerful recoil action that gave away that he had a loaded finger? Hmmmm. Do you think he'd have gotten in less trouble for a spitball?
47 posted on 10/16/2003 7:39:20 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW ("I'm gonna need a hacksaw" - Jack Bauer)
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To: ladylib
"I think poor Dan Rather is getting blasted by everyone about his program on homeschoolers/child abusers, especially when ..."

I hope you are right. I hope he is getting blasted by more than just the conservative press.

I read where the major media is complaining because Bush is starting to bypass them and go directly to local affiliates to tell them the progress made in Iraq.

48 posted on 10/16/2003 7:41:28 AM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: DJ MacWoW
"Do you think he'd have gotten in less trouble for a spitball? "

Depends entirely on whether he imagined the spitball was an artillary shell or not.

49 posted on 10/16/2003 8:03:24 AM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: Squantos
Hiya, SQ. It's 82 during the day, 60 at night. Usually partly cloudy and a good rain every now and then. The neighbors haven't watered their lawn since May yet the place is a green as a jungle. Ah, the good life. Cheers!!
50 posted on 10/16/2003 8:13:13 AM PDT by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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