- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Playtime in school turned problematic for a 5-year-old Massachusetts boy who made a toy gun out of two Legos.

Joseph Cardosa is part of the after-school program at Hyannis West Elementary School on Cape Cod. His parents received a letter a few days ago that said Joseph had received his first warning for using toys inappropriately, and that upon a second warning, he will be suspended from the program for two weeks. Joseph’s parents, Shelia Cruz and Octavio Cardosa, say the school is taking things too far.

“It’s not like he’s designing a machine gun,” Mr. Cardosa said.

“A little bit of re-direction would have been enough,” Ms. Cruz said.

This is at least the third instance in the past few weeks in which students have been punished for carrying objects or making gestures that were shaped like guns.

Just last week, a South Philadelphia fifth-grader was searched and scolded in front of her class after trying to throw away a folded piece of paper shaped like a gun.

A rural Pennsylvania girl was suspended from kindergarten Jan. 10 after she told another girl she was going to shoot her with her Hello Kitty toy gun, which shoots soapy bubbles.

A 6-year-old boy was suspended from his school in Silver Spring, Md., on Jan. 3 for pointing his finger at another student and saying, “Pow.”

The principal of Hyannis West Elementary told Fox 25: “We need a safe environment for our students. While someone might think that making a Lego gun is just an action of a 5-year-old, to other 5-year-olds, that might be a scary experience.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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