Nickolas Taylor, a fifth-grader, was suspended after pointing an imaginary ray gun – his finger – and mouthing laser sounds in the school’s cafeteria last Friday, said Brian Taylor, Nickolas’ father.
“I think this is very slanderous toward Nickolas and his character,” said Taylor. “It was non-threatening. He’s just a typical boy with an imagination.”
A conduct slip, written by Assistant Principal Noah Collins, lists the offense as a threat. Collins could not be reached for comment despite numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment – nor could Stacy Principal Nancy Angelini. Superintendent Robert Tremblay also did not return phone calls and emails.
In the school’s 88-page handbook, threats are listed as an offense punishable by detention, suspension, or even expulsion based on the severity. The level of severity is often at the discretion of the administrator tasked to reprimand the student, said School Committee Chairperson Scott Harrison.
Policies against threats and guns have been implemented in the district for decades, he said. The School Committee has made no recent revisions to the policy. Though the handbook explicitly lists toy weapons as items banned from school grounds, there is no clause that specifically addresses imaginary weapons.
In the report provided by Brian Taylor, Collins writes two girls came to him saying that Nickolas cut the lunch line and, when confronted, pointed the imaginary gun at them while mouthing the shooting sounds.
In an interview with the Daily News, Nickolas said he was standing behind the girls and was shooting his imaginary gun in no particular direction. Nickolas has no history of discipline outside detentions for incomplete school work, said Brian Taylor.
Nickolas has been diagnosed with ADHD and sometimes is disciplined because he is hyperactive and fails to focus, Brian Taylor said. “He’s confused as to why he got suspended,” said Brian Taylor. “He doesn’t realize he did something wrong.”
On Monday, Taylor said he had a half-hour conversation with Collins but the assistant principal did not lift the suspension. “There’s a complete disconnect between policy and reality,” said Taylor.
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