10-Year-Old Boy Arrested, Charged for Bringing Toy Gun to School

| by Michael Allen

An unidentified 10-year-old boy was arrested today for bringing a toy handgun to Douglas MacArthur Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia.

The fifth-grader was charged as a juvenile for brandishing a weapon, reports

Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman said the boy was also suspended from school.

On Monday, the boy showed the plastic gun to at least one other student during a bus ride home from the school, but didn't say the weapon was fake.

School officials learned about the bus incident on Monday evening and immediately started investigating. Alexandria police spoke to school administrators on Tuesday morning.

When the boy arrived, police found the toy in his backpack. The child was taken into custody, booked at a juvenile detention center and then released to his parents.

The incident was the latest in many similar "toy gun" arrests and suspensions in which children posed no harm to themselves or anyone else, but were treated like armed criminals.

Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said that the toy resembled a semi-automatic handgun with a silver and had a black handle, but did not explain how that type of toy was illegal.

"Any time we get a call like this, we take it very seriously until we can determine the extent of the weapon, if it's real or not, and what the student intends to do with it," Donaldson told the

"A toy gun is no danger to anyone," said Liane Rozzell, executive director of Families & Allies of Virginia's Youth. "A 10 year old is not a fully-formed adult by any means. And that kind of situation should be dealt with outside the courts and the justice system."

"That just shows a certain hysteria with the school administration," said Robin Ficker, a Bethesda attorney who is defending a similar case. "What is the point? To say that you don't like guns, you don't like the Second Amendment?"