An Ohio first grader has reportedly been disciplined for pretending to shoot a classmate with an imaginary bow and arrow.
Matthew and Martha Miele of Cincinnati say their son, 6, was suspended from Our Lady of Lourdes School for three days following an incident on Oct. 29, in which he mimed shooting another student with a pretend bow and arrow at recess, WLWT reports (video below).
The youngster was reportedly playing a game of Power Rangers with classmates when he made the bow and arrow motion.
Martha said she was notified of the suspension in a phone call from the school's principal, Joe Crachiolo, on the day of the incident.
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"I didn't really understand," Martha told WLWT. "I had him on the phone for a good amount of time so he could really explain to me what he was trying to tell me."
She added that she questioned the necessity of the punishment.
"Does this really need to be a three-day suspension under the circumstances that he was playing and he's 6 years old?" she allegedly asked the principal.
The Mieles said they sent Crachiolo an email on the evening of Oct. 29 and met with him in person on Oct. 30 to ask him to reconsider the punishment, but the principal wouldn't budge.
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Crachiolo sent a letter home to parents on Oct. 30, writing: "I have no tolerance for any real, pretend, or imitated violence. The punishment is an out of school suspension."
The family has reportedly also contacted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which has authority over the city's Catholic schools, and was told that someone would speak to the principal.
The suspension was in effect on Oct. 30, Nov. 2, and Nov. 3. The child is expected to return to school on Nov. 4.
The Mieles said they didn't know how to explain to their son why he was not allowed to go to school on those days.
"I can't stop him from pretending to be a super hero," Martha said. "I can't stop him from playing ninja turtles. I can't stop him from doing these things and I don't think it would be healthy to do so."
"His imagination can go limitless places," Matthew said. "We try to encourage that as parents."
He added that he believed Crachiolo to be a good principal who just made a bad decision.
The Mieles said they have not received any written notice of their son's punishment, although this is required by the archdiocese as part of formal suspension procedures.
This was not the first time a child's imagination has run afoul of school rules. In November 2014, a fifth grader in Milford, Massachusetts, was suspended for two days after he played a game of "shoot-em-up" with classmates while waiting in a lunch line, the Boston Globe reported at the time.