Five-year-old Caitlin Miller was suspended from school in Hoke County, North Carolina, on March 27 for playing with a stick that resembled a gun (video below).
Caitlin and her friends were playing "King and Queen" on the school playground on March 24. She pretended to be a guard who protected the royal couple. At one point, she picked up the stick and pretended to shoot an intruder, notes WTVD.
The Hoke County School system issued a statement:
School board policy 4331 states that Hoke County Schools will not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student. Any student engaging in such behavior will be removed from the classroom or school environment for as long as is necessary to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning.
Caitlin's mother, Brandy Miller, told WTVD: "I mean, we know why it's bad because we watch the news, but then I have to tell my kid you're not allowed to play like that at school because people do bad things to kids your age."
According to Brandy, her young daughter has been alienated by teachers and other students. Brandy is hoping the school will apologize for causing the shunning.
Brandy unloaded on the school system on her Facebook page on March 24:
Tell [Caitlin] what she did wrong, then let me know so I can teach her and explain in a way she'll understand. What the hell happened to days when little kids could play like that? Don't they still make Nerf guns and water guns that kids shoot each other with? Don't kids still play paintball and laser tag?
I can see a suspension for an older kid who knows better and who is actually threatening other kids. Who the hell felt so threatened by a 5 year old girl that they thought she needed to be suspended? When I showed up to get her, she looked so confused and didn't understand why I was there or what a suspension was or why it was happening to her. It was sad.
And trying to explain to her that playing like that is wrong was a challenge....because it's not wrong to play like a damn kid when you're a kid! I'm so mad. I wish my kids were raised in a better time period when just being a kid was perfectly acceptable...
It's just a day suspension. I feel bad for her. She feels like all the teachers hate her. I can't imagine being 5 and feeling that way. Apparently, the schools have a zero tolerance policy for any kind of play with a "weapon-like object."
It's pissing me off that one minute she's running around playing with her friends, and the next minute her teacher is snatching her up and dragging her to the office to get suspended. She was so scared and confused. Caitlin is a handful, but I feel like this was way blown out of proportion.
The post has since been removed from public view.