An Illinois preschool suspended a 4-year-old boy for bringing a shell casing from a fired bullet to the school.
According to his mother, Kristy Jackson, Hunter had been attending the school for around a year and is upset over the suspension, KTVI reports.
Without his parents knowing, he found the object at home and thought it was interesting enough to take to school on March 21 to show to his friends.
"This is a spent .22 caliber bullet casing," said Jackson, with the offending object in her hand.
"I was met with a stone-faced teacher who said that my son had a shotgun bullet. I was horrified thinking, 'where could he have gotten this?'" Jackson said, speaking of the exchange she had with the teacher when she picked up her son from the Troy preschool on March 21.
Later, she and her husband received a letter from the director of the school saying their son had been suspended for seven days. In the letter, the director pointed out Hunter had been warned about using other toys as imaginary guns, which goes against school rules.
Their last warning had taken place on March 20, the day before they found him with the shell casing.
The vice president of the school said he was considered than just the shell casing incident and that the school was applying policy. Citing reasons of confidentiality, he declined to provide additional details.
"He's cried about it and he doesn't understand why his school hates him," Jackson said of Hunter.
She wrote a post about the suspension on her Facebook page, and it has since been shared more than 1,500 times.
Hunter's grandfather, a police officer in nearby Caseyville, Illinois, was responsible for leaving the casing where the boy could find it.
"[Hunter] just was wandering around in a field and picked up and put it in his pocket and didn’t tell his parents ... it’s paranoia. It’s something that’s become quite an epidemic where guns are automatically assumed that they’re bad ... and I’m not sure how a seven-day suspension teaches my son anything about tolerance or anything about why he was wrong. It just means his school doesn’t want him there because of things he enjoys," Jackson said.
In her Facebook post, she wrote: "This was a teaching moment. He never hurt anyone, or threatened anyone. This could literally happen to ANY CHILD who happened to find one on the ground and thought it was cool."
The vice president of the school let her know that he notified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to comply with procedure.
Jackson has yet to decide whether Hunter will go back to school after the suspension.