Local News

5-year-old Hoke County student suspended for using stick as gun during recess

Posted March 29
Updated March 30

— A Hoke County mother said that her 5-year-old daughter was suspended from school after pretending to use a stick as a gun during a game at recess Friday.

Brandy Miller said her daughter, Catlin, a student at J.W. McLaughlin Elementary School, was playing a game where two girls pretended to be a princess and queen and she was their security guard. A boy on the playground approached the girls and Catlin pointed the stick at him, Miller said.

The boy told a teacher, who sent Catlin to the principal’s office.

In a letter sent to Miller, Assistant Principal Brooke Griffie stated that Catlin was suspended for one day for “turning a stick into a gun and threatening to shoot and kill other students.”

In a statement, Hoke County school officials said that the district does not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student.

“It is our duty to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Therefore, we respond to all threats in a serious manner and take appropriate action,” the statement said.

Catlin returned to school on Tuesday.

The Hoke County Board of Education scheduled an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. Thursday to address the incident, which they said has led to "extensive harassment and threats directed at Hoke County Schools personnel.'


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  • Pam Snyder Apr 3, 8:58 a.m.
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    Ridiculous...I get zero tolerance for a lot of reasons. However, this little girl was playing a GAME and she found the "gun " on school grounds. I guess that means the lawn main range will be held accountable too? Zero tolerance should have meant the "weapon" wasn't EVEN ACCESSIBLE...this is beyond crazy....if she had held him at "gun point" I get it. This law is more for middle and high school I think. Lord knows as a child I would have been forced to be homeschooled then.....too many suspensions. Normal kids play.

  • Fred Neopolitano Mar 30, 5:21 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Oh yes, to decrease the number of lawsuits, have more lawsuits. Makes perfect sense to me. OMG

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 30, 4:56 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Excellent point!

  • Rachel Parrish Mar 30, 4:48 p.m.
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    Ah, let me get this straight. It's okay when a Muslim teen brings what looks like a bomb, that's actually a clock, to school. It's not okay for a kid to bring a stick. This is unbelievable.

  • John Gudmundson Mar 30, 2:35 p.m.
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    What ever happend to common sense?

  • William James Mar 30, 2:08 p.m.
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    If its a punishable offense to pretend a stick is a gun does'nt this mean the kids can't play Police Officer, Army, Power Rangers, Transformers, Spy, detective, wrestler, or anything cool?

  • Alison Bryan Mar 30, 1:25 p.m.
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    This story makes me embarrassed to admit that I live in North Carolina and that I'm a teacher.

  • Matt Smithe Mar 30, 12:57 p.m.
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    And these are the people in charge of educating our youth? Is it any wonder that our schools are failing? If they cannot apply critical thought to this I doubt they can to much of anything else. It's just plain sad.

  • Clif Bardwell Mar 30, 11:56 a.m.
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    It's utterly sad that the school administration doesn't know the definition of threat:

    1. a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.
    "members of her family have received death threats"
    synonyms: threatening remark, warning, ultimatum
    "Maggie ignored his threats" 2. a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger. "hurricane damage poses a major threat to many coastal communities"

  • Mike Kallam Mar 30, 11:44 a.m.
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    Our country and especially our schools have gone totally nuts. Guess she should have created a "Safe Zone" for the princess and queen instead.