Gun-Toting Kindergartner to Return to School
Posted November 13, 1997
DURHAM — The 5-year-old Durham boy who brought a loaded gun to school, could be back in class as soon as Friday morning. The schools pledge zero tolerance to weapons, but say this case deserved special consideration.
School board chairman Kathyrn Meyers says Superintendent Ann Delinger recommended to the board in closed session that the student be reinstated immediately.
Administrators had to weigh the life of one child against the responsibility for 29,000 other students. The kindergartner who brought a loaded gun to Club Boulevard Magnet School, will return to class.
Dr. Delinger says the decision was the most difficult thing she's ever done in her entire career, not just in Durham.
The schools pledge zero tolerance to weapons. But, leaders say the 5 year old probably didn't understand the consequences. One board member voted against allowing him back in school.
"To keep a kindergartner out of school for a year would not be good for that person," says board member Phyllis Scott, "but in the long run, it might make a statement to our 29,000 other kids that we mean business about this."
Donna Couch has a seven year old at Club Boulevard Magnet School. She says she's very pleased with the decision. Couch believes it could just as easily have been her in the place of the child's mother.
Administrators hope students in the entire school system learn from the decision, and because of it, a five year old won't have to sit out of a year of learning at Club Boulevard..
The child told authorities he got the gun from his mother's boyfriend. As part of his reinstatement, the boy must have no contact with the boyfriend, and he must move in with his father.