MARYLAND

Montgomery Co. student suspended for gun gesture gets school record cleared

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A 6-year-old Montgomery County student will have his record cleared after he was suspended for pretending to make a gun with his finger.

First-grader Rodney Lynch was suspended Dec. 21 from Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School, a public school in Silver Spring.

His parents were outraged by the punishment.

"I don't think the punishment fits the crime," mother Jeannie Lynch told ABC7 from the family's White Oak area home.

Thursday night, Lynch family attorney Robin Ficker said a letter from Roscoe Nix Elementary School Principal Annette Folkes stated that she was "...going to rescind the suspension and remove the record from [the child's] file."

On the day in question, Rodney said he was sent to the office for pretending his scissors were a gun earlier in the day.

Jeannie says he was sent to the office a total of three times that day.

The second incident was for something similar to the first. Rodney was suspended after the third incident.

In a letter shared with ABC7 by Ficker, Nix Assistant Principal Renee Garraway called the last time a "serious incident. Rodney threatened to shoot a student."

A letter later sent by attorneys of the school system does not repeat the "threatened to shoot a student" charge.

Instead the letter, signed by attorney Judith Bresler, says that the assistant principal had warned the family by phone before the last incident that any more similar behavior could result in a suspension.

It also says a guidance counselor had talked with Rodney about the inappropriateness of making shooting gestures.

"Yet, after meeting with the counselor and assistant principal," the letter says, "Rodney chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say 'Pow.'"

Rodney told ABC7 it was actually his friend who said pow, and he pointed at her to say stop after she had pointed at him.

The letter from the school system's attorneys went on to say, "Regardless of who said 'Pow,' there is no question that the student had been warned and counseled about the behavior."

The Lynch family said the situation could have been handled a number of ways; none of which had to involve suspending a 45 pound, 4'1" first grader.

"They're saying he threatened to shoot a student," said Rodney Lynch Sr. "He was playing."

The incidents happened on December 20, and Rodney served the suspension the next day.

The family and Ficker are trying to get the school system to remove the incident from Rodney's permanent record.

Rodney's parents say they are upset about more than the suspension. Rodney told them school officials asked him questions, such as whether his family owned a gun, without them present.

"I had to tell her all my video games," Rodney said about his teacher.

Ficker said of the school's decision, "The parents and the child are delighted with the result. We received calls from around the nation and many other parts of the world expressing support for the positions we took in this matter."

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