Pennsylvania Fifth-Grader Suspended for Pretend Bow and Arrow

A South Eastern School District fifth-grader was suspended in October for pantomiming shooting a classmate with an imaginary bow and arrow, and now the situation has been taken up by a civil-liberties organization based in Virginia.

The Rutherford Institute sent a letter to district Superintendent Rona Kaufmann, asking that the district rescind the suspension of John Jones and remove the weapons notation in his permanent record.

The institute has worked on several cases involving school zero-tolerance weapons policies the institute claims violate the students' liberties by refusing to address them on a case-by-case basis.

Just 'imagination': According to the group, John and his bow and arrow now fall into that category.

"You're punishing kids for imagination," said John Whitehead, founder and president of the institute. "If you go see 'The Hunger Games,' (Disney's) 'Brave,' they're shooting bows and arrows everywhere."

During the week of Oct. 14, 10-year-old John -- called "Johnny" by his mother, Beverly Jones, as she recounts what he told her -- walked to the front of his classroom at South Eastern Middle School/West to get a pencil.

Jones said as John returned to his seat, one of his friends used a book to make a shooting motion at him. John returned "fire," miming the actions of drawing back the string of a bow to shoot an imaginary arrow.

Read the full story at York Dispatch