There’s No Winning: Conscientious Pennsylvania Kid Gets Suspended From School For Voluntarily Turning In Toy Gun


You can’t win for losing with the effete, fearful, gun-obsessed, progressively-correct adults overpopulating the ranks of the Nation’s public school teachers and administrators. One kid who realized he’d accidentally brought a toy gun to school inside his backpack recently tried, and was promptly slapped with a suspension for violating the school’s gun-replica policy.

Darin Simak, a first grader at Martin Elementary in Kensington, Pa., reportedly came to school with an old backpack his mom had dragged out of storage as a temporary replacement for the daily-use backpack he’d accidentally left in a friend’s car. Once at school, he realized there was a toy pistol inside the old backpack, from whenever it was last used.

Evidently aware, on some level, of the school’s no-toy-guns policy, Darin reportedly brought the toy to his teacher and said “I’m not supposed to have this.”

Sounds adorable to us.

Not so much to his teacher or school administrators, though. His teacher allegedly sent him to the principal’s office on the spot, where he was suspended from school. The New Kensington-Arnold School district has a one-year expulsion policy for bringing a replica of a gun to school, although the policy also allows administrators discretion in meting that punishment, based on the circumstances.

The suspension strongly angered Darin’s mother, Jennifer Mathabel, and she resolved after a day had passed to send him on to school anyway. But the principal called her after Darin arrived that morning and allegedly told her to come get her son.

“I said, ‘I’m sending him to school because he is entitled to be in school and be educated,’” Mathabel told WTAE News in Pittsburgh. No dice – the school elected, at that point, to place Darin into in-school suspension while officials contacted his father, who reportedly came and picked him up.

Those in positions of power often argue that they can be trusted with it. But instances like this one illustrate that kids can also learn, through experience, that it’s often better not to engage – on any level – the powerful people they’ve been told they can trust. As long as our fascistic strain of nanny culture continues to permeate American thought and, yes, government, it’s a lesson kids might as well carry into adulthood.

“He did the right thing, and we’re trying to teach him the right way,” said Chris Simak, Darin’s father. “And now they’re teaching him the wrong way.”

Superintendent John Pallone would not comment on the matter to the local newspaper. An expulsion hearing for Simak was scheduled for today.

UPDATE – Following today’s hearing, Darin Simak has been allowed to return to school Monday, with his suspension retroactive to include June 5 and June 6 – the two days of school he “officially” missed.

“I’m glad he can go back to school on Monday and get his last couple of toys the teacher took throughout the year and of course his report card,” Chris Simak told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “He was upset that he was going to miss the last day of school.”


Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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