Simple Hand Gesture Could Get Somerset Students Suspended
The simple act of extending an index finger while raising a thumb on the same hand could land students in Somerset elementary schools in the principal's office.
The hand sign is considered a "gun gesture" by the town's school committee and students caught doing it could face disciplinary action.
Multiple media reports quote Chase Street Elementary School Principal Timothy Plante complaining at a recent meeting of the school board, "So, there have been several cases where kids on the bus are making gestures, and we didn't have anything in there to discipline them."
Hand gestures resembling weapons and any talk about guns or knives will not be tolerated on school grounds, according to amendments to the student/parent handbook adopted by the school committee.
Parent Andrew Speeckaert told CBS Boston WBZ-TV 4 that the new policy is "foolish." Speeckaert called it "absolutely silly."
The Fall River Herald News reported in a subscriber-only story that "In such cases, an investigation will be done by the school administration or designee, and police notification may result."
"The first offense may range from a teacher consequence to suspension, depending upon the severity of the threat as determined by the administrator," the paper reported.
A second offense "may range from an administrative consequence to suspension, depending upon the severity of the threat as determined by the judgment of the administration."
The Herald News says Plante told the meeting that the schools wanted something in the handbook to "make sure parents understand that the gestures are not acceptable in the schools."
Notice to parents: Be sure to warn your children to keep their fingers in their holsters at all times while school is in session in Somerset.