Columbus school students rarely bring real guns to school, but the district is experiencing an epidemic of students brandishing “look-alike” guns, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Columbus expels and suspends more students for fake guns than any other district in the state, accounting for 12 of the 38 expulsions for look-alike guns in Ohio last school year. It had 69 suspensions, accounting for about one in six of all such suspensions in Ohio. Under the district's “zero tolerance” policy, it doesn't matter whether anyone was in actual danger.
The issue was in the spotlight this week after the “Suspension Heard Round the World”: A principal kicked a Columbus 10-year-old out of school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun. Within hours, the story went viral on the Internet and was reported by news organizations globally. District spokesman Jeff Warner could not comment on whether a student's hand would be considered an “item that resembles a firearm.” “Nevertheless, we will review our protocols, discuss the issue with our leadership team and principals, and determine if any redirection or clarification is needed with respect to this issue,” the school district said yesterday. “The safety of our students is always our foremost concern, especially when considering the increasingly frequent reports of violence in schools across our nation.”