RAEFORD, N.C. – North Carolina school officials found 5-year-old Caitlin Miller guilty of violating school policy 4331, and sentenced the imaginative youngster to a one day suspension.
Her crime: Playing “King and Queen” with her friends at recess, and using a stick as a make-believe gun to defend the royal couple against pretend invaders, WTVD reports.
— Morgan Norwood (@MorganABC11) March 28, 2017
Miller’s mother, Brandy, told the news site she received a call from the officials at McLauchlin Elementary School on Friday to inform her about the punishment, which Miller served on Monday.
“The assistant principal told me Caitlin had a stick and she was using it to shoot and kill other students,” Brandy Miller told Fox News’ Todd Starnes.
“One minute she’s playing with her friends and the next her teachers are dragging her to the principal’s office,” Miller told WTVD. “She’s confused, nobody explained anything to her.”
District officials issued a statement defending the suspension.
“Hoke County Schools will not tolerate assaults, threats or harassment from any student,” district officials wrote in a prepared statement. “Any student engaging in such behavior will be removed from the classroom or school environment for as long as is necessary to provide a safe and orderly environment for learning.”
McLauchlin assistant principal also sent a letter home with Caitlin Friday that states the reason for her suspension in bold letters: “Turning a stick into a gun and threatening to shoot and kill other students.”
Brandy Miller said she struggled to explain to her daughter why she’s being punished for playing at school. She doesn’t understand how a stick – found on the playground – threatens anyone.
“We know why it’s bad,” she said. “We watch the news, but then I have to tell my kid you’re not allowed to play like that in school because people do bad things to kids your age.”
The mother added that her daughter has since been ostracized by her classmates and teachers because of the suspension, and she believes school officials owe her an apology.
“I just want them to apologize to her and tell her it’s okay you can be five and have an imagination,” Miller said, according to Reuters.
An online poll conducted by WTVD asked viewers whether Caitlin’s punishment fit the alleged crime, and a whopping 95 percent of the 675 voters opposed the “stick gun” suspension.
Several folks also lashed out at school officials online.
“Whoever made that decision should be fired,” freewhitebaby7.0 posted to the WTVD comments. “What an absolute idiot. If I were that mom I think I’d pull my kid out of that school and try to find her one that’s not run by ignorant, whiny liberals who don’t possess an ounce of common sense.”
“Yeah, if anything the teacher should’ve just took the girl aside and explained to her why she shouldn’t play like that at school and had a talk with her mom about it instead of involving the principal for one instance,” Carley added.