TALBOT COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) - Is it child's play or a serious threat of gun violence? For the second time in less than a month, a Maryland child is kicked out of school for using his finger in the shape of a gun.
No one is debating the importance of keeping children safe. The question being asked is what's child's play and what's not?
There's controversy at a Talbot County school after two 6-year-old boys were suspended while playing cops and robbers during recess and using their fingers to make an imaginary gun.
"It's ridiculous," said parent Julia Merchant.
This is the second time a Maryland child has been suspended for such play. Earlier this month, 6-year-old Rodney Lynch was suspended from his Montgomery County school after pretending to fire an imaginary gun more than once.
"Just pointing your fingers like this and then she did the pow sound and I just went like that and then I got sent to the office again," Lynch said.
The school reversed its decision after Rodney's parents appealed.
"They're saying he threatened a student, threatened to shoot a student. He was playing," said Rodney's father, Rodney Lynch Sr.
"I do not believe maliciousness was involved here," said child psychologist Dr. Joe Kaine.
Kaine says most 6-year-olds' minds aren't developed enough to understand why their idea of fun play might make adults upset.
"I can certainly appreciate that at school, that's not a type of play that they are going to endorse and I certainly support that, but that's where we educate the time and place for doing things," Kaine said.
A number of parents agree.
"Suspending them is a bit harsh and I don't think that's gonna do any good for the parent, child or school," said Janet Geotzky.
The number of suspensions has been on the rise in Maryland. School leaders say they will try to reduce those numbers.
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WJZ's Kai Jackson via baltimore.cbslocal.com & CNN Newssource