Portsmouth 7-year-old faces expulsion for bringing toy guns to school

A Portsmouth second grader was suspended for 10 days for bringing two toy guns to school. (Photo courtesy: Jason Marks)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A Portsmouth second grader is facing expulsion after bringing two toy guns to class. 7-year-old Josiah Green was suspended for ten days in May after he was caught with a water gun and a Nerf gun. Both don’t look anything like a real gun.

Once his suspension was up, the school told his mother he is now facing expulsion.

Portsmouth Public Schools Weapons Policy

“Weapons related behaviors prohibited on school property include, [WP3P] Bringing a toy/look-alike gun to school/school sponsored event.” — PPS Code of Student Conduct

“It is frustrating right now,” said Josiah’s mom Audreyann Davis. “I was emotional and shocked. I understand that he’s suspended, but now you’re throwing that he could be expelled on the table.”

Josiah goes to Douglass Park Elementary.

Audreyann Davis says she usually checks her son’s backpack before he heads off to school.

“I blame myself,” Davis added. “The one day I didn’t think about making sure he left his toys in the house.”

Like most school systems, Portsmouth has zero tolerance for guns in schools, but Davis thinks this is different.

“He’s small and he made a mistake,” Davis said. “He didn’t know what he was doing. He doesn’t even understand what’s going on and why he can’t bring his toy guns to school.”

“We have to have common sense,” said Davis’ attorney Tim Anderson.

Davis has hired an attorney to fight the possible expulsion.

“There’s no doubt it’s a toy gun and from Josiah’s standpoint he had it in his pocket at P.E. He wasn’t even shooting it at anybody. He just had it on him.”

The Portsmouth School Board will take up the issue during a hearing Thursday.

“The School Board feels the community deserves their attention on matters involving weapons and look-alike guns in schools,” Ari Durall with the Portsmouth School System said. “There are a wide-range of options available in addition to expulsion for the School Board to take appropriate action.”

Davis tells 10 On Your Side she understands the strict policy when it comes to having guns in schools, but she believes administrators should decide punishment on a case-by-case situation.

She tells our Jason Marks her son just didn’t know better and wanted to share his toys with his classmates.

Hear from her and see the toy guns for yourself. Watch Jason Marks’ exclusive report, tonight on WAVY News 10 at 6 p.m.

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