Eight-year-old Asher Palmer, a student at the ritzy private Lang School in New York City, was expelled after rolling up a piece of paper and pointing it at another student like a gun, the Daily Caller reported Tuesday.
According to Eric Owens, the school "specializes in educating students with language difficulties" and typically charges $51,500 in annual tuition. Asher’s parents, however, paid some $119,500 in tuition and other costs, including a one-on-one teacher, for five months.
“Asher is exactly the type of student Lang is supposed to be serving,” said Melina Spadone, the boy's mother. “Why they did this doesn’t make sense.”
Lang principal Micaela Bracamonte reportedly told school employees in an email that Asher “had a model for physically aggressive behavior in his immediate family.” Spadone said she's not certain who or what that model might be, but suggested Bracamonte was referring to her husband, a veteran of the Gulf War.
“I find it offensive and inappropriate," she told the New York Post. Moreover, she expressed concerns over the money already paid to educate her son.
“We did not invest $120,000 toward Asher’s success for a five-month period,” she told Bracamonte in an email obtained by the Post. “It was understood, and, in fact, contractually agreed, that Asher would be returning next year.”
Spadone said the boy fashioned the paper after discussing military weapons with his father. The Post said his teachers instructed him not to point the paper at anyone. He obeyed, for a while.
The school also claimed Asher said he would “kill" a girl in a separate incident. Spadone said that while her son may have made the statement, people use the word all the time and it shouldn't be taken literally.
Bracamonte, however, claimed Asher “had a concrete plan for killing [a female student] that he would not retract after discussion with our psych staff," adding that "he was physically and verbally aggressive at a whole new level only last week."
"He might well present a risk to the emotional and possibly (though remotely so) physical safety and well-being of his classmates," she added. Apparently, the rolled-up piece of paper was the last straw.
Bracamonte suggested Asher be home-schooled next year, and expressed hope the parents would consider Lang in the future.
A parent with a son in the same school, however, said the two boys "take the subway together. They play games together. I don’t feel my son is threatened by him."
Incidents like this are happening across the country, causing many to believe that public schools, in their zeal to keep students safe, are literally turning stupid on the issue of guns. An eight-year-old Colorado boy, for example, got in trouble after drawing a gun after looking at clouds, even though he was doing exactly what he was assigned to do.
In Philadelphia, a fifth-grade girl was searched and called a “murderer” over a small piece of paper that had been torn into the general shape of a pistol and a five-year-old Pennsylvania girl was labeled a “terrorist threat” after telling another student she would shoot her with a Hello Kitty bubble gun.
Bracamonte, the Post added, declined to comment.