Ethan Chaplin, a seventh-grader at Glen Meadow Middle School in Vernon, New Jersey was sent home for two days after he allegedly pointed his pencil like a gun in math class.
Chaplin said that he was simply twisting around a pencil with a pen cap on it when a student who had bullied him earlier that day yelled out, "He's making gun motions, send him to juvie."
According to the news, the school promptly suspended Chaplin, pending the outcome of a psychological evaluation.
Ethan's father, Michael Chaplin, said he was "absolutely livid," and described the school's actions as "gross misconduct at its finest. They took something so minimal and took it so far over the edge."
Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano said it was school policy requires officials to investigate all situations in which a student feels threatened by another. Maranzano also said:
"We never know what's percolating in the minds of children. And when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty."
Ethan reportedly underwent a five-hour physical and psychological evaluation. Both of them proved he was a normal seventh grade.
The Huffington Post reported on April 7 that the school tells a different story. Maranzano said he couldn't discuss the specific incident because of privacy laws, but he did say "no school in the state of New Jersey or nationally would leap to a school suspension for twirling a pencil. That's not what the basis of our actions are."
Instead, Maranzano said the student was not suspended, but was told he could return as soon as a doctor completed a psychological evaluation and determined the student posed no threat to himself or others.
Maranzano also said, in the wake of several deadly shootings, schools are being especially careful.
Ethan's father said, "The child was stripped, had to give blood samples (which caused him to pass out) and urine samples for of all things drug testing. Then four hours later a social worker spoke to him for five minutes and cleared him. Then an actual doctor came in and said the state was 100 percent incorrect in their procedure and this would not get him back in school.”
Maranzano said Chaplin is back in school.