A 12-year-old boy was suspended Thursday after a gun keychain barely larger than the size of a quarter fell out the student’s backpack at a Rhode Island middle school.
The seventh grade Shawn Feinstein Middle School student, Joseph Lyssikatos, said the small toy he won at an arcade fell out of his backpack before a classmate picked it up and starting showing others, according to WCAU-TV.
“This boy was the one waving it or showing it to other kids. Not Joseph. Joseph wasn’t doing that so why weren’t both of them reprimanded,” Bonnie Bonanno, Joseph’s step-mother, told WCAU-TV.
Watch a local news clip, courtesy of WCAU-TV:
The teacher reportedly saw the toy keychain at that point and confiscated it. Lyssikatos was then suspended by school officials for violating their “zero tolerance” policy against firearms or replicas.
Bonanno told TheBlaze Saturday morning that she is upset over the punishment.
“I think it’s extremely excessive,” she said. “He’s a 12-year-old child, being a 12-year-old child. He’s a boy! It was not meant to cause any problems. It was a keychain that he had in his backpack and it fell out of his backpack on accident.”
“I think it’s way to excessive,” she continued. “Especially for being a one-and-a-half inch keychain.”
Bonanno said she plans to appeal the decision to the district superintendent and complain to the Rhode Island Department of Education.
School officials, nonetheless, declined to comment.
“Because this is a student discipline issue, we cannot comment on any specifics,” school officials said in a statement, according to WCAU-TV.
However, the school policy states that suspensions are determined by the principal, who wouldn’t return his family’s calls seeking an explanation.
“They have not called us,” Bonnano said.
Lyssikatos has now also been forbidden from attending a class field trip at the end of the month.
“That’s disgraceful because, OK, being suspended for three days, and this big punishment is enough for him mentally,” Bonanno told the local news station.
TheBlaze was unable to reach Bonanno or a spokesperson for the school early Saturday morning