The two second-graders suspended for making shooting noises while pointing pencils at each other were allowed back at school Wednesday.
The boys got into trouble Friday, when a teacher caught them engaging in a play fight. The Associated Press reported the boys' horseplay violated the Suffolk, Va., school's zero-tolerance ban on weapons.
"A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made," Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokesperson for Suffolk Public Schools, said in an interview with Fox local affiliate WAVY.
Paul Marshall, one of the boy’s fathers and a former Marine, spoke to WAVY and said he was not pleased with the suspension.
“Enough is enough. I mean, where will we draw the line?" said Marshall. "I mean, a pencil. Was it sharpened? Was it not? Was it a No. 2? What's the big deal?"
The incident sparked anger on the NBC Washington Facebook page, where the outlet asked, “Is this a good policy or taking gun safety to a ridiculous extreme?”
“The very people responsible for creating a learning environment for our children have truly lost their ability to think logically. This is ridiculous,” wrote Facebook user Lisa Moore Smith in one of the thread’s hundreds of comments.
There have been several recent incidents where students were suspended for similar reasons. In March, a 7-year-old boy was removed from classes after chewing his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and pointing it at a classmate. In January, a first-grader was suspended for holding his fingers like a gun and aiming at another child.