Herring said, “She’s 16 and doesn’t know what it means when you hear ‘gun’ on campus. We admit what she did was wrong. I was hoping this could be a teachable moment for her. We’re not saying she should not have been punished. But she took a 10-day suspension. And then the board expelled her. We feel the expulsion is excessive,” Herring continued,  “She said a male classmate handed the toy to her daughter as a joke.”

Herring admits the water pistol was black, and at first glance, it would be easy to think it was a real gun.

“But the second you picked it up, you know its plastic and a toy,” she said. “So we can understand the initial reaction, not knowing it wasn’t a real gun. But after the principal and school officials knew it was a water gun, things should never have progressed this far.”

The male classmate handed the water gun to Laney in the hall after seventh period on Jan. 27, Herring said. She put it in her backpack and then put it the back seat of her car. The exchange was recorded on the school’s surveillance cameras. The footage showed Laney with the toy, but not the male classmate, Herring said. On Jan. 31, another student went to school authorities and told them Laney had a gun.

 So was this an excessive punishment? I realize that the authorities have to take extensive measures to make sure real guns are not brought onto campus….but could this have been handled better? Children will be children.