A 13-year-old boy has been suspended from his Virginia middle school for playing airsoft with friends in his own front yard, while waiting for the school bus, and is facing possible expulsion, along with two other students. According to a report on Fox News, Khalid Caraballo had no clue that he could get in trouble for using a toy gun on his parent's property, with consenting individuals. However, it appears that the school considers the seventh grader's pellet gun a firearm, on which they have a zero-tolerance policy.

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Though I'm not at all opposed to zero-tolerance policies on weapons IN SCHOOL, I have to say that I'm completely annoyed by what Larkspur Middle School is doing to these kids. Virginia Beach's WAVY-TV is reporting that a neighbor--whose son was actually playing with Caraballo at the time of the incident--called 911 to report that the boys where shooting the gun at a target in his front yard, which is located about 70 yards from the bus stop. The caller was upfront about the fact that the gun in question was not real, but claimed that seeing the boy pointing a gun made her uncomfortable. The police did not file charges as they only deem it necessary in cases when the juvenile involved is not using "reasonable care." But, the boys who actually shot the guns were pulled out of class when they arrived at school.

Khalid's mother--Solangel Caraballo--was bringing her toddler to school during the incident, and left her 16-year-old daughter in charge while she was away. She admits that she told her son not to play with the gun at that time, and that he disobeyed, which is actually a stipulation of the school's zero-tolerance policy. The policy forbids the use of pneumatic guns unless the user is at a shooting range or on private property and has been given permission by the owner.

"This is a home issue. It's not a school issue," Solangel said, and I absolutely have to agree with her. Boys will be boys. Airsoft is a super-popular activity among teens and young men, and it's absolutely ridiculous to chastise these kids for enjoying one of their favorite games before heading off to school. They were not taunting anyone, they were not putting anyone in danger--they were just playing a game, one that all of them wanted to play. Sure, Khalid disobeyed his mother, but what 13-year-old doesn't?

The Virgina Beach school system is just taking their policy way too far. Let kids be kids, and maybe they'll stop getting into things they shouldn't be into, you know, like drugs ... and porn ... and alcohol.

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

Shayne Rodriguez Thompson is a full-time wife, full-time mom, and freelance journalist trying to balance it all and looking forward to exploring the world with her son and husband. In her rare spare moments, she's a pop culture junkie and kitchen devotee who makes a mean cupcake!

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