Middle School Student Suspended Over Drawings Depicting Guns, Knives

With the recent shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Great Mills High School in Great Mills, Maryland, schools are understandably on edge. Both teachers and administrators want to protect their students, and they do not want to miss serious warning signs or red flags. However, a point can come where being cautious can give in to hysteria, which seems to have occurred at Roseboro Salemburg Middle School in Roseboro, North Carolina.


A 13-year-old seventh grader at the middle school received a two-day suspension for his drawings of stick figures with weapons. WRAL has the story along with the picture of the drawings:

A middle school student in Sampson County was suspended over a doodle that showed stick figures holding guns and knives.

The incident happened several weeks ago at Roseboro Salemburg Middle School and the father of the 13-year-old boy said he can’t believe his son received a two-day suspension for what he calls a harmless picture.

“I see a guy in a race car souped-up. I see a tower that he build. I see him holding his gun, he’s a deer hunter. I see him with a magician and I see him as a Ninja Turtle,” James Herring said. “[He’s] just expressing himself, nothing violent.”

Herring said his son does have access to weapons that he uses for hunting, but they’re kept under lock and key. He said his son is not violent and wasn’t having any emotional issues when he made the drawings.

Herring said he was shocked when the school called and said his son was being suspended.

Did those drawings warrant a two-day suspension? Are the doodles that inappropriate or out of the norm for a young boy to justify such an action from the school?

According to Sampson County School Superintendent Eric Bracy, it did. The superintendent told WRAL, “There are some things that list possible threats or things like that. We’ve got category one, two, three and four, which sort of grades potential incidents and the level or seriousness.”


Of course, the superintendent did not state which violation was committed that allowed administrators to conclude that a suspension was necessary. But where can this list of offenses be found? In the school’s student handbook.

Under Section VII, page 29 of the handbook, one can find the “Disciplinary Guidelines” for the different classes of violations. As the superintendent stated in the interview, there are four classes of offenses with the possible consequences listed for each. See below.

It’s clear why the superintendent was unable, or unwilling, to explain which violation the student committed because it does not seem possible to identify one that fits.

At the maximum, the student could have received a warning for a Class I Violation. But a suspension? The world could use a little more common sense.

What do you think about the drawings and the action taken by the school?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member