Mom ‘devastated’ after her son, 12, was banned for ‘bringing a toy gun to McDonald’s before school’

A distraught mother has spoken out after her son was excluded for bringing a “toy gun” to McDonald’s before class. Pauline Pollard said her 12-year-old son Mitchell had been expelled from Christ Church in Wood Yardleya new school that opened its doors in September.

Mitchell took a black and yellow toy gun to McDonald’s and gave it to a friend who, according to Pauline, “fired a couple of pellets at two students.”

While the school insisted that any decision to exclude a student is not taken lightly, Pauline, 53, suggested its methods of punishment were “over the top”.

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The self-employed cleaner claimed that her son was the victim of “unfair treatment” and compared the Church of England Academy to an “army camp”.

Mark Bowman Dalton, director of Christ Church, said: “Any exclusion is not done lightly and will follow legal guidance set out by the Department for Education. Each case is treated fairly and will be reviewed by a panel of governors.”

“Christ Church, Church of England Secondary Academy sets clear boundaries that encourage excellent behavior and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the learning environment.”



Pauline insisted that, despite being permanently excluded, her son was not a 'wayward' child.
Pauline insisted that, despite being permanently excluded, her son was not a ‘wayward’ child.

Pauline insisted that, despite being permanently excluded, her son was not a ‘wayward’ child. She said that Mitchell was now “considered a danger” despite not having threatened or harmed anyone.

“We found out pretty early on that school is pretty tough,” he said. “While we appreciate that they’re going to try to set a benchmark and precedent for a new school, they’re going a little overboard in their punishment.”

During a hearing, in which the school board confirmed the exclusion, Pauline claimed that she had provided “impeccable references” on behalf of her son. She claimed this included a worker at the local McDonald’s where Mitchell gave her friend the gun.

Pauline claimed that the gun had been handed over to the police who found no reason to investigate. But she claims there was a “misunderstanding” a week earlier that she left a “stain” on Mitchell’s record.

During a class discussion about the three things students would take to a desert island, Pauline said her 12-year-old son joked about packing a pair of scissors to “stab himself in the neck” because he wouldn’t want to be alone. She claimed that a teacher misheard this comment and thought Mitchell was threatening them.



Mitchell has been permanently banned from Christchurch Secondary Academy at Yardley Wood;  he apparently passed a toy pellet gun to another boy.
Mitchell has been permanently banned from Christchurch Secondary Academy at Yardley Wood; he apparently passed a toy pellet gun to another boy.

Now, Pauline said she was in the process of appealing the decision. She insisted it wasn’t a BB gun that Mitchell came across, because he didn’t shoot ball bearings but “little plastic dots.” She added that it was black and gold in color, making it clear that it did not pose a danger.

“It’s not a BB gun and that’s where my point lies,” he added. “A BB gun obviously shoots high-velocity ball bearings [and] this shoots small plastic pipes. It is gold and black so that it can be identified that it is not a firearm.”



The weapon Pauline insisted was not a BB gun;  she said that she only fired small plastic pellets and that she did not pose a danger due to her color.
The weapon Pauline insisted was not a BB gun; she said that she only fired small plastic pellets and that she did not pose a danger due to her color.

She continued, “Ultimately, it’s because of the fact that it’s completely unfair to Mitchell. Is he going to be subjected to a school of naughty boys or what? Right now, I don’t know. He’s not being educated in any way.” .

“It’s a school, not an army camp.”



Mark Bowman Dalton, director of Christ Church, said that
Mark Bowman Dalton, director of Christ Church, said “no exclusion is done lightly.”

According to a police force, BB guns that shoot plastic or aluminum balls “may or may not be firearms, so they may or may not be prohibited.” West Yorkshire Police said this was because the pellets are fired using different methods.

The force said: “The ‘toy-like’ type of airsoft BB gun, while it may be a bit too powerful to be officially classified as a toy, does not fit within the definition of a firearm. section 1 because it is generally very low power and probably designed to shoot plastic [or] aluminum balls.

“If you are unsure whether or not your airgun is legal, you should check with your police force’s firearms department, who will be able to advise you. Given the nature of airguns and their capabilities, it is not advisable to allow small children to be in possession of them.

“Also note that many BB guns are extremely realistic and the police treat all reports involving weapons as if they were actual firearms. Please note that all calls to the police involving firearms are treated as if they were genuine firearms, so be aware that if you wave an imitation firearm, you could find yourself surrounded by firearms officers pointing real guns at you.”

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