"I'm absolutely livid," says his father, Michael Chaplin. "I think it's gross misconduct at its finest. They took something so minimal and took it so far over the edge."
Michael is talking about the suspension and five hours of psychiatric testing his son, Ethan Chaplin, was subjected to after twirling his pencil. When a known school bully, whom Ethan had an ongoing conflict saw Ethan twirl the pencil he said loudly, "He's making gun motions, send him to juvie."
In the minds of New Jersey school officials, the word gun is the same as a gun (thank you zero-tolerance / zero-sense). Ethan was whisked from class and suspended.
"We never know what's percolating in the minds of children," says Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano. "And when they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty." Maranzano told reporters that school police requires him to investigate when anyone in a school feels uncomfortable.
Despite the fact that his evaluations came back clean, Ethan is awaiting word from the school board on when he can return to class.