Coventry Student Suspended for Keychain


NBC10’s Tony Gugliotta reports tonight that a seventh-grade student in Coventry public schools has been suspended for three days after his friend took a two-inch keychain shaped as gun from his backpack:

A 12-year-old boy was suspended from a Coventry middle school after his parents said he brought a small gun keychain to school.

Joseph Lyssikatos said the keychain was in his backpack at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School on Thursday when it fell out. A classmate picked it up and started showing it to other students.

A teacher confiscated it and before Joseph knew it, he was suspended.

Speaking to talk host Matt Allen, on 630AM/99.7FM WPRO, Joseph’s father, Keith Bonanno, said that school officials have not been anxious to speak with the family.   The school’s behavioral specialist told Mr. Bonanno that Joseph is “lucky that he didn’t get suspended for ten days, or even worse expelled.”

A section of the school’s student handbook titled “Serious Disciplinary Infractions” states that “Possession /carrying/use of/threat of use of a firearm or replica shall result in a recommendation for expulsion for a period of time up to one full calendar year.” According to the handbook, some of the other actions that can result in expulsion are assault, cyberharassment, and arson. Perpetrators of extortion, vandalism, and theft are only subject to suspension.

Joseph’s parents are especially concerned about the effect of his three day absence on his studies.  His father told Allen that he had no absences last year, and that his advanced math class covers “two chapters a week.”  The subject is advanced enough that Bonanno is concerned that “if he falls behind, I’m not going to be able to help him.”

According to data provided by the state Department of Education, only 68% of students in Joseph’s class are “proficient” in math.  Just 26% achieved “proficient with distinction” on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) tests conducted last year.

In the interview with channel 10, Joseph told Gugliotta that his suspension will lead to his missing the NECAP testing this year.  Proficiency on NECAP tests has become a controversial requirement for graduation, in Rhode Island, although only the tests given in high school are considered.

  • joe bernstein

    This is insanity-they should suspend whatever idiot did this to the child.

  • If this report is accurate, Joseph Lyssikatos is owed an apology, and more. This seems a clear violation of the boy's First Amendment rights.

    • Relax

      Right, but if the kid wore a "Jesus is gay" shirt, your ilk would be calling for the kid's expulsion.

      • Bruce

        Ad hominem and off-topic. What's your point?

      • Synova

        Are you really sure about that? Or is it just your prejudice that is speaking? Maybe you can find an example, somewhere in the entire nation, of "our ilk" demanding that kids with blasphemous garments be expelled from school.

        You can't.

        But you can find news stories about a kid with a gun logo on his shirt getting arrested at school. Why? Because your world is a fantasy and the one your opponents live in is real.

  • MikeK

    Time for home schooling.

  • BEM

    We need a new law that applies to teachers and administrators when they do this sort of thing. They should be punished by shooting them to show them the difference between a toy and the real thing.

    • righttimewrongplace

      great idea.

  • AlP

    Might be different for this boy, but I wonder why being suspended for three days is considered a punishment for most kids? "Three days off school? I'll take that without complaining."

  • Dan

    "This seems a clear violation of the boy's First Amendment rights."

    The school's policy is stupid, the punishment is overly harsh, and there was arguably a misapplication of the school's policy with respect to whether the key chain can be considered a "replica," but it's hardly a violation of the First Amendment. The school is well within its rights to place limitations on potentially dangerous or disruptive clothing and items children bring to school, and the school is allowed to limit student speech in many circumstances. For example, a student can rightfully be disciplined for writing "f you" on their homework assignment or for calling another student a "fag." Plenty of case law on this subject.

    • Jerome

      The only way the school can be "well within its rights" is if the students have none. Which is apparently your position.

  • dbp

    The key chain is obviously not a replica of a gun. Whichever official suspended the kid should be fired for incompetence.

    • Jerry

      Sorry, DBP, in today's public schools incompetence is not a firing offense. Instead, it is not only tolerated, it is expected.

  • Paulie P

    Law suit,High Profile mega buck attny.
    These morons need to be stopped and hitting them in the pocketbook is the only way

    • Click

      And the mega buck award will be paid by the school staff out of their pockets, right? Not. There seems to be little to no accountability to public school bureaucrats such as are in action in this case.

  • Hobart

    Hey, if they can suspend a kid for biting his pop-tart into a vaguely pistol like shape, as happened a few months ago, this kid is lucky he wasn’t thrown in prison… this keychain is at least modeled somewhat authentically.

    It is an insane world we have allowed to come about.

  • Mike H

    I think we should flunk the school administrators in vocabulary. Doesn't anyone on the staff know the definition of "replica"? Anyone? Bueller?

  • glitchus

    I thought we passed "anti-bullying" legislation. Tar and feathers!

  • vinny vidivici

    This isn't random PC idiocy. It's about conditioning these kids, and I don't mean the non-stop demonizing of guns. It's also about instilling fear, apprehension and hesitation that making ANY expression which can even be construed as at variance with progressive orthodoxy can carry life altering consequences.

    For all the phony rebellion in pop culture, these kids are being taught to keep their heads down.

    And where are the parents — except when stuff like this happens? We wonder how the institutions of our society have been taken over by charlatans, control freaks, D-students and ideologues. Well, someone has to show up at the municipal public works hearing and school board meetings to keep an eye on the termites.

    The country we inherited took an extraordinary amount of sacrifice to build and maintain. Are we up to it?

  • Jen

    Well on Thursday my son who is in 6th grade at same school who might I add is 11.. Was stabbed with a pen which went through sweatshirt and draw blood and kicked and then she followed him to bathroom and waited outside for him from 11 yr old girl and guess what I was under understanding she was being suspended and asked if we wanted to press charges and we didn’t because I felt she just need some help and the correct punishment.. We’ll guess what she was back in that school on Friday and after hearing about this story I’m am so mad and feel let down from school system.. I now am setting up meeting with superintendent I’m outraged if we did this we wouldn’t have choices we would be in aci with felony charges what is wrong with this whole system…

  • Jean

    This is about the children who were playing on private property with squirt guns and were reprimanded!!! What will happen to kids who squirt waterguns in the summer at their own homes, will they be puinished?

  • Fish

    Maybe the school district could cut out his guts and determine if there is a blackness inside the child. If not, then we knew he was innocent.

    illiberals are taking this country to a very scary place. Reject it people!

  • dissent555

    “And then They said, “Let there be Policy”, and there was Policy. And They saw that the Policy was good. They marveled at how it illuminated their decision making and separated their choices from rational thought. They called the Policy “Right” and common sense “Wrong”. And there was evening and there was morning, yet the Policy remained immutable.”

    – Chapter 1, the Genesis of Bureaucracy