Two seven-year-old boys were suspended from school – for pointing pencils at each other and pretending they were guns.
One of the boys, Christopher Marshall, said he was just pretending to be a Marine like his father as he and his friend made machine gun noises.
But the school said it had a zero tolerance policy on weapons and had to punish the boys.
Christopher's dad, Paul, said he believed bosses at Driver Elementary in Suffolk County, Virginia, had gone too far.
"Enough is enough, I see it as the tail is now wagging the dog," he told TV news.
But the school didn't back down. Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokeswoman for the school system pointed out that recent school shootings have left many students frightened or vulnerable at the sound of fake gun noises.
"Kids don't think about 'Cowboys and Indians' anymore, they think about drive-by shootings and murders and everything they see on television news every day," she said.
According to the school, punishment for 'look-alike weapons' can amount to 10 days suspension.
Administrators can use their discretion when enforcing the policies. Christopher's teacher did note that he and his friend stopped playing with the pencils after she asked them to.
Both the boys were suspended for two days.
The other boy was playing 'bad guy' to Christopher's Marine.
Christopher has 'good grades' and has never been in trouble with the school before.
Though he will not be using a pencil to mimic a gun again, his father still believes the policy betrays common sense.
"What's the big deal, he's just being a kid," he said.
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