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District discusses boy suspended for pointing finger as gun

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - District leaders discussed the suspension of an 8-year-old who was kicked out of class after he simulated a gun with his finger while playing with his friends at Harmony Community School in Osceola County.

Jordan Bennett was suspended from school for one day, but his mother, Bonnie, wasn't happy with the punishment. She said she wants his record cleared.

"He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun," Bennett said.

"You got to treat it with a grain of salt," Osceola School Board Chairman Jay Wheeler said on Tuesday. "At the same time, I think that getting a parent involved if there's a real concern is the appropriate thing."

It's an issue that came up at Tuesday night's school board meeting.

Some board members said they felt the punishment was extreme.

Wheeler seemed to side with the boy's mom.

"I think that this should've been handled differently," Wheeler said at the meeting.

A district spokeswoman told Channel 9 she can't discuss the specifics in the case because of confidentiality laws, but when a suspension is handed out, administrators are required to weigh the events before, during and afterward.

Channel 9 learned the district has gotten at least 10 calls and emails from people against the suspension.

"He didn't threaten violence. He didn't utter words that were inappropriate. He made a sound and used his fingers and that was it," said Bennett.

Bennett told Channel 9 she believes there are more effective ways the district could have disciplined her son than having him miss school for the day.

"A written apology," she said. "If he would have written an essay about why it was inappropriate, what he did, that would have made more of an impact."

"I think this is something we have to learn from to make sure that something like this does not get the same penalty in the future," Wheeler said.

People who said they didn't even know the boy showed up in support of him at the meeting.

The deputy superintendent plans to meet with Bennett.

Bennett said she has retained an attorney.