Boy, 12, permanently excluded from school after 'taking toy gun into McDonald's'

·4-min read
(Reach)
Pauline Pollard says her son Mitchell has been unfairly excluded from school. (Reach)

A boy has been permanently excluded from school after he took a toy gun into a McDonald's restaurant and gave it to another pupil, his mother says.

Pauline Pollard, 53, said her son, Mitchell, was expelled from Christ Church in Yardley Wood, Birmingham, after bringing the black and gold toy gun to the fast food chain and giving it to a friend, who she said later "shot a couple of pellets at two pupils".

The Church of England academy school, which just opened last September, stood by its decision, but Ms Pollard insisted her son is not a "wayward" child.

Headteacher Mark Bowman Dalton said: "Any exclusion is not made lightly and will follow the statutory guidance set 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 behaviour and ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the learning environment."

But Ms Pollard, who is in the process of appealing the decision, said Mitchell was now "considered a danger" even though he hadn't threatened or harmed anyone.

"We found quite early on that the school is quite harsh," she said. "Whilst we appreciate that they are going to try and set a benchmark and a precedent for a brand new school, they are a little bit over the top in punishment.

"It's a school not an army camp."

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She said she provided "impeccable references" on her son's behalf during a hearing, saying this included a member of staff at the McDonald's where he gave the gun to his friend.

Ms Pollard claimed the gun had been given to police and they found no grounds to investigate.

She said a "misunderstanding" a week before the incident had left a "blemish" on Mitchell's school record.

She said that during a classroom debate on the three things pupils would take to a desert island, Mitchell joked about bringing a pair of scissors to "stab himself in the neck" as he would not want to be alone.

Ms Pollard said a teacher misheard this remark and thought Mitchell was threatening them.

(Reach)
The toy gun which led to a 12-year-old boy being permanently excluded from school. (Reach)

She claimed the gun was clearly a toy because of its black and gold colour and insisted it wasn't a BB gun as it didn't fire ball bearings but "small plastic pips".

She said: "It's not a BB gun and this is where my argument lay. It's gold and black so it can be identified that it's not a firearm.

"It is ultimately for the fact that it is entirely unfair for Mitchell. Is he going to be subject to a naughty boy's school or what? At this moment in time, I don't know. He is not being educated in any way."

(Reach)
A 12-year-old boy has been excluded from Christ Church school in Yardley Wood, Birmingham, after handing over a toy gun to a friend. (Reach)

In its guidance, one police force, West Yorkshire Police, said: "BB guns which fire plastic or aluminium balls by different methods such as compressed air or an electrical system may or may not be firearms and so may or may not be prohibited.

"The soft air type of gun, which is 'toy like', though it may be a little too powerful to be officially classed as a toy does not fit within the definition of a of a section 1 firearm because it is usually too low powered and is probably designed to fire plastic/aluminium balls.

"However, there are more powerful BB guns which could be considered firearms, for which, possession, purchase or acquisition, without holding a valid firearms certificate is an offence.

"Possession of a BB gun that looks like a real firearm in a public place will amount to an offence of possession of an imitation firearm, regardless of the power of the gun itself."

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police told Yahoo News UK: "We’re investigating after a child was injured by a BB gun pellet.

"A BB gun was seized by teachers at the school where the victim and two suspects attended. We’ve been working closely with the school and parents of the children involved.

"The school have taken the decision to exclude two children following the incident, which took place off school premises.

"The weapon has been handed over to us and our investigation continues."

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