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ROSSMOOR : Student, 9, Suspended for Passing Out Bullets

A third-grade student at Rossmoor Elementary School has been suspended for 3 1/2 days and ordered to do two weeks of community work for bringing bullets to school and giving them to friends.

Principal Laurel Telfer said that the student, who was not identified as a matter of school policy, was suspended instead of expelled because the incident did not constitute a violation of the school district’s zero-tolerance policy against weapons.

“Bullets are bullets, and they could go off,” Telfer said, “but they are not considered weapons by the Education Code, unlike guns, knives or explosives.”

In addition, she said, suspension was appropriate because of the boy’s past behavior, his age and the fact that he did not threaten anyone.

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The boy will work one hour a day after school cleaning erasers, shelving library books and doing various other chores, Telfer said.

The suspension began Friday, one day after the boy took the bullets for a .22-caliber handgun he apparently found in a drawer at home and distributed them to some of his friends.

Telfer said the 9-year-old showed the bullets to some students Thursday morning and again during lunchtime. None of the students reported the incident, but a teacher overheard a conversation between two boys who were given some of the bullets.

After investigating the incident Friday, Telfer said, she suspended the boy and asked a sheriff’s deputy to talk with the school’s 625 students about the need to report similar incidents.

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