SUMTER, SC (WACH/THE ITEM) - A 6-year-old kindergarten student is going back to school Friday after a month of suspension.
According to The Item of Sumter, on January 4, Naomi McKinney took what she thought was a Barbie doll to school for show and tell when she inadvertently took an older brother's broken toy gun. Sumter school district superintendent Rudolph Bynum immediately suspended the kindergartener.
McKinney has not been in school since.
Due to Sumter School District Policy, McKinney had to remain off school premises until she is reinstated. She couldn't legally ride with her mother to school to pick up her siblings.
The family petitioned the district's board of trustees to have Naomi allowed back in school, but were not successful until Thursday.
Late Thursday afternoon, superintendent Randolph Bynum released this statement:
"As superintendent, I will do everything in my power to protect the safety of our students and staff. School level administrators and teachers have received threats as a result of the decision that was made to expel a six year old child for violating district policy. Threats made to staff members are not tolerated, and we intend to involve law enforcement.
After careful thought and consideration for the safety of the school community, I have decided to vacate the ruling of the hearing panel. The student will be allowed to return to school. The suspension time has been served.
Sumter School District has zero tolerance for weapons on our school campuses. Our current policy states that the board will expel any student who brings a weapon to school, and in the case of firearms, that includes look alikies. We plan to collectively revisit all board polices that affect student discipline."
Hopefully, the McKinney family can now put all of that behind them when the kindergartner returns to school Friday.
("The Sumter Item" and reporter Braden Bunch contributed to this report.)